Archive for the ‘Drinking’ Category

Floating Disco Fever

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Lynne asks:

Wondered if you could recommend any boats that go from Greenwich for a 3-4hr evening cruise.  Looking to organise a summer works ‘do’ for around 80 people – exclusive hire would be too much i think, so would be looking for a joint or shared option.  Preferably with the option of food and dancing.  Have had a quick search but there seems to be so many companies/boats i was hoping a recommendation or two would cut down the search a bit!!

Definitely one to throw open to the floor here. Disco cruises are not my cup of tea at all,  so I need your help on this. I did once have a very civilized meal on the Silver Sturgeon, and the entire Silver Fleet seems to be around the top end of the market (hence my never getting to try it again…) but you’re right, there are dozens of cruises available (I didn’t realise just how many until I looked just now), absolutely none of which I’ve tried.

The Dixie Queen with its jolly faux-riverboat brassiness is at least recogniseable, the others I can’t even bring to mind. In cases like this I often fall back on Trip Advisor, which does appear to have some discussions in its forums about river cruises, though I didn’t see one specifically about food and dancing.

But I know what Lynne means – getting a recommendation from a Phantophile who’s been there, danced that, got the glitter ball, will be the best thing.

Or you could just get a Rover ticket on the Clipper and bring a ghetto blaster…

BTW apparently the world’s largest private cruise ship, appropriately-named The World, will be docking at Greenwich between 4-8th June. The cruisers live on board for a whole year in their own apartments. Paydirt for market stallholders, then.

Tastings

Friday, March 18th, 2011

You can always tell how far a place is coming up in the world when you have a regular wine tasting. Now, to my knowledge, Greenwich has three – and one beer tasting. There could be more, but if there are, I’ve not been invited :-(

Theatre of Wine in Trafalgar Road (as if I need to tell anyone) is the best-known tasting in Greenwich, of course. Held every Thursday,  fun and noisy, with everyone packed around a table slightly too small for them, they’re partly educational and partly canny sales technique (I can’t be the first Phantom who’s ordered a whole bunch of bottles because I failed to use the spittoon as much as I could have done…) but they’re mostly popular (and hugely so – they virtually always sell out weeks beforehand) because they’re  fun. They’re a mixture of curious beginners, stubborn ‘I-don’t care-about-what-it-is-I-either-like-it-or-I-don’ts’, tentative proto-collectors and the odd wine snob, shocked because virtually nobody uses that spittoon.

I don’t get to go very often, but when I do I always meet someone new and interesting, hear all sorts of weird gossip, oh, and I get to drink some nice wine too. I sometimes even buy some. Cost: the current batch is between £19 and £30, but it varies depending on the prices of the wines tasted.

Davy’s tastings are less regular – about once a month. I confess to being a bit of a fan of Davy’s Wine Vaults. I utterly love the building (part of the old Lovibonds brewery) and although it’s a chain, the place doesn’t feel like it.  The staff are great. I had a waitress the other day who really went the extra mile, warning us off a particularly sloping table  (the whole floor slopes so they could roll barrels more easily when it was a brewery) and she even donned an anorak after we’d finished so she could let my friend out of the car park in the snow (parking is free if you’re dining/drinking there – not recommended for tastings – but the gates are locked after the shop shuts.) The food’s pretty good, though a bit variable in quality, and although not all of the wine is to my taste, there’s plenty that is.

I’m afraid I’ve never been to one of their tastings, mainly because I just keep forgetting to look up when the next one is going to be. Perhaps someone who’s been to one could give me the low down? The next one, all about Burgundian wines, is on the 23rd June. Prices on the current batch range between £20 and £50

Which leads me to the new kid on the wine block. Tom Gilbert (he’s developing a website but it’s not there yet) is a sommelier over at Canary Wharf, who’s started a wine club over at the recently-renovated Duke in Creek Road. He hosts it himself on Mondays between 7.30pm and 9.00pm and it’s been going well so he wants to open it to everyone. The ethos, he tells me,  is ‘friendly and fun’ rather than formal, but to be honest, that’s most of the tastings I’ve been to in the past few years. I can’t remember the last ‘formal’ tasting I went to. It costs £15 and you try 9 wines.

And there’s one other Greenwich tasting that I forgot earlier when I posted this for the sole reason that, as regulars will know, I’m not a beer drinker.

Our very own brewery – and our very own Phantom Brewmaster, Rod. Rod conducts tutored beer tastings at The Old Brewery, in addition, he tells me,  to the tours shown on the website. Afternoons and early evenings during the week are best, as the bar and restaurant get too busy and noisy later on. Tastings can be tailored to whatever the group is interested in – duration and cost will vary according to the number and type of beers tasted. Group size ideally from 6 to 14.
Email  rjones@meantimebrewing.com for further details.

Death by Hum – And Wibbley Wobbley Fun

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Dunno about you, but the first thing I think of when I think about Malcolm Hardee isn’t clothes. And yet it’s a good half way into Jody VandenBurg’s docco  The Tunnel before one of Britain’s most outrageous comics ever is seen in anything other than a full set of togs (fully-pixelated, in case you’re of a nervous disposition…)

I confess I was just too young and too scared to ever venture into the club myself – I’d heard its fearsome reputation and just going past made me nervous. Actually, it still is quite a place if you go past of a Friday night about 10.00 - and it’s somehow rather sweet that the Tunnel Club’s resident heckler who, along with Simon Munnery (who’s looking terrifyingly like Pete Beale these days), forms the main talking head-action is pleased that it’s still an ‘outside’ venue, (I was chatting to a guy of 19 who visited THAT recently and only lasted about 15 minutes before he got scared…) I told myself I was more into music anyway…

The documentary is, like Tea Time, another ‘alternative’ vision of the area covering something un-mainstream that thankfully still exists, important in that it discusses something that, by its very nature, will only ever be marginalised in history books (though I was pleased to see an entry from Mary Mills’s Greenwich and Woolwich at Work  featured in the film.) There’s no narrator, so in many ways you’re expected to know, more or less, something  of the history of Hardee, his notorious balloon act and the alternative alternative comedy circuit of the 1980s and 90s (if you don’t, try checking out this )

There’s not much point in my reinventing the wheel here – I recommend watching the video – which has been nominated for an award, so if you enjoy it, you could vote for it too. Don’t switch off when it comes to the (very long, considering the length of the movie) credits – there are more famous people interviewed during them, drawing on their own Tunnel visions, including one brave dissenting voice from Mark Lamarr, who loved Hardee but not the club itself. Presumably he, like pretty much every other performer there, died a horrible death – perhaps even the time mentioned in the movie where 350 people hummed some poor sod off the stage.

Hardee owned the Wibbley Wobbley boat in Greenland Dock up to the point of his untimely death in 2005 and I visited it the other evening to see how it’s faring.

It’s charming, complete with bunting , flowers and fairy lights, if perhaps not quite as raucous as it once was. Wider than you might expect, it really is a pub on water – plush bench seats, rope disco lights, and resident cat inside, comfy seats outside to watch the sun slip down behind the apartment blocks. When I went it was clearly a place for residents and boaty-types to enjoy a quiet drink under yellowing shipping maps pasted onto the ceiling. Sadly, French Fred no longer does food (even though it’s still advertised on a board on the Thames Path) but I still liked this place a lot. It’s a place for cool drinks on hot summer evenings, but I suspect it would be very cosy in the winter too. I just hope they start doing food again soon.

Do check out the docco. And if anyone fancies making a film about South East London’s music scene in the 19 70s, 80s and 90s, there’s a willing viewer waiting here…

Pub Nicknames

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I was reading an old guidebook from the 1970s (Greenwich…A Closer Look, by Carson Ritchie) the other day, part of a job lot of assorted stuff I got on Ebay when I still did Ebay, which had clearly been amassed by someone as bonkers about Greenwich as me – dozens of bits of memorabilia – leaflets, books and typed notes from guided walks when Greenwich was still largely industrial. Each item was clearly labelled with its previous owner’s name – Beverly A. Battersby – anyone heard of her? and the collection itself is now a prized Phantom possession. None of the items are worth much in pure cash, but if I were to try to find virtually anything from it, I’d have an absolute nightmare.

But onto Greenwich…A Closer Look. I confess it’s been one of the last ones to read, mainly because it has a very pretty, official-looking cover and there’s something about old typed notes mimeographed in purple ink slipped inbetween the pages of another book that draws me in first. To be frank, it’s a book of its time, and most of it’s a bit-so-so. There are better general guides around. What drew my eye, though, was the last couple of pages where he talks about the practicalities of visiting Greenwich in the 1970s.

He describes a cornucopia of quirk – book stores and antique shops – “Greenwich is a place where antique shops open overnight,” he says, just to depress me. Now it seems that shops of all descriptions close overnight, though it wasn’t so very long ago that there was more than a handful of junk shops and book havens in Greenwich

I was intrigued by the list of eateries no longer extant around here – Orton’s Kitchen in Nelson road “which attracts many young people – piped music and a fair range of healthy foods,” Diks, also in Nelson Road, which, ”for less that £1 includes three courses and coffee”, MacDonalds (no – not that one, the one that was where Vietnam is in King William Walk – we saw the old sign when they were tarting it up recently – Ritchie describes it as “conventional, rather dull, but cheap”) and “for those who persist in trying to do Europe on $5 a day” the Terminus in Church St.

He lists some of his favourite pubs and their breweries, and in that finally lies the subject of today’s post. I seem to have rambled on rather longer than usual this morning. Hey – it’s a Friday.

He describes the King’s Head in King William Walk as “universally and mysteriously known as the The Bunker.” I have never heard this expression. Is it still known as such? I can only guess as to its origin – maybe it was used as an air-raid shelter in the war? Who knows – clearly Carson Ritchie didn’t either.

But that brings me onto other pub nicknames – and how they can seemingly get made and lost within a generation. Off the top of my head I can only think of one other – the Richard I, in Royal Hill, AKA the Tolly (I have always believed the name’s from the pub’s days as a Tolly Cobbold house but I’m sure that someone will put me right if I’m wrong) but maybe you can think of some nicknames for local hostelries I’ve forgotten?

Poor King Billy

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Poor King William IV gets a bit of a duff deal all round really. I mean, for starters, he’s the ‘boring’ monarch crammed in between George IV and Victoria that everyone forgets (though in reality he was quite a card), but in Greenwich the poor guy gets a particularly poor time. His slightly snigger-worthy statue is currently surrounded by scaffolding as something rather worrying happens to the ex-graveyard of St Mary’s Church, and the pub named after him in Trafalgar Road isn’t one of the classier hostelries in town.

Or should I say ‘wasn’t one of the classiest hostelries?’ For stuff is happening – or rather, isn’t happening, down Trafalgar-way.

For the past few weeks the place has been dark – devoid of the usual ne’er do wells and underagers hanging around outside, devoid of bunk beds crammed into dormitories upstairs, devoid of lights or, indeed, optics.

What’s gone/going on? Have they gone bust? Is it a refurb? Who can tell. All I know is that it doesn’t look at all well.

I think we need to be treading carefully here. This place, despite its unpleasant nature (who can forget those gullible-fool-baiting  white-goods ‘sales’ held at short notice on a Saturday evening when Trading Standards and the local constabulary were looking the other way…) is a really beautiful building – as Benedict’s close-ups  show.

It’s mid-late Victorian, with incredible mouldings, some absolutely lovely interior fittings and a splendid, totally inexplicable oval disc (can you have an ‘oval disc’?) at the top of the side. This could be a FABULOUS venue in the right hands. It suffers, granted, from having no exterior frontage (hence the dodgy blokes – and it did always seem to be blokes – hanging around outside) but even so, this has HUGE potential.

What I fear is that developers, such as the odious London Taverns Ltd will also see it as a having huge potential – as ‘luxury’ flats.

The worst possible thing that could happen is what happened to the Penny Black (for anyone new to the area, the Penny Black was a cute old London pub, opposite and a few doors along  from the King Billy which is now modern flats with a dead shop underneath it, ‘dead’ in this case meaning ‘never actually lived’.) Demolition of the William IV would have this Phantom in tears.

I confess I didn’t like the King William IV as a pub. But just imagine what it COULD be. The Feathers, the Vanbrugh, the Cutty Sark, and most recently, the Pelton Arms, have all reinvented themselves and become seriously enjoyable establishments in East Greenwich. I hope the King Billy will find its time.

The New/Old Brewery

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I seem to be doing a nice line in being last to review major new establishments in Greenwich just at the moment. I guess it comes to a point where everyone’s trying to squeeze through the review door at the same time, and in those instances it pays just to hold back and let everyone else through first. And let’s face it – the Old Brewery isn’t going anywhere soon…

I’ve been to the New/Old Brewery two or three times now, which will probably give you an inkling of the kind of review it’s just about to get. It seems almost a bit weedy to echo what everyone else is saying but hey, some things just need to be trumpeted as examples of good practice in an area where bad practice is the norm.

When I heard they were considering digging up the old brewery and creating a new one I had mixed feelings – huge excitement for something that was so very appropriate for a great historical site, but also little trepidation. I could hardly believe they’d manage to ever pull off such a project, let alone pull it off properly. Surely someone would put the kibosh on the idea early in the planning stages? Surely something was going to be skimped on, messed up or bodged somewhere along the line? I knew it was the Greenwich Foundation, not the Greenwich Hospital Trust. I knew it was Meantime, not Inc. But still I had my fears.

But a good few years after the idea was first mooted, the archaeology has been done. The beer history has been researched. The molasses-black Hospital Porter has been brewed and the Old Brewery is finally with us.


What can I say? They’ve done it beautifully. From the shiny copper brewing vats to the strange, undulating beer-bottle sculpture hanging from the ceiling (a cleaner’s nightmare, but that’s not someone else’s problem…), from the magnificent, gently arched brick roof in the bar (they did tell me what it was called – something to do with fish if I recall) to the smooth finish on the solid wood seats in the garden, this place just screams ‘class’ (if ‘class’ even deigned to scream, of course.)

I ate there the day after it opened. It’s been strange holding back a review when everyone else has been having their two penn’orth, but hey, that’s how it is, and waiting has at least given me the opportunity to test it out at other times. I was nervous, because our very own Rod is Phantom Brewmaster there, and I knew that if I hated it, I’d have to be honest about the fact.

I wonder how many times per day they have to tell ignorant Phantoms what London Particular is (to save the waiters’ voices, it’s split pea and bacon soup.) I confess I didn’t go for it, but it is an excellent example of the sort of menu to expect from the evening restaurant. British food is prominent (and very trendy just now) with solid, down and dirty London faves such as shellfish and sundry animal innards often cooked with sundry Meantime ales.

The whitebait could have been a tad crispier (though I’ve heard they’ve since dealt with that, apparently it was an early kitchen issue – that’s the problem with leaving a review a couple of weeks) but the salmon was divine. At first I thought that I couldn’t taste the horseradish but testing all the components separately proved that it did have quite a kick – it was just so beautifully balanced by the almost-omnipresent-in-contemporary-cooking beetroot that both became mellow supporting acts, bringing out the flavour of the salmon, rather than overpowering it. It is the single clearest example of perfect-balanced food I have ever eaten. What’s so odd is that I don’t much care for either beetroot or horseradish but in this dish they were exactly what was needed.

I rather fancied the look of the potato dumplings on the table next door, so I ordered them rather than the Dover sole, which I had had my eye on. They were divine – soft and squishy – like a cross between Italian gnocchi and cheesy mashed potato. My only complaint, being a Phantom of Greed, was that I could have easily gobbled a few more of them.

My companion’s rib-eye steak disappeared before my very eyes (with the exception of the odd bits of fatty gristle you always get with such a cut) and was pronounced ‘good,’ which, short of ‘amazing,’ is actually the best compliment I’ve heard from such lips. Since I’d finished the potato dumplings, I scoffed quite a lot of the chips which looked a little square to be entirely hand cut, but oh boy were they good.

Didn’t make it to pud on that occasion (I’d filled up on someone else’s chips) and since I don’t drink beer I only had a sip of the Hospital Porter. I can’t really comment on it as it all tastes ghastly to me, but it’s certainly thick stuff – impossible to see through – and it tasted quite sweet, but what would I know?

I’ve returned on a couple of occasions, armed with friends to test some of the beers. The aim is to work through them all, but actually getting tasting notes out of my pals is hard work, and as a non-beer drinker myself, I am totally reliant on others for such things. I know the Helles went down well, as did the Wheat Beer and the IPA. There was much discussion about the Saison 1900, which, being lambic, is, I understand, always a bit of a voyage into the unknown. I think that it was generally regarded as ‘interesting.’

Last time, we sat outside in what was, frankly, a bit of a chilly garden. But it’s wonderful – it’s going to be absolutely heaving in the summer. The curved brick wall keeps out the worst of the river breezes and the border, although in early days yet, being a Greenwich Foundation thing (I assume) will take it to being somewhat better than the average beer garden. The furniture is solid and inviting and the tables have those little twisty things on them so you can adjust them for non-wobble.

I was drinking the wine – first the house Chardonnay, then the Chenin Blanc. It’s perfectly okay – nothing terrible, nothing wonderful, but it is like so much wine these days, pretty high in alcohol. I only vaguely remember the political discussion between us and the folks on the next table…

I still haven’t managed to have lunch there, mainly because it’s been a bit of an elderly-relative-visiting-frenzy at Phantom Towers recently and I needed to take my visitors to places bookable in advance for access purposes – sadly the Old Brewery doesn’t take lunchtime bookings.

But this is a place I will return to whenever I have the money – you get what you pay for and the Old Brewery isn’t dirt-cheap.

On a site like this you’d really need to mess up big time not to make cash out of tourists. But this is so much more than that – this is a place that locals will see as ‘their own.’ I love it.

The pictures, by the way, are by Steve, who tells me he was the first paying customer…

The Most Unpopular Job In Greenwich

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Well – maybe not the most unpopular job in medieval Greenwich. That prize goes, without a doubt, to the Greenwich gong-farmers – a euphemism for the poor sods who had to clean out the town’s cess pits.

But you’d have thought the job of Beer Taster would be sought-after, rather than avoided at all costs. And you’d be wrong.

In fact it was so unappreciated that in 1318, one Henry Boyn was dragged up before the beak at Greenwich Manor Court, and fined twelvepence for not performing his duties as tastitor cerevisie . A few years later, in 1327, the same court had to force Walter Wyntercoker to even take up the post.

The reasons seem twofold. Firstly, the beer was ghastly. I’m sure Phantom Brewmaster Rod could tell you more, but from what I can tell, it wasn’t made with hops until the end of the 14th C, just malt, yeast and water, so it was, apparently, very strong, but also sickly-sweet. Added to that it had no keeping qualities whatsoever, so it had to be drunk very young – or it went off. Because it couldn’t be moved, it had to be brewed on site at every inn.

The law was quite clear. The 1266 Assize of Bread and Ale said “Brewers in cities ought and may well afford to sell two gallons of ale for a peny and, out of the cities, to sell three gallons for a peny.” No added ingredients were permitted, and certainly no bulking agents.

Whoever had to go around checking the beer was going to be highly unpopular with anyone who was trying to palm-off old stuff on their customers, especially if they’d tried adding ‘extras’ to make it go further.

Which brings me to the second reason why the job wasn’t enjoyable. It was damn hard work. In 1327-28, it took two guys just to cover Greenwich – one for the Westende, the other for the Eastende – and over 50 people were fined for breaking the rules. So that no one had to do it for too long, the post was rotated, but it made no difference. No one likes a snitch.

Walter Wyntercoker was on the rota, as was another family member, I guess it could have been his wife, Christine. It was all a bit embarrassing, as they’d both been fined at various times for breaking the assize themselves.

This makes me think that it was the actual brewers who were expected to take it in turns to police other brewers, which just doesn’t sound good to me. It would be like asking banks to regulate themselves, which we’d never dream of, would we…

Things got a bit better with the introduction of hops. It meant the beer kept longer, and didn’t need to be brewed ‘in-house’ at every pub any more. The job of brewer began to be a much more of a profession in itself, instead of brewers having to be publicans too. It wasn’t the end of the ale-tasters – and over the years the pensioners especially found much to complain about, but at least it never got to such ridiculous levels again.

I daresay we’ll have no such problems with the lovely new brewery coming our way soon. More beer another day.

Drinking Ban

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Tucked away in the Standard yesterday was a little piece about a consultation for a borough-wide ‘in-public-spaces’ drinking ban across Greenwich.

Apparently there are already several ‘zones’ where you can’t drink in the streets. Has anyone noticed these? I vaguely remember it being talked about. I guess that I’m so used to seeing drunks staggering about of a Saturday night that whether or not they have a can of Special Brew in their paw at the time is a bit of a moot point.

The Council reckons these bans haven’t really worked as it’s just moved the problem on to the areas that don’t have bans. Since I don’t know how tight the the zones are, I don’t know if St Alfege Passage is included in the Central Greenwich one, but I’ve been talking to Robert at Number 16 recently about unpleasant violent events that have been happening there – people having their doors kicked in, threatening behaviour, verbal, and in some instances physical abuse. The latest incident was last weekend.

Robert’s had CCTV installed ever since he was beaten up himself last year, but the attacks continue. He has some footage of the latest attack that he’s sharing with the police.

It’s clear there’s a problem here, but I don’t know that it’s drinking in the streets that’s the source. If people are already mattressed by the time they come out of the various bars, especially those that have late licences (several of which were approved after someone died from a violent incident, if I recall) then whether or not they’ve bought an extra tin to carry about with them when they start to kick in someone’s door late at night (a terrifying thing, especially if you’re in bed at the time) seems a bit immaterial.

Surely it’s the places that sell booze to people who must already be obviously drunk that must be the issue. It’s hard to pin down specific bars – there are so many in a very small place (though Robert says that the gang who beat him up each had bottles of lager with little slices of lime in the top, which does sort of point to one particular venue in that specific incident – that, and that the drinking-in-the-streets-ban isn’t working very well.)

What is to be done, folks?

The Thames Pub

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Jenny has a curious but cool address – the old Thames Pub in Norway St. The poor old place has been dead for some time now, but I’m encouraged to hear that its owners don’t seem to have plans to demolish just at the moment. She says:

“We’re guardians for a company called Camelot which puts tenants into empty buildings to protect them from squatters. I’m rather fond of the place, and would like to find out more about it. I learnt from a taxi driver that it used to be inhabited by squatters, the last one being a prostitute who used to work the bridge over the creek… As for its earlier history, or even its age, though, I have no idea.”

I’ve discovered in my albeit paltry searches over the years that pubs are one of the hardest types of building to find anything out about. However historic they may be, they’ve always been working buildings; no one’s really had time to write histories of them. I’ve been reduced to tears on all sorts of Greenwich pubs, trying to find anything more than basics about them – and a pub called something like The Thames is a particular pig to google as you just get lists of pubs in Greenwich that are on the river.

I can’t even try to look at its old name (as engraved on the outside) The Rose & Crown – all searches are superimposed by the Rose & Crown we still have on the corner of Nevada and Stockwell Streets.

My guess, looking at it, is that it’s mid to late Victorian which would make it date back to when that particular area was very dodgy indeed. The appropriately-named ‘Dark Entry’ was exactly that – a long, dangerous conduit between two dockyards with high brick walls either side. There were any number of pubs to keep the dockers refreshed, and although there are a lot of excellent pictures of these in Julian Watson/Kit Gregory’s In the Meantime, including some marvellously murky photos of alleys like Dark Entry and Brewhouse Lane (the closest we have these days is the much-cleaned up Turnpin Lane) there’s nothing of the Thames.

I have great hopes for the pub though. When the development has finished, hopefully there will be enough people to make reopening it viable. It’s a nice-looking boozer, all it needs is a bit of TLC and a sympathetic guvnor. We could even get a Greenwich-side-of-the-creek Dog & Bell…

Royal Standard

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Ruth asks:

“We are thinking of buying a property close to the Royal Standard pub on Pelton Road. I was wondering if any of your readers could tell me anything about this pub. I can very few reviews of it on the internet and I’d like to find out if it’s a friendly or a rowdy place. I’m also struggling to find out its licensing hours.”

The Phantom replies:

Aha – the Pelton Road Estate – part of Morden College’s portfolio of Greenwich properties, if memory serves. I love those houses – especially the ones on the left as you’re walking towards the river – the sheer size of the windows in comparison to the size of the houses is fab. I also like what people have done with their front gardens along there, though I did get water-bombed by some kids in the block of flats as I walked by a week or so ago. Happily for them, the little buggers missed…

I’ve never visited the Royal Standard, though I have always had my suspicions about the ‘reindeer’ on its balcony (Benedict and I decided that it was actually the Lucky Greenwich Dromedary…) To be honest, it looks like a good old fashioned spit-and-sawdust boozer to me – always seems to have old-codger type drinkers outside whenever I pass. I have no idea if it’s rowdy or not. I guess the best way to find out the opening hours would be just to ask them…

BTW I’ve been hearing good things about the Pelton Arms (up the road from the Standard) food recently, though haven’t been there myself since it changed hands. When I walked past the other day they were unloading a mechanical bull for a rodeo-themed day…