Sunday, 27 March 2016

BRAPA - Filey & Scarborough (fun on the east coast)

The clocks may as well have gone forward two hours, as my train to Scarborough was delayed by 40 minutes approx, and it was freezing on York station as the waiting rooms were choc-a-bloc with whining London families returning home to bolt their mansions against Storm Katie.  The only consolation, my train ticket only cost £1.60 due to a longer delay in Manchester a few months ago!!

Anyway, welcome to day two of my three pronged Easter North Yorkshire challenge. My connection to Filey still 'made', and after an eventful journey where I waved to a heron, some quad bikers and a 13 year old girl without being arrested, I was at my favourite coastal town in North Yorks.  Last time I was here (Jan 2013), it was deep in snow and I can assure you, today was even colder.

A multitude of stars at the Star
844.  Star Inn, Filey

A phrase you don't often here on entering a given pub is "ooh look, it's a headless skeleton .... oh no, it's yer Grandad!"  This classic quote was courtesy of Auntie Star to the blonde child Lucas.  It's a pub cliche to say "it was like walking into someone's front room", but I've rarely felt it as much as here.  Daddy Star (a polite man with basic social skills) served me an excellent Black Sheep Special, but I'd walked straight into the lion's den and was surrounded by various members of the extended Star family, with grandson Lucas being teased about whether or not the Easter bunny had left him anything.  Even the army of young brunette waitresses seemed part of this 'cosy' family scene, I tried to look relaxed next to the annoying fake bookcase wallpaper, but felt far from comfortable.  Whilst Lucas showed anyone who cared his damaged wrist, Nana and Grandad Star were presented with a huge Sunday roast which could have fed the whole pub.  If my Mum had thought Cropton felt a bit cliquey yesterday, she'd have been horrified by this.  But when it all calmed down, I was left missing the entertainment laid on by Filey's best pub family.

A rare peaceful view of the family-centric Star Inn
After a bit of impromptu sunbathing on Filey station, I hopped on a train back to Scarborough where I'd noticed two new pubs in the 2016 GBG, a Wetherspoons and a Micropub, and wondered how long til the Good Beer Guide will be 50/50 split with these two types of outlet?

Arriving at the Lord Rosebery
845.  The Lord Rosebery, Scarborough

Good job this was a vast multi-levelled JD Wetherspoons, because it was heaving with people taking advantage of the four day weekend, many looking like they were in it for the long haul as you often find with JDW clientele.  There is, of course, a "beer festival" on at the moment which as far as I can see, seems to consist of putting a few more beers on than usual, and errrm, nothing else!  To be fair, a member of staff who belonged in panto appeared from nowhere to sell us raffle tickets to win a huge egg, and then performed a magic trick on a little girl, which seemed to traumatise her.  I'd wandered into a slightly raised quiet side room (if Spoons do side rooms) and the only seat I could find was a huge table seating 8 in the sun so I felt a right bastard and couldn't relax for fear I was alone in the prime seat in the pub!  It was therefore something of a relief when a family of 4 were joined by two hangers on and decided to upgrade to my table, so I volunteered to 'downgrade' to their old table of 4.  My sense of being a good Samaritan was short lived.  An old couple next to me on a similar table of 4 were brought scones and tea, and immediately decided to downgrade to a table of 2, for NO REASON.  Then the only other couple in a table of 4 decided to leave!  This was musical chairs at it's best, how long before I was in a cupboard under the stairs?  The pressure was taken off when a Jamie Vardy/Harry Kane hybrid called Luke (no lumberjack shirt though) tried to impress his girlfriend by buying a raffle ticket off our magic man, who made a Star Wars/Luke joke that didn't go down well.  It was that kind of pub, but a classic Wetherspoons experience you can all relate to.

Trying to relax at my original table of 8.
The raffle prize is on my table (of 4), but I didn't win it!
The busy nature of the 'Spoons meant I had misgivings about embarking on a micro pub adventure, but it had to be done .....

I was going to apologise to this girl for photographing her, but I accidentally elbowed her in the ribs later on anyway.
846.  Stumble Inn, Scarborough

Controversially, this place hasn't been officially declared a micro pub despite adverts everywhere saying it is one.  Not sure who makes the final decision.  Maybe Mr Hillier had a bad childhood experience on holiday in Scarbs where he was buried up to his neck in sand?  Anyway, this was classic Micro (think more Dr Phil's than Twisted Lip, but still good).  It was busy as expected but free cheese and crackers (and very strong pickled onions) were on at the bar and softened my mood.  My decision to photograph them led people to question whether I was a food hygiene inspector, so I proceeded to eat as much as I could and look slightly disturbed.  There were no seats so I had to stand at the bar and take the full force of the "banter" between jokey landlord and the main "character" local, it was somewhere between Ken Dodd and Lee Mack, 'chuckle-able at best!" (not Chuckle Brothers).   At least I was made to feel included.  A happy friendly atmosphere.  I felt sorry for the nice man on my left, just trying to enjoy a quiet pint who was sent off to the local shop to buy some Jacob's Crackers when they were running short, mainly cos of me! I think he was refunded.    I tried a decent Father Jack beer from the North East, and then a swift half of a Milton from Cambridge, excellent ales and I'd have to say, a bit like the 'Spoons, above average in it's pubby field!  

Selection of cheeses in the Stumble Inn, I enjoyed the Guinness one.
I'd been fortunate to avoid the rain, and after getting a coffee at the station to keep my switched on to write up this blog, I was back in York no problems at all.  Right, time to rest up before Day Three of my North Yorkshire challenge tomorrow.  Nice to finally be making some inroads! 

I once read that the true meaning of Easter was a free pint of Banks's Bitter.  If that is true, I hope you all got yours.  Until tomorrow evening, farewell.



  1. Brilliant stuff, and not just for the elbowing incident.

    Like you I don't mind standing in micros if they involve you. This one sounds like the Anchored in Worthing, where they pressed cheese on me. Felt bad as was only there for a half, and it was more like a dinner party.

    Why Banks ? and what did you have in Spoons ?

    1. Poor lass, she must have really thought I had it in for her. Not that her man friend tried to defend her!

      I think one thing I'm taking from March pubbing is that I'm seeing micro pubs in quite a favourable light on the whole. This was less like a dinner party, more like a full on cheese initiation ceremony. They even commented the landlord wasn't from Yorkshire which explained his generosity in providing free cheese.

      It was on the front of a newspaper. I think it was supposed to be some vicar's message about Easter and ended up being aligned wrongly with a Banksies advert, leading to much confusion! In the Spoons, I had a 5% red Hook Norton which was excellent.

    2. Glad the Hook was good; Spoons beer quality all over the place at the moment. Even in the same pub too, Swatters Carr poor Friday but decent enough Sat nights.

      Am also thinking micros are quite decent for beer In Boro, of the four we did the Hercules was a bit weak, there was only one other couple in there. Can't wait for GBG17 to see what's in.

      You make a good point about Spoons/micros; guess micros will squeeze Spoons out, beer tokens won't win out.

    3. Yes, Hercules felt a bit lacking character on my visit, despite the football loving locals at the bar.

      I have used all my Jan-Mar vouchers for first time ever and looking at April, could be another Spoons tastic month. Maybe Mr H will start a Micros loyalty card with 50% off for all pub travellers using the GBG?

  2. By my reckoning you got to Scarborough 29 minutes late at 11:58 (27 down by the public, fictional timetable). The Filey connection made easily. For future reference, if a connection is looking dodgy for other pubs in the area that may enter in future years, just leap at Seamer.

    The true meaning of Easter appears to be laughing at Donny Rovers slipping ever closer to their rightful place in the basement division of English football. It really should seeing the mighty Tigers lose 1-0 at somewhere like Oldham. I saw a programme for that game on sale at the tip today. I thought about buying it, but I suspect there is one in Wilberfoss.

    I like the idea of the cheese on the bar, cheese in pubs is a good thing. However, on my initial inspection cheese quality appears low, from what you say much below the beer standard. Bree Louise have the idea spot on, list of cheeses, pick what you want. But I suppose theirs isn't free.

    1. It must have made up some time cos was about 40 down I think when we left York. I considered Seamer but I deem it in top 10 depressing "stations" I've ever known. Where are the toilets, heated waiting room and performing sea lion?

      Cheese was ok, maybe not your standard but tasted fine and was free so no way gonna be critical. The Bree Loucheese charges a fortune for a slither of anything north of Watford. Probably. Plus it's unhygienic feeling. Like all Euston pubs.

  3. 4 minutes was recovered, departure from York was 31 down. The peak of the delay was 40 minutes late passing Guide Bridge.

    Toilets at Seamer are wherever you can find, heated waiting room is the bus shelter on the platform when the locals set fire to it and performing sea lion is with Rachel and Emily.

    I shouldn't be critical of freebies, that is a slap on the wrist for me. The Bree Louise was the first example that came to mind. I'm sure there are better examples.