Wednesday 2 May 2018

BRAPA - April Review / May Preview (2018)

I think from the moment I stepped inside April's first pub, the White Hart in Shifnal at 11:55am on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday, I knew it was going to be a special month.  34 pubs were done, meaning I'd beaten my target, and I also visited 2 pubs which have been in a previous GBG and I guess, could be in a future one.

White Hart, Shifnal.  An amazing pub, my 4th fave of the month!
Picking three favourites is hard.  I think I have to go with "Best Pub Experiences" rather than the aesthetically most pleasing pubs.  After all, pubs like the Dog Inn at Burton on Trent and the Harp in Little Neston were obviously wonderful, but the circs when I was in them didn't quite allow for them to be 'top three' standard "on the day".

Harp in Little Neston, a gem.  5th best pub of the month.

The Flixton Conservative Club, the Fox and Hounds in Barnston, the afore mentioned White Hart at Shifnal and the Firs Club at Codsall were also great, but I'm going for three which left me a smile of bewilderment on my face:

1. Queen's Arms, Winsford
2. Cask & Pottle, Tutbury
3.  Dee View Inn, Hewsall

Queens Arms, Winsford.  A 'Spoons so pure, it was strangely wonderful

Yes, that is right.  I've chosen a crazy Wetherspoons.  I've chosen a micropub where I was the only customer.  And I've chosen a pub full of rough 'live sports fans' where four out of six handpumps were turned around.

Well, there's no accounting for taste!  But I'm just being honest.

I'm glad to say I'm struggling to find three pubs I really disliked.  Again, I'll have to go on my own personal experience rather than pubs I thought were rubbish:

1. John Gilbert, Worsley
2. No 4, Winsford
Jt 3. Last Heretic, Burton on Trent / Heaton Hops, Heaton Chapel.

Heaton Hops, Heaton Chapel.  A victim of circumstance? 

But the real lowlight of the month were unexpected pub closures.  Little Downham and Davenham especially need to feel jolly well silly.  Knutsford escapes my wrath (well the pub, not the place) as I should have realised it was closed down.

May Preview

May is a notoriously tricky month of pub ticking for me, and the BRAPA average of 23 is the lowest of any month.

I can only think that distractions / complications like Birthdays and 'End of Football Season' have scuppered me in the past.  In a reet killer stat, there are 9 days in May which I've NEVER ticked a pub on.  Shameful.  And shameful I have researched that as well but when owls are keeping you awake at 1am in rural Herefordshire, what else can you do?

The kind of photo which summed up pub ticking last May
The month begins late on Friday 4th in a place with rather limited opening hours, but you'll have to wait and see on that one.  I'll carry the mini Friday night crawl through into Saturday, and then may get a pub or three on Sunday, as we go to Brentford for the merciful end of one of most depressing football seasons I can remember (and I watched Hull City right through the nineties!)

So that gets the month off to a great start.  I'll be back for Part 2 of Cambs with the wonderful Martin Taylor, who again is helping me get somewhere particularly rural!  Clue - oink, oink.

The last two Saturday's of the month are focused on me trying to finish Cheshire.  Davenham owes me a pint (in my mind).  Three other pubs too, one of which I've been warned could be closed by the time I get there due to a change of ownership.  Watch this space! 

And on Friday nights, I'll be looking to get back to Greater Manchester on a regular basis, concentrating on pubs east and south of the city.  So lock up your twogs and twilds.

I'll be looking for 31 pubs but if I'm dropping short, I won't force myself to hit the target because the first half of June is going to be EPIC in a way that would have Dylan Thomas blushing as I have my summer holidays 4th -16th June but more on that next month.

Happy pubbing friends,




  1. "I think I have to go with "Best Pub Experiences" rather than the aesthetically most pleasing pubs." Great distinction. I actually think most of you who blog do this naturally. In the end it really is what comes through in the write ups.

  2. Er, "Hewsall", cough, cough...

  3. Strangely I've just done all the pubs in Brentford over two days. Seems six bells is closed as tried it three times across two days and with mop in same place, assume not opening soon. Admittedly don't think it GBG. but one to at least ignore.

    Am interested where your aiming for i.e. Kew etc..