March 17th 2020 - The Station House & The Bridge Hotel - Durham.
Last pubs visited before lock-down
July 14th 2020 - The Stables, West Herrington Sunderland. First pub visited after lock-down.
This pub, as the name suggests used to be stables. It is long and stone built with stone floors and low lit lighting. From the road it doesnt look like a pub as there is no pub sign. Its on an outside wall facing the cobbled car park.
I was expecting a load of signs and instructions with the dos and dont's, but there wasn't much. A sign in the car park said "queue here", but no queue. A sign at the entrance saying "please use hand sanitiser", but no hand sanitiser - it was empty. Good start.
I wear reactor light glasses and every time I go into this place, my eyes take a while to react to the gloom, so I literally nearly walked into the bar.
" You're not allowed at the bar" came the voice of the manageress from the darkness.
" Cant see the bar, what beer have you got ?"
There was White Rat and Landlord but the former was off so Landlord it was. Table service I was told , which I could get used to. It didnt take long for the drinks to arrive ( Mrs Ken had a coffee) Half way through the beer I realised they hadn't taken any contact details. Hmm.
Anyhow, the lack of signs about the rules got me thinking.........
By coincidence, earlier that day I was reminded of the fact that it was nine years ago to the day a group of us were on a pub crawl in Berwick. The best pub we visited was The Barrels Ale House, famous locally for having a old dentist chair at the bar. Around the walls were plastered old signs and notices, including this "Rules of the Inn" dated 1786.
So I can imagine in 200 years time a poster dated 2020 is unearthed with pub rules relating to Covid 19.What would the drinkers make of it all ?
" Look, they weren't allowed to stand ! How did they go to the loo then?"
" No shouting so no music!"
" Contactless only no cash. What's cash ?"
Perhaps they would ask the robot barperson ? "Computer says no".
So back to the Landlord. During lock-down Ive been drinking plenty of beers, mostly Maxim bottle beers and minicasks all of which I have enjoyed. However this was my first pub pint in about 4 months. I listened to a podcast the other week featuring beer writer Roger Protz on which he was asked " whats your favourite beer?"
He would have liked this then! Spot on.