A lot has quite rightly been written recently about the death of the backstreet boozer and it’s hard to deny. I’ve seen lots of estate pubs and pubs tucked away in residential areas bite the dust but when you find one still going strong then it’s a rare treat.
Without being too anal my definition of a backstreet boozer is one you won’t find if you drive into the town centre or on the main route through a town.
I don’t mean a micro pub or a Wetherspoons (both of which I like, more of that in future posts) but a good old fashioned pub with multi rooms and a lot of people who walk in for a pint and a chat.
26 – The Blue Bell Inn DE73 8EJ in Melbourne is one such gem of a place and I had a tremendous Friday afternoon in here.
It opens at 11am every day and as pub menus go, this is a proper no frills pub menu!
People were eating too and the pub grub looked excellent although it was this menu that caught my eye more…
The gaffer was friendly and even though he was returning from a funeral he would have been pleased to see the place buzzing at 2.30on a Friday afternoon.
I could tell from the minute Sandra came out in her named Blue Bell pinafore having cooked the food…this was the kind of place I was going to warm to. With a lounge that had a pool table and big screen, a bar with a smaller screen and a third room for eating that was compact to say the least along with a beer terrace that was heaving, this was an old school multi room hostelry.
As The Stylistics belted out “I can’t give you anything” in the background I had a fantastic, archetypal pub conversation with a guy I’d just met regarding English cricket
Around 20 minutes on the merits of England’s top order with the backdrop of England and the West
Bromwich Dartmouth Indies in the background on SKY and his insistence that Mark Stoneman lacked any international pedigree he topped it off, by getting off his chair and talking me through Gladstone Small’s successful change from bowling no-balls off a 30-yard run up to legal deliveries from a 20-yard run up! He was really into it by this stage and performing the bowling action of the former England and Warwickshire eighties star!
A bloke then walked in with half a sausage roll and told the pub gaffer it was brought from the local bakery and “f****** horrible without the stuffing and extras,” but still proceeded to give it to him to try later! Another regular’s opening gambit was “that bloke over the road is an ignorant **** which was met with general approval and everyone seemed in high spirits with drink flowing freely and choice language is the norm in a backstreet boozer!
Locals were drinking Shardlow’s Rev Eaton, Carling, Stowford, Stella and Bulmers whilst I had a pint of Azaca Gold (Milestone) for the princely sum of £2.90 which, bearing in mind a bar in London is now charging £13.40 a pint, is remarkably good value as it was a top class bit of nectar.
I am pleased to report that backstreet boozers are surviving against all the odds and the people who drink in them are great value and, in this particular instance, very sociable.