It felt like we’d been on a bit of a trek when we got here, maybe because the pub before The Olde England, was itself a good walk out of the centre? Or maybe because on these Beer & Pubs Forum trips it’s obligatory to do a bit of circular walking?
The Lamplighter is in an area called ‘The Boot and Shoe Quarter’. This explained the archways punctuating the long parallel streets of terraced houses, which led into what looked like small factories which had obviously been shoemaking businesses once. At the ends of some of the terraces were larger more prominent factories which must have housed the bigger companies.
Although the terraces were tidy and well kept. I couldn’t help wondering who had invested so much money in an out of the way, definitely not town centre by any means, back street boozer?
The friendly guys in the pub told me it was two brothers, locally born and bred, called Paul and James Hannah. They bought it about nine years ago when it was in a bit of run down state. I commend them for their support and loyalty to the area they were raised in.
Well it isn’t run down now. In fact it’s quite splendid. Okay, it’s an open, one room, bare floored affair downstairs, but you can see where the original walls have been, along with the ornamental cornice and some wonderful Anaglypta on the ceiling. The bar is in the left hand corner and while we are on about layout; there’s a very neat, sunny yard outside, a nice upstairs seating area/meeting room, and the toilets are exemplary. There’s quite a lot of breweriana around the walls and someone has done a good job here. Considering it’s been refurbed nearly ten years ago, they’ve kept up to it and I couldn’t fault the decor, cleanliness and general ambience.
Food seems to be a feature and every table had a menu on it. Despite that, it’s still a proper pub, with a proper pub feel and everything that goes with it. We did eat there and everything that came out of the kitchen was decent fayre, at a decent price. Myself and Mrs C shared a very large plate of nachos and cheese with all the expected additions.
Retired Martin thought he was in Wetherspoons and went for the smashed avocado on toast with a poached egg on top. He couldn’t fool me though, I knew all along it was mushy peas.
There were a couple of people who fancied the Chicken, bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich on artisanal gluten free bread, one of them was sat next to me. The conversation went something like;
‘Can I have a Chicken, bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich please, but without the bacon and avocado … on white bread … with no butter?’
‘So you want two slices of unbuttered white bread with some chicken and tomato in it?’
I’m not sure what the barman thought of this? But when a second guy walked in ten minutes later and asked for exactly the same thing his eyes did that sort of rolling ‘here we go again’ thing. You just couldn’t make it up could you.
The family Birthday party in the corner were having a good time though and whilst they dined, blokes sat at the bar supping pints, engaging in pub style discourse. Strangely, one of the barflies sported a Coventry City replica top, the only footy top I saw all day, even though the Cobblers were at home.
They had seven cask ales on, including a dark beer, but mostly pale. Prices ranged from £3.65 – .85 a pint. We went for Oakham Citra, I can’t resist it, unless there’s Green Devil on. I’d score the beer at, not quite NBSS 3.5. They also had a few, run of the mill now, keg beers on, but hey, at least they’re trying and it’s much better than what I expected.
All in all a very tidy little pub with some exceptionally good staff. Acid test, would I go back? Yes I would, and I would eat there. If I visited Northampton town centre again I probably wouldn’t be walking out here specially. But it would be a very good asset if you lived at the end of the street. Does that sort of make sense?