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Monday, 12 September 2011

#015 The Sportsman, Stockton Brook, Staffs : 1999 to 2011

I've just returned from my annual summer canal trip and this year we revisited the Caldon Canal for the first time since 2002. However, our initial trip was in 1999 and this was my first visit to The Sportsman.
This photo was taken at about 2pm on 2nd September 1999. We were a bit late getting there and the only food available was Pork Pies which were behind the bar. Perfect to go with a pint (or three). I don't remember too much more about it other than it was a proper local pub. 
So, how would it be twelve years later? Remarkably unchanged!
Outside The Sportsman is pretty much the same as before, but inside there were no Pork Pies! Instead there were Ham & Tomato rolls wrapped in cling film - proper pub food!! We were greeted by a friendly barmaid/landlady and there was a sprinkling of locals in the bar even though it was a Friday lunchtime. The photo was taken at about 2pm on 2nd September 2011 - amazing, 12 years to the day!! 
Here's a photo of the bar: -
The locals were just out of shot to the right and whilst we were there an 'old boy' started playing on the skittles table, I assume to 'keep his eye in' as he seemed pretty good to me!

There was one very interesting feature, though, which I didn't see, but my travelling companions, both smokers, did comment on - the Smoking Area. Essentially it is a standard uPVC conservatory with no glass in the windows. There was glass in the roof so no-one would get wet and was a comfortable place to smoke! I'm no expert, but I've not come across anything like this before - maybe The Pub Curmudgeon knows of others. Just goes to show what a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work can accomplish in keeping a proper pub going!

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