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Weekly round-up

A week in pubs: w/c 8 November 2010

Pub visits this week 2
Locations Sheffield, Cleethorpes

This may be a shorter than usual Week in Pubs for two reasons. One is that I only got to two pubs this week. Another is that, three days ago, my son accidentally poked me in the eye with a sharp stick while I was trying to put his gloves on, and my vision is still slightly skew-whiff. So I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to type before the old peepers go Niagara. At least I hope it was an accident, anyway.

Duty compels, though, to point out a couple of pub-related items in the Sheffield Telegraph. The Greystones has made a great start to life as a Thornbridge pub, so this blog will have to visit soon. And the Grapes, it seems, will only be doing occasional acoustic gigs once it gets Irished. We are now in the dark days of the last ever proper gigs at the Grapes. God rest its soul.

And a big welcome to all our new readers. Last week we recorded more page views than ever before, and it’s nice to have new followers of the Get to the pub.com Twitter thing too. Thanks for being with us, and enjoy your pubbing this week.

The Blake Hotel

Opening night at the Blake

Wednesday is the opening night at the Blake Hotel, right on my doorstep in the Walkley district of Sheffield. The Blake closed down a few years ago with one of those terrible covenants which stop pubs being reopened. This was overturned by a persistent bloke called James Fenamore Birkett, who has made the Sheaf View, over in Heeley, a pub of legend. But if you’re going to the Blake expecting a pub that looks and feels like the Sheaf View, you’ll be in for a shock. True, the beer is very good and accessibly priced. And several regulars and members of staff from the Sheaf have journeyed across the city to be here for the opening night. But the similarities go little further.

Where the Sheaf is bare wood, modern, long, light and airy, the Blake is darkly painted, less bright, and square in shape. It feels much more like a traditional pub. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an excellent traditional pub. But it’s very different in style from the Sheaf View.

And quite a few older folks are in. Quite a few younger folks are too: it’s two or three deep at the bar when I arrive. There’s a real buzz among the many drinkers here: the excitement of the select initiated, the special few. Outside the temperature has plunged to around zero, and the opening night at the Blake is rivalled by an exclusive preview of the forthcoming winter. And inside it feels like Christmas. I’ll be going to the Blake again as soon as I can, and possibly making it the next featured pub here at Get to the pub.com. Well, I do love the smell of fresh paint.

And that’s it until Sunday evening, when I’m visiting my mum in Cleethorpes and we nip round the corner and on to the seafront for some refreshment at the Kings Royal. A pleasant enough murmur of company is here, despite the cold night. The guest beer is Jolly Ploughman from Tom Wood’s Brewery, just a few miles away in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Just the thing in this weather, it’s a deep, dark night of a pint, smooth and soulful, with – no, that can’t be an undertone of rum, can it? My maritime imagination is running away with me.

There’s live folk music in one side of the pub but, for my second successive visit, there’s some toilet humour to entertain us as well. Last time it was an unfortunate young man who’d gone into the women’s by mistake (OK, you had to be there); this time it’s a slightly less young man who emerges from the lavvy to confide in us: “I think something’s died in there.”

Well, it’s not been the busiest week in pubs, but it’s been better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And believe me, I know.

The Kings Royal

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About Pete Green

Poet and musician. Sheffield. Maps, coastlines, walking, whisky, and potentially dangerous levels of wist. Grimbarian. Pedestrian. King of the impossible. Big girl's blouse.

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