Monday, 3 April 2017
# 218 The Plaza, Rugeley, Staffordshire : 1999 to 2016
Rugeley has always been something of an enigma, to put it politely. The Trent & Mersey Canal runs through the centre of the town and with good moorings offers access to all the shopping you'd need on a boating trip. There are quite a few pubs in the town, but there aren't many GOOD pubs! Places to eat in the evening are also few and far between.
I do remember the first time we visited The Plaza in Rugeley, though. In the early days I wasn't a fan of Wetherspoons pubs, but I was 'blown away' with the interior of The Plaza when I first walked in. The whole wall, where the screen would have been was now glass, from floor to ceiling.
This was at lunchtime on Tuesday 31st August 1999.
We didn't return to The Plaza for a few years and when we did this is what we found.
This was another lunchtime stop on Tuesday 5th September 2006. As we all know, Wetherspoons pubs never change...or do they? The free standing sign has been replaced, together with the signs either side of the entrance and flowers have appeared on the canopy over the entrance as well as in hanging baskets.
It was again quite a few years before we ventured back to The Plaza.
This was on the evening of Monday 6th April 2015. Again, the exterior signage had been replaced and the hanging baskets were still in place, but it was a little too early in the years for them to bloom. Interestingly, the Council have removed the railings which has allowed the pub to build a little outdoor enclave, presumably for the smokers.
Our most recent visit occurred almost exactly a year later on the evening of Monday 28th March 2016.
Not much had changed in a year, but there are now tables and chairs in the smoking enclaves (it is now possible to see that these outdoor areas are both sides of the entrance.
For the second year running, we ate in The Plaza as it was the best option we could find in the town. I must admit that, over the years, I've warmed up more to Wetherspoons pubs. I think that they've become somewhat more 'pubby' than in the early days and the bar service is now pretty good. I don't think that they'll ever become my 'go to' choice except in places like Ellesmere Port, Bingley and Rugeley!