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A Pint at Teatime....

When I was a lad, my favourite time for a pint was late on of an evening. I would go out anytime after 8 and would quite happily be there at 11 or later.

I am pretty sure I can remember when this changed. I went to work for Family Hampers in Seacroft, Leeds in the late 80's. My boss, Mike, liked a pint, and a few days after I started he invited me to go for an after-work pint with some of the other lads. Keen to be accepted by new colleagues I went along. 

We went to the Dexter, a modern-ish Tetley's pub in Alwoodley. The beer was ok, the food wasn't bad, and just happened to be round the corner from where Mike, and our accountant, Malcolm, lived. It soon became a regular haunt, the teatime pint becoming the norm.

We moved offices to Sweet Street in Leeds, next door to the Commercial, where mine host was Leeds United legend, Peter Lorimer, and where the time from my desk to the bar was less than a minute. After several years the company was sold on and we uprooted and headed for new offices in Gildersome where unfortunately there was not really a pub close by. 

Meanwhile, the company was gradually drifting towards receivership. Teatimes got closer to home and away from work and the despondency - the Barge & Barrel in Elland, the Red Rooster and Richard Oastler in Brighouse. All a relief from the 9 to 5.

I moved jobs to Hyde, Cheshire. Where do I go? A few times early on I hit the Cheshire Ring in Hyde, then I gradually drifted to the Buffet Bar at Stalybridge.

For the past 9 years or so I have been a regular there. After a few weeks of supping on my own, I got talking to people and was gradually subsumed into the friendly community there, and barring the odd visit - with many of the same people - to the Stalybridge Labour Club, it has become my default place to go for that early evening pint. One of the things that makes it constantly interesting as that with being at the station, there is a continuous churn of people both regular and those making that first visit. Over the years I have met a lot of interesting people, and at the same time bumped into old friends from over t'hill - Huddersfield is only 21 minutes away on Transpennine, 33 on Northern Snail - and former work colleagues, all drawn by the unique atmosphere and reputation.

So why do I like teatimes so much?

You've had a stressful day at work. You need to clear your head. Whilst you can chat through the frustrations of the day with your work colleagues, you also meet people from different walks of life who have had a completely different type of day, which may also have been stressful. On a good day Millstone or Marble may be on the bar.

I find it a relaxing time of the day. After an hour or so in the company of real people all the hassles with systems and spreadsheets are reduced to trivia. The beer tastes better, the jokes are funnier, and the stories more engrossing than at any other time. That hour means you can head off home decidedly more chilled than when you went in.


The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge: a bit later than Teatime!


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