Southampton was my location for my final day of pub ticking on this epic six day Hampshire crawl.
Six pubs I'd like, and the town had twelve GBG ticks I needed. Imagine if I drank halves, I could get them all done! In and out of the pubs in ten minutes, forming no lasting impression of them, no need to write a blog. I do make life harder for myself, but I can't stop now. Plus, I love it.
BRAPA and Southampton goes back to 2005. Platform Tavern was my debut pub, a beauty and still in the GBG today. 2 years later, fish & chips on my own in something called the Crown. Not seen it in the GBG since. Got drenched. Quick pint in Guide Dog, but far too busy for me to enjoy it. By 2011, despite an evening kick off, I got Junction and South Western Arms in pre-match. In 2013, I enjoyed the Rockstone and I'd walk past it today, but no longer in the GBG. And my most recent trip, Hop Inn, then Butchers Hook where Dad and Tom met Martin Taylor for the first time (it now has a blue plaque I believe), and post match, an epic three pub session with Daddy BRAPA in the Freemantle area. Still epic, as I'd found out later (see pub six).
Map drawn, train on time, I was raring to go .....
And I'd have got to pub one sooner if a Deliveroo rider hadn't blocked my path and asked where Starbucks was, he can't see it anywhere. We are right outside it! He looks ashamed, and so he should.
11:59am, and on this my final day, I am waiting for a pub to open for the first time. A silhouette appears and tells me he'll just be five minutes. Come on mate, the BRAPA clock is ticking .....
Handle Bar, Southampton did what it said on the tin in so much as our host, the previous silhouette, was now visible, and had a handle bar moustache, or at least the beginnings of one. A nice chap, just like in Flower Pots at Cheriton yesterday, I was so close to getting into conversation with him, but it never quite transpired. Maybe before my first pint, I'm Too Shy? Talking of eighties pop groups, there was a decent amount of Brewerianarama in here, plus quirky shit like spiders. A nicely done place, not my favourite of the day, but my no means your box room serious drinkers micro. A few old blokes were soon on the scene, chatting freely with the barman. It had been a long way to come for beer from Malton, I was enjoying it, but the others were all slagging it off for being too 'floral'. Two men had a conversation (shouted over the top of me) where they must've mentioned about 8 of the 12 pubs on my 'to do' list. This odd dog kept eyeing up Colin and slobbering, but that was as close as we got to interaction.
None of the pubs were too close together, but this one was a ten minute amble at least. Southampton is a deceptively large place, I'll never moan about Sheffield again.
Something about the smell of fusty old books that really lends itself to creating a good pub atmosphere, and that was the real clincher during my trip to Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton. You know I despise nothing more than fake bookcase wallpaper (well, it'd be in the top 10 BRAPA hates) so it was very nice to see so many of the real things! Not exactly Falmouth, but it is a start. This time, as the only customer in early, I get chatting to the personable young barman, a twenty year old student, Ben. Not the same Ben who was singing in Eastleigh Steam Thing last night, but he tells me he was in there, in one of those train seats. He finds it funny when I ask if he owns the place, but as I've learned the hard way, you cannot assume business owners! He tries to encourage me to buy the humungous bird book I'm looking at, but being five times the weight of the fricking Good Bloody Beer Guide, no way I'm lugging that around with me, even if it is a snip at £3.99.
A decent trek across town took me past the Rockstone of 2013 pre-match fame, and uggghh why didn't I go for a wee before I left? Absolutely nowhere you could go for a sly tinkle around here either. Pub three better not have anyone in the loo!
'Craft beer and punk rock!' screamed the blackboard at Beer & Boards, Southampton. 'Well there's a concept no company has ever thought of making money off before!' I thought sarcastically knowing full well it must be deliberate, surely. I liked this place, bright and sunny, a bit sparse and bare furniture and decor wise, but the guy who served me (Menzingers top, good band, on their day - can't get into new album) was a top lad, I said hi from Ben (cos his girlfriend works here, but not today), and not fancying the cask offering, I wound up with this Kiwi Fruit Gose thing that was a proper grower, like ringworm in a woolly jumper, danker than Fritzl's cellar. You don't get this content on Untappd. A bloke behind me mentions he is from Wakefield every five minutes, as all West Yorkshire men over the age of 50 do when they are in the south of England. He goes to get changed in the loo, it takes forever, painful cos even though I'd relieved my full bladder, it had filled up again with fizzy kiwi by this point! After they left, I got chatting a bit with rest of the pub and all very pleasant. I won't use the 'B' word but I never did quite work out whether this was a tribute to them, or a sort of two fingered punk rock salute 'this is how ya do it!'
|Col hides from Yorkshireman|
|Octopus, scrabble and beer keg seats, the scene so very micro|
It was a good long stretch down towards the pier, about an 18 minute walk, but there were three pubs I needed down there to take me to the magic 'six for the day' mark.
|Don't drink it mate, you'll never get out alive|
So today was providing an instructive lesson. Three micropubs, and then a gorgeous looking old timber framed thing. And look which one I'd ended up disliking most? And I claim to be less bothered by beer than pubs? But it seems a bad beer can change everything!
|Tell that to the Duke of Wellington!|
|Now that's a pub table!|