Saturday, 12 May 2012

Handsworth real ale gain

Now then,

   the gain of the title is not the new build pub near Asda off Richmond Park Road (seemingly not a Wetherspoons after all, seems my reliable source was misinformed) but one not too far away from there either.

I have been walking in Bowden woods on both sides of the Parkway for ten years now and often I come out at the shops on Richmond Park Road and walk past the Anglers Rest. On my one previous visit about 5 years ago, there was a lone handpump and no real ale. I got the distinct impression it was a bar feature, indicative if a long term absence of the fine drink, so never bothered going in again.

Yesterday, I walked past it twice on a circular walk and in the first instance mused over how convenient it would be if the pub sold real ale. On my second wander past I noticed a sign (not the main one) on the side of the pub advertising cask ales. So I went in for a look.

The pub places emphasis on food but more importantly (!) sells two real ales at very good prices. I was in the left hand bar, the handpumps are in the right, but there is a small blackboard at the right hand end of the bar showing the two real ales that are on. These were Morland Original, and Jennings Cumberland. I had a half of the Cumberland, and considering this was probably only half an hour after they opened, it was clearly not a drink that had slept all night in the lines. It was clear, and poured to perfection  with just enough head. Difficult to do in a half pint glass.

Interestingly, that the pub sells real ale is not exactly news - in the sense that, as with all Sleepy Beefy "exclusives", they have been doing so for six months. In some ways that makes the news all the better - it suggests there is a market for it, and that its worth them continuing.

I sat down in the window and there was a small sign advertising the real ales coming on, which I understand change every month. This includes the new Greene King IPA Gold, and Old Golden Hen along with Ringwood Boondoggle, to name but a few. Its clearly a pubco list comprising mainly Greedy King and Marstons/Banks empire, but its a tied house, and from what is likely a restricted choice for them, I think there are some decent enough beers (I had the Boondoggle in bottle last week and it was really nice).

The main feature though is the prices - my half of Cumberland cost a pound, but the board on the bar showed the Morland on at £1.79 a pint. "Its our best seller" advised the lady behind the bar - I'm not surprised at that price. And its kept as well as the Jennings then that's all the better.

The pub is a "new" estate pub build, but I think new maybe a little misleading  - I understand it was named after a pub of the same name on South street at Moorfoot that was bombed in the war, but I'll have to look into that. The local estate that I live on is mainly 1930 and 40's houses so it maybe that the same applies to the areas that this pub serves, making it a venerable 70 years old.

The inside comprises two large rooms with a central bar, and as you enter there is an open hatch for service - I don't know if its in use but it looks very much like an off sales - if the pub was a 1950's build that would be interesting, because I'd have though it wasn't long after this that off sales hatches fell out of use. Its placement in the entrance lobby reminds me a little of  the interior layout of the Crown and Glove in Stannington. Inside, there is some panelling to the left hand end, but its unclear whether this survives from the original build, or is part of successive later makeovers - I'll investigate next time.

So overall this is great news, a community pub within walking distance with very competitively priced real ales on. Just what every community should have.

Wee Beefy


  1. I'd say it was 1950s from the look of the architecture. StreetView link here. New-build estate pubs in the Manchester area often had off-sales hatches right up to the early 70s.

    1. Thanks, am not going to make any suggestion as to your vintage, but in the seventies I was probably a good 12 years (at best) too young to notice. And i being a fifties pub would make sense, as I can't imagine there would have been much building immediately after the war.

      Would be interesting if the hatch is still used, even if only to serve the families that are often sat outside. Hopefully a return visit can be arranged (with pen and paper for notes this time).

  2. Interestingly, rooting around on the tinterweb I discovered that this is a Barracuda group "Juniper"(?) branded (I dare not ask!) pub. A bit surprising since all they seem to do is bars, whereas this is quite a traditional local, albeit in a newer building - lots of old gents supping when I got in early doors yesterday. Perhaps I need a look in the bar room. Either way, real ale at £1.79 and one room with no T.V's in (or not too prevalent) isn't so bad.

  3. With this kind of pub, those running it have to be careful not to allow it to be taken over by knobends.

    "am not going to make any suggestion as to your vintage"

    Let us say I have just about been alive in seven different decades, and have legally drunk in pubs in five.

    1. Thanks for the info! Am hoping to do an update post tomorrow because a couple of hours searching on the net has thrown up some interesting facts (but not its date of construction alas) especially the identity of the oub iy replaced. And obviously I have to go and get a picture....