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Showing posts from October, 2019

Micros On The Metro....

I headed out on the Tyne and Wear Metro last week to check out a few of the new micro pubs that are springing up in and around some of the stations ....
A few months ago on my last trip to see my family in the North East I wrote a blog about my trip to a micro pub in Whitley Bay. Someone posted a comment advising that there was one at Tynemouth and I already knew about one called the Left Luggage Room, so I was anticipating a good day out in North Tyneside when I set out to visit all 3 last Monday. The North East has long been one of the best areas for micros, with the Rat Race at Hartlepool station being the second one in the country to open. And with the likes of the Town Mouse, Mean Eyed Cat, Split Chimp, Box Social, and Beer Street in Newcastle all doing well, with more across the region, it is clear that the area understands what it takes to run a popular and successful operation. And so my little jaunt didn't disappoint.

I left Newcastle via the Metro from Monument at the to…

A Pint At The Crafty Fox....

A new bar has just opened up in Brighouse, so naturally I have gone along to give it a try....
The town of Brighouse is buzzing again, with a new bar giving the town's quality beer and pub lovers another drinking option. The bar in question, the Crafty Fox, opened up a week or two ago in the heart of the town on Commercial Street, and thus far has been pulling in the crowds, some inquisitive and going for a nosey, others starting to go back regularly as they like what they see.

The bar is located in a former Polish supermarket, and is run by Baz and Michelle, aided behind the bar by Baz's daughter, Georgia, amongst others, and immediately you walk in you are made to feel welcome. Baz, a former purchasing manager, had a brief spell working across town at Ventures, but other than that, it is a brand new chapter for the team.
And what about the beer on offer? Well, when I have called in, there have been some good ones available. Four hand pumps serve beers from the likes of Wilde…

A First Class Return to Auld Reekie....

A few days in Edinburgh provided the perfect opportunity to visit some of the city's wonderful pubs. Here's a few of them....
The train pulled into the canyon below Princess Street that plays host to Edinburgh Waverley Station. Emerging on to the street, the castle was shrouded in mist in the distance. To the left, the Scott Memorial was an eerie shape amidst the gloom, looking very much the steampunk rocket as someone once described it. It was a gloomy welcome for my first visit to the city for nearly 20 years.

I fancied a pint after almost 3 hours on the train, so across the road and on to West Register Street, where at Number 1, the Guildford Arms awaited.
This is a pub I had visited before, and it hadn't changed a bit in all those years. Dark wood, high ceilings, chandeliers, a classic Victorian interior. And a pint of fine Jarl from Fyne Ales whose quality set the tone for the rest of the visit. As did the price, at £4.40, Edinburgh is not a cheap place for a pint. Bu…

It's More Than Just The Words....

The second Halifax Festival of Words took place in the town over the weekend, and here's a few thoughts from up close....
It was a busy weekend in Halifax, with Festival-related activities spread across three days and three main venues, The Grayston Unity, the Book Corner, situated in the Piece Hall, and the Albany Arcade, a great space that had opened last year for the Festival amidst the splendour of the town's Grade ll-listed Victorian market. The event is an annual celebration of communication, and featured talks, spoken word, live music, publishers, authors, illustrators, and Q&A's.

It was an eclectic mix across the venues. The event had kicked off at the Book Corner on Friday morning with a version of Gardener's Question Time with the author of The Yorkshire Organic Gardener, Graham Porter, Radio Leeds' very own gardening expert. Later in the day, I hosted a Q&A at the Grayston on Friday night, with Sybil Bell, the founder of Independent Venue Week, a…

Black Country, New Road - Yes Manchester 02/10/19

The latest sensations from South London's Speedy Wunderground label were in Manchester the other night, so I went along to check them out....
One of the key tracks of the year is Sunglasses, a 9-minute epic from London-based Black Country, New Road. Starting with some fuzzy guitar, it leads in to simple strumming, reminiscent of early Radiohead. The drums kick in. The vocals, half-sung, half spoken in a rich, almost theatrical style, begin. In comes the saxophone as the track builds. And builds. It begins to veer off in different directions, chords clashing. The rhythm intensifies, the sax goes wild, the vocals shouting and screaming. It crashes down. And then builds again, starting quietly, but with more intensity. And then "I AM INVINCIBLE IN THESE SUNGLASSES!" shouts the voice. The beat quickens, intensifies, the sax screams, the riff builds, before finally all coming crashing to a close. This remarkable track was what made me decide I just had to see Black Country, N…