Wednesday 28 July 2021


I turned left out of Llandudno Station and climbed the hill, in the direction of Snowdon (not 'Mount'), Llandudno (1851 / 3280).   A fairly bog standard dining pub of the same name.  'You'll always find 'summit' to eat here' is a slogan they can have for free.  If they are desperate.

As I try to ascertain this pub's particular approach to Covid restrictions, I'm nearly run over twice, as I hover in an inconvenient position 'twixt door and entrance, right in the flight path of busy kitchen and front entrance.  "I just want a pint!" I finally whine to a barman.  "Where ya sat?"  I dunno.  They must hate people like me.  I can tell this pub was once a proud trad boozer, some of the decor, the display of recent GBGs, and the fact that Bass is always available.  Meghan Trainor wrote her hit after a similarly underwhelming experience here, yes, it really is all about that Bass.  My first pint of it since the day I met Duncan Mackay (coincidence?) and it is a truly glorious drop.  I'm the youngest person in the UK who likes it.  That is a BRAPA fact.  It is special.  I don't like all traditional bitters.  Never got on with Black Sheep, John Smith's, Jennings Cumberland, and now Pedigree is starting to annoy me.  But there's something gold standard about Bass.  Saved an average pub experience. 

Next up, the previously largest pub in the UK.  A former theatre, now a 'Spoons.  Figures I guess.

Gadzooks, Palladium, Llandudno (1852 / 3281) really does take the breath away, well once you are deep within it and looking upwards.  You can tell it is massive, there is even a reception committee.  This makes a change from the regular 'Spoons entrance which is "sort yourself out, no need to speak to anyone, sit down, shut up, do the App, get beer, shup up, leave" which I kind of prefer.  The chirpy man doesn't show me to the table, but points vaguely into the distance and says "table 421 - down these stairs, up those next ones, see that lady near the fruit machine, well there's an empty table just to her right". 421??? I squint, keep my eye on the prize, and make a dash for it.  My Glamorgan Pale took yonks to arrive but was good when it did, and god knows how many miles away the bar is in here.  There should be an Uber/BusTimes style element to the App pinpointing your beers progress through the pub on GPS.  A group of old ladies who sound Bolton/Blackburn are debating whether microwaveable bread & butter pudding is acceptable, amongst other things, but my Mum rang, so pub observation had to terminated early! 

Making a dash for it before I forget what he said

Look at it - very Capitol Forest Hill / Coronet Holloway but even grander

Someone's finally woken up 

I nearly collide with a an incoming beer delivery on arrival at pub three, a problem I should've seen coming a mile off.

A miserable greeting and a bunch of customers who refuse to make eye contact will sadly be my abiding memory of Tapps. Llandudno (1853 / 3282).  It always hits harder in a micropub when the welcome is a bit off.  After all, the original template laid out in the depths of Kent by that Herne Bay mastermind was all about no televised horse racing or electronic devices at the expense of the jolly company of strangers, soon to be friends for life whether you like it or not.  It is a gorgeous little place, immaculately done out, and I'm delighted to get sat in this cosy back room, even if the assembled crowd are more interested in virtual Dungeons & Dragons than a real life fluffy cauliflower.  Electronic devices it is then, I try the wifi code 5 times.  No luck.  I ask.  Opportunity for a bit of redemption bantz?  He grunts it should be working.  A minute later, it miraculously is.  NOT that the he 'switched it off and on again' or anything.  The beer is superb quality too, but it chafes a bit in the circs.

I'll let you caption this one

Beer deliv complete, time to get served

Are you sure about this? 

Back in the bag pal, no one gives a bugger

 Time to do something a bit outlandish, (or is it outllandish?), get on a bus to a 5:30pm opener!  Never done owt like this in Wales before.  Nerves a-janglin', but it actually is a bit like getting a bus in England or Scotland or Cornwall or Portland.  Not sure what I was expecting. Mickey Thomas to pop up and bite me in the knackers?  Who knows. 

It is still only 5:15 when I arrive at Penrhyn Arms, Penrhynside (1854 / 3283).  But I see the silhouetted figure of local old man Al in the window, the pub is open, and it seems we have him to thank.  If Al is ready for a pre 17:30 pint, Al gets a pre 17:30 pint.  For an old man who'd I'd expect to proper curmudgeonly, he doesn't half come out with some shit positivity enthused soundbites.  "Tomorrow will be a brighter day" and the like, the stuff you read on gastropub walls.  When he's gone, the guv'nor starts chatting to me.  Proper sound chap, my ale from a place called 'Leicestershire' is superb, no wonder this pub has been in more GBG's than most - said a recent CAMRA email I received about top tier pubs.  So atmospheric too, and to my surprise, he tells me to go outside and explore the landscaped raised tropical garden, with views out to the coast.  Careful of those slippy steps on a wet down, but what a gem.  Pub of the day.

Top guy, top Dow Bridge beer

Al and the pub

Terry Yorath, James Bolam and  ?? 

Of course, it wouldn't be a full BRAPA day without me doing something incomprehensibly fuckwitted.

I may've been spooked by the fact that the bus timetable had been half covered up by a Welsh notice that meant little to me .....

So I walk to the brow of the hill to see if I can see the bus approaching.  It is!  Sadly for me, I've totally underestimated my distance from stop versus speed of bus, and the damn thing flies past the stop!   Idiot!

Oh well, at least I got to witness an awkward stand off between two bitches:

Back in Llanny D, time for one last pub so I can 'green off' the town in full (I had been here before, back in 2013, visiting a pub called Cottage Loaf which I enjoyed, but is sadly no longer in Guide). 

At last, a Llandudno pub which had a mixture of heart, warmth and amusement.  Welcome to the Albert (1855 / 3284).  My initial observations are a bit lukewarm as I'm stopped at a rope, the sign in process is a bit convoluted, and after wondering if they've actually gone to Conwy to source my pint, I'm told it is off, so I swap for TT Landlord, which is great, but chilled to the kind of levels Daddy BRAPA would approve of.  There's plenty of old tourists eating too, but unlike the Snowdon, the pub has more than enough jowly, rugged, ale drinking heroes to make up for it - friendly too, as I find walking through them to get to the loo.  It just has an unpretentious aura, and Colin has been noticed by the staff, so soon main man Stuart who is a lovely chap comes out for a chat all things GBG.  A really positive way to end a bit of a mixed bag in Llandudno, but on the whole, a really fabulous town.  

Back on the train to Chester (where I'm staying for the three nights), and I'm conscious (always a good sign), no I mean, I'm conscious ..... that I still need one more pub to complete the magic six.

Where to hop off?  Colwyn Bay?  Abergele?  Rhyl?  Prestatyn?  Shotton?  Oh dear, well either this train doesn't stop at those destinations, OR they have more than one GBG entry, OR said GBG entry is closed on a Tuesday.

It is getting late anyway, so before I know it, my final tick is in Chester, handily placed equidistant between the train station and my (very basic even by Travelodge standards) Travelodge.

Oh, Chester, lovely town, like a poor man's York (I'm JOKING, don't be cross!)   Seven year since my epic pub crawl here where I forgot which way home was by the end of the night, and about 5 years since I 'greened off' the county of Cheshire in full at Willey Moor Lock.  Inevitably, plenty of gaps have now sprung up.  Cornerhouse, Chester (1856 / 3285) is one such gap, and is going for the 'atmosphere' with more mock tudor than a Henry VIII piss taking competition, candlelit enshrined cutesie bored silly staff - the pub is surprisingly empty considering the prime canal side location and time of day.  I guess everyone is watching Italy v Spain on a giant screen somewhere.  I get very comfy.  The ale selection offers two of my all time faves - Titanic Plum Porter or Salopian Oracle.  I plump for the plum, end of night and all that but am sorely tempted to stay for an Oracle too.  But I don't cos despite what the photos may suggest, I am sensible and fully in control of all my faculties.  See you all for another six pub blog tomorrow!  Hic!  

I'll try and ping my second Welsh blog tomorrow night when I'm back from my latest midweek pub ticking quest.  It is already written.

Take care, Si 

1 comment:

  1. Given some of the dross you put up with, that was a rather grudging praise of Llandudno, Si. I'd have been delighted.