All posts by stymaster

Tommy Ducks

Blackpool:

Near to the Pleasure Beach and the South Pier, this has the seafront position. We dropped in, tired after a day wandering (and a ride on The Big One for me), while I searched Google for a nearby Chinese restaurant. It was a mix of good and bad: the glasses were plastic, but better than the usual cups. No ale, but drinkable Stella (a repeated story of this trip…), and friendly staff that were working hard, but nowhere near enough of them judging by the filthy tables and piles of dirty glasses, and the wait at the bar. We sat outside in the sun at the only clear table, next to one with discarded not-even-half-eaten meals, so overall not a good impression, but there was nothing wrong with our drinks and the prices were OK.

The Bispham Hotel

Bispham, Blackpool:

The only ale I got on our Blackpool trip. Some way north of the main attractions, but very near a tram stop, this is a lovely thirties pub, with some great features, owned by the Samuel Smith’s chain. I’d class the exterior as a bit more Arts and Crafts than Art Deco, but the inside has strong Art Deco touches.

There’s no music, no TVs, and no kids :-). Added to that, the prices are stunning: a pint of bitter and a half of cider came to £3.27, little more than the pint alone would cost in many places, and not much of an increase over a visit to a Sam Smith’s pub in 2008.

The Bull Hotel

Blackpool:

Passed this on our first walk to the seafront, having taken the long route because we couldn’t see the short one in the dark. It’s on Waterloo Rd, just back from the seafront.

It looks like a modern refurb from outside, inside is traditional, and pleasant, but not prisitine & sparkly bay any means- but I like that. It’s fairly large and open plan inside, and gave the impression of being less of a tourist pub than many.

Friendly staff and customers: no ale, but the lager was OK.

The Laughing Donkey

Blackpool:

The bar on the South Pier. It sells itself as a family bar, and that’s pretty much what it is. There’s mixed entertainment aimed at the audience. In short, it’s just the place I hate and detest…

…however, in context, it’s fine. It’s ordinary families having fun on holiday, and as it was a warm night we sat outside and enjoyed the view over night-time Blackpool. It won’t win any prizes for beer (no ale…) or for relaxed ambience, but it was OK.

The Yeadon Way

Blackpool:

It’s a Brewer’s Fayre, so a family feedbag blandfest, next to a Premier Inn. However, it was nearly 9pm, and we needed food and alcohol, so in we went.

It wan’t bad. Pretty devoid of atmosphere, of course, and the beer selection was the standard keg rubbish, but the Stella was OK, the wine OK, the staff efficient, and the food OK too. The pub exists mostly to serve as the Premier Inn’s restaurant, so expect children, but this wasn’t a problem.

The Park Inn

Woodsetton:

This is the Holdens brewery tap. We only visited because it looked nice and a small child was driving us mad on the bus, but it’s a fine pub- big, outside space, and pleasant staff, together with great beer.

We didn’t try the food, but prices looked good, and the staff were great. Beer, as expected, was great too. The interior was a bit modern chain-pub, but in fact the pub was a good deal more pleasant.

The Bottle and Glass

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley:

Originally from Brierly Hill Rd, Brockmore, backing on to the canal, this pub was taken and rebuilt at the museum where it continues to not serve lager “it’s not been invented yet” :-). It’s a nice place, a genuine timewarp (though you can get timewarp without paying for admission), and the beer, cider, and cobs were all fine, and the staff pleasant. No real glasses outside, sadly, but otherwise no complaints. Staff pleasant, prices OK for captive audience, decent outside space on a gorgeous hot day.

The Old Forge

Inverie, Knoydart Peninsula:


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The remotest pub in mainland Britain, only accessible by a 20 mile hike or by boat. There are roads, but they’re not connected to the main UK road network.

I was a bit dissapointed, perhaps because of high expectations: the pub’s site bigs up the real ale, but there was only one on offer (which was fine, but not one I was keen on), the wine seemed a bit duff and while the food looked good, it was a bit over the top for lunchtime, which is the easiest time to visit, so we went to a tearoom for lunch instead. Staff were fine though, and there was decent lager.

The Grog and Gruel

Fort William:


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First impressions weren’t doing it for me: I was expecting a sub-Wetherspoon pub, and inside was dark on a very bright sunny day (and no outside space, sadly- a couple of tables in the pedestrianised High St would be great) but I was very wrong: the staff were friendly, the beer was great (a choice of ale including a fine IPA whose name escapes me) and the food other customers had looked good, and this was the closest to a proper traditional pub we got to in the Highlands this week.