Tag Archives: ale

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 Park Inn


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.

The Steam Inn


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Just down the street from The Chlachain Inn, this has a restaurant attached, but you can just eat in the bar. Again, it’s not that traditional inside- much less than you’d expect, but there was ale, great food (including curry!) and a friendly welcome. There’s a TV and jukebox but you can hear over them. Prices OK- food expensive, but that’s true everywhere in town.

The Clachain Inn


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The first pub we came to in Mallaig. First impressions outside were good, inside less so: the decor is less traditional inn, more 90s cafe bar, and there were small children running about and dropping pool cues. Beer was good though.

A second visit was much better: we were expecting the decor, and no brats evident. Great beer, fantastic food, and a warm welcome (and warm coal fire) made it a pleasant visit.

The Stag Hotel

Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway:

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Actually a hotel, but the bar felt pub-like, and the distincton blurs north of the border. Deuchar’s IPA on a hand pull, and a reasonable beer garden in the sunshine made this a nice place to be at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, rather than at work. Friendly staff and locals, decent beer. There was food available in the adjoining restaurant, but we visited too early for that.

Revisits: The Royal Exchange

Original post here.

A while ago, the pub had a half-hearted makeover that made it worse: it felt even more like a clubhouse. I’m glad to say that’s been fixed: the pub looks smart and feels modern and welcoming, and there’s new outside furniture too. It’s also gained real ale, which is very welcome, and food.

…which is where I was disappointed.

At time of writing, the website says food is served 12:00-20:00, and I’m told if you view on an iPad, it says light bites available up to 14:30. The sign outside says “food every day”.

Either way, having settled down with an (to be fair, excellent) pint, it was dissapointing to be told the kitchen had closed when I tried to order food at 14:01, so we drank up and went back down to the bustling centre of Walsall Wood and the Boatman’s Rest. Shame really, we’d have been set up for the afternoon…