Time to celebrate the completion of East Yorkshire pub ticking, just across the border from Snaith , in Hatfield, South Yorkshire where Jack Hawley at the Grange (1881 / 3310) was lurking just out of view of the main road, up a steepish staircase. Whilst the name might put you in mind of a gastro hunting lodge in rural Surrey owned by Brunning & Price, the truth couldn't be much different. Blokes in Doncaster Rovers training gear and stained vests and women in strapless tops with shoulder tramp stamps all gurned in friendliness as we made our way to the bar, the house beer is fittingly called Eccentric by the always reliable Welbeck Abbey, and it is the coolest, best kept ale of the day, proof that even in 30 degree heat, cask ale can be kept well if you know your onions. Dad takes a seat away from the crowds, at the far end of the carpeted welcoming room, slightly out of earshot of the crazy stuff probably being discussed. A couple of Donny based real ale fans at work were a bit lukewarm with their reviews on this place, but I really rated it.
And that was my last pub before the so called Freedom Day of Monday 19th July.
I was surprised how much of a difference the end of restrictions made to my first pub experience, the following day, in York's Three Cranes.
Not a Good Beer Guide pub by any stretch of the imagination sadly (though three well kept ales on today, despite the ongoing hot spell), this pub couldn't be more central, and yet, couldn't be less representative of the 'York scene'. Where else in town are you likely to encounter 70 year old ladies in leopard print, belting out Blue Velvet or Runaround Sue? Sixties music is ALWAYS on in here. The scene was chaotic. Good chaos. A 90 year old bloke smoking in the doorway confirms this is the entrance to the pub (I didn't ask mate!) and the scrum at the bar makes me feel alive. I have to twist my body at a weird angle to pay for my drink and take pint before a barmaid swoops across to take a tray of drinks outside. Two dangerous looking blokes decide to have an impromptu game of darts. Cos they can. Despite there being not enough space. The oche is where we are getting our drinks from. One turns and glares at my mate, simply for being stood there with his pint. We end up squashed against the far wall. This is the pubs I remember. It might take a while until we get back to these kind of scenes all over, the land but for now, this was a heartwarming reminder of #PubLife at its best.
A few days later, it was time to take advantage of a slightly early work finish having just been double jabbed, so I embarked on a slightly over ambitious midweek evening trip, which if it went wrong, could leave me stranded.
But how likely was it to go wrong? Not like the British rail network is unreliable, is it? Is it?
It seemed an interesting place, with funny stand alone clock towers and a weird corrugated pink helter skelter which the locals called 'Beacon', visible from the pub window.
And here was the first pub of the evening ......
Rita's Pantry, Redcar (1882 / 3311) was an incredibly beery location i.e. people took their beer very seriously, which kind of meant the beer had to be good to make the place a success in my eyes. I've had colder cups of tea and coffee this year, and I was left thinking cask wasn't the wise choice here. The hot snap continued to grip us with its burning tentacles, and whilst the flavour was hoppy tropical pow-wow, it was like someone had microwaved a carton of Um Bongo for 40 seconds (800W oven). A former amusement arcade, it was a nicely done place with slight nautical, piratey themes, but not much was cracking off, so I took my pint outside to a bench next to the local craft lovers, one of whom had a spectacular beard, pipe and chihuahua, yet was probably younger than me! No one chatted, but I smiled at them a few times, and highlighted my GBG theatrically in case that sparked conversation, but alas not. Time to push on if I was to get a pre-emptive in before my train north.
But if that was a disappointment, Redcar's non GBG micro, recommended to me by the wonderful John Depeche-Modem off Twitter no less, was quite the contrasting atmosphere.
|Doin' the devil at Lucifers|
|Match of the day|
|Col enjoys his stout|
|So do I|