Beer Blog

Crafty Banker, Rugby

Whenever you go on a ‘Proper Day Out’ and stay over in a strange town there’s always that one pub you just have to go back to. So on leaving the Pub Men, myself and Mrs C headed to the nearest Wetherspoon’s; an experience I will post about shortly.

As soon as we had consumed something solid we returned to the Crafty Banker for some proper beer. The only beer that Retired Martin scored as NBSS 4, in the whole of Rugby! 

The premises aren’t, as you might think, an ex-bank, but they are located on Bank Street and landlord and co-owner, Steve Jackman, told me they thought the connotations of the name created a bit of interest and artistic licence for the local populace.

I said pub didn’t I, maybe I shouldn’t because this is the one that sorts the Pub Men out from the Beer People. I don’t think it’s a pub, I’d call it a bar. A very nice bar. A very good bar with very good beer. I wouldn’t call it a micro-pub neither. The decor and total quality of the place elevates it above the typical micro-pub; many of which resemble second rate second hand furniture repositories.

It’s probably not period, but the stunning 60’s, art deco inspired table really was something else, as was the rest of the fit out, notably the bar. The big nod to a micro-pub is the uni-sex toilets, which caused some consternation and indecision. The other micro-pub style pointers were the lack of music or TV and no ‘brands’, I’ve no problem with any of that though.

Having done a trawl of eight or nine, mainly GBG pubs in Rugby, I have to agree with licensee Steve. It did seem to be the only pub in Rugby that offered something a bit different. Something like I’m more familiar with. Somewhere Martin could take Mrs RM, I know she’d love it. 

Exactly what the other Pub Men thought I will leave to the pictures? Whilst sat around the table, I heard Pubcurmudgeon mention his biggest disappointment of the day was the Boondoggle in the Squirrel Inn, something his face says he hadn’t quite got over. Martin is trying to outwardly show he doesn’t like the bar, but deep down, he knows it’s the future. As ever, Paul (Mudge) looks content and although there’s no photo of Peter Allen he writes that it was OK.

I didn’t think Steve divulged who made the house Bitter but Peter has it down as being from XT? Who cares about Bitter though when there’s some excellent modern cask ales on, and some decent keg and bottles, as well as Gin and Wines.

The Dark Revolution Sonic was a pint glass full of hazy loveliness, a clear NBSS 4 and top value at £3.90 for a 5.2% beer. I had a slurp of Mrs C’s Black Anna from Norwich’s Chalk Hill Brewery, again good beer in equally excellent form.

You could tell Steve had 36 years trade experience. He mentioned a previous pub, I’d personally never heard of it. Martin said it was renowned for good Bass.

I’m glad Steve has used his wealth of experience caring for the famous old style beer (name & recipe owned by one mega brewer and brewed by a different mega brewer in both Burton and Wolverhampton (at times), depending on who you believe) and transferred it to looking after and supplying something a little more up to date.

They only opened in spring 2018 and on two Friday afternoon/evening visits they were neither quiet nor over busy, mind you I was back in the digs at 9.30pm. Either way, Crafty Banker is just a cool place with awesome beer and the Number One pub in Rugby, provided you see it as a pub. If I ever move to Rugby, this is where you’ll find me.

16 replies »

  1. I’m not sure what “the local populace” would think of you describing Rugby as “a strange town”.
    “The big nod to a micro-pub is the uni-sex toilets” and being closed on Mondays.
    Yes, “content” is what I am when I’m not in poky “second rate second hand furniture repositories”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Strange to me Paul, as in I’m not familiar with the town. Quite a pleasant place really – best Polksi sklep I’ve ever seen too, deli counter was amazing. There was a really good Green Grocers on the Main Street, I noticed as well. Probably says Rugby is a more diverse place than what people might first think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Richard,
        I don’t want to be drawn into discussing the definition of various words but, yes, ‘strange’ can indeed mean ‘unfamiliar’.
        You remind me that my grandmother, born the century before last, when ‘under the weather’ would say that she felt ‘queer’ which of course was in the sense of ‘strange’ or ‘not quite right’.
        Yes, Rugby’s not a bad town but that’s to be expected in the Midlands. I must admit to not getting there often, mainly because the town centre is some distance from the railway station.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think I had ‘The Jam’ song in my mind when I wrote it. It’s interesting how use of words can and does change and the change become rapidly and strongly reinforced as to a particular definition, as in the use of ‘queer’ or ‘gay’. I studied it as part of my recent degree course.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m definitely a ‘Pub Man’ and although I do like some of the more modern beers (never been a fan of Bass or Pedigree or other standard BBB’s) I still much prefer a traditional pub over a bar (or “second-hand furniture repository”)!

    I lived in Australia for 3 years and it took me a while to work out why their pubs didn’t feel right…and then I realised that they were all laid out like restaurants/cafés. Your view from the bar illustrates this nicely and I’m not sure I could spend a whole evening on those chairs. I’m with Pub Curmudgeon regarding bench seating in pubs.

    But, the gaffer has the right attitude and experience and I hope he is successful. Just because I’m not keen on this type of place doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate that it is better than many I’ve seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Each to their own Pete, although to be fair, there really is only the UK where Pubs are set out like … well Pubs! Nearly every other country I’ve visited just have bars, with beer. Only place really is Malta whose pubs are British influenced. Oh and The House of Brews in NY, been in there a few times and that felt like a proper pub.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fair comments all round.

    The beer was superb. So good I told the landlord. I think he ran the Shoulder of Mutton in Barton on Trent (near the National Memorial in Burton) as I asked why no Bass!

    I just find those places too small, to be honest. Nothing to do with the decor or heritage.

    I’d have gone back to the Squirrel.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re getting us mixed up – it was Paul who was unhappy with the Boondoggle in the Squirrel. My Lancaster Bomber was fine, although it’s not exactly Pedigree. I also had Hop Kitty (of course) in this one.

    Now this is where we differ, as to my mind this was my least favourite of the Rugby pubs we visited. While the beer may have been good, it doesn’t to my mind make up for the extreme austere and comfortless interior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the Boon Doggle in the Squirrel was definitely my worst pint of the day and a great disappointment given how pleased I was with the pub and its beer both times I used it last year.

      Like

    • Fair point. It wouldn’t do for us all to like the same thing. Almost a change in the pubs raison d’être – where once it was a comfortable place to resort (as opposed to a quite austere home environment)often with beer of doubtful quality; it is now becoming a place to experience different sorts of things – beer, Gin, wine with Quality being the defining feature – the comfort is secondary, the majority of people these days have well appointed, comfortable homes. In fact many do not go out to the pub as much because of this.

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      • It wouldn’t do for us all to like the same thing is something we should all agree on.
        For most of the past 48 years pubs have been a comfortable place for me to resort to in the expectation of decent quality beer; Now though beer as poor as that Boon Doggle is hardly a rarity and I wouldn’t have much difficulty in finding similarly old beer in pubs within two miles of me. On Wednesday in a pub near me I had a pint of Courage Directors that was so good that I had to have another one and sadly that reminded me rare it is to get a pint in perfect condition.
        What’s the answer ? I don’t know but to me it’s not “never mind, I’ll have craft keg instead”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the answer is to be open minded. There is some really good cask ales about (traditional styles and new wave brewing) there is also some really good keg beer about. Conversely there is a lot of poorly kept and bland cask beer, just as there is poor keg beer which similarly loses condition if kept too long (obviously longer life than cask), particularly from the traditional brewers who really shouldn’t dabble in something they don’t understand.

        The best pint of Directors I ever had was in a small pub in Bedminster, Bristol, on the main drag and they served it straight out of the cask which was on racking behind the bar. Another binary beer for me though – was either in top form or it was awful, no in-between. We went back a couple of years back, pub still there but spoiled now.

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  5. I think I’m as open minded as most people and I don’t judge beer on the size, ownership or age of the brewery or which part of the country it’s from.
    One drinker’s ‘bland cask beer’ is another’s ‘subtle cask beer’ and a lot of it certainly is poorly kept for which the 1989 Beer Orders are largely to blame.
    I tend to avoid craft keg as it’s invariably too cold for me and carbonated more than suits me. It is also often too citrusy, as increasingly are cask beers, and expensive, although we can usually find the money for what we really want.
    I often stayed in Bedminster around the late 1980s but didn’t get to many pubs as there was so much beer and Wilkins cider in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

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