Friday 17 November 2023

Mancunian Miscellany

After completing some non-pub-related business in Glossop* I headed for the enormous Holt's house on the corner at the centre of this attractive town.  I've never been in the Norfolk Arms before:

I chose a pint of Two Hoots from the small range of cask ales, and it was excellent as expected.  And it came in a Two Hoots glass.

The beautiful interior of the pub is partly knocked through but still has some separation.  Most of the customers were dining groups.  I had look at the menu of the usual pub standards plus some less common options, I don't often see Wexford chicken.  Fish and chips was fourteen quid, so not at the cheap end of the spectrum.

The Christmas decorations were tasteful and not over the top, although I still want to say "Bah! Humbug!  It's only November".  This year's fashion seems to be greenery with gold and silver balls, the versions I've seen so far have all been nicely restrained.

Posters show they have live music in here this evening.  I wonder what kind of songs a "male vocal entertainer" does?  I'm going to guess Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, but the poster doesn't give any clues.  It could be Morrissey and Liam Gallagher for all I know.

Next, the only Good Beer Guide pub in Glossop I haven't ticked, Bar 2:

A standard shop conversion micro pub this, but somehow better than most.  I selected Ossett Silver King from the range of cask ales, tasty as always but not as good as favourite White Rat, which was on the coming soon list.  (By the way, further to my comments in last Thursday's blog, this week the Big House had White Rat back on.  Yippee!)

All the other customers in here were locals and regulars, and chatted with each other and the barmaid while the solitary pub blogger sat on a comfortable bench seat and wrote his notes.

It wasn't very warm in here; everyone kept their coats on.    I realise times are hard in the hospitality business and fuel prices are high, but people will stop coming if it's not comfortable.  There's something very special about a warm pub on a cold day.

Next door is Bar 1, a wine and cocktail bar, not open when I arrived.  There's an interior doorway connecting the two.

Now, off to Stalyvegas.  This part of the day didn't go exactly to plan.  Stepping out of the pub I spotted the bus just approaching the stop.  Drat, missed it, or have I?  The traffic lights were in my favour and I made it to the stop before the queue had all got on.  A good start to the journey.  Last time I did this move I seem to recall a pleasant bus ride of thirty odd minutes.  That must have been a quiet time because today it took more than thirty minutes in heavy traffic just to get out of Glossop.  My upstairs at the front seat offered a fine view of the cars queuing into the distance!  Eventually the traffic eased and we reached Stalyvegas at last, over an hour later.

I initially resisted the obvious choice here and instead tried a place not ticked before, the Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn:

I think they chose the ridiculously long name specially because they are next door to Q which has the shortest pub name in the country.

Anyway, a pleasant enough one roomed boozer, maybe a bit down market but, having said that, actually rather nicely done.  And it was warm!

Two handpumps and I selected Tiger Rut from Millstone, which wasn't too bad but perhaps slightly past its best?  Actually, a tired ale always gets worse as you drink it, this one got better in the second half.  I think that means my initial assessment was just plain wrong, and the ale was good.

Next, I can't come to Staly without visiting one of my favourite pubs in the world, so in to the Buffet Bar:

Wonderful as always, this place, and doing a good trade, although I think when I started coming here many years ago it would have been necessary to push just to get in the door at five on a Friday.  No need for pushing today, and I even got a table to sit at.

Continuing today's theme I can report that the place was comfortably warm, with a real fire in the main room.

I had somebody's Cherry Vanilla Porter, pretty good but could do with a bit more cherry I think.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; if you're going to put a strange flavour in a beer, it should smack the drinker in the face.  "A hint of ..." is no good at all; I want lots of flavour!  Titanic Plum Porter is a fine exemplar.  Today's ale was close, but need a little more cherry to be truly great.

The soundscape here was some background music completely drowned out by cheerful conversations.

What a wonderful pub.  I would have stayed here longer and perhaps enjoyed some of their famous black peas, but Northern's cancellations would have left me stranded, so I enjoyed my pint and then headed off by train.  I'll be back in a couple of weeks for an annual reunion to which I've been going since 1980.  Gosh, forty-three years!

Next, a short train ride for a new tick, the Victoria Tap.  (Sorry, no photo.)  Run, I believe, by the same people as the Piccadilly Tap, this one is actually in the station building, occupying a space which has been offices for a long time, I think.  A great addition to Victoria station, offering six handpumps and about twenty keg taps. On a Friday night they could do with three times as much space!  I had J W Lee's Plum Pudding, a long standing Christmas brew always tasty.

One tiny room plus quite a lot of space outside in the cold, I managed to stand in the corner, it's certainly too chilly outside.  There was a waft of cold air every time the door was opened, but for the rest of the time it was comfortably warm in here.

This is one of those rare pubs which doesn't have any toilets, you have to go out and use the station's facilities.  After which I headed for home.

* Yes yes, thank you pedants, I know Glossop isn't in Manchester.

Pub of the day: Stalybridge Buffet Bar
Beer of the day: J W Lee's Plum Pudding
Miles walked: 1.3, and most of that wasn't for the pubs.
Maybe coming soon: Bootle, Kirkdale, Fazakerley

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