Proper Pubs

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Carrying on Oxford Stone's previous thread at... Proper-pubs

...last month's tally of forty-three pubs included some cracking places in the excellent pub county of West Yorkshire. Best of all was a brief lunchtime re-visit to one of my very favourite all-time pubs, in Bradford...

The Fighting Cock
21 Preston Street
Bradford
West Yorkshire


...a battered old Victorian house isolated in a rambling industrial area of derelict sheds, scrap-yards and seedy-looking lock-ups. While much of the city centre has benefited from recent investment, this Lister Hills neighbourhood of dereliction off of Thornton Road in Bradford's inner-north west suburbs is still playing catch-up. However, despite the fifteen minute or more walk uphill from Centenary Square, it's worth the effort to get here - about a dozen real ales from across Yorkshire are usually on, in a friendly and unpretentious setting. Yorkshire is a fine place to enjoy a pint, but I can think of fewer places better than the Fighting Cock.

For those who aren't so keen on the spit'n'sawdust style of boozer, things are a bit more glitzy back in the city centre on North Parade, an increasingly trendy stretch of independent shops and bars not far from Forster Square railway station and in the right direction for those heading for Valley Parade football ground. Here I made an enjoyable re-visit to...

The Record Cafe
45~47 North Parade
Bradford
West Yorkshire

https://www.therecordcafe.co.uk/

...where the two wonderful worlds of real ale and vinyl records collide in spectacular fashion. The beer (along with ham, pies and other good stuff) are available downstairs, while the records are sold from a small shop on the first floor. A worthwhile visit was helped along with a pint of Excessive Behaviour Milk Stout from the Wilde Child Brewery of Leeds, and the new albums from Divine Comedy, The Decemberists and The Lilac Time. For those with the time, there is a similarly fine range of ales across the road at the Sparrow Cafe.
 

Dr Love

Junior Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
76
Team{s}
Halifax Town
No football for me today. Out drinking in New Mills.

Not a pub to start off with, but the brewery itself. Torrside which has limited opening hours, but plenty of their beers on offer. They have a gazebo inside. Larger open days during the summer.

Then off to The Shrub Club. Only opened yesterday in one of the old mills down in the Torrs. Still awaiting the top of the bar. But a good setting. The beer not too surprisingly mainly from the Torrside brewery.
 

oftenscore6

Junior Team Star
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
160
Team{s}
FC United of Manchester, St Pauli, Hammarby, Hawthorn (AFL)
Did the 3 GBG's in Rochford en route from Southend to Braintree today. Golden Lion had the best range but the quality wasn't great. Rose & Crown had a really good Colchester Metropolis. Both are very traditional pubs. The 3rd GBG there , the Miley, feels like you enter through someone's house but is big when you get in. It's the handiest for the train - the other 2 open at 11, but this is a 12 o'clock opener.

Not in GBG, the Posh Boys Brewery and Taproom in Wickford is worth a visit. 8 cask ales on - mostly their own, but 1-2 guests (Brentwood today). The Christmas Ale was pale and strong with cinnamon spice - very nice.
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Visit 365 pubs in the 365 days of 2019

Nineteen pubs in the month of December has been enough to successfully complete the big 365 Pub Challenge, with a little bit to spare...

350. Black Lion, 20 High Street, LEIGHTON BUZZARD
351. The Windermere, Windermere Avenue, Kenton, LONDON
352. Greenwood Hotel, 674 Whitton Avenue West, Northolt, LONDON
353. Blue Anchor, 13 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, LONDON
354. De Hems, 11 Macclesfield Street, Soho, LONDON
355. Golden Lion, 54 Bedhampton Road, BEDHAMPTON
356. The Westgate, 2 Romsey Road, WINCHESTER
357. The Albion, 2 Stockbridge Road, WINCHESTER
358. Abingdon Arms, High Street, BECKLEY
359. Angel & Greyhound, 30 St.Clement's Street, OXFORD
360. Port Mahon, 82 St.Clement's Street, OXFORD
361. Bull's Head, 14 St.John's Square, Burslem, STOKE-ON-TRENT
362. Johny's Micro Pub, 9 St.John's Square, Burslem, STOKE-ON-TRENT
363. Post Office Vaults, 3 Market Place, Burslem, STOKE-ON-TRENT
364. Glebe Hotel, 35 Glebe Street, Stoke, STOKE-ON-TRENT
365. White Star, 63 Kingsway, Stoke, STOKE-ON-TRENT
366. BOD, Stoke-on-Trent railway station, STOKE-ON-TRENT
367. Bird & Barrel, 100 Barnehurst Road, Barnehurst, LONDON
368. Fellowship & Star, Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, LONDON

...and here are the photographs of December's nineteen pubs. A well-known groundhopper makes another guest appearance among them - can you spot him?

December's pubs

Thanks to all the Kempsterites who have PM'd me with ideas for visits throughout the year and for helping to make the challenge an enjoyable success. Give me a couple of days and I shall post some facts-and-figures along with a list of my favourite pubs from among the 365.
 

leohoenig

Forum Admin
Staff member
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
587
Team{s}
Cheltenham Town
So will you go one better in 2020 (as its a leap year)
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Of the 368 pubs visited this year, a total of 201 were pubs that I hadn't previously been to before, meaning plenty of choice for picking my favourite twenty pubs of 2019. So, for the fourth successive New Year's Eve and in no particular order, here is...

The 2019 Oxpete list of twenty favourite pubs not previously visited before...


WATCHMAKERS ARMS, 84 Goldstone Villas, HOVE

DUKE WILLIAM, 25 Coventry Street, STOURBRIDGE

BURTON BRIDGE BREWERY, 24 Bridge Street, BURTON-ON-TRENT

COOPERS TAVERN, 43 Cross Street, BURTON-ON-TRENT

CASK & POTTLE, 2 High Street, TUTBURY

ALEXANDRA HOTEL, 203 Siddals Road, DERBY

STATION HOUSE, North Road, DURHAM

WHALEBONE, 165 Wincolmlee, HULL

SHIP & MITRE, 133 Dale Street, LIVERPOOL

301 MILES FROM LONDON, Carlisle railway station, CARLISLE

LANES MICROPUB, 15 Worthington Street, DOVER

PRINCE OF WALES, Church Street, LEDBURY

THE SALMON, 19 Butt Close Lane, LEICESTER

VICTORIA HOTEL, 85 Dovecote Lane, BEESTON

NEPTUNE BEER EMPORIUM, 46 St.Helen's Street, CHESTERFIELD

JUST BEER MICROPUB, 32a Castle Gate, NEWARK-ON-TRENT

QUEEN'S ARMS, 31 Station Hill, BRIXHAM

SEVEN STARS, 1 The Moor, FALMOUTH

CROWN INN, 154 Heaton Lane, STOCKPORT

JOHNY'S MICRO PUB, 9 St.John's Square, STOKE-ON-TRENT



And it I had to pick a favourite from that list, it's have to be The Whalebone in Hull, with the Victoria Hotel in Beeston, Neptune in Chesterfield and the pair in Burton-on-Trent fighting it out for second place.
 
Last edited:

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
My final pub of 2019 was a place with a fantastic history...

The Fellowship & Star
Randlesdown Road
Bellingham
London

https://fellowshipandstar.co.uk/

...which sits nextdoor to Bellingham railway station on the Catford Loop line south of Lewisham. The pub serves the Bellingham housing estate, a 'Homes For Heroes' development that was built immediately after the First World War to house war veterans and their families. The pub itself, which was originally simply called 'The Fellowship', was built in 1923 with its own cinema, live music venue and community facilities, and claims to be London's very first housing estate pub. Such was the reputation of The Fellowship on the live music circuit in seventies south London that Fleetwood Mac (among others) graced the pub's stage. Even more prestigious, the pub was used by boxer Henry Cooper (who grew up in Bellingham) as his training base prior to his famous fight against Muhammad Ali in June 1963 at Wembley Stadium, when his trademark 'Enry's 'Ammer' left hook knocked Ali onto the canvas. A blue plaque adorns Cooper's nearby family home at 120 Farmstead Road.

After years of decline, a group called Phoenix Community Housing took over the freehold of the pub in 2014 and successfully applied to restore the Grade II-listed pub to its former glory, including the reopening of the cinema, cafe and music venue. After the £4million purchase and renovation, the pub reopened in June 2019, with restored wood-paneling and tiling.

Ales are served from the local Brockley Brewery and Ignition Brewery.

1577938285816.png
 
Last edited:

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Another historic pub visited during December was...

Blue Anchor
13 Lower Mall
Hammersmith
London


...which sits on the north bank of the River Thames just upstream from Hammersmith Bridge, not far from the bustle of the Hammersmith Odeon, with lovely views across towards the leafy suburbs of Castelnau and Barnes on the opposite bank. It is a very beautiful and peaceful spot in such a busy part of London, made all the better by the fact that Hammersmith Bridge is presently closed to all but pedestian traffic. The pub has been licensed since 1722, but has a history that stretches back another fifty or so years further back than that. Bit of a gastro-wannabe these days, but still stocks a decent range of local stuff on handpump.

Much is made here of the pub's appearance in the 1998 rom-com Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. However, I personally chose to come here for the pub's nine years of starring in the closing credits to Minder, pictured with George Cole and Dennis Waterman enjoying a view of the river, along with further appearances in both The Professionals and The Sweeney.

1577998374879.png
 
Last edited:

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Another historic pub with stories to tell, visited in December at...

Golden Lion
54 Bedhampton Road
Bedhampton
Hampshire


Located about a mile or so west of Havant town centre, the Golden Lion was built about 1700 on the old Roman road that runs between Chichester and Winchester, and is the oldest pub remaining in the suburbanised village of Bedhampton, a place that was once famed for its brewing history due to the high quality of the water from the many springs around here.

Bedhampton doesn't receive many famous visitors, but one who did come here was the young romantic poet John Keats, who was friends with the Snook family who owned the nearby Old Mill House in the village. On Saturday 23rd January 1819, Keats and his friend Charles Brown walked the dozen miles along the Roman road from Chichester to Bedhampton to visit the Snooks, and it was during his fortnight stay at the mill and visiting the Golden Lion that Keats wrote the bulk of his most famous work, The Eve Of St.Agnes, which went on to be hugely influential in Victorian 19th century literature.

Keats visited Bedhampton one last time. While sailing a passage on the brig Maria Crowther from Gravesend to Naples in search of a climate that would ease his chronic tuberculosis, the ship was becalmed in Portsmouth harbour on Thursday 28th September 1820. He took the opportunity to visit the Snooks, being rowed to the village of Langstone and then walking across the salt-marshes to Bedhampton where he would spend his very last night in England. The following day, the Maria Crowther set sail again for Naples. Keats would be dead within five months, aged just 25.

1578003735722.png
 
Last edited:

Hoddy1.

Reserve Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
849
Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
Beer Dock 1 & 2 Crewe are up for sale / rent, mine host Sam took a turn for the worse with the sress of it all.

Such a short life span and with only recently opening 2.

Full story on Facebook, can't give link at mo as out and about.
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Another historic pub visited late last year was...

Lobster Smack
Haven Road
Canvey Island
Essex


...which sits towards the western end of Canvey Island's southern sea-defence wall and not too far from Concord Rangers FC's ground at Thames Road. There's been a pub here since at least the 1580s, with the Lobster Smack being the model for the fictional Sluice House in Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations' where Pip and Magwitch are forced to hide. More recently, the sea-wall and jetty here was the location for the photo-shoot in 1974 for the cover of Dr.Feelgood's 'Down By The Jetty' album.

During the nineteenth century, the Lobster Smack was an important location in the sport of bare-knuckle boxing, including three bouts involving Tom 'The Brighton Boy' Sayers, who lost just one of his sixteen recorded fights and was recognised as heavyweight champion of England from 1857 until his retirement in 1860. At the Lobster Smack on 6th January 1857, Sayers fought Aaron Jones in a bout that lasted 62 rounds over three hours, and was only declared a draw due to failing light. When the pair returned to the Lobster Smack for a rematch a month later on 10th February, Sayers won a fight that lasted over two hours and 85 rounds.

The victory over Aaron Jones gave Sayers the opportunity to fight William 'The Tipton Slasher' Perry later that year for the new Championship Belt. With Sayers being only 5ft 8in and 10 stone, and Perry being over 6ft tall and 14 stone (as well as being reigning champion), Sayers was easily the outsider in the contest - to such an extent that a very confident Perry actually sold his own pub in Spon Lane, West Bromwich, and slapped the entire proceeds on himself to win at 6-to-4-on. However, the fight - which took place across the Thames on the Isle Of Grain - was won by Sayers after 10 rounds and 1hr 42mins.

Sayers would return to the Lobster Smack one last time, this time as reigning champion, to take on the experienced previous Heavyweight Champion of England, Tom Paddock, on 15th June 1858. Sayers won in 1hr 20mins and 21 rounds, and would remain undefeated until his retirement two years later.

1578446291305.png
 
Last edited:

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Another decent pub visited at the end of last year was...

Crown Inn
154 Heaton Lane
Stockport
Greater Manchester


...which was a finalist in CAMRA's Pub Of The Year in 2009, and has a spectacular location beneath the arches of Stockport's famous railway viaduct. A dozen handpumps of good stuff from around Cheshire, Manchester, Lancashire and other places on show on this visit, though I'm of the understanding that sometimes it's as many as sixteen. Good selection of dark choices, too - I had Naylor's Velvet Mild from Keighley, which was lovely. The fine town of Stockport is awash with excellent pubs, this one included.

1578535621610.png
 
Last edited:

Sale Holmfield

Junior Team Regular
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
86
Team{s}
Altrincham
Another decent pub visited at the end of last year was...

Crown Inn
154 Heaton Lane
Stockport
Greater Manchester


.
Unfortunately, the Crown is a shadow of its former self, with declining trade, and serves "only" seven beers nowadays (I can certainly remember it selling 16 in the past). I am sure I saw it was up for sale not too long ago, too.

In most towns, it would still be considered a fine pub, but there are many alternatives in Stockport, as you say.
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Before ticking Burgess Hill Town FC last Tuesday, I whiled away the afternoon in a couple of my favourite pubs in Brighton, first popping into...

Battle Of Trafalgar
34 Guildford Road
Brighton


The Battle Of Trafalgar sits just a couple of minutes walk up the hill of Victorian terraces to the west of Brighton railway station, meaning that those wanting a decent pint before catching a train need not rely on the over-abundance of rowdy lager palaces that seem to fill the strip heading down towards the sea. It's a great little pub with a lived-in feel that's just the right side of scruffy, a pleasant garden out the back, a healthy choice of local ales (including Harvey's), an eclectic mix of tasteful music out of the speakers, and serving the best plate of cheesy chips I've had in a long long time. No telly, no SKY Sports, no idiots - just a really good proper neighbourhood pub.

The Battle Of Trafalgar has been in the news over the past six months, starting back in June last year when popular landlady Mel Heath, who has successfully run the pub for nearly fifteen years, was told by her pub.co Enterprise Inns (EI) that they'd be expecting her to move on at the end of 2019 when her lease was due to end. The reason for this was that EI had plans to gut the pub and convert it into a sports bar, then move it into their 'Bermondsey Pub Company', whose website... BPC ...gives a good impression of the rabid hell-holes they've already inflicted upon once lovely locals in London - photos of city-bankers gurning at the camera, Premier League matches at high volume, and the word 'Pubbiness' boldly stamped across the whole thing. The work of a right twat, by the looks of it. All this in a place already overrun with stag- and hen-party venues.

Luckily, sanity has prevailed. A petition organised by local regular Lizzi Humphreys and supported by the Brighton & Hove Albion Supporters' Club (who have previously named the Battle Of Trafalgar as their favourite pub in town) collected over 4500 signatures. In October, EI stepped back from their original decision, and Mel has been told that she can remain as landlady. As the recent battle to save the Blue Bell in York showed, it can often be a long and drawn-out process to save established quality pubs against the short-term ideas of big-business, but hopefully the locals will now be able to head down the route of working with the local council to create a ACV (Asset of Community Value). All the best to them.

1580521031909.png
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
The second pub visited in Brighton was an old favourite in the North Laine area...

Heart & Hand
75 North Street
Brighton


...which, much like the Battle Of Trafalgar, is another lovely Brighton pub full of unspoilt character that seems increasingly under pressure from its trendy environment. Positioned just around the corner from the famous Mod fashion retailer 'Jump The Gun' the Heart & Hand has been a meeting place for visiting mods for half a century, and seems almost unchanged in that time. It has beautiful old-fashioned stain-glass windows, scuffed floorboards, comfy old furniture and an old-style vinyl duke-box that only rarely contains music from later than the mid-eighties. The outside is coated with the 1920s livery of beautiful green tiles of the old Portsmouth & Brighton United Brewery.

1580523324031.png
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
While on he way to South Wales last week, TheWavendonian and myself made a much-needed pit-stop in Swindon at...

Glue Pot
5 Emlyn Square
Swindon


...which is a lovely back-street pub tucked away in the small grid of Victorian terraces built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel to house his Swindon railway workers - the pub is apparently named after the glue-pots which would be brought in by the railway-carriage builders at lunchtime and left upon the central stove to keep warm. The pub is now part of the small estate of pubs tied to the independent Salisbury-based Hop Back Brewery, and is one of the very few pubs I know that stocks the excellent Entire Stout on draught. The beers from the Hop Back and Downton breweries always seem to be in top nick here, and there is usually crusty cheese cobs available for those wanting to eat. It's also just a five minute or so walk from Swindon station - there are certainly other good pubs in the town, but this is the only one worthwhile so close to the centre.

On this occasion, our visit was greatly enlivened by a dog on a rope that vomited up its breakfast on the pub carpet in front of us before promptly munching it up again. Unfortunately, just as it looked like the mutt was about to honk up a second time in quick succession, the owner decided to drink up and leave, denying TheWav the opportunity of seeing if this dog could continue this amazing trick in perpetuity.

1581903945922.png
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
CAMRA's 'Pub Of The Year' title for 2019 has been given to The Bell in Aldworth, Berkshire (about 10 miles north-west of central Reading)...

The Bell, Aldworth

The pub has been run by the same family for 250 years. It has also won the Pub Of The Year award before, in 1990.

This year's runners-up were Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire, the George & Dragon in Hadswell, North Yorkshire, and the Red Lion in Preston, Hertfordshire.
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
Two good drinking establishments visited in the same street in Ipswich the other weekend, prior to watching Town's victory over Burton Albion at Portman Road. First up was the bar at...

Briarbank Brewing Company
70 Fore Street
Ipswich
Suffolk

https://briarbank.org/bar/

...which sits at the southern end of Fore Street, a short walk to the east of the town centre and not far from the waterfront of Ipswich's Neptune Marina. The bar sits upstairs above the brewery, serving both craft keg and real ales made on the site, good food, and at certain times hosting live music and beer festivals. I had a gorgeous pint of experimental Peat Smoked Porter. Obviously popular on matchdays too, though without getting claustrophobic. Further up Fore Street, on the corner of Eagle Street, is the GBG-listed...

The Spread Eagle
1~3 Fore Street
Ipswich
Suffolk

https://www.grainbrewery.co.uk/

...one of a small chain of five pubs scattered across East Anglia, tied to the Grain Brewery which sits just the other side of the Norfolk border vaguely in the direction of Bungay. It was something smoked and black here too, a tasty pint called Grain Slate (though I passed on the Empire Slate at 9.2%).

As if these two fine destinations weren't enough, Fore Street's fabulous Holy Trinity was completed with a constructive hour of spending cash in the famous Out Of Time record shop, which sits in between the two pubs at no.46.

1582679319617.png
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
I've just read news of two pub closures in Birmingham city centre, involving two pubs that both made it into last year's 365 Pub Challenge...

I always knew at the time that the days were numbered for The Flapper, Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham - a canal-side music venue that is tucked behind the Birmingham International Convention Centre about ten minutes or so walk west of New Street station. A large multi-floored place with waterside views, The Flapper had been a popular venue for bands since it was built in 1969, and had recently seen gigs by Doves, Pulled Apart By Horses, At The Drive-In, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Johnny Foreigner. Back in 2017, the local council threw out a plan by developers to build luxury flats on the site, saying that such residential buildings would be detrimental to the area, and a petition of over 12,000 attempted to get the venue protected as an asset to the local community. However, property developer Baskerville Wharf LLP have pulled the pug anyway - I'm guessing that they're hoping that if it stands derelict for long enough they'll eventually get their way. The Flapper closed for the last time on Saturday 4th January.

1582760563045.png
 

Latest posts

Top
AdBlock Detected

Polite request!

NLM relies on advertising to pay the bills to stay online . Could I ask that you disable your AdBlocker for this site. Alternatively if you are a registered user you can remove all ads and get other benefits for as little as £1.50 a month. Just go to your Profile and click on Account Upgrades. Most visitors will see this message only once per visit...... Thanks

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks