Last issue we took it upon ourselves in the name of cutting edge, hard-working journalism, to survey all Beeston’s pubs by drinking in them all.
Tough work, but we were up for it. Surprisingly, when the job of doing this Herculean task was put out, virtually every one of our volunteered. This doesn’t happen when you want someone to write about the Toton Sewage Reclamation Works.
We gave ourselves 9 hours, stuck to halves, and still couldn’t get round. You simply can’t do them all in one night. That is a pretty glorious thing.
Yet we are professional and thorough. We also like pubs. So this issue we decided to do the ones we never got round to….
The Chequers was given a good fettling a while back, and is now a smart looking pub with decent ale, strangely all Scottish. The football (Wales vs Slovakia) is on, and the place is full of temporary Celts cheering on Bale and co. It’s a great place for a warm summer pint. Its new terrace is a fine suntrap and you can also smell the gorgeousness of Gill’s chippy next door. GOOD FOR: the tram (stop nearby); Scottish beer fans; Welsh football fans.
BEST QUOTE: “You can smell Gill’s from here” “You can smell girls?”
THE HOP POLE:
I swear this happened. As we walk in, Duelling Banjos, the redneck National Anthem, comes on the stereo. Jimmy Wiggins, our sometimes music writer and Hop Pole bar stalwart, finds this incredibly amusing. The Hop Pole is a long term favourite of The Beestonian for so many reasons; Karen the hugely respected landlady; Harvey the taciturn ginger pub cat; The music (live bands each week, plus a music festival and an annual song writing competition). We ask Wiggins why it’s his favourite pub: “It’s the only pub in the world where you can walk in for a pint and get given a car”. That doesn’t happen to us, but it has that element of chaos that the best pubs have. Hurray for the Hop! GOOD FOR: music, fans of pubs, decent ale, worryingly odd regulars.
BEST QUOTE: “Ainsley Harriot always struck me as a bit of a groper”
As its name suggests, The Bar is a bar. Not a pub. Chrome, open, airy. The barman juggles with glasses and pours us a beer. An England match is about to kick off, so the place is rammed and loud. We find a comfy leather sofa on which to sip our ale, overseen by a huge painting of Brian Clough. This used to a bit of an intimidating place, a suburban Yates, but tonight it’s a good place to be as the excitement of the football builds. However, we have to move on. GOOD FOR: football; fans of Brian Golbey, country music legend who bafflingly chooses here as his local.
BEST QUOTE: “The Wurzels never struck me as the people who you’d like to have in charge of the UK’s food production”
Last issue The Commercial was closed with pessimistic predictions being made regarding its future. The general consensus was that a once great, long struggling pub would finally bow out and become a restaurant much like the Durham Ox. It recently reopened, so this is our first nosey round. As we walk in, the place has that saliva-triggering scent of Indian food; aromas of frying garlic, sweet coriander and rich cumin. Yes, it is a restaurant, but also a pub and it works really well. The place is organised well to offer the best of both worlds. Soon we can’t help but order and helpings of high quality, good value curry come rolling onto the table. This beats the usual pub fare by miles. Tucking into the most delicious garlic naan I’ve ever had makes the thought of ever having a Wetherspoons burger again completely disappear. Pub? Restaurant? Who cares. Beeston has a new gem in its pub treasure chest. GOOD FOR: Food. Utterly wonderful food. Service: we get double helpings of those post-food warm wet napkins to clean down our mucky chops.
BEST QUOTE: “I don’t do poppadoms. They’re like elephant scabs to me”
Our last pub, our final hurdle, our stagger – literally – to the finish line. The Cricketers always seems like the last of the rough Beeston pubs, since the demise of The Prince of Wales and The Royal Oak. But it’s actually alright, good value beer, lively atmosphere (the England match is now in full swing, with England a goal up). Our table is a bit shaky and we’re lucky to catch our drinks before they spill on the tartan carpet, but y’know, horses for courses. The football finishes, stupidly loud music kicks in, and we finish our drinks. And with them the Great Beeston Pub Survey. GOOD FOR: Pool, proximity to Sainsbury’s, sport, hearing loss.
BEST QUOTE: Not a quote, but an anecdote involving one of our writers and a famous comedy sidekick. See the back page for more….
CONCLUSION: We’ve got a fine set of pubs. So fine, we’re now existing on a diet composed solely of Lucozade and Rennies.
LB, WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM ROOPAM, JOHN AND DARREN.