Talking Bull - Good Pub Guide - September
This offered high quality, good value food alongside their customary wide range of real beers and ciders and even Weston's Perry (just for us).
Mind you 'Preece's Law' seems to be back with a vengeance, and I'm really starting to hate Bristol 'bloody' Rovers. They're nearly as bad as those b****rds from the other side of the city.
Anyhow, onto the delights we have in store this month.
SOUTHEND UNITED 13/09/2008
Things can only get better but the long haul to Southend is not a particularly appealing prospect. As I understand it 'The Cork And Cheese', for years Southend's premier real ale pub has closed but the new 2009 Good Beer Guide lists a couple of promising sounding pubs on the sea front. Who knows, it might even be a nice day but don't hold your breath.
'The Borough Arms' at 10-12 Marine Parade SS1 2EJ was formerly known as the 'Liberty Belle' and was one of Olde Rosie's haunts when he lived in the area. Now renamed it still serves real cider plus eight real ales on handpump. No food as it is just an alehouse (it sounds a bit like our own beloved Barrels) but you should find something to your liking here. Harvey's is mentioned among the beer range. Never seen in Herefordshire this is always worth checking out.
'The Cornucopia' at 39 Marine Parade SS1 2EN is a small street corner local that serves beers from the Mighty Oak Brewery of Maldon plus guests. As at the Borough you can sit out front if the weather is decent. No food as again this is just a boozer but this too sounds well worth a visit.
Obviously there will be pubs nearer the ground but an internet search suggests that these will be nothing special.
LEEDS UNITED 27/09/2008
After our epic exploits here last year this is sure to be hugely popular trip for the travelling faithful.
On the day of the cup tie we got there early (unlike some), parked up and caught a bus into the city centre so I can't speak for the pubs near the ground. Looking on the net the 'Dry Salters' is reckoned to be the best bet near the ground with the 'Old Peacock' one to be avoided (home fans only).
Leeds city centre is surprisingly impressive, full of grandiose Victorian architecture. I'm also told the shopping is excellent, if you like that sort of thing. But more importantly there are some bloody good pubs making this an ideal destination for a weekender.
Last time we visited 'Whitelocks First City Luncheon Bar' in Turks Head Yard LS1 6HB, an alley off Briggate. This is an essential visit for the pub's celebrated interior. We ate here, the food was good value but the beer range, mainly consisting of nationally available brands, was a little disappointing.
The real highlight was 'The Grove' in Back Row, LS11 5PL. Near to Leeds station the pub is listed as being in Holbeck. It is surrounded by high rise buildings and difficult to find but is well worth the effort. This is a classic multi room pub with an impressive beer range featuring many local ales and even real cider. No food, but nevertheless one of the best pubs we visited last season. A must.
Also in the Holbeck area is the 'Cross Keys' in Water Lane LS11 5WD offering four guest beers plus food.
There are numerous other pubs in the city that sound well worth a visit. 'Mr Foley's Cask Ale House' at 159 The Headrow LS1 5RG is owned by the expanding York Brewery.
'The Scarborough Hotel' in Bishopsgate Street LS1 5DY is another one that has been highly recommended to us. It has close links to 'The Grove' and serves up to eight beers plus cider and perry. Definitely one to visit.
'The North Bar' at 24 New Briggate LS1 6NU and The Palace in Kirkgate LS2 7DJ both offer beers from Rooster's brewery among others.
'The Town Hall Tavern' at 17 Westgate LS1 2RA is a Timothy Taylor's house serving the brewery's full range.
'The Victoria Family and Commercial' at 28 Great George Street LS1 3DL sounds like another architectural gem and stocks an impressive range of beers.
'The Templar' at 2 Templar Street LS2 7NU is also noted for it's architecture, particularly it's tiled frontage.
Bearing in mind that these are city pubs they are primarily alehouses and not many of them do food. Meals can be found at the North Bar, Palace, Scarborough Hotel and Whitelocks.
Foley's, the Town Hall Tavern and the Victoria serve food at lunchtime only. Actually that is rather more than I first thought.
I have a nasty feeling that lightning isn't going to strike twice as Leeds will not underestimate us a second time. I'm still looking forward to the beer though!
Southend United: Try Also....
Ex-Landlord Chris Powis reports:
The nearest Pub to accept visitors is 'The Golden Lion' just up the A127 from the car park.
It does get busy but the service is good and it has Sky TV on big screens although it is a bit of a fizzy beer outlet.
The nearby 'Spread Eagle' is mainly a home Pub but usually accepts well-behaved visitors and sports a selection that includes London Pride, Spitfire, Highgate and Bombardier.
Going back to the traffic lights, you will find 'The Blue Boar' with Tetley`s and Green King IPA. 'The Nelson' in North Road may be worth a look as it has Sky and a beer garden.
A mile from the ground on London Road is 'The Trading Room', a converted Bank that reportedly serves Courage Directors and Ridleys` Old Bob along with decent food.
Please note, 'The Shrimpers Bar' at the ground is now members only and no alcohol is served inside the stadium although refreshments are available from a café type building behind the North Stand.