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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Friday, 29 May 2009

Bank Holiday Pub Fun Part One

I'm working on a new book (my first that's not directly beer-related!) which involved me visiting several seaside resorts last bank holiday weekend.

The good bit was that I finally got to sample Pub du Vin in Brighton, which I'll review when I'm back home after the weekend cos I came away without my bleedin' notebook.  Suffice to say they have a little library that has a copy of Man Walks into a Pub in it, so I was favourably disposed.

But two days later we found ourselves in Clacton-on-Sea.  Now I want you to picture this very carefully.  Close your eyes.  Ah - you'd better open them again or you won't be able to read the rest of the post.  Imagine a Wetherspoon's pub, with its curious mix of a good range of beers that are often well-kept, but with a less-than-savoury clientele featuring a large proportion of elderly shouting Irishmen.  Now, delete the wide range of beers and replace it with just one - Ruddles County.  And imagine what a handpull looks like when it has not been pulled or handled in a very long time.  Got that?  Good.  Now, delete the mad Irishmen and  replace them with forty or so families from Essex with screaming bored children.  It's dark outside, three hours before sunset, which may have something to do with the bad weather warning that's just flashed up on the plasma screen.

Yep, this is the worst Wetherspoon's pub you have ever been in.

Not just a Wetherspoon's pub.  But the worst.  Wetherspoon's.  Ever.

And do you want to hear the most terrifying thing of all?  

It's still the best pub in Clacton-on-Sea.  By a considerable margin.

10 comments:

The Northerner said...

That's Clacton-on-Sea crossed off my beer tourist list forever then. [Shudder] - the things you do in the name of research!

ATJ said...

You. Went. Away. Without. Your. Notebook. And you were doing research. And you’re a writer. Did you remember your trousers?

Pete said...

Nah, I had my notebook then. But I'm in Lancaster now andforgot it here. Got my laptop and 1001 stuff though...

ATJ said...

You haven’t got your notebook now though — cardinal sin, you should always take it with you even if you’re going down the shops to record snatches of conversation for the next Cask Ale report (the words ‘200 grams of polenta please guv,’ suggest that here in Hackney-Dalston cask ale is on the rise).

Sid Boggle said...

You just described the JDW in Chaversham (AKA Faversham), though mercifully there are Sheps' pubs in the town as well as the brewery...

Woolpack Dave said...

I suspect that this is unfair on the pub. Tourist pubs on bank holidays are hard work, unless the pub avoids appealing to the lowest common denominator that is.

BLTP said...

Seeing it was me who bought the round I would say the staff were very friendly and efficient taking food orders making coffees etc,the place had just run out of decent bitter. At least they didn't spend their time skipping through the good tracks on the cd like they did in Liverpool st later on and over charging for lager.

The Bocking Kellys said...

Sticking up for Essex folk as I must, in Clacton the families in question were likely to be from North London or Harlow (doesn't count, it's practically Hertfordshire) out for a day at the seaside.
Next time you're looking for some north Essex seaside action go to Walton on the Naze, can't guarantee any better pubs but there will be fewer people. Or Harwich, that has got at least one decent pub but I can't remember what it's called.

Sid Boggle said...

It sounds a lot like the JDW in Faversham, except that luckily, there are some decent Neame houses in the town. Still, that's the awful conundrum about Wetherspoon's in a nutshell...

Captain said...

And I'm sure Rik Waller was working behind the bar of that Clacton JDW....