Pub visits this week 3
Before the business of this week’s pubbing, may I introduce to you Sups, the beer blog maintained by my occasional collaborator and colleague Mr Simon Wilson. I like to look at the pictures.
This week my pubbing has been in recession.
The Sheffield Tap has placed an array of tables outside, for the summer. They’re probably not allowed to place them out on the station platform, though. So they’re on the other side of the pub. Which means you can’t get a closer glimpse of passing locos while you gulp a pint (in that way that makes the outside of the Number 2 Refreshment Rooms at Cleethorpes station so agreeable). Instead you’re looking straight on to the roaring A61 inner ring road. I’ll probably stay inside until the council or Network Rail or whoever loosen up and let them put out some tables on platform 1b instead.
Tonight is a final chance to see our friend Markie, who’s been a-visiting from New Zealand for three weeks. He chooses the Tap as the place to say goodbye to us all. As a railway station pub, of course, it’s strangely appropriate, though we refrain from passionate Brief Encounter-style farewells in favour of manly hugs. Well, mostly. That old upper lip does become a bit less stiff after not many pints of Jaipur.
When they chuck us out at quarter past 11, then, we don’t quite want the night to end. So much so, in fact, that we totter into town and along Division Street in search of somewhere else that’s open. But the Tories are going to have a job putting an end to 24-hour drinking, because 24-hour drinking hasn’t begun. It takes us right up to the edge of Devonshire Green to find anywhere. Where? The Bowery, an expensive and gaudy establishment that fancies itself a cut above but doesn’t really pull it off. It’s a bit like your schoolfriend’s parents who lived in a semi and ate brown bread but only read the Daily Express.
I can’t tell whether it’s the University Arms that feels glum today or just me, but the high spirits that normally attend Friday Lunch Club seem absent. A rumbustious pint of something from the Spire Brewery of Chesterfield does its best to add spice, but perhaps we’re all just missing Markie already. If fun isn’t finding us just now, then next week we’ll have to go and seek it out.