I read, with a great deal of interest, Mudgie's article in response to one by Boak and Bailey referred to on Twitter and linked. The subject, paraphrased, is dodgy pubs. Now it has to be said that Boak and Bailey aim their piece squarely at the (American) visitor as it was published in All About Beer Magazine, but there is more than a grain of truth in their observations, summed up in this paragraph, which Mudgie quotes. It is necessary for me to do the same as it provides context.
if you wander into side streets, the outer suburbs, or into the shade
of concrete tower blocks, you might still come across the kind of pub
where it is possible for an innocent abroad to get into trouble. There
aren’t many exterior clues other than a general state of disrepair,
although with experience you develop a kind of sixth sense based on the
state of the curtains or some subtle hint implied in the signage."
Like my colleague Pub Curmudgeon, I too have been visiting pubs where I'm not known for over 40 years and like Mudgie, I have had few problems in so doing. Of course, to some extent in terms of pubs, you do develop a sense of impending danger and are able to quietly slip away before anything difficult to deal with occurs. I agree too that as you get older, you present no real challenge to those with the potential to do you harm at worst - or alarm - which in itself is bad enough, but likely more difficult to deal with for the foreign visitor, who is already struggling to understand both culture and nuance.
I did relate on Mudgie's blog, a little story of my time in Liverpool, when I was once physically attacked, though then as a fit football playing young man under 30, I was able to shrug off my attacker, though not the locals who grabbed me and chucked my out on my ear, but no more than that. In recalling this incident, I looked up the name of the pub concerned (The Newstead Abbey -see photo from Google) as memory had faded. In doing so I came across this fantastic review of what was my manor. It talks about the pubs I used to visit frequently, most of which are closed. It concentrates on Smithdown Road in Liverpool 7. I lived 100 yards from that road, though most of my local drinking was done in the parallel roads and back streets. Nonetheless, those were pubs I visited frequently and usually with great pleasure. The bus went from Smithdown Road, so it had that handiness too for a quick pee when returning from Town, or a swifty on the way there.
Do read the linked article. It hints at a pub life that has faded away to a large extent and in its observations, suggests I think, about why the beleaguered remainder may not be as welcoming as I can assure, most once were.
I think that the Newstead Abbey has now closed. My own local, The Earl Marshall a mere 100 yards away was still open fairly recently, but who knows now.
The writer of the other article speaks of his dislike for the New Campfield. Me too. Unlike the rest (Mulliner excepted - ) it was keg. Whitbread of course.
The photo is of the Mulliner which was a Tetley pub which sold "Drum Bitter" or keg. It was a nice boozer inside and very welcoming, but was called something else then which I can't remember, but everyone called it the Mulliner..
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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