its time, I think, to celebrate the pub stock that we love. To be precise, with the recent hopeful;;y temporary closure of the Red Lion at Ampney St Peter, its time to celebrate the unspoilt stock of UK pubs. Tonight, Sheffield's only full entry on the National Inventory of Unspoilt pub Interiors is the Bath Hotel.
I first went in the Bath Hotel when I was on the beer festival planning team in the nineties. The dark Tetley mild was off for the summer as the students were away so there we a choice of two real ales, Tetley, ad the Tetley rebadged "Bath Hotel Bitter" or similar. It seemed strange, I admit, to have a weaker version of Tetleys on. It was, after all, weak enough...
A handful of visits followed before I heard about its refurbishment by Brian. Regulars, and regular readers, will remember that Brian was a significant player in a group of people who brought the pub to the attention of the Pub Heritage Group, and ultimately, affected its inclusion. His work restored damaged furniture and revealed original features and he reopened in 2008. Or 2007. Or 2004. Or 2005. I don't know.....
Soon after he reopened me and Christingpher went in late one night and experienced a carer looking after his large local chip shop employed care receiver. At some point the carer mentioned something about when his ward ought to attend the chip shop and the guy went, if you'll excuse my French, fucking ape shit. He punched the carer full in the face, repeated the phrase "y fuggin Basta" and threw glasses around, including at me and Christingpher.
Afterwards staff offered safe exit to drinkers but me and Christingpher remained, although I have never seen our glasses collected so quickly......
In 2012 Brian leased the pub to Thornbridge, and I was worried. I genuinely didn't trust them to make careful job of looking after the interior - see my post from May that year re concerns. In the end, I slowly came to appreciate the work done (but sull not the dark grey paint!) and with Edd and Steff in charge, now Steff, fell in love with a reliable source of excellent ales and, for a while, Edd's homemade sausage rolls.
Recently, as you know, Edd has left and taken up residence in the Dronfield Arms, meanwhile Steff has taken over the role permanently, although she does not yet have a contract. And recently, over the last two nights. I have been in twice, exclusively drinking one of THE cask pints of the year. Rule of Thirds comprises Magic Rock High Wire, Beavertown Gamma Ray IPA and one from Siren Craft Brew. Its 6.4% and is frankly astonishing. Last night, my first pint only took 10 minutes to drink! I strongly urge you to go and get a taste, and hopefully several pints.
Throughout this period, which started in the late 90's, the interior has, in fact, improved, and Brian's work remains virtually unchanged. The Bath is a reliably good, comfortable, friendly and vibrant boozer which has a beautiful, stunning unspoilt interior. I hope that we can all continue to enjoy the pub for what it is now, for many decades to come.