If I’m going to be perfectly honest, Good Beer Guide pub or not, it wasn’t the beer that would have me returning to The Angel in Scarbro’. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with it. The Timothy Taylor’s Landlord was decent, probably slightly North of 3 on NBSS.
I had to have Landlord because there was no way I was having Tetleys or Sharp’s Doom Bar. I might … might have had a half of Wainwright if … If there had been nothing else on … maybe. I might have had Guinness ..?
Okay, the beer was pretty decent, but hardly an inspiring selection. No, the key element in the Angel was that thing I’d discussed in the summer with performance artists Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti that People, Place,
Beer and Time element that is so important in a good pub.
Time? Now, just coming dark on a Friday in late December, make that about half past three then.
People? Plenty, I counted just over two dozen, most of the seats were occupied and there were a good few stood at the bar. A nice mix of folk too; couple of visitors, mostly local people, young, old, middle aged shopping bags, work clothes, dominoes and World Championship darts. Characters were in abundance. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and not a glimmer of an edge, anywhere.
Place? Yeah, I know it’s The Angel, a place best defined as a ‘select’ back street boozer with roaring fires and a very warm welcome in this horseshoe shaped single room pub.
Going back to my theory and the three dimensional triangle (you’ll have to click through to the previous post, I’m not wasting time explaining it in detail again) The Angel suggests that People and Place, may be more important than Beer? If not then why were 90% of the customers drinking UK Pilsner variants (lager to you mate)? I think Beer (as in real ale) needs replacing with ‘a considered safe bet’ in lots of pubs like this – Discuss?
The pub is smartly decorated in a very comfortable, tending towards old school, but modern in style and done with some thought and quality too. The toilets are exceptional. The well equipped outdoor courtyard has colourful down lights, heaters and a separate covered smoking area with soft music. There’s coat/handbag hooks under the lip of the bar; surely a mark of a proper boozer?
If you want to watch sport on TV then watch away, you can see one of the many screens from wherever you are. They even have the Angel Athletic FC based in the pub. There’s darts and doms nights, free Wi-Fi and a decent little Gin bar too.
If you walk round Scarbro’ you’ll see some real dead-heads in some of the pubs. But not in here. The people in here are proper decent people, the sort of people that make a proper pub. The landlady is a proper landlady. Okay there’s two of them, sisters who’ve had the pub for three years now. I spoke with Janette, a smartly dressed, well spoken, well presented, attractive fifty something Scarbro’ lass. The pub was surely the embodiment of her personality.
Janette said she was pleased that the inclusion in GBG and the investment in Cask Mark was attracting punters. She introduced me to Graham, the cellar man who looked after the beer, he told me he’d been in the trade on and off for forty years. I told him it was a nice drink of Landlord. He obviously knew what he was doing because he told me it was a challenging beer to keep well.
I didn’t tell Janette or Graham that I thought the beer range was a bit too boring for my taste, they were both far too nice to say ‘owt like that. I thought about it a bit though. On reflection, they don’t need no progressive beers here, it’s a proper pub, with proper people, in a proper place. In any case, like I said, most people were drinking lager and they all seemed very happy. Maybe on another day there might have been a couple of more interesting beers on the two vacant hand pulls?
To be fair, I thought they’d stopped making pubs like this. I’ve been in lots of similar ones but they never seem to have many customers or any life in them. I never expected The Angel to be buzzing like this, especially considering it’s that flat, Christmas is finished and everyone’s saving themselves for New Years Eve in two days time period.
Verdict: Absolute pleasure to visit this smashing example of what a proper ‘select’ local should be like.