The restrictions have been lifted and we are back to some sort of normal, so we took the afternoon off and had a good old fashioned pub crawl around some of our favorite watering holes.
Mainly just because we could and also to see if we could remember what to do! 🙂
It has been such a long time since we have been able to have a proper pub crawl, where you just walk into a whole load of pubs, stroll up to the bar, order a pint and sit wherever you want or stand!
The Going out world has been full of booking tables, using apps, and being told where to sit and then having to stay there. It just wasn’t the same experience and not as much fun (although I did really like table service)
Today we were heading to some of our favourite pubs and a couple of pubs that really did us proud since reopening in April.
THE VAT AND FIDDLE
First port of call was to The Vat and Fiddle, a pub that we call our local even though it is nowhere near where either of us live. For myself it is about a 40 minute walk or a bus trip, For Martin it is two buses. It is however such an excellent pub that over the last 15 years or so we have made our regular watering hole.
BACKYARD BBQ BURGER
When the pubs reopened back in April we made our way there and sat out the back on whatever table we could get, had a pint or several, and a burger off the BBQ. It was most welcome (read more here)
Even though we didn’t like using the apps to order our beer I have to say that the site used by the Castle Rock pubs was the easiest to use and that the table service at the Vat and Fiddle was the best we had anywhere. I think that if you want to at the moment you can still choose to use the app.
FIRST PINT ORDERED AT THE BAR!
Martin arrived first walking through the door that had become known as ‘the way out’ over the last few months and strolled straight up to the bar to order a couple of pints of Harvest Pale. I am not sure who was getting the most joy out of the experience, us or the bloke behind the bar who was loving being able to serve us a pint the normal way.
We then sat at one of our favorite tables by the door to enjoy and savour the moment. The beer was excellent as always and although we were sorely tempted to sit and have several more, we remembered that the whole point of a pub crawl was to go to a different pub. So we bid our farewells and left through the same door without a care.
Next stop was just around the corner (well kind of) to the Canal House Bar and Restaurant on Canal street, another Castle Rock Pub. We had not been in here since the pubs reopened in April, mainly because we had not been able to as it was so popular and we just never remembered to book.
We entered without checking in or asking if we could which did really feel very strange. Walked across the bridge over the canalboats moored inside and up to the bar where we stood alongside other people ordering their pints. It did feel a little surreal standing next to another person to order a pint!
CANAL HOUSE MENU BOARD
I had eulogized about this pub back in May 2020 when everything was closed as I cobbled together a blog post about the meals I had managed to scoff here in 2019-2020 (read about that here).
Today we were finally back in 2021 checking out the menu board and ordering food again. This already was turning out to be one of the best afternoons I have had for some time.
VENISON & RED WINE PIE
I had the Venison & Red Wine Pie for £9.95, it came with chips. peas and gravy. I had been in the mood for pie and chips for a while and I just know that they do a really good pie here at the Canalhouse so I well up for getting one.
The Pie was most excellent, there was plenty of tender meat inside and the pie casing was really well made and the crust cooked properly. The red wine mixed well with the slightly gamey venison and gave a really good flavour to the pie.
I loved that there was a lot of gravy and a good amount of chips, as always they give you a lot of peas!
Martin opted for the 8oz Rump Steak for £11.95 that came with Mushrooms, Grilled Tomato, Onion Rings, Chips & a Side Salad. I thought that he was being a bit flash with the cash ordering the most expensive thing on the board. However just like myself he was thoroughly enjoying the moment getting a Steak instead of a Burger!
It did look good and had a really nice sear on the Steak, too much other stuff for my liking, but I wasn’t eating it so not really any of my business I suppose. Anyway you have to get all a lot for your 12 quid 🙂
It was just great to be back having a proper pub lunch and I was glad that we chose the Canalhouse to feed us as they are always reliable for good pub grub. The only downside to this place is that you have to climb all those stairs to the third floor to get to the toilets. I had forgotten about that 🙂
Anyway we scoffed our scran, supped our second pint of Harvest Pale, briefly savoured the moment, and then headed off to the next pub
YE OLDE TRIP TO JERUSALEM
This is probably one of the most famous pubs in town and it always a great place to meet up as they have a big outdoor area if you fancy the fresh air, and also loads of rooms with nooks and crannies if you want to squirrel yourself away for a quiet pint inside.
Behind the bar there were mixed opinions on whether is was good to open normally again and serving from the bar. It was nice for us to be able to see what beers were available properly and to be able to lean over to check out what was in the fridges.
SCAMPI AND CHIPS MEMORY
Today though we we drinking a pint from the Nottingham Brewery and sat outside under the trees in the courtyard enjoying a bit of mid afternoon sun
Moment pondered, beer supped, time to move on 🙂
We headed out from the Trip and up the hill towards the Castle, stopping briefly to check out the section of the wall that looks like rock but turns out to be fibre glass.
I had read about it online so had to find it to see if it was true. It was and we got a bit of a disbelieving crowd around us as we banged away on it to hear that hollow plastic echo.
We bypassed the Fothergills and the Castle Pub as it looked like they were still doing table service and headed to ever reliable Crafty Crow on the corner.
EXCELLENT CRAFTY CROW SIGNAGE
It really helped that they had some excellent signage outside, a nice welcome message so that you didnt feel bad if you did not want to wear your mask and a comedic hypnotizing picture telling people “You are very thirsty”. We didn’t need a sign to tell us that.
We had a nice pint of beer from the Magpie Brewery whom are the owners of this pub. It came in one of their new glasses, looked good and tasted good too.
We spent a nice half hour sitting outside people watching, and soaking up the late afternoon sunshine. Could have stayed longer but we were still on a mission.
Next stop was a bit of a walk back into town up towards the Cornerhouse to get a pint at Lillie Langtrey’s. This has been another great pub we have used since April. They did have an app but they also did table service and just took your order the old fashioned way by asking what you wanted.
There was some small comedy moments as we tried to get to the bar. The people standing there looked at us blankly for a moment before proclaiming that they had forgotten they needed to move away from the bar so that other people could get served.
They have a good selection of real ales here on the bar and we had pints’s of Shipstones, and an Excellent Elsie Mo from the Castle Rock Brewery. We had a couple in here as we had enough of bimbling about.
The only downside was that my usual table in the window was occupied. It seemed that we were not the only ones out on the piss.
The Final Stop was just over the road at the Yarn, which is the Castle Rock Brewery bar inside the Theatre Royal. It is a bit of a strange pub as it gets really busy when the show is about to start, and at intermission time, but then almost dead the rest of the time.
It is a good meeting point though, you can get a seat, hear yourself think when you are talking, and they serve decent beer.
We had a couple more pints of Harvest Pale in here and then decided that we really should go home while we were still capable of finding our way back 🙂
So there you have it, 6 pubs, about 8 pints and a jolly pleasant afternoon and evening having a proper pub crawl.
I can assure you that I have been out and about the pubs since then though 🙂
I read that the Nottingham Ale Trail starts soon in September, so no doubt there may be a few more pub crawls to talk about in the near future