|The Millers, far too mighty for the Tigers - New York Tavern|
Although Hull City managed to plummet to new depths, I think that 'come what may' (May 2016 to be precise), this will be a strong contender for away day of the season thanks in great part to the quality of pubs and locales.
The train journey was straightforward enough, changing at Donny from York and rubbing shoulders with the Gooligans where we learnt a young Hull City striker recently was sat on Selby railway station wondering why he couldn't get a direct train to Brighton!
With Tom, Dad and my sprained ankle in tow, I was soon hopping cross town towards our first pub, just before 11am.
763. Bluecoat, Rotherham
There are three 'Spoons in town, but this one, up a steep footpath next to the job centre, is the GBG listed one and one of more impressive ones I've been to this year. Okay, so it was typically identikit, but an interesting range of ales and more than one member of bar staff certainly puts it in the higher echelons of JDW houses. It's nice to think that Tim Martin tours the country, enjoying his own pubs, because whatever you say about them, they are a life saver when other pubs only open at 12 noon. Despite seeing my most despised Saltaire Raspberry Blonde on the bar, ales like Bradfield Farmers Belgian Blue and Partners Stout made up for it. Tom got a nice looking veggie breakfast and whilst me and Dad were pikeys by eating our own fruit bread and cheese in the pub, a bit of food mix-and-matching meant I can report that the hash browns, toast and baked beans were up to standard. Typically, the loos were up about 10 flights of stairs with a 30 person function going on half way up, not good for my ankle all this climbing. The rest of our gang had arrived so it was time to move on.
|Behind bars : me arriving at the Bluecoat|
Arriving here at 12:15pm, we were glad to see the pub still almost empty so we could commandeer in large space in the corner, a main part of the reason we settled down here pre-match instead of deciding to move on again. However, the main reason we stayed put was that the pub was just so gosh damn good! In fact, it reminded me of the first time I walked into Barnsley's Old No 7, just a friendly understated gem, very South Yorkshire, with a huge welcoming range of beers from the superb local Chantry brewery. I've had them before, I've never had a bad one! And the prices? £4.20 for 2 pints and a blackcurrant? Are you watching York city centre? I moved on from a stunning IPA called Mighty Millers (see top picture) to a Two Magpies Porter, then a 6.3% Special Reserve at just £2.50 a pint! Wow. Ben did us a great 19 question Hull City quiz, you could almost have been in Hull's Wellington (RIP) in it's hey day. As expected, the pub busied up towards kick off time but it happened so gradually, it didn't feel too intrusive! Great pub.
|Me arriving at the wonderful New York Tavern|
|Pre-match in New York Tavern - note my ankle is out!|
Post match and near the ground, it was perhaps no surprise to find this gem of an old pub (though only re-opened last year) packed to the rafters and it was about 3 deep at the bar. Again, it was Chantry's all the way but the 'Man of Steel' at 3.5% was a bit mellow that what I'd been used to today! Forget Superman, the real men of steel are Rotherham's working men of yesteryear. I spied old work friend / Rotherham fan Tim Milnes at the bar, and he asked the obvious question "can we play you every week?" to which I replied "if these pubs are anything to go by, then yes please". Prices again were ridiculous, I got change out of a tenner for 3 pints and a blackcurrant, which was free. This place reminded me a bit of one of those grand Liverpool pubs, like the Lion Tavern for example with it's mosaic tiling, snob screens, etched window glass etc. I love my heritage pubs, and this is a great example. The hope was that all the home fans would down a swift half, and go home, leaving me to appreciate this pub in a calmer state, but they'd won and it is nearly CHRISTMAS so obviously, this was wishful thinking on my part! I'd quite like to come back here though.
|Dad, Tom and random smoker outside Cutlers.|
There'd been so much talk pre-match about this pub (very close to the station) having police, doormen, and idiot football fans swarming about, that I'd never stopped to contemplate that it might actually be excellent. So when me and Tom had given the football rush enough chance to clear, we were amazed to see a beautiful interior, with stained glass, partitions and some of the best pub toilets I've seen all year! It's details that matter and whilst we are on the Liverpool pub comparisons, this was like an understated version of the Philharmonic with those huge old Adamant urinals though I'm not sure Japanese tourist girls would like to take photos in these ones! Okay, so Old Mill cannot be classed as good as Chantry brewery by any stretch of the imagination, though the Fire & Brimstone guest was certainly better than the likes of the Blonde Bombshell and Bullion (besides, they did have a Chantry guest on anyway!) The atmosphere was very much winding down by now, just a few old chaps with bulbous noses looking up in a bored fashion at Newcastle v Aston Villa. Another stunning pub from Rotherham's fine selection.
|Arriving at the Bridge Inn in the murky evening mist of Miller-land.|
Sad to see the Prince of Wales in Greasbrough removed from the electronic GBG, my plan was to visit this too but the landlord had an accident so hope it's not the end for that pub. I'll be doing South Yorks on Tuesday evening's in the New Year so watch this space.
Up next, I'm determined to FINALLY get to St John's Hotel in Hull on Boxing Day before a little trip to Preston to end the pub ticking year. I'll not be doing anything midweek until the ankle is properly healed (heeled!), but got a few special BRAPA features coming up on Monday's soon, starting tomorrow so see you then,