Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Sun Inn Pickering

On my North Yorkshire retreat last week, on the way to Whitby, we stopped off in Pickering for a drink. Four of us had intended to park up in the centre and try a couple of the pubs, as our preferred option, the Sun Inn wasn't open until four according to the Good Beer Guide. Driving past it at the end of a neat terrace in Westgate, eagle eyed Steve shouted. "Stop, the door's open." So we did.  It was open too and we trooped in to a lovely welcoming , bright and airy bar with five handpumps. We were greeted smilingly by the barmaid who explained that the pub had summer and winter hours, but we were lucky enough to call before the winter hours kicked in. "We keep telling CAMRA" she sighed, "but they just get it wrong".  We glanced around. It had obviously been a Tetley pub at some time as much Tetley memorabilia in the shape of pumpclips, signs, drinks trays and more dotted the walls.  "There's more next door" quoth our hostess.

We turned to beer, like you do, before exploring.  Tasters were offered. All had clearly been pulled through and were excellent.We were the first customers. Top marks for that. Beers were ordered and in the next hour or so, all the beers were local. apart from Tetley Bitter which was not tried.   A local couple joined us and said hello. The barmaid and later, the landlady joined us and kept up amiable chatter throughout our visit, telling us of social events asking about us and our visit and showing us the next room with a large atrium and the biggest Tetley Bitter sign I've seen.  Apart from the brewery wall that is. The Huntsman in his glory and around six feet tall.  The walls were festooned with paintings from a local artist which apparently are changed for a different artist each month. They weren't cheap, but you could buy greetings cards of them for a mere two quid.  Nice touch. They don't run out of artists readily. The landlady explained that "Pickering is a bit of an arty place." Who knew?

Jeff Bell said yesterday in his blog "All the time I've written this blog, and throughout the years I was in the trade myself, I've wondered what it is that makes a great pub. It's clearer to me now, particularly after a night like that. What makes a great pub is a warm welcome and happiness."

He couldn't be more correct. For strangers, visiting a local pub with a warm welcome and a bit of chat makes it so worthwhile.  We'd intended to have one round, but we had two, so it makes business sense too.  We left happy and with great reluctance and I recommend it strongly to you.  

We tried three more Pickering pubs. Results are still pretty good.  This was more or less the standard routine in Yorkshire, which is a great place to drink.

Sorry no photo of the pub. I forgot. It is at 136 Westgate, Pickering, YO18 8BB


Neville Grundy said...

If you're drinking in Whitby, I'd suggest the Little Angel on Flowergate is worth a visit - not to be confused with the Angel by the harbour, which is a JDW pub.

Phil said...

All had clearly been pulled through

Reminds me of my recent experience down South - at the Rose and Crown in Stratford on Avon, specifically. (Previously posted chez Stonch, so if you read comments on that blog and this looks familiar it probably is.)

I had a pint the other day which I had to take back, because it was just yellowish water - it tasted of absolutely nothing at all. The reason I mention it is that the lad behind the bar refused to taste it, or to try the beer for himself - when I asked him to he did that defensive thing of standing well back from the bar with his arms down by his sides, nothing to do with me mate kind of thing. He asked somebody, who then disappeared off to the cellar, came back five minutes later and - without a word to me - pulled a second pint of frothy yellow stuff and put it in front of me. This one tasted pretty much like beer, so I accepted it rather than take up any more of their valuable time - and bored my family for the next five minutes by ranting to them about appalling customer service and saying I was sure the beer still wasn't right.

Now, I've never worked in a pub, but it occurred to me some time later that I have seen bar staff pulling new beers through, & pulling several pints of frothy water into a bucket to be thrown away. (I guess when you have a new beer on the lines are filled with water so that the pump can work.) Presumably that's what I had, at £3.75 a pint - a bitter and pull-through water shandy.

The beer was SUA Malty Pig, described on the pump clip as a "dark golden bitter". Just wrong. Still grates.

Neville Grundy said...

Phil: I wasn't much impressed with the pubs in Stratford upon Avon when I visited a while ago. Very picturesque, but most of the the beers were predictable regionals, at London prices too. The best beer I found was in Wetherspoons, which I discovered only on my last evening.

Fishter said...

You could add a link to promote the use of Whatpub: gets right to the Sun Inn's entry.

You could even submit an update for the opening hours. Although it may just provoke an internal argument about how to represent "Opens at noon during school holidays" in the database!

Martin, Cambridge said...

It's very unusual (and a joy) to find a pub open unexpectedly; I must have visited 2 dozen in last year where promised lunchtime hours not kept.