Yes, it’s all well and good posting pictures of beer gardens in glorious sunshine but I know the readership of LifeAfterFootball want pictures of Marston’s Pedigree, Hi viz jackets and more blue language than you’d get in any standard Coalville boozer.
Funky tap houses, civilised middle class country pubs and gastro boozers are all welcomed with open arms of course after such a long period of enforced closure but that rarest of species, a drinker’s boozer, is still to be cherished.
The late great Alan Winfield was of course the king of ‘no nonsense’ pubs and he wrote a report on 614 – The Bottom Railway LE12 9NR on Pubs Galore way back in 2010.
Whatpub – Camra’s official site – is normally a barometer of whether the local branch visit often and their sparse description ‘Unpretentious Shepshed drinking house,’ tells you it’s not a regular haunt.
However, this blog likes to follow a different path and Shepshed with its 15,000 inhabitants has plenty to offer for everyone as this place proved early on a Friday afternoon.
My first visit into Leicestershire post Lockdown ticked all the boxes as I managed to pay with cash for the first time this year, had a cracking pint of Pedigree (£3.25) and witnessed a nice bit of spice in the beer garden.
It’s on the Charnwood Road and apparently there is a Top Railway pub even though Shepshed doesn’t have a train station (work that one out Russ). Although Den did quite rightly point out on Twitter that one is at the top of the hill so therefore…
I rolled up, zapped my NHS app and a couple of old boys on the benches in the Marquee told me the barman would appear and he did with the sole cask offering of Pedigree (Marston’s).
Nonetheless, I work on the adage that less is more and five days after reopening there is no point having a massive amount of cask ale to throw away. This pint was top notch and I settled down in the beer garden to enjoy the sun.
I noted the alternative seating arrangements tucked away in the corner for those who want extra comfort on a settee, Duncan springs to mind, as I know he likes to drink in style.
There were two groups on two different sets of tables and all appeared calm with banter flying amongst both groups who had clearly knocked off at around midday on Friday to enjoy what Shepshed has to offer.
Looking at their FB page they have had Project Doughnut on before and it was Rocket Dogs later on tonight so they are offering food and I reckon this is a lively old place.
I exchanged pleasantries with the group of blokes in blue nearest to me and then about five minutes later I heard the line…
“Why don’t you stop talking about work you f****** weirdo?” from the group with the Hi Viz jacket man aimed at the other table who looked like their bosses.
If you could imagine Brum’s Barton Arms in its pomp, it was like they had opened the snob screens to speak to the gentry and let them have a taste.
A couple of responses ensued with a bit of general laughter but it looked to me like there was definitely a bit of overspill from a week back at work!
I left about five minutes later and it was noticeable the group who weren’t the managers were also leaving so they’d probably wisely decided to go somewhere else where they didn’t have to chat with the top brass…
A proper no nonsense boozer and a reminder of real pub life and fierce banter and also just how hard pubs are trying to adapt in order to stay open and when the sun shines like this, the pub world is a better place to be.