Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Boon of the 'Spoon (part two)

Our local Wetherspoons is the pub I most frequently visit in the town. It is named after William Wouldhave who, together with boatbuilder Henry Greathead, designed and built the first purpose-built lifeboat in the early 19th century. The boat subsequently saved over a thousand lives and there is a monument to the famous pair down by the coast in South Shields.
As with all Wetherspoons outlets I have visited, the interior of the pub is disappointingly modern, but very comfortable. As you know, I prefer traditional, quaint, old-fashioned pubs but you can't have everything and an effort is made to add local colour with paintings and pictures of local scenes and personalities.

In the cockpit of the bar there are leather sofas on which customers can sprawl, though these are very difficult to sit on whilst eating. A raised area at the end of the bar, supplied with dining tables, serves as a sort of restaurant and the menu is reasonably priced, good food at fair prices. A mezzanine floor serves as a family room and no children are allowed in any other area. This rule is firmly but politely enforced, thank heavens.

The manager, who buzzes about busily whenever he is on duty, is a rather stern-looking no nonsense sort of chap and his choice of staff cannot be faulted. You will find no bimbos who cannot do the job in the Wouldhave. All the girls, like shift manager Kelly and Sam (the taller of the two pictured here) are very pleasant and efficient and they keep up a light bantering relationship with regulars which generates an excellent atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy a drink or a meal.

Whoever does the cellaring must be congratulated on the quality of the beer. I don't think I've ever had a bad pint at the Wouldhave, though of course I have tried brews which didn't suit my palate. There are always at least two guest ales on tap at any time and I make a point of trying them all, as I will relate tomorrow.


young camra collectiv said...

We agree that Sam looks VERY pleasant indeed! We really want to like Wetherspoons and envy you Papastonch for never having had a bad pint at your local outlet.

Sadly, in our experience, this doesn't ring true for most of the UK (certainly the southern half anyway). In the huge Montagu Pyke in Soho, London last night, the B&T SOS must have been served at about 5 degrees. The Titanic Nautical Mild was warmer but cloudy and in a very sorry state. It had to be left unfinished. Admittedly this outlet is a Lloyds No.1 but bog standard spoons often fair no better in and around the capital (with 1 or 2 exceptions).

If a solid, well-conditioned pint of something interesting could be assured on each visit, we would almost certainly overlook the chain's other well documented shortfallings.

papastonch said...

Yes, I have heard bad reports about 'Spoons elsewhere, especially down South. The debate raging in CAMRA's monthly "What's Brewing" has alerted me to that. But, as I have indicated in my report, it DOES really depend upon the Manager and the Cellarman.