Sunday 27 October 2013

Bath, Part 2

Bath seems like a bit of an odd tourist destination to me. It's all very lovely with plenty of shops, glorious architecture and pretty parks, but I don't think there's actually very much to do tourist wise. The main draw is the Roman baths, but last time I visited them I wasn't to impressed by some smelly stone rooms. I was a grumpy teenager at the time though so I wasn't impressed by anything except violent movies, computer games and boobs. I thought of visiting the baths on this trip now I'm older and supposedly maturer but I have since been spoiled by visiting Rome and its ruins, which are amazing even if Mussolini did find it necessary to build a motorway right through the middle of them. I guess they didn't have NIMBY's in Italy back then and to be honest I don't know if they have them now, they seem a fairly laid back bunch. I've also visited Pompeii which was absolutely stunning, so I guess some shabby rooms in the middle of a British shopping town just didn't appeal to me. Despite my perceived lack of tourist sights Bath remains packed full of tourists anyway, swarming the rather small section of the town centre where all the sights are packed together. It's great to see the town doing well but I wonder if any of those tourists leave disappointed.

One thing Bath does have is plenty of pubs. After a good start, detailed in my previous post, even more excellent pubs were to come. But first I'll start with the most average pub I visited, the West Gate. This Greene King pub seemed more focussed on food than beer but it did have an OK selection of ale available. Well I think it did this was a dimly lit place, probably to appeal to hungover students and their fear of bright lights. Our group originally sat at a table where the floor was both humming and vibrating, and fearing an imminent power surge, explosion or giant mole we moved to a different table. My first choice of beer, which I can't remember the name of but it sounded interesting, was off, so I opted for a pint of Guzzler from the York Brewery. This wasn't great, with a rather insipid watery flavour. Overall despite a decent Sunday lunch and friendly service I wouldn't be rushing back to this pub.

An "atmospheric" shot of the Star Inn
serving area.
Next up was a pub I'd quite happily rush back to. The Star Inn is on the outskirts of the town centre but is well worth a visit. Owned by Abbey Ales, this traditional three room pub looks attractive from the outside and very cosy and welcoming inside. They serve Bass from the barrel and I opted for a half, and it was pleasant enough. A Bellringer from Abbey Ales was much better, a strong, solid bitter that was perfect for this comfy little pub. The lone barmaid was friendly, even when I managed to spill about a third of my Bass all over the table. Whoops. The only disappointment was that the promised "free nibbles" on a Sunday afternoon mentioned on their website were nowhere to be found. However overall this was a great pub to retreat to in the middle of the day. Very enjoyable and a rather charming place.

My final pub visit on my jaunt around Bath was The Bell. This was a completely different atmosphere compared to the calm, relaxed Star. A live folk band were playing to the heaving pub. I could tell they were a genuine folk band because the lead singer was the hairiest man I'd ever seen. We managed to snag a table and enjoyed the good music and congenial atmosphere. A Mutley's Revenge from Hereford Brewery went down well and I got the chance to do my Mutley from Wacky Races impersonation where I sound like I'm choking on a boiled sweet. This was a lovely little boozer and with the music, laid back crowd and friendly staff it ended up being my favourite pub of the trip.

Well that's it for Bath. Next up it's a return to Manchester and the Port Street Beer House. See you next Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. I thought Mr Bowler's Business (which now seems to have been renamed the Museum of Bath at Work) was an interesting and unusual tourist attraction.

    Agreed on the Star - a splendid unspoilt classic pub.