Monday 16 November 2015

BRAPA : the archives (351-358)

Evening all!  More pubs I visited in my "youth" (youth = 34 or younger).

Smaller portions of 8 pubs now to span out the last three archives (sob!)

351.  Pride of Spitalfields, Spitalfields, London

Every year we play West Ham, I hear that familiar whine of my football friends "waaaah, this away day is always the hardest place for pub choice!" but what they must bear in mind, you can keep it incredibly simple and come to this little gem, 10am opener, a short walk from Liverpool Street, and not far from the line heading up the Boleyn (which sadly, will soon be ditched in favour of a properly 'hard for pubs' plastic stadium).  And so it came pass that on a freezing cold 20th Feb 2010, I met Ben Andrew near Liverpool Street and we headed for the warmth and comfort of this place.  Not sure my Hull City top was universally approved, and Crouch Vale Brewers Gold was about the only 'exciting beer' on as I received some 'verbals' from the barman and locals, "that's a bit harsh" I complained, but they explained it was simply the way things were in the East End.  Fair enough.  The laziest pub cat (Lenny) was completely still above the fireplace, he may have been stuffed.  Pretty sure I've been here since, on a day when I could show Dad it's wares, probably 28th April 2012, I felt it lacked a bit of magic but Dad was impressed, think Christine joined us too, perhaps Ben again.  Again, the cat was still and the locals were a bit shifty.  Great pub!

352.  Old Original Bay Horse, Horwich

Ahhh, the missing link in my Horwich conundrum last time I was archiving their pubs, it was 29th December 2009 (or Stephen Hunt day as it's sometimes known) and me and Dad had come up with one of the best pre-BRAPA ideas in the spirit of my challenge by sacking off Bolton and more trains for Reebok-esque drinking with a friendly little bus ride to the ground.  After a slightly underwhelming pint in the Crown, we struck gold here with it's quirky locals, great range of Moorhouse beers and green and white(?) tiling on the right side of the pub.  We returned for more on 23rd Feb 2013, still with Madeira tans despite snowy freezing Lancy temperatures, and after a good but chilly session in Victoria and Albert, it was nice to be back in warmth and local hub of this pub - though in the back room this time squashed between people watching one of those Sky Sports televised games which make you wonder why?  I think it was Stoke v Fulham and Peter Crouch was prominent - the Moorhouses beers seemed a bit average this time but the locals were friendlier than last time and it's tempting to return to Horwich for my final tick pre-Bolton this season.

353.  Irwell Works Brewery Tap, Ramsbottom

Originally reviewed by my as the 'First Chop' but it was actually this place I was thinking of, plus the First Chop has since closed, so here is my original review again (edited) ....  Almost overlooked in my big GBG cross-ticking exercise, I was quite drunk when we sat upstairs in this magnificent pub on 27th July 2013 as part of the Welly summer day out East Lancs rail crawl.   I remember a nice friendly wooden boarded pub, lots of ales, taking advantage of a CAMRA discount and a special "buy 6 pints, get one free" offer or something like that.  I think we had a spare pint for "the table" which Ben probably ended up drinking!  And it was a strong dark stout.  I also seem to recall the music being an important feature, and that there was plentiful food on offer.

You know though, just reading the bit about the two levels at First Chop, the CAMRA discount and the 'buy five get one free' bit, I am wondering if I was right first time!  Irwell Works meanwhile "opened a balcony in Spring 2015" which suggests to me it didn't have an upstairs before then.  Hmmm, think a "revisit" might be required.  East Lancs Railway summer 2016 crawl?  Si

354.  Globe, Liverpool

19th October 2013 and any away day in Liverpool has always been an excuse to tick off new real ale pubs, there are always so many in the guide, you don't need BRAPA to tell you that!  Despite my dodgy directions taking us a meandering route through the city, we were in this traditional one roomer with nice dark panelling, a lively landlady, and a typical Scouse wannabe comedian chap who noticed we were away fans and 'held court' in a very "listen to me, aren't I hilarious" kind of way but he was alright really, though hard to get away from when the second pub (Richmond Hotel) was calling.  I drank a Bier Head by Liverpool Organic (it was my first month on Untappd) but I wasn't overly enamoured with it despite having had quality stuff from this brewery before.  The first ever CAMRA Merseyside meeting was held here - fun fact!  I remember going in with Dad and Tom and I think the likes of Ben, Christine and maybe Mark met us in there, can't quite remember.

Bierhead and background Tom carrier n blackcurrant action at the Globe

355.  Ship & Mitre, Liverpool

26th September 2009 and slightly contradicting what I wrote in the above Globe review, this was very much our designated 'main pub' of the day, though probably not our only one.  The 10am opening time helped greatly, and crossing that carpark thing near the Mersey Tunnel mean you see this pub well before you reach it, quite a grand old building with the pub name visible for what seems like miles.  Anyway, as first customer's, we were greeted in typical friendly Scouse fashion by some young women who admitted to having fancied Phil Brown in his first season, but now in the 09/10 season, his magic had worn enough (I think it was the fake tan shared interest that drew them to him).  One of them then told a story which is still to this day the best story I've ever been told in a pub by staff member - it involved Jason McAteer, a locked car and a coathanger.  Brilliant!  I still tell it to people today.  The bar was long, the beers interesting and expansive, the floor wooden and old - a superb place, though the Wild Boar burger was a bit chewy but i blame the boar!  So no wonder on 3rd July 2010, we came here for lunch on Ric's birthday day out.  Problem was, it was hot, heaving, a nightmare to get served, never mind try and get food (an idea we soon ditched) and the brilliant empty place I'd been in less than a year ago was unrecognisable and I was just glad when we finally accepted defeat and left - not sure the strange animal burger range would have suited my sister's vegan taste anyway!   

356.  Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

A freezing cold and typically rubbish match at Goodison Park was at least made a bit better pre-match as we explored some of the pubs in the Dale Street / Moorfields area.  This does actually make me wonder if Ship & Mitre day was actually this same 10th January 2009 date rather than Sept 09, can't be sure!  Anywho, we had the novelty of two pubs back-to-back sharing a garden (well, outdoor courtyard drinking area) and it a more acceptable Wellington / Old Joint Stock Birmingham way, I was zipping into one pub to get a drink, drinking it on courtyard, taking glass to other pub (Lady of Man), getting served there, doing it in repeat.  Both pubs are owned by Okell's of Isle of Man so I guess that's why, but cannot remember much other than tall buildings and hanging baskets, don't remember the pub interior at all, and if I did, I might be remembering Lady of Man.  Brilliant. 

357.  Coachmakers Arms, Norwich

Tuesday 27th September 2005 was one of the first examples of me going on a train jaunt alone for an away game, and it was a memorable night as I stayed in a pink lighthouse!  I selected this as my first pub of the afternoon as it was (a) in the GBG (b) supposedly haunted and (c) one of the nearer ones to my accommodation, although it still wasn't an easy walk under a subway near all these roadworks.  The pub felt old but suffered a bit from 'city centre syndrome' as people seemed to be passing through.  I couldn't pick up on any ghostly atmosphere, though the appearance of two shady looking Hull City fans (possibly S.S.) did give me a slight start as I wasn't expecting to see any away fans!  The ales were okay but nowt spectacular, and I may well have had something from the local Wolf brewery which we knew from our trips to Torquay's Crown & Sceptre.

358.  Cricketers, Ipswich

There is a slight chance that this Wetherspoons was actually first visited 4th May 2008, as we waited for overrated Adnams pub the Greyhound to count the exact seconds down to 12 noon on a hot 'warm' up for our 'playoff adventure'.  My only real memories of this experience were the big 'HOME FANS ONLY', us covering up (I even took my top off and hid it in Dad's carrier bag, I assume I had another layer on!) and then my horror as Christine was getting served next to me and a black and amber wristband fell down her sleeve as she handed the change over - as it was, no one cared!  But my definite first visit was 19th Feb 2011 on a rain soaked day and me and Dad were desperate for somewhere to get dry whilst we waited for the highly anticipated opening of St Jude's Tavern.  Despite being before 11am and not near the ground, the traditional "HOME FANS ONLY" sign was up as seems to be the case in 90% of Ipswich pubs.  In terms of place and people, I think it is only fair to comment that I think Ipswich is one of the biggest shitholes I've ever visited, and that is saying something!  This time, I just zipped my coat up to the top but the old local's staring at us over their breakfasts just wound me up, and as soon as we got served, my colours were on display as I paraded towards the loo with a northern swagger!  I must have got braver in the intervening 3 years.  A couple near me were talking golf and I'd earlier found a golf ball in my pocket, which I felt may have been confiscated at Portman Road.  So in an act of kindness, I gave the ball to them on the way out.  They looked bewildered but grateful, people don't do nice things in Ipswich!

Despite Cricketers nearness to Christchurch Park and therefore, the Greyhound, the other Wetherspoons I can locate in the town "The Robert Ransome" is even closer if we'd walked down Fonnereau Road in search of an early opener (I remember seeing P McGinty's  over the road cos we made a Brian McGinty joke).  This actually leads me to feel Cricketers may well have been the 4/5/08 pub due to being on our right (Ransome and McGinty's seem practically next door to each other), but as I can't be sure, I'll err on the side of caution for now.  Maybe will try n solve it in 2016!

So there we have it, 16 left to archive!  The next 8 of these coming up next Monday.



  1. The prepenultimate episode. I feel a tear in my eye.

    West Ham is possibly the hardest club in London for pub choice, but certainly not in the league. Pride of Spitalfields was 20th February 2010. It wasn't that cold. I was finding my way around an Oyster statement when you and Ben arrived. I recall I had come within 3 minutes of exceeding the maximum journey time doing Brent Cross - Aldgate (East?) via Golders Green, Belsize Park, Gospel Oak, West Hampstead and Baker St after finding the system was cleverer than I thought. The cat moved. The landlord commented that his blackcurrant squash was expensive. We also went prior to the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal when I went to Grays Athletic A-A York City.

    I always think that Craig Fagan's contribution was very much under-recognised on the 29th December 2009. That second half was one of the very few occasions, in my time at least, when City have successfully and properly played with two wingers, with the one on the opposite side to the ball making darting runs into the box at every opportunity. It is what David Berresford and Ryan Williams had the potential to do, and what the current crop may yet achieve. But won't. We're going down you know.

    Irwell Works doesn't have a ground floor as such, only the entrance which leads directly to a staircase, thus sitting upstairs is compulsory. You describe the place fairly well perfectly, plus I navigated my way there a few weeks ago with no research points to me having been there before. I'm always happy to go to the Lancs, preferably with something more entertaining on the diesel front than a Deltic at 25 mph. There is a Ramsbottom Tap micropub type thing opened up about 10 minutes walk from the station.

    Was the Globe the 2-1 defeat at Goodison when I was kindly offered the opportunity to only be able to see only half the pitch for £5 extra in the upper tier? I think Christine and Chris Douglas met us i the pub. It was easily pub of the day. I have felt uncomfortable in grounds with my shoulder bag recently, and often it is unnecessary, the Tom carrier bag is far from dead yet my friend.

    Ship & Mitre I'm sure my Dad wasn't in, which rules out 2008/09 when he did all the league games but missed three cup (I missed two cup to my eternal shame - an exam the next day is not a valid excuse for Newcastle, I don't think I submitted an excuse for Swansea). I didn't go to the 5-1 defeat at Goodison in 2009/10 because it was a Sunday for the television idiots, so I'd agree with 26th September 2009. My overriding memory is every single one of the group paying me in loose change for the food order and your Dad showing his bank working heritage by scooping up the lot for me in one go for me to go to the food ordering area that wasn't the bar. I think you initially wanted zebra burger but it wasn't available.

    I remember the Lady of Mann in the beer garden of Thomas Rigby's. I can't remember whether my Dad was there. The answer to that question would date it either way. I am happy to find out for you if you so desire.

  2. Good memories Tom! Yes if you could ask your Dad re Lady of Mann/T Rigby day, then I know definitely.

    Once final archive is done, I will start tidying them up with final dates so they all have a chronological number!

    Great memories with Ship n Mitre, I remember all that now you've said.

    Pubs weren't great on that globe day, think I liked the Richmond best but that's partly due to a sly pint of home brew.

    I had a nagging feeling there was a 3rd pride of spitalfields with your postponed extravaganza. I think that was freezing day with still cat.

  3. Sorry for the delay in making this comment, I asked Father over the Saturnalia period and plain forgot until I was walking around the Nunsthorpe estate singing Jan Venegoore of Hesselink's name earlier when it dawned on me.

    Father has not been in the Lady of Mann (are there two 'n's are the end of Mann in the pub name? - if not there should be), thus making it not in the 2--8/09 season, thus I believe placing it on the 26th September 2009 prior to the 6-1 defeat at Anfield.

    If we get Bury away, will there be chance to settle the Irwell Works debate that rereading this article has reminded me of, or will it have to wait for summer (or maybe Easter)? I suppose it depends how many pubs you need in Bury, and whether there is anything else out of the box.

  4. So it was same day as Ship and M! Thanks for finding out.

  5. Pride of Spitalfields still a classic, though think beer has been more up & down. It's a London Pride place really, and quite handy for the Crown & Shuttle.

    Ramsbottom naming has also confused me, I think. The Irwell is right next to the steam train and had the iron staircase. The closed First Chop that surprisingly closed was a trendy Manchester sort of place with food and buy 5 get 1 offer. I get Rammy mixed with Rawtenstall, which is the one with the famed Temperance bar - one for Tom.

    Fayre doos, as they say in Suffolk; you haven't edited your slagging of Ipswich since declaring it the new Monaco or something.

    Like Jason, I also use a coathanger for my car arial and lock my car when in Merseyside.

  6. There is Morrisons between the railway station and Irwell works but you are correct that it has an iron staircase. There is a pub right outside the railway station, I forget its name, but I don't think it has ever been in the guide. I shall try and remember to do a rekky on Saturday.

    You are correct that Rawtenstall has the Temperance bar.

    I wish to object to your statement that the Stratford running track will be difficult for pubs. The more I think about it, the more I come up with. The transport to get there is just so good.

    I hate Leeds.

    1. Tom you're spot on about West Ham; transport to Stratford must be some of best in UK.

  7. The pub right outside the railway station at Rammy is called, erm, the Railway, as I had suspected but didn't want to say in case I was wrong and made myself look a clot.

    Dagger for Duncan