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Monday, 29 April 2019

#257 White Hart, Ellesmere, Shropshire : 2007 to 2018

This is a pub that I've only been in once as it has always seemed to have 'strange' opening hours...usually closed whenever I was there!

Ellesmere is a very useful stopping off point along the Llangollen Canal having all resources and a good number of pubs. The White Hart is just outside the main town centre and almost always is closed when we're there!

This was a lunchtime stop on Thursday 30th August 2007. I think the pub had closed (after 2pm!) and we didn't even know the name of it as the hanging sign was blank!

We didn't return to Ellesmere for quite a few years, but the White Hart was, seemingly, unchanged.
Except for the new hanging sign (in a different position) with some general paintwork and tidying.This was at lunchtime on Monday 21st April 2014. Definitely not open!

 We finally managed to set foot inside the pub on the evening of Thursday 30th August 2018.
This was our last stop of the evening and it was very pleasant...a proper pub that served proper beer as well as Carling!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Up to 'Uddersfield

I don't know why it has taken me so long to get around to this, but here goes - I'll keep it brief as it has been covered by Pub Curmudgeon here and here (and any repeat of photos in purely uncoincidental [if that's a word!])

Huddersfield is a place that I've never visited before and I thoroughly enjoyed my day out. It was a grey, overcast day which included a period of (not too heavy) rain, meaning that the town looked (externally) as grim and grey as you'd expect in a cliché of industrial Yorkshire. Conversely, this actually increased my appreciation of the pubs. As you walk in from the cold, damp, grey stone-clad exterior the warmth, the colour, the vibrancy and (dare I say it) the sheer glamour of the pub assails you. This is why I love pubs!

There are many theories as to why pubs are in decline (which I won't go into here!), but cast your mind back to the days of black & white TV (sadly, NOT before my time!) before widespread central heating at home, the pub was a place of brightness, warmth and vibrancy at an affordable price with little else to compare. Nowadays, you can get all of that without leaving your armchair and if you do venture out, there are so many other attractions away from the pub.

Anyway, epiphany over, back to Huddersfield.
I arrived by train and on-time, so obviously my first shot was the one that almost every visitor to Huddersfield takes - the station and the statue of Harold Wilson! (Off to the right is the George Hotel where Rugby League was founded in 1895 - I declined the opportunity to take a picture!). It was about a five minute walk to our first meeting place the Commercial Hotel.
This was my first Sam Smith's pub in many a long years - definitely a proper pub and well worth the visit. A good start, even though the Old Brewery Bitter will never be a favourite of mine.

The next stop is another lovely, old-school town centre boozer with a well maintained interior...but no real ale.
The Albert served what's not to like!

Next was our lunch stop...not really a pub, but a very pleasant café that is the taphouse for the locally produced Mallinson's beers.
The food was good, the beer also and the decor was more akin to a nice town centre café. The Corner was Huddersfield CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2018.

Next stop on our trip was another brewery taphouse.

The Magic Rock Brewery is another of the growing trend of microbreweries on an industrial estate having their own in situ taproom. This one is better appointed than some I've been in, but I'm beginning to feel that they're not really my type of place. The beer was very good.

Then we moved on to a pub that didn't open until 4pm which is becoming all too common these days for pubs that don't do food.
The Slubbers Arms is another proper old-school boozer and was our 'Pub of the Day'. I experienced my first pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord and, whilst it was served in perfect condition, it isn't really to my taste. (You live and learn!)

From now onwards, my memory starts to fade (possibly caused by the drink...possibly not!). I do remember a stroll via Magic Rock (to retrieve a misplaced rucksack) and my back playing me up (and slowing us down!), but we did make it to The Sportsman (which we'd passed a couple of hours earlier!)
Another proper pub on the inside, but I have no recollection as to my drink of choice!

We then moved on to the next pub on our list.
From a distance, as we approached The Grove, I though we were going to a converted Job Centre! Fear not, it is another proper pub with a fairly wide range of beers.

It was getting a bit late so we decided to abandon one pub on the itinerary (The Star) as it was further away from the station. We headed for my last pub of the day, the Rat & Ratchet.
It is owned by Ossett Brewery and has it's own brewery on site (Rat Brewery). I have no idea what I drank, but I do remember that it was quite busy (it was almost 7pm on a Friday when I left!). I staggered back to the station (not leaving enough time to sample the recommended station bar!) and caught my train home.

It was an excellent day out visiting some great pubs with a group of good people making for the perfect occasion! (and extra thanks to Luke for organising the itinerary!)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Bottega Prosecco Bar & Restaurant, Arena Birmingham

I'm breaking two 'rules' today that will possibly see me exiled from the PUB (Pub Union of Bloggers)!

Firstly, I'm going to write about an establishment that won't be officially open until 8th April 2019 (my first trip into the 'future' after just 293 forays into the past and present!)

Secondly, well the title gives that away!

I imagine it to be the go to venue for Mrs RM as she waits patiently for Retired Martin to dash around Brum and gather in the final few ticks of micropubs with obscure opening hours!

If you tire of the excellent range of Proseccos (all direct from Bottega who have been producing wine since the 17th Century) and after you have worked your way through the extensive gin and other spirits/liqueurs there is an excellent range of craft beers on draught - Peroni and Meantime Anytime IPA.

One of the reasons for writing this (and risking my PUB status!) was that I was there when the first ever half of the IPA was poured...and I got to drink it!
The First Beer Poured
It is a hoppy IPA, very refreshing with a traditionally bitter taste and served chilled. I didn't sample the Peroni as I was working. (I was there as the photographer for the Press Launch of the establishment and I'm a friend of the new owner!)

It is situated next to the Box Office of the Barclaycard Arena and is perfectly located for a pre-show (or post-show) drink and meal. It overlooks the junction of the Birmingham Main Line and Birmingham & Fazeley Canals (Old Turn Junction), so it definitely qualifies as a canalside establishment!

This will be the first Bottega Prosecco Bar to also be a restaurant anywhere in the world and so will provide a top quality dining and drinking experience - a welcome addition to Birmingham's buzzing hospitality offerings.