With the Port Vale and Hartlepool fans now presumably safely locked inside Vale Park for two hours, the coast was clear to tick off my two required Burslem pubs, having enjoyed the delights of the Bull's Head a couple of times way back in the 00's.
Today's hero, Six Towns Mart, dropped me off, but said he'd be back later on ferry me on to Hanley. What a gent. My only worry now was had today peaked a little too soon? After all, Etruria's Holy Inadequate and Kidsgrove's Blue Bell had been dyed in the wool classics.
Just across the square, looming out at me in quite an intimidating way was the mock tudory pub four:
A return to form on the pub front, you can't keep a good Potteries down, and Duke William, Burslem (1958 / 3522) was a peach of a boozer. Dark to the point of looking half closed, a large semi circular bar was like a greatest hits of my favourite ales. Titanic Plum Porter, Salopian Oracle, Bass, Thornbridge Jaipur, something by Dark Star I'd not seen before, I went for the Bass obvs because, you know, day out in Staffordshire, rules innit? Hallways and staircases lead to multi rooms with bell pushes, you really could've been in Halifax, L**ds or Outer Brum. Grand place. I stay in the main bar though, in front of the one source of heat, a little fire being expertly managed / poked by our friendly hostess, who's John Motson style sheepskin suggests she knows the pub needs a bit more heating than this, though apparently the bar has a heated footrail I didn't notice. A little TV screen above me is showing the big match, Vale v Hartlepool and all going well for the home team. I even get to admire Hull City illuminati like David Amoo, Nicky Featherstone and Mark Cullen. Nostalgia. Kind of. Six Towns Mart has arrived, just in time to hear my favourable assessment. Hanley time, the happiest time of all. Said no one ever before. But the beers today had been strong.
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back to tell you about one of my most perfectly executed Thirsty Thursday's ever, either tomorrow or Tuesday, Covid Booster side-effects dependent!
See you soon, Si