It isn’t a pub, it’s a boozer!
That’s what Anne told me, and she should know because she’s run the Odfellows Arms for the last 31 years. Anne and her husband took the pub on in 1987 and she’s been here ever since, raising all her children here; sadly her husband passed away in 1992.
What a wonderful lady Anne is, a proper Landlady, the sort you don’t see too often these days, which is sad. She was even Miss July in a Palmers Brewery calendar one year!
Further down the page I’ll tell you the beer was excellent, but it really didn’t matter, it was the experience, the ambience, the … I’m finding it difficult to put into words exactly what it was? Whatever, you will find it in abundance in the Oddfellows and I’m really glad I walked out of the town to find it.
You might miss it as you passed by. There’s only a single sign to distinguish it from the rest of the red brick terrace. It’s quite plain inside too, nothing fancy, everything clean and tidy. The till is a drawer sat on the back of the bar. A pleasant rambling beer garden and a small outdoor seating area. Some would say it’s nothing special. I’d disagree because I was brought up in a similar sort of boozer and they are few and far between nowadays.
An old lad walked in before me, ordered his pint and went to the table skittles for a bit of a practice. Soon as he finished his pint he wandered out.
‘Going for his tea,’ Anne said.
Another older chap wandered in and asked for a coffee. He sat chatting to Anne; their bets had come in, and then chatted to me, as we watched the end of Celebrity Pointless on the TV behind the bar. I’m not a fan of constant TV’s in pubs, but it was only a small one and it sort of worked here.
You don’t have to watch TV, you could try your hand at the skittles or darts or crib. They have teams in the local leagues for all these games, although the skittles league is confined to Bridport Anne told me, adding that there are two leagues with twenty teams though.
A couple walk in. Cider and a wine, everyone’s on personal terms. As Anne explained, her customers are all locals. The pubs too far out of Bridport for tourists to walk, mind you she did say there were once two further pubs along North Allington to tempt them.
The pub is a Palmers house and all their pubs are tenanted. I asked Anne what she thought about them? I’ve heard mixed reviews over the years. She said Palmer’s had always been very good to her and she found them easy to do business with. That was comforting because a Pubco could never have a pub like this, just ticking over nicely providing a family with a living, a brewer with an outlet and a place for the community to thrive.
So the beer? I tried the Best Bitter, now badged as IPA in an attempt to jump onto a bandwagon that’s probably not passing through here.
‘It’s a brand new barrel, it should be really good,’ Anne proclaimed as she pulled it. She was right, an easy 4+ on NBSS and one of the best pints of Palmers I’ve ever had. £3.85 a pint which was 5p dearer than I paid in the excellent Ropemakers in the centre of town an hour before. I reckoned theirs was NBSS 4 -.
There’s only three Bridport pubs in the Good Beer Guide (2018); Oddfellows, Ropemakers & The Tiger Inn. The first two are dead certs, the latter has waned somewhat since I reviewed it (2015) and I only went once this summer; beer quality was average and the range would have supported the tastes of Retired Martin, Life After Football and other members of the Pub Bloggers Alliance, but a choice of five similar well known Bitters doesn’t appeal to me. I’m tipping the excellent In Pursuit of Hopiness to be in GBG 2019 and it was where I spent most of my drinking time in Bridport this summer..
Before I left, Anne said I had to go into the Gents to view the Trevi Fountain of Allington. Apparently it all started when a gentleman pulled his handkerchief from his pocket whilst stood at the urinal, ejecting all the small change from his pocket. Not wanting to extract it from the pool of piss, he left it there and others added to it. They donate the recovered small change to a local charity.
It’s only a small locals pub on the edge of Bridport with two Palmers real ales on. Many people would walk in and walk out again, preferring the parallel universe of the chain pubs of the big brewers. Forget the beer if you can, it’s people that make places and Anne’s brilliant, but like all of us she’s not getting any younger, so go now while you have the chance.