A big blue pub in a pretty village just t’other side of the River Blyth to Southwold, you can drive, walk or use the little ferry, more of that in another post.
Unfortunately, it’s the same as everywhere else in so far as it’s food led, but on a Wednesday afternoon at 2pm there were actually two drinkers at the bar. It’s quite a big pub, and the bar is in the main room to the right of the front entrance. The other well appointed and smartly decorated rooms were all kitted out for eating.
There’s several distinct seating areas outside, including a very pleasant garden to the rear. We sat at a table on small terrace and my heart skipped a beat when I saw a sign advertising a range of cask ales, including some well known favourites at £2 a pint. Enquiries at the bar revealed it was a relic from a beer festival earlier in the summer and the ‘barn’ had been a supplementary bar.
I did another double take when I scanned the array of pump clips. Oakham JHB? In an Adnam’s pub? A bottle menu with the likes of Duvel, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Westmalle, Rochefort? In an Adnam’s pub? They also had Meantime Pale and Lager on draught as well as a good (but not the full) range of Adnam’s beers.
The very presentable young man behind the bar, Henry, told me his father was the tenant, and beer aficionado. As I walked round the pub, having a bit of a nosey at the glory wall along the toilet corridor, it became apparent the multi accoladed licensees were Mark and Sophie Dormer, ex of The White Horse in Parson’s Green. When I eventually got there, the toilets were very good to better.
I just had to try the Oakham’s beer, I mean I wasn’t going to get anything else on draught apart from Adnam’s round these parts. It cost me £1.90 for a half pint. I also tried the Southwold Bitter. I rated both as nearer 3.5 than 3.0 on NBSS, if they had not been as cold I would have rated them as straight 3.5. When I visited, they were in GBG2017, although I see they are now missing from GBG2018?
Everything I saw in this pub was of the highest quality, the wi-fi worked even in the far flung extremities of the outdoor terrace (other places should take note here). I didn’t see any food going out as it was the end of service. There were plenty of people sat around finishing off their meals, and if the food was as good as everything came across, then it will be good.
Verdict – It’s food led. But, you can get a decent ale in very nice surroundings. All in all, a nice country pub with a focus on quality. I’m surprised it’s dropped out of GBG, but I can’t be arsed to trawl through the books to find out ‘at the expense of which other pub(s)’, like some people do.