About a month ago I was in Birmingham, and though the birthplace of heavy metal had a certain attraction for me, it was clear that I was running out of interesting things to look at after three days of wandering around. I needed something else to do. As luck would have it, I remembered reading something about a bar crawl in Leam, and having a vague notion that I was perhaps near by, I went digging into my browser history!
Voila! A blog post “of all the pubs that you definitely haven’t visited, and probably shouldn’t.” That sounded like a challenge to me. After quickly copying down the bars from DollyFlower Cheese’s entertaining post, and figuring out that Leam was actually Royal-Leamington-Spa on the train line, I was ready.
Armed only with a list of apparently bad pubs, few addresses, no knowledge of Leamington, and limited access to the internet, I set off to try and find anything from her list. It was one of the silliest things I had ever done!
But first I stopped along the way to take a peak at Warwick’s famous castle.
When I finally arrived in Royal-Leamington-Spa, I decided to follow the street signs towards the town centre. After about a fifteen minute walk (during which I only had to ignore a couple of nice looking pubs) I came across my first pub on the list: The Woodland Tavern.
It was here that I met Joe, a regular at The Woodland. We drank our pints of Saddleback together, and I picked his brain on the locations of the other pubs on my list.
I did not let him in on the secret that all these pubs were supposedly bad. To be quite honest, I actually enjoyed The Woodland Tavern. He also recommended The Star & Garter, which he said was close to The Copper Pot, one of the pubs on my list.
Saddleback Ale from The Slaughterhouse Brewery
Appearance: copper, 3.8%
Nose: malty, toffee, faintly reminiscent of a brewery
Palate: very smooth
Finish: refreshing hint of hops and citrus
Overall: just an excellent session/conversational beer
Rating: 4/5 Excellent
After our pints, Joe rolled me a cigarette with liquorice rolling paper and a menthol filter. It was quite the combination! I really liked the paper, but the menthol filter was too much for me. Then I headed off to try and find The Copper Pot.
Finding The Star & Garter first, and noting that it seemed ‘too nice’ for this particular pub crawl, I pressed on down the road until I found The Copper Pot. Upon entering the Pot to ridiculously premature Christmas music (remember, this was mid November) and discovering that it was a very generic Greene King chain pub, I felt the word ‘gross’ swelling up inside of me. Nevertheless, I stayed in pursuit of supposedly cheap beer and food.
The food menu was predictable and uninspiring, so I settled for the bacon cheese burger deal which came with a £1.50 pint of Greene King IPA.
Feeling unsatisfied after my meal, I set out to try and find more pubs on DollyFlower’s list. But alas, I would have no more success. It was a struggle. At last, in desperation brought on by thirst and a strong need to urinate, I headed for The Star & Garter. I had been defeated.
On the bright side, I had a very lovely encounter with a pint of Ruddles County, and I contemplated my upcoming dinner in the form of an expired can of soup that I had found on a side street moments earlier!
After leaving the Star, I headed back towards the station. With time to spare, and none of my targets in sight, I once again broke down and headed to one of the nice looking pubs that I had previously ignored. This one was called The Cricketers, and I enjoyed a half pint of Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker as the pub speakers played out a jolly collection of Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash.
Taking the train, I made it back to Birmingham with enough time to eat my expired can of soup before heading out to the heavy metal show at The Hammer & The Anvil. Spoon it on!