This was another pub I wouldn’t have found if I’d just wandered round Northampton town centre ad-lib, as it’s off the beaten track, but not too far from the centre. Walking out towards the pub we crossed York Road. I like that, you always know where you are in a place that has a York Road.
The Princess Alexandra bills itself as a Craft Beer and Ale house because that’s what it is. Originally it’s been a street corner boozer in an area of pleasant terraced homes. To get an idea of what it it’s like now, try and imagine Brewdog meets back street boozer, whilst still retaining elements of what it once was.
I say Brewdog because it borrows heavily from their style catalogue with it’s wooden clad walls and minimalst decor. I did see a sign painted on the wall that was reminiscent of a large chain. So I asked who owned it?
Two brothers called Mark and Kieran Lynch apparently, in keeping with the Northampton theme started in The Lamplighter . They run several pubs in the Northamptonshire area, but own this one out right and converted it into what it is now about four years ago.
I quite liked how the main front room ran into the back bar, which was separate but connected and ran seamlessly into a very pleasant outdoor drinking area on the left and another connecting but separate room to the right. That’s the one in the picture with the skull in what’s left of the upstairs fireplace. As the sign says, there’s also another, similarly decorated, room upstairs.
It wasn’t packed when we called in, but there were more than a few in, ticking over nicely really. We sat next to a group who were ordering pizzas in a sort of conveyor belt fashion. Even the ordering system was quirky. They gave you a Fez with number on with your order. I nearly ordered something just to get a picture of Pubcurmudgeon wearing one. I’m not sure what him and ‘The Other Mudgie’ thought of this place? Maybe the photo says it all?
They didn’t have to worry though. The cask ale was decent. I had Crazy Daze a 5.5% offering from local (Kettering) brewer Potbelly, it won an award once, and rightly so, it’s a nice drop. I would have given it 3.5 NBSS, but it was a tad warm so it got 3. I couldn’t understand why, because the cellar was down a trap door behind the bar – proper cellar, so to speak. Mrs C went for someones’s Mandarina Bavaria and it was proper nice, I just can’t remember who’s version it was, hint orange label, but aren’t they all? Anyway £5.85 for a pint and a half.
Got to be a specific mention for the guy who served us. All smiles, banter and genuine friendliness and he asked whether we wanted a straight glass or a funny one. And if we’d got CAMRA cards, discount applies.
If I said ‘stand out’ pub for me everyone else would think I was taking the piss, but I really liked it. Modern, bright, friendly and a breath of fresh air compared to the other pubs we did. Almost like a pub, just more modern.