|I've heard of deep fried Mars Bars but really??|
The day set out damp and chilly, with a bit of watery sunshine as I waited for the bus from Scarborough to take me up the coast to Robin Hood's Bay which had two pubs I 'needed' to do. The double decker (not deep fried) was full to busting, with goths, southern tourists and half term brats all in attendance, and it soon steamed up so nobody had a clue where we were.
Trusty Google Maps helped but it was chucking it down as I found a coastal footpath to save me walking up the very steep hill to the Dolphin.
|A nice coastal walk in RHB.|
Rewind a bit, and I'd walked back along the coastal path to the first pub of the day, an 11:30am advertised opener. Again, I could get inside as the tea room was open(!) so despite being 10:55am, I took my chance.....
720. Victoria Hotel, Robin Hood's Bay
And what a difference a pub makes. I found my way to the bar room from the corridor and stood there for 2 minutes, it didn't look good. A woman appeared and I explained I knew I was earlier but.... and she found another lady to serve me! I made sure I was grateful and sat in the large room, supping a nice Sonnet 43 pale from Durham. Some tourists who'd presumably stayed the night were having coffee and breakfasts, some shrieking kids unfortunately but the room was large enough for them to be kept at a distance. A smiley old woman read her Phillipa Gregory book whilst her husband looked at his laptop, occasionally breaking off to chuckle and tell her something that was happening in the news. It was all very serene apart from a nervous Dad dropping all his change at the bar, whilst a couple of males members of staffed chatted in the doorway and stopped anyone getting in or out. My ale took a bit of getting used to, but I liked it once the initial bready taste had gone. They sell something called "beer bats" where you can get 6 third-pint measures, very fitting for this time of year! The room was lovely wood panelling, had a really nice old 19th century feel. As I left, one of the men who'd been lurking in the corridor made a big play of making me go out the bar way, rather than back through the tea room which was a bit odd, but he seemed friendly enough. A good pub to bring up my October target of 720.
|"I'm the left side, I'm the left side, I'm the left side Vic Hotel!"|
721. Dophin, Robin Hood's Bay
There was no time for sarcastic slow hand-clapping as I noted a couple with big dog already sat in front of the welcoming fire. And there was no way around them. The couple who I followed were struggling to get served as our big hairy host was taking his time, breathing heavily and toothless wonder was nowhere to be seen. Then two big groups followed and it was chaos in the little bar room, and I had to just keep my place at the bar. Eventually, I was in, and sold my soul to a gimmicky LED flashing pint of Hobgoblin, the beer of this time of year. It was pretty good, but I think I was already looking on this pub with less than rose-tinted specs. I sat in the main bar and soon, a second barmaid appeared, a very jolly friendly happy woman which this place needed but it was too little too late as everyone had been served (though most returned to place lunch orders). Lobster Thermidor at £14.95 summed it all up really. The 'decor' was obligatory Hallowe'en, mainly fake cobwebs which begged the question "why did they just not bother cleaning at all, then we could have had genuine cobwebs and 11am opening?!" To be honest, the pub was very much like some of York's old famous ones, a kind of mash-up of Black Swan, Golden Fleece and Red Lion, with slightly better beer quality. Don't waste your time, head for the Vic instead.
|Ye Dolphin, overrated tourist nonsense.|
|Whitby Abbey, nice and bleak at the top of the 199 steps.|
722. Granby Hotel, Whitby
Thankfully out of the main tourist reaches, I found this cracker of a pub building next to a posh crescent of B&B's called West Cliff. The pub had two sides, so typically of me, I entered the one with no people in it but this time, the right decision as some goths in hysterics were watching Neighbours and generally not being very stereotypically goth in the small upper right hand side. I had the whole lounge area to myself, even if the fire was giving off no heat at all. The landlord seemed a nice chap, and I ordered an Old Peculiar cos twice today I'd seen adverts for it which is peculiar(!) and I thought "if I see it, I must order it, it must be a sign!". Nursing a pint of warming barley wine in a quiet lounge bar was exactly what I needed at this stage of the day. The most peculiar thing really was, on doing my pub research, is that this pub is a genuine freehouse but always puts on three Marstons, Theakstons and Cameron's Strongarm. I'm not anti the bigger names as a rule but it still struck me as very queer. A massive dog walked in next and reminded me that pub calm can't be maintained forever, especially as it looked like it wanted to kill me when everyone else came in and commented how lovely he was. As I left, he shone an eye at me very much like the evil baddie Transfer in Willie Fog's 80 days around the world.
|The Granby - ignore the Banks's sign, a bona fide free house (below) with a twist!|
Back towards the harbour and station, there was no surprise to see this pub heaving, despite the mid afternoon hour. What did surprise me though was a wide range of guest ales from micros. I'd previously been to five Whitby pubs, and found the beer range rather disappointing. I squashed in at the bar and ordered my second Sonnet 43 ale of the day, "Another Is Cried" which I described as red and delicious at the time. I found a nice big table all to myself in the side room despite the people standing at the bar (grrrr! pet hate!) and this was good news because by happy coincidence, my sister and her boyfriend were visiting BRAPA's favourite Whitby resident Lucy Williamson, and the trio joined me for a drink. My sister Lu had just got a fringe, so my opening comment "I thought you had a wig on!" was never going to go down well. I tried to insist it was a compliment. Anyway, we had a nice drink after that though the hot water tap in the gents, deary me, really needs one of those "caution - almost boiling water" signs as I suffered third degree burns almost. Meanwhile, Andy was pinning a BRAPA card to their noticeboard to help increase my appeal! Sadly, I had to dash off for the 4pm train just when I could have settled down to a proper drinking session.
|The Lucy duo prove they are no little angels in the Little Angel.|
Infant Hercules, Middlesbrough
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the micro pub revolution is needed nowhere more than a town like 'Boro. I judged this one (of the five) to be closest to the station, so took a chance and wasn't a long walk when I got my bearings. This was a pleasingly small micro, like a box, well a rectangular one and a few locals and our bearded host who looked like something from an American new wave folk band were setting the world to rights. I ordered a nice but unspectacular pint of Jeepers Creepers, the 3 or 4 beers on were mostly Hallowe'en themed and the barman was so quick, I had to ask a kind old chap if that really was my pint, it just seemed to materialise on the bar! Wooo. Spooky. Boro' had beaten Man Utd on penalties in the cup the previous day so there was a lot of pride about that, and the comment "it's nice to see some Championship clubs in the quarters" had me agreeing wholeheartedly. The next comment "Man City should walk it from here" did make me grit my teeth a bit, but guess it's realistic. And here's to a semi final trip to Boro' so I can sample three of the remaining four micropubs, if we don't do them in the league that is (we might leave the Twisted Lip for a quieter time, I have my reasons). And I wouldn't mind popping back in here either.
|Pre-emptive, Micro, friendly, football chat - can't fault this pub!|