There’s a theme building from the last post. Like I’d never blogged about a Sam Smith’s pub before, I’ve never blogged about a Wetherspoon’s pub neither. Essentially, they’re a bit like chalk and cheese, but having said that both victualers provide a service for the ordinary, everyday, all day type of drinker, price being a important factor here. The other connecting feature is that both this and the last blog are about pubs in Scarbro’, but that’s only because I popped over for a few days recently.
I like ‘spoons, I always have done, it’s nice to go into a pub where there are other people, often not the case these days, especially on a weekday lunch cum afternoon. Yeah, there’s good ‘spoons and bad ones, but most are okay with some better than others, if you see what I mean.
When I say, you usually find other people in a ‘spoons, at lunch time, then The Lord Rosebery was no exception. A quick head count revealed there were just short of a hundred folk in at 11.30 on a Friday morning. I bet if you’d rounded up everyone from every other pub in the town at that precise moment it wouldn’t have come to that. Okay, some were drinking tea and coffee, some, like me, were eating breakfast, but some were on their second or third pint.
What I like about a Wetherspoon’s is that it attracts all sorts, all people, from all walks of life, thrown together in a generally rather non judgemental, egalitarian environment: Well heeled Duchesses, chatting, sipping tea, on the next table to an old bewer nursing a large white wine, who’s managed to apply lip stick all round her mouth but missed most of her lips, and neither give a fig. A suit stood at the bar discusses racing form with an old gadgie in a conflicting tie, and grubby stains round his trouser pockets. Meanwhile, in a quieter corner, wife and three kids pour copious quantities of ketchup on their chips , watched on by Brian and Irene, who peer over the tops of newspapers in wonderment at the number of male OAP’s with skin fade undercut Peaky Blinders hair styles (I kid you not!)
The breakfast, and the food generally, sums up Wetherspoon’s for me. It’s not the best breakfast you’ll ever have, but it’s hearty, and for under four quid you can’t go wrong; the beers very much the same. I didn’t have any beer when I broke my fast, but the previous evening I had a Rudgate Stars and Stripes #16, a decent drink which I gave a 3+ on the NBSS scoring system, £2.60 a pint. It went off at the second time of asking, and it was too busy at the lengthy bar to see what the alternatives might have been, so I had what was directly in front of me, a Deuchars IPA, £2.45 for a pint. I scored it a 4 and I’m thinking, maybe I’ve become a bit of a beer snob? Some of these old mainstream standards are quite good, if they are kept right. Mind you, the majority, I’d say 75%, of pint drinkers were on lager or John Smith’s smooth. The easy going Rudgate Jorvik Blonde, also £2.45 a pint, that Mrs C had, was in good fettle too. Overall, the beer quality backed up the inclusion of the pub in the Good Beer Guide 2017.
The Lord Rosebery is no exception to the Wetherspoon’s quirky buildings theme, in fact it’s worth just wandering into this ex-department store for a stroll around. Prior to it being the Co-op, it was the local Liberal club until around the mid twentieth century, hence the designation, in memoriam of the Prime Minister who originally opened the building in 1895. The iron balustraded gallery is the highlight, although this mezzanine floor which can be accessed directly from the side door or through the main bar and up some stairs, lacks the buzz of the ground floor.
Verdict: Lord Rosebery, a man for all seasons, for lots of reasons, for lots of folk.