SECOND VISIT: SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER 2014
A bus drove by without stopping despite a guy beside me flagging out down. It was 15 minutes to the next bus. A pint in the Cricketers! The Saturday clientele is a lot dodgier looking than those who were there the previous Friday. The woman behind the bar was old and eyed me suspiciously. But she poured my pint of Guinness in the recommended pour pause pour style. I took a seat by the entrance door just in case I had to make a hasty exit. The rugger was on the TV. Scotland were trailing to France. Some guy at the bar was repeatedly bemoaning the fact that they wouldn’t serve him in Wetherspoons. Eventually the barwoman said ‘You know you’re banned from them all so I don’t know why you bother.’ I finished my pint and returned my glass to the bar, which seemed to shock and please the guardian of the bar. Everyone else eyed me with an interest that bordered on hatred. To (almost) quote Walt Whitman: It’s probably best if I don’t return.
* * *
FIRST VISIT: FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER 2015
This used to be a gay bar. It might still be a gay bar but these days its core clientele appears to be people that have been barred from every other pub in town. It’s a tad run down and jaded looking but not in the shabby chic style that has become so prevalent in the current bar scene. There were two cask handpulls but both were devoid of beer. Carling was also off – apparently it didn’t arrive with that morning’s delivery. The beer choice was Kronenbourg or Guinness. Or Strongbow. The fridge only seemed to contain fruity fizzy ciders. I went for a pint of Guinness. It was part poured then allowed to settle before being topped up. I was passed a pint that had a very impressively sized creamy white head. The barman told me to take a couple of gulps and then he’d top it back up. I took a couple of gulps. He topped it back up. The pub stereo was playing power ballads and power pop hits of the 80s. The sounds were coupled with flashing disco lights. It was just like the last couple of decades hadn’t existed. The Guinness was alright. The barman/landlord was friendly enough. The punters looked dodgy but none of them threatened my life. It certainly wasn’t my most favourite visit to a pub but it passed the ten minutes until my bus home arrived. To quote Walt Whitman: I may again return.