Enough of the glamour trips to Wigan and Altrincham. Back to gritty reality today and a first real exploration of Arnold, something of an omission on my part, even given Gedling Borough’s status as a real ale desert. Most of Nottingham’s best pubs are within a mile of the central square. Nottingham itself continues to… Continue reading ARNOLD LANE
Just back from a dull morning in Ely, with no market on, and just the one Beer Guide pub that I wrote about on Mrs RM’s birthday. I was really struck by the lack of street art though. One of the great joys of urban walks, apart from the pubs, is the increasing quality of… Continue reading UNDERPASS
Weston Super Mare was eager to highlight its famous sons, but I only showed you Mr Cleese when I reported on my visit the other week. Lord Archer is its other claim to fame;’ I still can’t picture Jeffrey as the Brizzle Rovers fan though. .Jeffrey’s books and plays have entertained me intermittently over the years,… Continue reading IN GRANTCHESTER
Having eulogised about the Manchester Beer festival, I should have expected a slightly frosty reception on my return home from Mrs RM, who is three weeks into Dryanuary (and Chocolatefreeanuary which is worse). To compensate, I drove her to Leicester today, ostensibly to take our youngest son to a refurbished skatepark; you can see that refurbishment… Continue reading ON THE EVIL KEG IN LEICESTER
This week at the Manchester Beer Fest I met the amiable Nick, a pub fanatic from the States via Erlangen. He’d been to many of Greater Manchester’s famous pub towns, and was later found (obviously) enjoying Stockport. I recommended Wigan for his next trip, and think he’s just found it great as I did recently.
I love Wigan; you probably could have guessed that. Last Summer I ended my first 25 mile walk there, walking most of the suburbs in a way that you wouldn’t contemplate in the featureless East, and collapsing in the impressive new Premier Inn.
The parks, from Haigh to the Flashes to central Mesnes, are consistently beautiful, and then there’s Worthington reservoir (strictly Standish). People talk to you, beer costs less than £2.50 a pint and you can get a pie on a barm, as well as good Thai and Italian food.
The town has come a long way in the 20 years since it I first visited Springfield Park, and the town had a somewhat faded allure. In those days the Beer Guide was full of Burtonwood (Pear Tree), Tetley (Springfield) and probably Greenalls, and very good it was too after a soaking on the terraces.
The last 15 years have seen the modernisation of the football, the pub scene, the Wiend and the shopping centre. Their Grand Arcade is better than it’s overrated namesake in Cambridge, but they’ve managed to keep their Victorian arcades. Wigan is a Victorian gem.
After a period when their pub scene seemed to be dominated by vibrant nightlife venues (Berkeley, Boulevard, Tudor House), Wigan has got the micro bug of late, and it does micro-pubs very well.
I missed the highly-rated Tap’n’Barrel on my recent visit, but Doc’s Symposium and Wigan Central were high quality. Prospect to my mind are one of our most underrated breweries, and their seating in Central as characterful as anywhere outside a Sam Smiths pub.
Elsewhere, I much enjoyed the décor at the Raven and John Bull’s Chophouse, the latter being the best advert for Thwaites I could recommend you.
And no mention yet of the Anvil, one of the UK’s best drinkers pubs. All Wigan needs now is a bit more variety in the suburbs, and the revitalisation of the Orwell.
I miss the proper boozers of Standishgate – the Royal Oak, Millstone & Bowling Green were minor classics, all now replaced in the Beer Guide by more modern bars and micro-pubs, but Wigan still has a rich and varied central pub stock that would be the envy of most towns
or “Alty on the cheap” Bargain rates for Travelodge are few and far between recently, but I did get 2 nights in Altrincham for £24 a night during the Beer Festival which can’t be beat. You do have to avert your gaze as the tram passes Old Trafford, though falling asleep on the way back from… Continue reading ALTRINCHAM AWAKES
I’m not normally a fan of beer festivals, as for me it’s the pub experience that counts. I don’t drink at home either. Our local festival in Cambridge has plenty of good beer but you have to drink it standing up or sitting on grass. IndyManBeerCon last year was a revelation with it’s gorgeous building, seating… Continue reading MANCHESTER BEER FESTIVAL – A TRIUMPH