Tuesday 13 September 2016

BRAPA - Doncaster Doom

You'd have thought by now, the number of times I've visited the town of Doncaster, I'd have been confident, relaxed, been embraced by the locals as "one of them" .... NO CHANCE!  With one of the hottest September days on Donny record, the freaks were out in force making for a hair raising experience.....

Man from my train fails to enter pub.  Loser.
Leopard, Doncaster

The Leopard, one of those "oh my god Si how have you not visited this pub before?" pubs looked splendid from the outside.  Green tiling must be my favourite pub exterior along with cats and stuffed owls on spikes.  Inside was immediately more underwhelming, not that I had chance to take it all in.  The ales seemed to be missing and a barman (possibly Leo Fortune-West) seemed just as confused as me, told me a blackboard displaying them had gone walkabout.  A more senior barman then asked if I was a "Rep" and when I told him no, just a CAMRA member, he got a bit sheepish and gave me 10% discount.  Wish I'd have said yes to see what would have happened, but no doubt my Tim Taylor top was to blame.  I decided to sit in the right hand room of the three (table tennis and pool in the back).  As I "admired" the fake bookcase and listened to conversations like (a) "if poker is annoying you, don't get addicted, just give up" and (b) "How did you manage to buy a church by accident?", I read my Donny Drinker thinking this is quite a standard pub experience for Doncaster, especially when a Vietnamese bag lady appeared from nowhere.   But then, "Whisky Steve" arrived.  Oh dear!  Once he'd ascertained I wasn't gay (he said he always checks, it's the one type of person he won't talk to), he sat with me, forever.  Wish I'd said I was.  He was amazed to learn I was 37 and not 12 years old.   He compared himself to Einstein (when sober), told me he liked boobs, and then when a chap in a turban walked in, he chanted "I Sikh him here, I Sikh him there, I Sikh him everywhere".  So embarrassed, I downed my Sharp's Atlantic, made my excuses and ran out as quickly as I could.

Not much was going on at this stage .....

The calm before the whisky storm.
Flying Scotsman Tap, Doncaster

Pre-Steve, the Donny Drinker had told me this was a pub of the season with it's Chantry ales and live music, so in need of a calmer experience(!), I headed down the hellhole that is Silver Street, all horrific bars and takeaways with scroats and skanks lining the streets,  I'd been expecting some shiny metallic trendy bar full of uncomfortable posing tables, so to find quite a divey dark gig venue was quite a relief.  The barman was of the enthusiastic, cheery ilk (like all bar staff in South Yorkshire towns, pleased to see anyone drinking ale).  He asked me the old "What type of beers do you like?" question, I humoured him by saying "stout and porter" but it'd just gone off so rather than offering me the nearest fit, he sold me the lightest hoppiest beer on sale cos he liked it best!  Bit too dry but the New York Pale at least reminded me of better pubs in Rotherham,  I squashed into an incomprehensibly low settee as two unwashed old men chuckled about the warm weather and wives hanging their washing out (or something).  The artwork was all Brewdog and Bowie.  Ugh.  Our barman kept checking on me & the state of the ale, calling me "duck" far more than was necessary - he must have moved from Derbys, he probably thought I was a rep too.  The music was good, the place a bit dull, though just as I was leaving, "Go Now" by the Moody Blues started up which summed up just how welcome I felt in Donny tonight!

Put "Tap" in front of a pub, and it might get in the GBG one day!

Empty moshing space

Top quality Chantry
After another terrifying walk back to Donny station where three topless teenage chavs crossed the road in an aggressive manner, I did my usual ritual/superstition of getting fleeced by the station vending machine, (£1 plain chocolate Bounty).  Three drunk men in vests came along to tell me I could pay contactless on this vending machine and how ridiculous that was but was I having a good evening?  They had a point of course, but "WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?!"

It was a relief when I got back to 'boring, no-one gives a shit about their fellow man' York.

Good Beer Guide 2017 out on Thursday, I will be back with a special blog so see ya then.



  1. When I read your posts I think I should just give up, but then I realised I didn't ever intend to write the UK's leading dispenser of offence. Makes my modest critique of Saffron Walden look like a puff piece.

    So here we have a diatribe against;

    Station vending machines
    Topless teenage chavs
    Bowie (overdue that one)
    All of Doncaster
    Barmen who ask you what sort of beer you like (spot on)

    Right on all counts.

  2. Ooooh don't use the phrase "puff piece" in front of Whisky Steve, he'll never forgive you..... LOVED your Saffron Walden blog, somehow brought back memories I don't really have.

    Yes, and more diatribe against York, Bucks, Gmr, East Beds, embargo breakers, CAMRA, Protz and many more on Thursday!

    Cheers, Si

  3. I did catch the green tile comment. You must also 'love' the Fulflood in Winchester.

    I may be catching on!

  4. "along with cats and stuffed owls on spikes"

    Is that cats in general, or specifically cats on spikes? ;-)

    I see you've yet again fallen foul of the curse of the solitary drinker, namely the resident pub nutter.

  5. I always thought the Leopard worked well and felt right as a slightly run down gig venue. That was its place in the town. Now it has tried tarting itself up, whilst I accept it is better than the previous state of closure, it doesn't really work. It is trying to be something that it isn't. Of course, bookcase wallpaper is high on the list of pub crimes in any case.

    I should point out that your experiences on football afternoons and Tuesday evenings have been of Doncaster at its safest and most normal. It gets far, far worse on Saturday nights, when I tend to be passing through. Essentially the sights consist of those who have been on a pre night out piss up in York, who you must have seen in the early part of their day, and half dressed neanderthals from places like Thorne and Goole who make Barry from the latter look advanced. Truly terrifying. The wonderful Plough and Corner Pin retain sanity throughout however, being the exception to an otherwise utter shite town.

    Mudge, most of the residents are nutters, Donny is the exception to the rule that each pub generally only has one at a time.

    I've seen people mugged by that vending machine many a time. Just you wait, one day it will get you. The tea machine next to it is just as bad - they are partners in crime.

  6. Firstly, I'd never put a poor cat on a spike, secondly, I'd love to visit this Fulflood however much sarcasm is being used (especially if it has green tiling), thirdly the Corner Pin wouldn't know sanity if it jumped up and bit it on the bum - the little Plough hiding behind a Barnsley Bitter is the only place I've ever felt safe. Not sure why Boro', Luton, Hull, Wrexham etc get all the crap town slatings and Donny escapes every time!

    1. But you would stuff an owl and put it on a spike?

      The Plough has seen its fair share of lunatics, I was using the term sanity relatively for that town. Most other places they wouldn't come close.

      Scunthorpe is worse than Donny, it is hard to be dispassionate but Grimsby is probably about on a par but with a significantly lower pub standard. Middlesbrough and Luton I have always thought to be shite to a level even the Scunts would be proud of.