Tuesday, 18 February 2014
#141 Oddfellows Arms (now Kiss), Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks : 1996 to 2013
For several years we were regular visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon as it was our regular Easter destination on our narrowboat Emma Jane from 1996 to 2011. There are lots of pubs in the town making it an ideal venue for a pub crawl.
The Oddfellows Arms was one of the first pub that we ever visited in Stratford as it was on the way from what became our regular mooring (above the locks, away from the centre) to the pubs in the centre.
This was on the evening of Friday 5th April 1996 (Good Friday) after a trying day's boating. Our day had started badly when Emma Jane refused to start. The nearest boatyard was a couple of miles away and as neither of us had a mobile phone in those days we walked there! The engineer gave us a lift back and got us going, but we'd only got time to get to the boatyard before lunch - fortunately there was also a pub there!
It was a long afternoon boating from Wooton Wawen to Stratford with us mooring up at 7:50 pm! I'm guessing that we were quite thirsty and went into the first pub we found - the Oddfellows Arms. As I recall it was a very cosy, pleasant pub.
It was another seven years before we revisited the Oddfellows Arms, this time on the evening of Saturday 19th April 2003.
As I recall, it was pretty much unchanged, but the signs indicate that food was now available. Also, the outside seating now had a very low retaining wall.
The next visit was on the evening of Saturday 7th April 2007.
The Oddfellows Arms had been refurbished inside and out, but not to our taste - it had become more modern and soul-less! That was the last time we actually stepped inside and, although we did walk by a few times, it wasn't sufficiently inviting to tempt us back in!
I popped back to Stratford last year to take a few photos of the town and this is the sight I came across.
It was the afternoon of Thursday 5th September 2013 and the Oddfellows Arms has been transformed into Kiss! I didn't go in.
Judging from the most recent review on Beer in the Evening it doesn't look as though this will be here for too much longer. This appears to be going the way of many pubs over the past few years; as the market contracts, the back street pubs seem to be the ones disappearing, especially when there are so many others nearby in a town like Stratford. Sad, but currently almost inevitable!