Who doesn’t want to get a medal? To be fair, the lure of a gong for completing The Hartshill Mile would mean my drinking career was about on par with my football career so the temperature was rising.
(Penkhull Ukelele Band – Best in Midlands?)
Actually, it was absolutely roasting but we put our place on the podium (The Hop Inn) on hold to back track to a boozer in Newcastle that was needed in order to fill in the blanks on Stoke’s finest charity pub crawl.
444 – The Museum ST5 1JU is best described as an old skool boozer that is on a busy road but has the feel of a backstreet pub.
It’s a two-roomer and with our new found guide Bill being the voice of reason we opted for a half of Bass…apart from my pal who can’t drink it and had a Bombardier instead
(Stone Roses bucket hat)
which was top class from a barmaid with purple hair, who was also top class.
A feature of all the boozers in Stoke were the friendly approach from all the local punters and this had sky sports, a dartboard and was a proper local.
It had the obligatory old Stoke picture…here’s Mark Stein scoring against Manchester United in 1993 and the feller behind was a good looking chap and very underrated, so I am led to believe!
Moving on we found a pub that Alan Winfield or Paul WME would be delighted with as it is tucked away off the main drag and known as 445 – Hop Inn ST5 1JR.
It used to be known as The Albert (it’s on Albert St) and was apparently in the doldrums until the new gaffer bought it. It’s very well kept and had some terrific hanging baskets outside, which is always a good sign
According to Bill, the gaffer isn’t always there, but he was a former roadie for the likes of Pink Floyd so I suspect he doesn’t get too stressed with life in the cracking three-roomed boozer.
The Hartshill Mile guru arrived and as you can tell, my drinking buddy was delighted to receive his medal. Of course, we hadn’t quite finished but we look like honest blokes so he was happy to take us at face value.
(Gold medallist with random punters)
He gave us a good insight into the reasoning behind setting up the Hartshill Mile and I reckon they should make it an all year round event so chancers like Simon and I can contribute money to the cause!
I can’t quite remember if I had Bass or Jarl (Fyne Ales) in here but either way it was another top pint and proof that even in 100% temperatures you can keep a decent drop of cask.
We said our goodbyes to the Hartshill Mile organiser and the former Pink Floyd Roadie and headed back towards Hartshill and another proper local boozer.
446 – Red Lion ST4 6ES was one we had tried earlier to no success although a bloke going into the boozer said he’s love to help but it wasn’t his pub.
So imagine our surprise when we saw him serving behind the bar with a big grin when we walked in; it was that sort of pub where you could have a play up and the banter was rife.
There were plenty of Hi viz jackets in and Doom Bar (Sharps) was the ale option but it was, once again very good proving the old adage that less is more.
Most of the lads in here were here for a post work craic though and, unbelievably, that photo of Stein scoring past Schmeichel in 1993 was on the wall in here too and led to a lot of raucous conversation.
It is tucked away on the Old Stoke Road and was great value with the best beer garden so far and we reckoned Bill was now with us for the duration.
It was clean and tidy and had some cash spent on it and, doing the Hartshill Mile, was a good ice breaker and meant people were happy to chat.
This was the loudest boozer so far and one that has definitely benefited from being on the ‘Mile.’ It was very much early evening and the pubs were filling up as Simon tried not to be weighed down with his medal as we moved onwards back towards the train station…