If asked which were my best pub in St Albans then it would have to be The Mermaid. Not because I’d met landlord Mark Powell in London the week before at the CAMRA Mass Lobby day neither. Not because it was the most pubbiest pub in St Albans either, there were plenty more authentic Olde English boozers in the city, even the Wetherspoons is pukka Olde Worlde.
To be fair The Mermaid was of a similar ilk to the nearby Robin Hood, just a nice decent boozer, one room wrapped round a central bar that had probably been several smaller rooms once upon a time, and similarly spotlessly clean and well appointed.
No, it was the beer that did it for me, a choice of six, including two Oakham beers and I went for the 4.2% Jester single hop and it was delicious and an easy NBSS 4 that was not outdone anywhere else in St Albans.
You can see why they were South Hertfordshire Pub Of The Year for 2017 and Cider Pub of the Year 2013, 16 & 17. They even have Oakham Citra on as a permanent feature. Maybe I should move house and live between the Mermaid and the Robin Hood? Having looked in the estate agents windows, maybe not.
Looking round the pub there’s no frills, just bare floorboards, a dart board and top beer, but isn’t that all you need. That and some proper company. There weren’t many others in apart from ourselves, but they weren’t doing bad for Monday lunch time.
Mark said he’d been at the pub, which is a free house, for five years. They have regular music, quizzes and a darts team and do food in the form of pies, but NO chips! They’d just undergone a refurb of the bar floor and he’d received delivery of a new table top with he was varnishing out the back. Worth looking out for are the Beer and Cider festivals they hold.
To be fair I could have sat in this GBG(2019) listed pub all afternoon, it just had that proper pub feel, but there were more boozers to look at so we moved on ….