Wednesday, 30 November 2011
#037 Tame Otter, Hopwas, Staffs : 1986 to 2011
The first time I visited The Chequers (as it was known in those days) was by car in the early 1980's. Our first canal stop was on Thursday 11th August 1983 and I seem to remember us making a dash to get there before the shops closed for the night.
Next time we visited was on the evening of Tuesday 29th July 1986. I remember it as a fairly basic local with a nice lounge, but don't recall too much else. It was one of the few non Ansells, non M&B pubs aroound in the Midlands!
On our subsequent canal trips we passed through Hopwas many times, but we didn't stop there again until 2002...and what a change! It was no longer a village local, but it had been converted into a 'Vintage Inn' which is part of the M&B group. It had also been renamed the Tame Otter.
This was a lunchtime stop on Thursday 19th July 2002. Outside, the pub was pretty much the same apart from the new signage, but inside it was totally different. The pub had become a restaurant where you could get a pint.
Again, in the intervening years, we passed through Hopwas without stopping several times (often because the moorings outside the pub were full) until lunchtime on Sunday 28th August 2011.
Inside it is a typical Vintage Inn and was very busy. I'm not keen on the Vintage Inn brand, but it does seem to be popular and the food is generally good...although the sandwich selection isn't great. Here is the website for the Tame Otter. (Interestingly, the website refers to the canal as the Birmingham & Fazeley whereas it is, in fact, the Coventry Canal. They are not completely wrong as this stretch of canal was actually built by the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Company along the proposed route of the Coventry Canal. The Coventry Canal Company subsequently bought this section of the canal.)