‘Sorry, we’re closed tonight. But we’re open tomorrow night!
Not what you want to hear on the doorstep of a pub you had planned to review, particularly the evening before the deadline for said article.
‘Supposing I don’t want a pint tomorrow night,’ I roared in my furious imagination.
Absolute nonsense, of course. Obviously I’ll want a pint tomorrow night.
Rarely don’t want a pint. Wake me from deep sleep at 3am and I’ll take a pint off your hands, Carling Black Label aside.
But on the Wednesday night in question it was a case of NEED not want. And having reviewed every pub within both spitting distance and a stone’s throw, a meaningful route march now lay ahead. An enforced hike which culminate at the bar of the Grand Junction in Watery Lane.
Quite a way off my beaten track, this would be my first pint thereabouts of the century – since being gainfully employed in the vicinity – and I think is fair to say that the passing years have been kind to neither myself nor the establishment.
Careworn would be the kindest word for the pub and I, although my seating is far less comfortable than the blue velvet bench on which yours truly took the weight off.
A decent crowd in there for an autumn midweek early evening (including the happiest burliest Staffie I’ve met in years, mostly gathered around the handsome curved wooden bar, this is a blokes’ pub through and through; brisk business on the pool table, boxing on the big screen and friendly bawdy banter.
There being not much on offer by way of cask – although a decent selection of premium and continental lagers line the bar – whistle was whet with a Kingstone Press Classic Cider.
Have acquired quite a taste for decent cider of late – a refreshing tongue cleanser before moving onto the cask – and this is a sharp and appley drop have found ticks the box perfectly. Refreshing and tangy, it fair flew away.
And then that, sadly, had to be that. Having spent most of the time at my disposal fannying around outside a shut shop then yomping my way into a long tramp home, the road was calling.
I tell you, after all this walking I will definitely be ready for a pint tomorrow.
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