That was the view that greeted me at work on Tuesday morning; but temperatures of -6, a huge wind chill factor and snow is regarded as a mild inconvenience if you drink in Coalville.
None of this food stockpiling or staying indoors as they breed them tough in this part of the world. So, the much heralded “Beast From The East,” was never going to trouble the regulars and a good natured shout of “Do you want me to get my c**k out” to prove how warm he was as I was taking a picture of 168 – The Stamford And Warrington LE67 3EE was further evidence they are nails in Coalville!
I managed to decline the aforementioned offer but the lad in question, who was playing for the darts team in a crunch Johnny Barker North Leicestershire Darts League clash against The Robin Hood (pub 94) from nearby Swannington, was stood outside for a good ten minutes in just a t-shirt!
Granted, he had a beer jacket on, but it was absolutely Baltic and he seemed relatively ambivalent to the cold.
Mind you, this boozer is from an era when kids did PE in vests and shorts…in the snow…and no one complained.
This place is on the CAMRA list of historic and heritage pubs due to its untouched interior and you can read into that what you like! For me, it was an absolute classic but I suspect if I had brought Mrs BB in for a swift half she wouldn’t have been doing cartwheels.
The quote from the CAMRA website says that it is an “excellent and little-changed example of how pubs were refitted in the late 1950s/early 1960s.The public bar on the right has a lino-tiled floor and plenty of features from the refit – bar counter with ribbed hardboard frontage, period bar back and tiled fireplace, fixed bench seating and tables topped with red formica.. Formerly a coaching inn, the pub retains stables behind and a coach arch on the left hand side. Considering its town centre position, this is a remarkable survivor.”
Considering it was a Tuesday night on the coldest evening of the year the small bar was full (the lounge wasn’t open) and the locals were a friendly bunch.
I got chatting with one of the lads in the darts team who reckoned he was 21 (long paper round) and was the brother of the lad who offered to display his wares for the photo…and he said there was a regular crew in there who played darts, although one lad was missing with a strained ligament (it is the 21st Century) and that they were stopping for the duration. I was hoping I might bump into Chris from The Robin Hood, who was a scream when I saw him play in November, but they hadn’t arrived by the time I left.
By my reckoning that is around three hours as I left at quarter to nine with the Swansea/Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup ‘classic’ still goalless in the background behind the bar.
So, if you have a darts team in every Tuesday drinking for around 3 to four hours along with an away team doing the same then you are guaranteed a reasonable trade for a Tuesday evening.
Another surprise in this boozer is the amount of Wolverhampton Wanderers memorabilia in every nook and cranny and I met the Gaffer, Dave, who is a season ticket holder along with his wife, who was propping up the bar.
He was friendly and thought I was a lorry driver at first, I have that look about me, and spoke about how Birmingham are destined for the drop with Steve Cotteril in charge, how Reuben Neves is the best player in the Championship and how language of all description was allowed apart from West Bromwich Albion.
Apparently that was a swear word too far even for the earthy Stamford and Warrington! Once I’d got over the fact a Steve Bull calendar was looking at me from behind the bar I managed to order a fantastic pint of Pedigree (Marston’s). This is one of these boozers that has just one ale but, as Dave said “You won’t get a better pint of that anywhere in Leicester,” and it was absolute nectar.
Some bloke brought out a snuff tin (really) and I was transported back to an episode of Porridge where that was the currency inside Slade Prison for Ronnie Barker.
This bloke shared a pinch with Dave and there was another bloke rolling his own before the lad who was necking Carling at a rate of knots released a fart to end all farts that was the talk of the bar for around five minutes and much mirth.
Eventually someone started vaping, which cleared the air, but it was pure BRAPA style pub fare and it is a pub I really warmed too.
One of the friendliest places I have been to for a long time although it is clearly untouched and it’s not a place that goes out of its way to advertise that it is open with bright lights and signage but it really is one of a kind.
As I chatted to the lads outside whilst taking a photo I said what a good boozer this was and one of them said “You should see it at the weekend, it’s really lively.”
I can imagine it is an absolute riot and there can’t be many places left like this in England…it is a gem and really a pub from a bygone era.
Not even the “Beast From The East” could tame the Coalville boys but this is a friendly place and worth a visit…I might even try it on a weekend!