Wednesday, 2 March 2016

BRAPA - Barugh Green / Survey Results are in....

I like what I am seeing from South Yorkshire's pubs so far after another successful Tuesday night trip saw the county achieve it's 42nd 'tick', putting it into level 5th in the BRAPA league table with East Yorks.

After a short train journey from Leeds, I found myself in Barnsley Interchange (posh name for rail and bus stations combined).  I love Barnsley folk, and unlike Donny, Keighley or Huddersfield, the bus station didn't need muzak to control the locals and any violent urges they may have had.

I was actually informed the Dingles were actually at home tonight (versus Coventry) so it seemed a bit strange to see so many LEAVING the town, unless they were plastic Blunts fans which seems a weird concept.  They certainly weren't Fiddlers, the only other fairly local team playing at home tonight.   Anyway, it didn't hold at my bus and after a nice sojourn past Barnsley hospital (where I did some of my growing up!), I was at Barugh Green pronounced 'Bark' Green - thanks to Dad for the local knowledge, he may even have been a regular in this pub in 1982/83 on Thursday lunchtimes!

Straight off the bus at Barugh Green
828.  Crown & Anchor, Barugh Green

The parallels to my Auckley trip a fortnight ago were uncanny, as parallels so often are!  Set back from the road with a car park at the front, check!  Proper foodie area but pleasing separate drinkers area acting as a refuge for people like me?  Check.  4 young barmaids buzzing around like pretty bees?  Check.  A group of no nonsense local men at bar chatting and drinking?  Check.  It was like a higher class version of the World's End film where the second pub is exactly the same as the first!  But I exaggerate.  A bit.  There was a very well behaved dog belonging to the men.  Now for a place with "bark" in the title, this was a disappointingly silent mutt,  I got chatting to 'lead brunette' (as in 'what you take your dog for a walk with, not Pb')  about True North beers which seemed to dominate a pleasing range, they part own the pub and their IPA and Red Rye beers all the way from Sheffield were delicious and strong.  Lead brunette had too loud a voice, the whole pub now knew I was a strange visitor being geeky about real ale.  Thanks a bunch LB!  The locals conversation seemed typical optimistic South Yorks, the highlight being that if any of them had a stroke, it wouldn't be worth trying to save them due to perceived quality of life issues!  I was having no such issues sat in the furthest corner, admiring the low beamed ceiling with not a diner in sight.  "Blondo 2" (as I imaginatively named her) got my my half a Red Rye but her eye make-up scared me a bit.  I'd have to say the trippy music didn't seem to suit the pub, I guess it was supposed to be relaxing, but more in a 20 something's London way than here.    But, as I stood at an imaginary bus stop for the bus back to 'town' (which was on time), my conclusion ... I'd recommend this pub to anybody.

Pint in candlelight at the Crown & Anchor (note pessimistic locals at bar)
If I manage a South Yorks trip next week (it'd have to be Wed and not Tue due to pub opening issues), it will be 9 weeks on the spin, a new BRAPA midweek record! 

Survey Results

In my latest unscientific survey to try an encapsulate the perfect pub experience, I asked you faithful blog readers "What type of people do you most enjoy going to the pub with?" 

The winner, with 11 of the 36 votes cast said "close friends I've known a long time".  I don't think that this is a surprising outcome.  After all, most people like to go to pubs to switch off, unwind, have a good time, laugh, not have to think too much, and I know from my own Thursday nights in York with same main core of 3 friends I've been going out with for years, it's great not to have to make too much effort!

In second place with 8 votes was "on my own".  Now in BRAPA terms, this is ideal because you can analyse a pub better, notice more intricacies of the place and folk around you and perhaps are more likely to get chatting to some stranger, which I always think is quite life affirming.  But aside from this, again the solitude that a pub can provide is a key factor here.  I sometimes feel more relaxed and free reading a book in a pub 300 miles away than I do in my own sitting room! 

The lowest scoring category with only two votes out of 36 was, perhaps a bit surprisingly, "one friend (I don't like groups much!)"  Whilst 'one on one' chats are sometimes great, I think pubs are designed for group chatting, just something about the atmosphere they provide which is unique to any other social situation I can think of.  

Another very low scoring category (3 votes) was 'family' and I'm not surprised when I think back to trying to enjoy one of Skipton's best pubs, only for my sister to ask "where do you see yourself in 5 years time?" The truthful answer was of course, was in a pub like this, but preferably, not being asked interview style questions!  

One final point to note.  People would rather sit and drink with a fellow beer/pub connoisseur than have to sit with a 'newbie' and try and educate them on the wonders of pubs and ale.  Too much effort perhaps?  

I'll be back soon with another survey about some random aspect of pub life and culture.


  1. "barmaids buzzing around like pretty bees" - pure poetry.

    If you put took an alien around Barnsley area's Guide pubs and then, say, Epsom's, they couldn't tell the difference except in price (not that they'd be paying if they were an alien).

    It's a shame the centre has just the two, that smart No.7 and a Spoons when it used to have an Old Mill, John Smiths and the Conservative Club that sole Wobbly Bob in the Guide.

  2. 4 young barmaids buzzing around like pretty bees? Check. Do any of them qualify for any awards, and if so are they contenders? After last weeks accident, I trust they actually are of legal age to be a barmaid.

    I trust your train fare was less than or equal to £10.

    If I ever suffer a stroke (or the blood clot in the brain variety - not being stroked by Emily as that wouldn't be suffering) please don't try to save me.

    I've never left the station at Epsom, indeed I still require the shack tick and a couple of bits of the rather strange in a typical southern way track layout. It would work should we ever place Crystal Palace away again, but then again so would a lot of places.

    1. Again, too much of an ensemble to qualify. Though the first brunette may have qualified if someone gagged her.

      About £10 I think, not sure.

      Talking of Epsom, has anyone been to Esher yet? The place sounds interesting, for no particular reason other than Lily James might pop up in her 'local'.

      That No 7 in Barnsley is terrific, one of my all time favourites. Agree two in town centre is a poor showing. The Gatehouse threatened to be great, then wasn't. Shaw Lane had two good places, perhaps the Conservative Club was one of them. And one on Summer Lane was nice 10 years ago.

    2. I visited the Albert Arms in Esher and my only recollection is of a hateful place with Doom Bar (I judged it poor). I'm pretty sure Esher is where I tried to gatecrash a schoolboys birthday party when they'd closed the pub for the day (Saturday !) and I only had that pub to do Surrey.

      Esher/Epsom is a nondescript bit of Surrey, which isn't all bad. Don't skimp on the full East Moseley experience -Prince of Wales was in the legendary Rough Pub Guide and now in GBG.

      Shaw Lane - those were the days ! The Sports Club and the Pogmoor there were both great, and George & Dragon on Summer Lane. Con Club just off the 628.

    3. Only in Surrey could they close a pub on a Saturday for a sprog's birthday. Hilarious! I did an East Moseley pub after my trip to Hampton Court, but I think it has more than one in the GBG now. It didn't feel 'rough' though. Surrey may be one of those places I accidentally fall into if I'm in the east of Berkshire.