If this had been once been a pub then it would have been a travesty. On the other hand, if the place had been something else before then they’ve done a pretty cool job.
I saw the Firefly as a kind of set of purpose made images rather than a single fluid concept. There’s a bar room, a downstairs bit and a regular music venue upstairs. It’s amazing what you can do with a few old Beavertown beer mats too.
To be fair, after wandering around Worcester and getting average to poor quality beer in more than a few pubs and a selection that was becoming a bit boring, the Firefly was a revelation. It was only when I tasted the Siren Suspended in Rainbows (cask) that I realised, again, that beer actually can have an exciting, stimulating sort of a taste that had been missing for most of the afternoon. It wasn’t on out and out top form neither, maybe NBSS 3 -, just tasty.
Only thing was, in terms of out and out pubbiness, most of the other pubs we had been in that afternoon would knock the Firefly into a Cocked Hat, which incidentally was the name of a now demolished pub down Atterclife which was, as far as I know the only pub to serve Marston’s Pedigree in Sheffield in the early 80’s. But that of course was when Marston’s was still a reputable independent brewer.
Anyhow, this got me into thinking about what makes a pub. Glorious, relatively unspoiled interior with crap beer doesn’t cut it for me. The beer in the Wetherspoons was decent, but it just lacked something. But what?
I’ve had some discussions with a couple of guys from Cornwall about this. They’re performance artists, interested in the relationships between people and places. A while ago they came up with the Pub Pyramid, an original idea, that I modified. Essentially, there are four factors; people, place, beer, time. I did a talk recently at Halifax and Calderdale Beer festival where I explained how I think it works. If you’re really interested then come along to the launch of Public House at Crowd Of Favours on November 16th where it’s going to be explored further as part of Leeds Compass Arts Festival 2018, along with a limited edition of 500 bespoke pint glasses.
Right, plug over, what does it mean? Well you can have a nice place with good beer that’s spoiled by a set of knob heads, or a nice place and nice people that’s spoiled by the beer. And of course, over time all these factors change; time being variable, the knob heads can move on after one drink, they might use it as their local though in which case a change of landlord might be required, in which case time can be months or years.
Where’s he going, you’re probably asking? Well if some of the pubs in Worcester had sold a range of beers like in the Firefly then they would have been so much better. Life’s too short to drink Banks’s and stuff like that, heritage pub or not. I’m not advocating having a Craft beer Co. sized range neither.
Three decent cask beers would do for me. Something along the lines of a Bitter; Boltmaker say or the excellent Cwtch. A nice Pale; lets say Summer Lightning or maybe Harvest Pale. And then a dark beer; 1872 Porter was the first thing that came to mind when I thought this through, could be Stay Puft, perhaps Revolution’s Swoon, something that appeals to a lot of people.
If a pub’s selling a lot of cask then maybe go for a fourth or fifth beer. Do what a lot of the better cellar men and women are doing and just put the additional ones on Thursday tea time or Friday dinner. Stick the esoteric stuff through a keg line.
Thing is, I hadn’t come across anything like the quality of beers I’ve quoted above in Worcester (I did later, but that’s another post) and the beer side of things let Worcester’s Pub Pyramid collapse.
Verdict; I quite liked the Firefly, it’s quirkiness, and the beer range which overcame what it lacked in originality and as a Good beer Guide Pub is a decent pick.