We came across The Cask by accident, the home of Scarborough Jazz club. It looked okay and there were a good few in the decent terrace outside. I ventured inside, only to be met with Theakston’s, Theakston’s, Cameron’s and Speckled Hen on the bar so I walked on a bit further.
Unfortunately that’s one of the vagaries of a CAMRA guide; the pub may be okay but it takes no account of diversity or the quality of the breweries on offer. Okay the CAMRA formula of real ale may be met but I, personally, want something more than what’s on offer here. You can get Speckled Hen anywhere, Theakston’s is similarly ubiquitous and I remember when Cameron’s was reviled by the holidaymakers from the industrial Yorkshire heartlands, ‘I’m telling thi, tha dunt want to be going in any of them there Cameron’s houses lad!’ I think we need to start grading the pubs, maybe real ale status and then real ale + , ++ , +++, depending on the variety and quality of the beers. By quality I mean, the quality of the brewers craft, I expect the quality of cellar craft to be exemplary wherever I go. You could even add an extra notifier for bottled beers?
Sat in the The Hole in the Wall there’s a sort of Rocamadour feeling. Tucked half way up a steep ravine leading out of Valley Drive, it is a proper hole in the wall with it’s cellar vault style windows. You wouldn’t think it could have a little garden outside, but strangely, it does. A friendly welcome from the landlord, you don’t see many of these nowadays, and a nod of acclamation from the handful of locals dotted around early Saturday evening. If I picked a fault, it’s all a bit gloomy, I struggled with a couple of photos, even at 1600 ISO. Mrs C and I tried the Welsh brewers Fellinfoel, Double Dragon and Rudgate Ruby mild, £2.60 for two halves of well kept real ale, very good. There was Hook Norton Old Hooky on, as well as the usual suspects.
If you walk up from The Hole in the Wall into the commercial centre of the town you walk along St Nicholas Street where there’s a few pubs and bars. The Scarborough Flyer is a large, sort of independent Wetherspoon’s, two meals for three pence ha’penny type of a place. I’ve no problem with that but with just Greene King IPA, Bomardier, plus two other similar mass produced standards on the bar, we decided to pass on this one. The Blue Lounge next door didn’t even have any hand pumps on the bar, forget it.
You might think that I wouldn’t be liking Indigo Alley, rooms available from £12.50, but I did. It’s a bit spartan inside. Think a single room, bottom budget modernisation, pool table and nothing an hour with a damp cloth and effective cleaning products couldn’t fix. Oh and the door. For some reason there’s a random door propped up in a corner. Indigo Alley was strictly locals, apart from ourselves. Think friendly locals, really nice people with dogs and one old lad with Spike, his rabid Jack Russell that wanted to rip the throat out of the five other dogs in the pub. Eventually he hauled it off outside, presumably to return shortly to finish off the rest of his pint. He never did.
There were, four real ales OTB and a real cider; Half Moon brewery Dark Masquerade, their own house ale Indigo brewed by Wold Top, Sonnet 43 India Pale Ale, and 4 T’s Interception on special offer at an unbelievable £2 a pint. I paid £4.50 for a pint of Sonnet and a half of Indigo. They also had a couple of decent draught lagers; Leffe and Krusovice. Both beers were in good condition. The Sonnet is a proper IPA, the Indigo tasted of soft tropical fruits with a sharper grapefruit touch. I liked this place, it’s nowt special inside, but it’s full of characters and it’s got decent beer.
Before going for an outstanding meal at the excellent Lanterna restaurant (Ciao Giorgio!), I rounded off the days drinking in the North Riding Brew Pub which will be the focus of the third and final post in this review of Scarborough.