Good Beer Guide Ticks - 345-349
A first overnight visit to Rugby. A marginal amount of research undertaken - birthplace of egg chasers and jet engines. Flashman went to school there. Slightly more research in plotting a route to take in five of the eight ticks available in town. Even then, mistakes were made.
The Merchants Inn, 5-6 Little Church Street, North Cotswold Brewery Winter Solstice
We can call off the search for who has been placing all the winning bids on Ebay for brewing paraphernalia. The first thing that hits you when you enter this ancient, roomy establishment is that every inch of wall is covered in a a beer related advert. This, and a wing back chair, made me feel most at home.
|Merchants Inn by Night|
|The View from a Wing Back|
9 real ales on offer from hand pulls. I know, because I counted them. Mainly to try and determine the odds of me choosing the only one that required the bar staff to disappear around the back and pull from a gravity fed barrel around the back. The result of my Winter Solstice, this;
|Lifeless in Rugby|
The Raglan Arms, 50 Dunchurch Road, London Pride
I spend literally seconds on my photo compositions to take the snap just as someone is emerging out of the front door.
|Got away with it|
I enjoyed having the snug to myself. Gave me plenty of room to spread out the Sunday Times.
|All alone, but Proud|
This is as mad as pub ticking gets and I only wish I had been braver to take more photos.
To start with, the pub is tiny and stands architecturally alone from the adjacent buildings.
|The Squirrel, all very low ceilings|
At the far end, a band have setup to play. Synth Machine, a three piece doing exactly what its says on the tin. Absolutely hilarious, yet spot on, covers of Tears for Fears, Communards and Depeche Mode that the punters were both loving and joining in with.
Beer was decent - and yes, I have spelt it correctly. The brewery commented on my disparaging Untappd check where I thought the quality deserved a less awful name of Red Nose Reinbeer with a "ho, ho, ho, Merry Xmas".
I didn't mean to sound like the Grinch.
If I hadn't got two more ticks to get, I would have stayed for the 2nd Set.
Wonderful, joyful stuff.
The Alexandra Arms, James Street, Hooky
The warnings were there, have you ever seen a more post apocalyptic pub sign?
|In the event of a nuclear attack...|
Not only was the bar unstaffed but I couldn't find the bell to summons them.
|Disclaimer: Except on Sundays.|
Eventually, someone comes. I ask where the bell is and he is unsure. We eventually agree it might be the tiny thing under the speaker on the right hand side.
I should have gone for one of Atomic Breweries beers but played safe with a fairly dreadful, hazy Hooky.
I bet Synth Machine are doing Yazoo right about now.
The Seven Stars, Albert Square, Castle Rock Midnight IPA
|Christmas in Rugby|
The pub is a blueprint on how a traditional, locals boozer can be run and worthy of its CAMRA Pub of the Year 2017 award.
Nothing fancy, just good beers, pleasant atmosphere and run by a man that knows and loves what he is doing.
|Well run, traditional locals pub|
The Victoria Inn waits for another day.