/ Unusual pubs!
Reading the thread on the best pubs in Pembrokeshire and mention of the Old Point House in Angle, which I only managed to visit once, because it never seemed to be open (20+ years ago). However, one of the most unusual pubs I ever visited was a portacabin on the roof of the Napoleonic fort on Thorn Island in West Angle Bay. We were picked up by rib off the beach and dropped off at a high tide landing in the early hours.
The Quiet Woman
> The Quiet Woman
Very! I wouldn’t want to be a Potherb in there!
The Three Stags was quite unusual.
> The Three Stags was quite unusual.
Hope it still is.
Not been in 18 years.
It was still there at least 2 years ago.
The landlady mopped up the dog piss in the side room when I was there
Good to see The Three Stags Heads mentioned, first time I walked in there were four guys sharpening knives at the bar and the bar man was drinking a pint of special brew beneath a sign saying "Please do not ask for lager as a punch in the mouth may offend", and a dog pissed on my friend's jacket when she went to the toilets!
A definite time warp pub. On my only visit after a day climbing on Kinder and hungry, we asked if they were serving food. ‘ first we will feed us, then the dogs, then you three may get some’. Took a good hour to get liver and onions but it was good.
Ha! That is the pub I thought of when I read the thread title. Had a wonderful Sunday roast there last year (I think), I remember seeing the locals lined up outside watching the water and thinking the scene would have been the same for the last several hundred years. Special.
> It was still there at least 2 years ago.
> The landlady mopped up the dog piss in the side room when I was there
So did I after that Xmas tree went up tonight;) the paper was a good idea too;)
The Clutha in Glasgow has an unusual vibe about it. I always enjoy a pint in there, especially on an evening with the sun setting directly down the Clyde (rare). The on street seating is is usually packed with pasty Scots getting burnt to f*ck.
The Hunter's Lodge Inn in Priddy (Mendips). AKA The Centre Of The Caving Universe.
Actually has it's own cave in the car park. The owner (Roger) has a hatred of mobile phones and has a board with a selection nailed to it.
One lager hidden under the bar (No idea what, been there a while!) and no hand pumps. Barrels racked and tapped behind the bar.
P.S. The local cider is, though raved about, foul!
Where is this pub you may ask? No Place. That is No Place, Stanley, Co. Durham. Even the location is unusual.
When I lived in Coventry this was an interesting ale house.
Barrels on a bench, local brews, specials such as a Battle of Britain Memorial ale. Still going apparently.
Used to be a favourite of mine too!
Customer: This beer's cloudy Roger.
Roger: See those bits floating in it?
Roger: Can't be cloudy then, can it?
Customer: This beer's off.
Roger: *drinks whole pint*
Roger: Tasted alright to me.
The New Beehive in Manningham Lane, Bradford, which is on the Yorkshire Ripper heritage trail. The place has a great selection of hand-pulled ales, wooden boards, gas lighting and a coal fire in each room.
This is going back more than 40 years. Does anyone remember Josie, the Austrian landlady of the Burnmoor Inn at Boot ?
She was quite a character ! My best recollection is being there with a group from my climbing club, I think we were staying at the Eskdale C.H.A and went for a drink after dinner on the Saturday evening.
She was always pi$$ed or half pi$$ed and you never knew what to expect. On this occasion she chose my friend Graham as her target. Sitting on his knee she started to get intimate and faced with little reaction VERY intimate, fondling his genitals ! There was still no "reaction"! She stated that he must be gay ! How right she was, but Graham didn't "come out" for many years after theses events.
I remember this clearly, we were all $hit-scared we'd be next !
The Square and Compass in Dorset (perfect for post climb pints after a trip to Winspit).
Comes complete with own fossil and archaeology museum - i.e. a cluttered room with some amazing local finds. The annual strange pumpkin and other weird veg festival. The menu of; pastie or vege pastie. Woodhenge (a less durable version of stonehenge).
My favourite memory was talking to a queue of americans fresh off their coach, lining up in the doorway commenting on how quaint it was and then asking where the bar was... "see that small hatch-like window - that's the bar". I'm not sure she actually believed me until she got to the front of the queue.
I was going to say the Square and Compass too. There is a new micro-pub local to me, Cobbetts in Dorking - half off-licence, half pub. The walls are lined with bottles for sale, beer from all over the world. A selection of barrels round the back - you choose from beermats pinned to a board. A few big barrels as tables, no seats bar a few cushions on a large window ledge.
There used to be a weird place in the Shetlands - long wooden shed covered in roofing felt. The tables were railway sleepers on trestles and the seats were benches out of an old bus, nailed to the floor. Blue Harp or Red McKewans in cans, and that was it.
Cobbett's sounds a lot like the Real Ale Corner in Chesterfield except the bottles are all from a 40ish mile radius of the town. Me and a mate called in from work one lunchtime a couple of years back to pick up a few bottles. After a while the guy who owns it asks 'do you want a pint whilst you're choosing, lads?' Well of course we did. I try and call in every time I'm in Chesterfield now.
Sounds like these kind of places are proliferating now which is all to the good.
Staying with Pembroke pubs, has anyone been to the Dyrffryn Arms (also known as Bessie's) in Pontfaen? It makes the Three Stags Heads look like a suburban Wetherspoons. There's one room, with seating all facing into the middle, and the service is from a hatch in one wall, with draught Bass on gravity being served from a jug by the eponymous Bessie. The sign outside used to say "OPEN ALL DAY", but both the Ls seem to have fallen off and no-one has felt any need to replace them.
That sort of pub can have different moods depending on who's in and how you get on with them, but to us it felt like a really warm and friendly place, and a bit of a window into what many small rural pubs must have been like seventy or so years ago.
Surprised nobody has mentioned The Drovers just north of Loch Lomond with its collection of tatty stuffed animals and the bar area that looks as though the dust on the windowsills is hundreds of years old. It always seems to be lively in there.
> Good to see The Three Stags Heads mentioned, first time I walked in there were four guys sharpening knives at the bar and the bar man was drinking a pint of special brew beneath a sign saying "Please do not ask for lager as a punch in the mouth may offend", and a dog pissed on my friend's jacket when she went to the toilets!
I've not been to this place, but I feel that you've confused the words unusual and f*cking awful.
Two pubs in Norwich where I was at Uni for a while - The Adan & Eve by the Castle (Adnams real ale) - famous for its lock ins - I recall sheepishly marching out with my mates at midnight between two policemen who dutifully took names & addresses. Also the Jolly Butchers which was famous for its landlady - Black Anna - who always dressed as a grieving Spanish widow who would serenade a chosen amore from the clientele. I always dreaded being chosen but some of her fans lined up for the privilege.
It is definitely the weirdest pub I've ever been to, they have a good range of ale and cider usually, I'd much rather that than somewhere soulless like the pub near Harpur Hill quarry or the Wheatsheaf in Baslow!
Josie was infamous http://www.lakeland-enterprise.co.uk/bootboys/BigJosie.html
It is many, many years since I have been to either of these but both were delightful if a little odd, but in a good way.
The All Nations in Madeley, Shropshire. There was a definite feeling that you were going into someone's house rather than a pub (and brewery)
The Westford Inn, Claddach Kirkibost, North Uist. Again at the time (more than 20 years ago) a feeling of going in to a home instead of pub. I also recall the corridor to the Gents was illuminated by a single green light bulb.
> Also the Jolly Butchers which was famous for its landlady - Black Anna - who always dressed as a grieving Spanish widow who would serenade a chosen amore from the clientele. I always dreaded being chosen but some of her fans lined up for the privilege.
There's a place called Hunte's Gardens in Barbados, pretty much on the highest point of the island. It is run by the eponymous Hunte who's about 80 and properly eccentric. The very beautiful garden (built around and in a collapsed cave) and the buildings surrounding it are open to the public. He has a large veranda on which you can easily drink rather too much of his excellent rum (from the Four Square distillery). He has lots of bewildered tourists from the cruise ships. He tells them that he married Maria Callas after she died. If they look doubtful, he shouts 'Someone go and wake Maria up and tell her to give us a song' . A few minutes later, a hidden p.a. system around the gardens booms into life with a recording of Maria Callas at substantial volume. Priceless.
A while since I've been to the All Nations (<cough Telford!) My wifes sister lived in Madeley for a while.
Just over the border in Staffs is the Anchor at High Offley Remarkable canalside pub- 2 tiny rooms and an outside privvy full of nesting house martins in the summer
The 3 staggs heads is superb. a proper pub.
Quiet women is great and a time warp , totally different experience than the 3 Staggs.... You can camp at both pubs too.
The royal cottage in that neck of the woods is worth a visit too, I liked the Drovers when I went..... and some of the stuffed animals are mad , sharks , seal pups the lot.
Yew tree in at Cauldon low is worth a try too ....
far from it.
> far from it.
Which may be the case, but not what I would consider a glowing review given above. I want to feel at least a little welcome, regardless of my drink choice, and leave as I entered, free of dog's piss.
The Quiet Woman, Earl Sterndale is about as old fashioned as they come but if you want unusual then....
The Yew Tree at Cauldon Low, ancient pub full of ancient antique musical instruments they have a Yewstock festival there every year.
The Royal Cottage, near to the Winking Man. An escapee from Royston Vassey if ever there was one. The farmer will tow your car off the car park with his tractor if it gets stuck in the mud.
The Bull'n'Thorn just outside Buxton is another antique filled establishment. The suit of armour and various weaponry is a feature.
The Old trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham, built into caves with a haunteed model ship
Is it happy hour again, and again, and again?
The Evesham hotel also deserves a special mention for the giant doll with the fart machine sat in the gents. It's half visible in the light from the bar when you open the door and before the light turns on a fart machine goes off. Also, the owner wears a soft toy monkey as a tie...
On the note of the three stags heads I have never felt unwelcome in there despite the blokes sharpening knives. I've been in plenty of pubs without any real ale available, the world can certainly stand one where lager drinkers need to adjust their habits.
Another one that I am sure many climbers will recall is The Douglas Arms in Bethesda. The landlord refused to accept decimalisation in 1971 and continued to price, charge & give change in £ S D into the 80's. I never came out best when he gave me change - just how much is 16s 11pence ha'penny for a round? And what change do you get for £1 note - 3s and one ha'penny of course - so I looked at my 15p change and he just smiled. Brilliant.
The Bull i'th' Thorn is now sadly closed I am sad to say. Also it is probably very un PC to post a picture of the Inn Sign for the Quiet Woman!
Another one for The Douglas, all the Og Cot lads used it in the days of my youth.
The Winchester, near Sterl Earndale, is a bit of an unusual pub. Last time that I was there, following a walk up Mount Cinder Kout, my mum turned into a zombie. Fortunately, I discovered that the Winchester rifle above the bar is functional and was able to shoot my mum. The respite was only temporary, as a hoard of zombie DofE aspirants broke into the pub. My mate Dave got disembowelled, and this enraged my girlfriend Dianne who grabbed Dave's leg and rushed into the horde.
While Di was waving her leg about, my other mate Pete got zombified and bit Ed, after which I had to shoot Pete and set fire to the bar. The fire set off the rifle ammunition while me, Liz, and Ed fled into the cellar, where we contemplated suicide and the true grade of Three Pebble Slab. Ed volunteered to stay behind with the rifle, while me and Liz escaped through a hatch that opens to the street. The Army arrived shortly afterwards, and gunned down the remaining zombies.
Great pub. However, I've not been back since as I reckon that I'm barred.
Mate, that sounds awesome. Bloke I know had a similar experience, when trying to do the 'golden mile' pub crawl in Newton Haven. But, I think he's full of it. He says dogs cant look up. I'm sure they can.
Too much Scruttocks Old Dirigible!
That's a shame I really liked the Bull'n'Thorn. The ale was ok but the ecletic mix of antique stuff was brilliant
> The Bull i'th' Thorn is now sadly closed I am sad to say.
Do you mean it's closed permanently? If so, that's very sad. I was very fond of that old place.
Well played with the Winchester mate. Also keep away from the Steak house near Bakewell f*cking vampires everywhere and the decors like a Berni inn
For the truly unusual pub I can recall a few from my past.
The Super Star - pub in Newcastle-u-Lyme that was literally the front room of a terrace house, you had to walk past the owners mum watching TV to go to the loo.
The bar on the Lundy ferry - Stretching it I know but it was a damn good bar.
O'Leary's Bar in Moscow airport - part of an exchance programme with aer lingus. A genuine Irish bar in Moscow. Guiness and vodka
Spam's Pub in Kathmandu - The only pub I've been to where monkeys steal your pint.
Quiet Woman fans should check the 50s time warp of The Duke of York in Elton. Mid winter there are few cosier pubs than the Olde Gate in Brassington with two 18th century ranges belting out the heat.
That must have been a good while ago! the Super star is still a 80's bar on the Ironmarket on the same site ... but far far from the original sort of place.
Class act the Douglas.
We used to go in the Douglas in the 70s, I hated the place as somebody would always try to pick a fight with us English students. A friend of mine bought a round and true to form it came to nineteen shillings and ninepence. My friend asked: "Oh how much is that? I can't remember!" and the landlady pounced with her well-rehearsed refrain: "I can tell you're English..... you've no educashun...."
It was either in there or the other hostile pub down the street where local lads playing snooker manouvered their cues and deliberately prodded us in the ears as we sat near the table, in the hope of provoking us. I remember my Irish pal, a large rugby player, smiling blandly as he supped his pint and the blunt end of a snooker cue bumped his ear; he wasn't going to rise to the bait.
Staff of Life in (or, more correctly, near) Todmorden used to be a bit strange - run by two ex-bikers, with a great collection of antique bedpans and Victorian medical equipment decorating the walls. There was a tale of the vintage 'home enema kit' being used to administer one last pint, rectally, to someone after they'd fallen off their bar stool. Still the only pub where I've seen a bloke at the bar with a goat on a lead.
Traveller's Rest in Rochadale, under the old Council offices/bus station building, is still the only pub in which I've been offered heroin in the gents - and then offered violence when I declined.
The Grill in Aberdeen was notable when I was there for having no ladies' loo - I think they finally relented a few years back.
Mate of mine told a tale of visiting a tiny one-room pub, somewhere near Cheltenham iirc, run by a very old dear. He walked in with his mrs and two other couples, the place was otherwise empty but the landlady took one look at the six of them and said "I'm sorry we don't cater for groups".
Someone should put together a tick-list.
Ah that's because I was remembering my pub names wrong. I was thinking of the Steam Plough on Victoria street up from the Castle Mona. It closed down in 1979 but was one of the smallest pubs in the country.
Incidently the Super Star in the Iron market was once contender for the oldest pub in Newcastle, underneath all that 80's bar rubbish is a timber framed building of Medieval construction
I’d come to mention the Dyrffryn, glad I’m not the only one to enjoy its charms. We did a circular walk from Pontfaen and finished off with a pint in there, and despite having grown up with all the joys of rural Herefordian public houses, it was still an experience!
Ah right !
Yes , I’ve read and chatted to people who argue between it and the old bulls head. Bloody shame they’ve covered the building on the iron market in that way. Not that many good pubs in Newcastle these days .
Ah yes, The Staff Of Life. They've moved on now (10yrs or so) and it's now something of a gastropub. It still has all the same charm and decor and nick nacks but instead of a plate pie dinner, you get scallops or venison or some of the tallest burgers I've seen outside of a hipster burger joint. It's (almost) a local pub to me
Speaking of rural Herefordshire public houses, did you ever visit the Cupid's Inn at Kentchurch? https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2703152
Pretty close to the border with Monmouthshire, and reason enough for a cross border raid on occasion, but it would certainly be worthy of inclusion in the UKC unusual pubs gazetteer. Long gone unfortunately. I'm informed that The Bridge Inn (just up the road from the Cupid's) will reopen soon by the way.
I love the Beehive - it is everything a pub should be
im sure Rob Roy wiz standin in the corner last time i was in! an willie wallace tae!
> Do you mean it's closed permanently? If so, that's very sad. I was very fond of that old place.
The previous landlord was struggling to make ends meet with the brewery's demands. He had some great tales to tell if you caught him on a good night. It reopened briefly under new ownership but didn't last long.
Beehive was great, used go all the time 10 or 15 years ago.
Then round the corner for Keema and Peas, the Sheesh Mahal before it went all 'Posh'
Agreed, the Beehive was a good end to night after the Fighting Cock, before the on tap smack heads and prostitutes and DHSS residents used to subside the income. The keema and peas comment is interesting, was in Sheesh Mihal one night many,many years ago, pissed up, asked for a curry, “Keema please”, waiter looked strangely at me, about 10 mins later chef came out with staff, which was unusual and handed me a bowl of keema with a tin of peas virtually emptied on top and said “keema peas”, there was a strange silence them me mates absolutely pissed themselves laughing. Moral - be very careful when saying “please” . Think it must have started a trend. Ate it all just to prove a point, but me arse was like a machine gun the next day firing them out. Ah well you live and learn, or rather live and burn!
Two good and very quirky places I've not yet seen mentioned. The Big 6 in Halifax hidden in a cluster of bleak looking terraces in Halifax... walking distance from Woodhouse Scar... a must for beer fans who visit the crag. The Barley Mow in Bonsal at hen race time.
Is there a normal pub is rural Staffs?... some amazing places... although one of my favourites in Flash got taken over by a medieval themed place. The Peakstone Inn B&B room terrified me (p.321 latest Roaches guide) when the landlady took us there, almost kidnapping us when we tried some sneaky parking for Peakstone Rock.
I have been told that it's incorrect to put an apostrophe into the Kings Head or the Queens Head. Does anyone know about this convention and the history of it?
That pub in Flash was the Travellers Rest I think? Went in there after my first visit to the Roaches around 1980. I seem to remember it had a crazy number of different pumps on the bar.
i showed the landlady of the Peakstone Inn the picture from the guide, and she was genuinely delighted! She’s opened the pub up a few times for us when she’s seen us returning to the car.
I’ve swapped Diet Coke for real ale now ;-( but the interesting thing is that all these individual pubs are still excellent). If Stoney chippy is closed, a drive over to Tideswell chippy, and a stop off with the dog at the Three Stags Heads is still a life-changing experience.
Anyone remember Tommy Ducks in Manchester with its unusual display?
Bra's & knickers on the ceiling !
Everything belongs to the king or queen so no need to use an apostrophe.
The Travellers Rest used to be on our pub crawl when we learned to drive. Not all the pumps were on but were fascinating at the time. The little shop next to it was a godsend when crossing the moors from The Roaches to Edale on foot. Feck the bus. Couldn’t afford it.
Following this week's avalanche fatalities on Ben Nevis, mountain safety bodies have put out a reminder to walkers, climbers and skiers that enthusiasm should always be matched by caution.