The Pubcurmudgeon makes a good distinction in his account of our recent day out to Rugby, drawing our attention to the difference between Pub People and Beer People.
In terms of Pubiness I thought the Victoria exceeded all the other pubs we visited in Rugby. Traditional street corner boozer. Unspoiled yet decorated to a high standard, in the best side at least.
We drank in the Tap room to the left of the main entrance, unaccessible from the best side unless you went out onto the street and back again. It did have a door on the corner but it didn’t appear used. Plain, and at first glance basic, until your gaze turned to the dark mahogany bar back and pediment with clock; a later edition judging from the branding on the face. The carved, heavy bar up front was quite impressive too.
I was quite surprised when the gathered Pub Men (they were all men, Mrs C makes no claim to being an out and out Pub Person) made little or no attempt to properly explore the best side, which bore testament to what can be done with a traditional pub interior, maintaining what was, yet bringing it up to modern standards.
The locals were friendly too and I chatted with a nice local couple who drank here regularly, before wandering through a series of smaller rooms into a snug which still had access onto the road outside if the door hadn’t been locked. I thought the best side to be first rate and would be where I would chose should I visit again.
Getting back to the Pub v Beer person debate. There were some who had Hook Norton Hooky, their second attempt at obtaining a pint of this beer and some with the, for Rugby, ubiquitous Titanic Plum Porter. Mrs C was no better, trying the Adnams Ghost Ship (NBSS 3.5).
In an Atomic Brewery pub, incidentally the first one they bought, the Alexandra where the brewery is located being the second, one has to have Atomic Beers. I thought the Operation Mosaic was spot on. Maybe not quite in the same condition as Mrs C’s Ghost Ship, but nevertheless NBSS 3, commensurate with the pubs GBG status.
You could tell the Pub Men weren’t really Beer men because they drank the boring stuff and failed to notice, or at least mention, the presence of three excellent keg beers OTB. Including a Brut IPA nonetheless. This instantly put the pub into the top two of all the pubs I visited in Rugby that day and possibly number one depending on where you want to go with the argument that t’other weren’t a pub?
By the way, I don’t particularly enjoy the style of a Brut IPA but I like to see people pushing the boundaries and experimenting. I have tried it and so should others. I think people should be cognisant of the fact that if you chose to drink what you have always drunk then you will continue to get the same taste you always have tasted. If you want to live your life like this then that’s fine, it just doesn’t do for me.
All that was lacking in the Victoria was a bit of a buzz. It must have been somewhere around 3pm Friday lunch time when we called in, apart from the six of us there were only eight people spread around the many rooms of the pub. Maybe things would have turned around come tea time? I hope so because to me this was a Proper Pub whether you were a Beer Person or a Pub Person.