Saturday, 11 August 2012
21 Hop Pole
Visited on 5 June 2012
Here's the photo ...
... and here's the map
The evening is not going well, what with the mediocrity of the Woodside followed by the dead zone hostility of the Rockwood. Now it’s back to Wistaston Road for the home stretch, and first port of call here is the Hop Pole.
Unlike the other two pubs, it’s welcoming and it has cask beer. They try to put three choices on, but this evening there are just two. Well, it’s two more than I’ve encountered elsewhere so far. Sharps Doombar and Mordue Workie Ticket are offered, and I have a pint of the latter, a dark, complex, interesting and enjoyable premium ale. And it’s from Newcastle.
Is that surprising? Well, for someone who started drinking in the 1970s, when the Newcastle Brewery and its Federation Clubs counterpart had gone keg and tank, turning much of the area into what CAMRA used to call a “beer desert”, it is. Workie Ticket is worth a sample. It’s very pleasant. But what’s the pub like?
There’s an interesting room layout, with the bar in the centre of the pub, then a large room with the obligatory pool table, and another room which I can only describe as 50s tavern style meets American diner. Different and quirky. And there’s a smoking terrace out the back. On top of all that, the place is ticking over very nicely indeed.
The Hop Pole apparently got badly run down not long ago, losing much of its older fixtures and fittings, but more recently has been refurbished and gives the impression of having received regular TLC for three or four years. It’s clean and tidy without being too polished. All of that, together with a regularly changing cask selection and plenty of punters, means guess what?
Yes, once again, IT’S NOT BLOODY ROCKET SCIENCE. You’d willingly walk a little further to drink at this pub. And so would I. A pub with something for most folks who may be willing to part with a little of their discretionary cash. Nice one.