The entry in my notebook detailing the arrival of Retired Martin and his mate is timed at 1557hrs, your Honour.
Yes Sir, the crawl did begin at around 1130hrs.
Yes, I wasn’t quite sure whether he was making it up about having brought a mate? It turns out, Sir, that the said mate spent a good half hour leant against the stunning frontage of the pub eating what he said was a Pork bap.
Your honour, I am 100% certain that the sandwich he was eating was definitely not a bap. Not in any parlance. If asked to give an opinion I would say it was a long thin bread roll of the type often described as a Submarine roll.
I did hear the bread described as a Baguette at one point, but that was uttered by people who disagree on what English bread rolls should be properly called, so what would they know about French bread shapes?
If it indeed were proper French bread, then Charles’ sandwich would have been in a Baton or even a Ficelle, although I didn’t get close enough to examine it your honour, it was definitely not the much longer Baguette.
Either way, he sort of messes up my photograph of the tiled exterior which is listed (Grade II). I couldn’t make out which parts of the interior were recent and which were original, it was hard to tell. What I saw, old or new, was a very nice example of pubitechture. Notably the long case clock built into the back of the bar, whose second hand gave everything away.
So did the range of Marston’s brands on the bar: Banks Amber & Sunbeam, Boon Doggle, Eagle IPA and Weston’s Old Rosie. If I were a betting man, the only dead cert to not have been brewed in Wolverhampton would be the Old Rosie, and even then I wouldn’t be surprised if Marston’s have taken them over by the time I press publish on this post!
To be fair the beer was in decent condition, but the Sunbeam left a nasty astringent taste on both sides, towards the posterior of my tongue. I didn’t like it. Everyone else thought their beer was good, although I think they all went for the Bank’s Bitter aka Amber. I think there’s only me Pubexplorer and Mrs C that’s not big into this retro beer thing. I mean, if things don’t move on then we’d never have got to see the wonderful tiled exterior of the Eagle Vaults and we’d have been sitting in a wattle and daub construction. Mind you, the draughts might have got rid of the strange smell, sort of like a kiddies pram that had been sicked on, handed down from child to child, but never washed.
And No, that’s not a jibe at the young mother who wandered in with the toddler, the smell was there before she came in. Just makes you wonder how often a lot of pubs actually swab their bare wooden floors, or do they just think they are a labour saving device?
I quite liked the assortment of wooden parlour games, but wondered how often they would get played with? Certainly none of the regular drinkers chatting to the landlord around the bar were bothered. That was another plus point, the presence of the licensee behind the bar in a town pub, engaging with his customers.
Verdict; Nice pub but if they’d told me it was a Marston’s chain pub I would have just enjoyed it from the outside and gone to the nearby Hop Lords which for the life in me I couldn’t find later on. Probably because WhatPub now tells me it would have been closed.
How long before all these micro style pop-ups start to apply to extend the hours on their ‘easier to obtain’, ‘we’re not really a pub’, curtailed hours licences? Or are they happier just shutting up earlier, going home and watching the telly?