Wednesday 16 August 2017

BRAPA - No Posers at the Grocers

When I stepped off the train at Irlam into the breezy warm evening air, something became immediately apparent.  I had to alter my expression from "wide-eyed happy pub tourist" to "commuter who is depressed beyond tablets" to fit in with the crowd.

Having said that, I did get stuck behind a wide chirpy cockney Del-Boy type in Adidas, who kept saying "somefink and anyfink" and  blocking my path.  It wasn't lovely or jubbly.

Irlam was reassuringly close to how I'd imagined outer Manchester in my mind's eye before I started this challenge.  A million miles from the ASSpirational betty swollocks of Chorlton (and more recently Altrincham, bits of Bury etc.), more like outer weeping Ashton-under-Lyne, the bowels of Dukinfield, Rochdale in the winter etc.  And you know what?  I feel a lot more easy and comfortable in places like this.

After all, where else will you see a closed down pet boutique called "Hair & Hounds"?  Beautiful.  I wanted a photo but a man looked at me funny.

Under a railway bridge and a reminder not to get too comfortable, I was now in Cadishead and the 'threat' level had been turned up a notch as a gang of screaming mutant tweenagers with roller blades for feet scooted across the road cackling, not in the least bit intimidated by oncoming cars.

The pub was in sight, and I tried to recover myself quickly to take the obligatory outdoor shot, where I was immediately photobombed accidentally by a man probably called Bob:

Probable Bob says "ow do, hope you didn't get mi beergut in!" (seems slimline to me)

1226.  Grocers, Cadishead

So I walk in to the little square micro pub, say hi to the assembled crowd of 2 or 3, but where is the bar?  Ahhh, it is one of those micropubs where the barman brings the beer from the kitchen area so I tried to hover in the hallway and not look too impatient.  Now, we all know beer blogging is boring (as I bravely announced to the pub, luckily they agreed), but this Wishbone ale from Keighley was stunning.  No sooner had I sat down when a kind blonde lady told the pub how a man from L**ds had arrived at her A&E with a chopstick up his arse!  "There's a joke in there somewhere, I dunno what it is", said a local - probably Probable Bob who'd returned with some takeaway chips to taunt poor lovable dog, George.  You know I'm not a dog fan, but this was no twog, and an unlikely candidate for BRAPA pub pet of the year.  Another punter was still thinking 'arse chopsticks', and said "probably a health professional from Yorkshire!"  As the pub laughed raucously, I tried to dissolve into a corner but that's impossible in a friendly Micro.  "Don't tell me you're from Yorkshire?!" says A&E lady, and soon I'm admitting not only that, but I'm a pub ticker.  "Aaaah, is it Simon?" says mine affable host who's now sat down.  Fame at last!   And what a lovely chap, soon we were chatting BRAPA, heritage pubs, Liverpool, and my burning question, is Cadishead really part of Salford?  The GBG said so, but if I was to walk from my fave Salford pub the Eagle, it'd take 3 hrs and 23 mins!  Conclusion, there will be a Salfordshire in the GBG soon - county sign "Twinned with nowhere : best bring a weapon with you".  Probable Bob admitted he was the vice chairman of the local CAMRA, two ladies who looked like slimline beetroots arrived and asked if there was a dress code as they'd been at a "Meta-fit" session, whatever that is.  There was no ice to put in their wine.  Good!  Another reason to like micropubs, and seriously, if they carry on being as good as this and the wonderful Chiverton Tap the other week, I'll have to start being properly nice about them!!  I left to handshakes and goodbyes, I even let A&E lady highlight the entry in the GBG, she had an A&E steady hand.  I was smiling as I left.  Then remembering where I was (on the mean streets again), I re-set my expression to fake-glum.  A must visit.

Top quality ale as I fail to hide in the corner

Mine host thumbs through the BRAPA GBG

Another friendly local and pub view.

So that was worth it.  Felt sorry for Dad watching the Taaaargers losing 2-3 at home to Wolves instead.  I had a snack at Manc Oxford Road, one of those stations you feel you need to breathe in at just to stay within it's confines.  And I was back in York approx 22:35 for a late tea, the only lowpoint when a load of L**ds fans got on heading to their NE homes when they could be supporting a nicer team like Northallerton or Darlington.  

Onwards n upwards, well probably not as me, Tom and Dad return for football fun in West London on Saturday.  I'm on 8-4 next week so am gonna try and squeeze in TWO after work Greater Manchester pubs next Tuesday.  Watch this space.

Til Sunday, have a good rest of the week! 



  1. What a lovely article. This little pub holds a special place in my heart and you've captured it perfectly.

    1. Thanks Rachael, that's really nice of you to say. Glad I did it justice, definitely one of my top pub experiences of 2017 so far :)

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