It's a summery Sunday evening in York as I sit here blogging from my balcony with the strains of Morning Glory coming from the kitchen.....
I've started encountering a recurring BRAPA problem - guide pubs which are closed, thus slowing me down, causing pointlessly long walks and denying me a 'tick'! What's going on?
It started at Joshua Brooks in Manchester in truth though I didn't think too much of it at the time in my drunken state and with Ben for company. Garden Gate in Hunslet was more frustrating. A long walk from Leeds station (yes, I could've bussed it) to this supposed jewel in the crown now owned by Leeds brewery closed last November due to 'boiler problems' and despite lots of "opening in the new year assurances", it is now mid May and was looking as dead as a doornail to me. And now, I've encountered it twice in Isle of Wight. Lake Huron a mile walk from Ryde in the heat was almost as frustrating as Garden Gate, this one closed due to a lack of trade. And finally, Brading's Dark Horse had been converted into housing - very sad and looks like they'd tried to prevent it, but again, frustrating from a BRAPA point of view.
I've decided these pubs will be now overlooked til the next guide is published and if, they are still in (unlikely or impossible in some cases), I may give them another go if definitely open! If I know!
Isle of Wight was superb, the last West Yorkshire day involved way too much effort for sum total of two pubs but never mind. Here's what I've ticked off since we last spoke:
409 - Victory Pub & Kitchen - Weetwood (a good trek from Headingley, nice pint in sun almost made it worth it but in truth was very much a hotel bar).
410 - West End House, Kirkstall (more pubby and less foody than I'd expected which was pleasing but the arsehole locals at the bar and foody focus meant it didn't quite convince.
411 - Simeon Arms, Ryde (lovely friendly backstreet local with nice outdoor back area which was so peaceful, tucked away well off the IoW they want the tourists to see).
412 - Waterfront, Shanklin (got the last table in the sun so good views along Shanklin esplanade and sea front, good guest ale but bit limited but still better than most sea front bars).
413 - Castle, Sandown (another gem, another nice outdoor drinking experience - it did have a local feel as everyone knew everyone but didn't make me feel isolated. Pointing witch was a nice quirk!
414 - S Fowler, Ryde (a Wethers, even by the guide's admission lacking in charisma but despite the clarty Wethery nature of my pint, it did a job, was busy and felt fairly friendly in a hustly bustly nature).
415 - King Harry's Bar, Shanklin (back to where I was based, lovely quirky building and amazing garden so sat out despite being cooler by now, chatted to some friendly locals which was amusing).
416 - Chine Inn, Shanklin (very old and supposedly haunted by blue girl and old man in corner, felt really old like a smugglers cavern, glad to be in drinking area as had a huge restauranty area which seemed busy).
So, what with Barcelona next Monday, I'm conscious of not doing too much and burning out after this crazy weekend but West Yorkshire BRAPA is a Tuesday possibility only as I'm gardening all day. It all depends on logistics but the Greengates/Idle 3 pub plan is tempting.
Next Saturday and I've had Colwyn Bay booked for ages. Don't want people saying "I told you so" but the long walk and bussing seems a step too far so am using same tickets to have a Chester day, keep it simpler, as trains stop there anyway. Really pleased I've thought of this and should get some good final May BRAPA ticks before Barca.
Updates to follow. SE