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ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314

[ A Potted History - Day 1 - Day 2 - References & Notes - Other pubs not visited - Articles - About Stamford - Other links - More Pictures ]

Day two


Green Man
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
I restarted my pub tour at the furthermost pub on my to-do list, the Green Man. This is west of the town centre, in Scotgate, 200-300 yards or so beyond the junction with North Street, opposite a petrol station. I tried Osset Brewery's Fine Fettle (2.10) - pale, smooth and fruity. Others available included Theakstons Best Bitter, Roosters Yankee [much enjoyed a year ago in York]. Church End Whittle Ale (after Frank Whittle), Buntingford No. 2 Sweet Stout, Hop Back Summer Lightning and Roosters Drunken Duck. The decor was fairly basic (wooden tables and chairs) and this Free House was a quiet, relaxing place. It's a former Peterborough Branch Pub of the Year and has tried to keep prices lower than average. B&B is available.

About 100 yards back towards the centre is the Punchbowl (Free House) which was formerly the White Swan, owned by Bateman's. On a whim I decided to skip this until later, instead heading east along North Street.


Dolphin
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
North Street becomes East Street but about that point is the Dolphin, a Charles Wells pub. It was one of the few pubs I'd seen which hadn't opened at 11am. Alongside it is a lane (Newgates) leading down to Broad Street, where the weekly market was bustling.


Lord Burleigh
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Heading along Broad Street past the market stalls, I arrived at the Lord Burleigh, another Free House, near the eastern end of the street. Beers on included Archers Golden (2.40), Abbot, Bass, Worthington and London Pride. The place was already busy. The decor included some intriguing pictures by John Ireland in the style of Heath Robinson entitled "The Gentle Art of Making Guinness". The pub is partitioned into a variety of spaces and there's a patio and recently-refurbished toilet block at the rear, almost backing onto the Dolphin.

Returning to the now-open Dolphin, I found Wells' Bombardier (2.40) and Eagle IPA were on, with two empty handpumps. It's good to see quality favoured over quantity - it's better to have a small number of well-kept and rapidly-sold beers than a wide choice of slowly-shifting ones. This pub is also divided into a series of rooms, including one a restaurant, and there's a patio. Another relaxing place. B&B is available.

[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Moving back along Broad Street, the best the Lincolnshire Poacher had to say for itself via chalkboards was "Holstein Pils", so I gave it a miss.


Hole in the Wall
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Turning south down Ironmonger Street, across the pedestrianised High Street, I was heading for Cheyne Lane, which runs down from the High Street to St Marys Street, and the Hole in the Wall. The decor here is very modern - seemingly an old building recently refurbished, still exposing stonework and beams. The varied decor includes agricultural nicknacks and a display about the poet John Clare. One unusual feature is that there's a broad counter between the public area and the kitchen where one might expect a door, though food orders are taken at the bar in the usual way.

There were only two beers on: London Pride (2.40), which was in excellent condition, and Abbot. The menu was very impressive, for instance Moules Mariniere with crusty bread at 5.50; I opted for Chicken Goujons with Sweet Chilli Sauce at 4.75. The piped music (of many styles except pop) was unobtrusive - another relaxing place. The bar displayed a now-rare sign: "no foul language in this house please". If one bought two glasses of wine, one got the rest of the bottle for free. All-in-all, an unusual and welcoming place.


Cheyne Lane up to High Street
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Back in the narrow lane, one can cut though westwards to the next lane, Stamford Walk, and the Black Bull Hotel (Mansfield; not visited) but instead I walked up to the High Street. Cheyne Lane reminded me of the Shambles in York (fleshammel - medieval meat market).

Heading back to the Punchbowl, the beers on were Grainstore Cooking (2.30), London Pride, GK IPA & Old Speckled Hen and Tim Taylor Landlord. This was another place with ultra-modern decor, including a new wooden floor, cream plastering and exposed stonework. Tables and chairs were all new, of pale wood and there were sofas: definitely up-market, with wine & food to match.

[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Finally I returned to Red Lion Square and the Periwig and the Crown Hotel. Both had good reviews in various pub guides so I was keen to try them. The Periwig (Free House) was very busy, with drinkers lined up along the full length of the bar but many seats available elsewhere. The only handpumps I could see were Oakham JHB, Archers Golden, Summer Lightning, Adnams Bitter and London Pride (2.40). Plasma TV screens were prominent. There's an overhead gallery to the rear and 'cool' multicoloured lighting. It was very smoky. For me, the opposite of relaxing!

Upon entering the Crown Hotel, there's a bar room to the right. The small bar counter was occupied by drinkers, as were all the seats in the room, with most people smoking. Adnams Bitter, Landlord and Bass were the only beers I spotted. I didn't linger.

And were the streets busier? Yes, though still much quieter than Cambridge, for instance.

Stamford is lucky to have such an interesting set of pubs, given a population of 18,000. It is still largely unspoiled, though there have been some dubious modern developments, for instance near the station and riverside. It is a superb place for a short stay.

Ian Kitching

Footnote: Pub Hours

The theory that staggering the usual 11pm closing time avoids trouble has been tested in Stamford. The local council and the police set up a trial, allowing the Periwig to open until 1am and the nearby Central Nightclub until 2.30am. The authorities monitored the situation and concluded it did reduce trouble.


[ A Potted History - Day 1 - Day 2 - References & Notes - Other pubs not visited - Articles - About Stamford - Other links - More Pictures ]


ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
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