Saturday, September 3, 2011

No. 85 The Red Lion (Northgate Street)

Visited on 1/9/11. Not all pubcos are malevolent asset-strippers, hell-bent on destroying our heritage by twatifying decent establishments, strangling investment and restricting trade in others that don’t fit their bizarre economic model, then selling the run-down properties off for housing or other retail use. Not a bit of it. Nicholson’s (they’re from darn sarf) actually believe the route to success lies in providing quality ales in a civilised environment – a mad idea that might just catch on. And if the ‘Scruffy Murphy’ years of the 1990s represent this place’s nadir, it could well have reached it’s zenith under the present regime. It’s certainly a very smart pub now, providing good food (supposedly) and a fine range of ales. Currently they’re showcasing IPAs from around the country – 26 in total, but with just 5 or 6 on at any one time. Great idea this, but session beer it ain’t ! A 'half' was therefore in order for the magnificent Moor Pacific IPA – 6.0% abv, hopped to hell and beyond, yet blusteringly quaffulescent. Other ales we sampled included the less impressive (Tony) Hadley’s IPA – another sixsh percenter brewed by the ex Spandau Ballet croonist at his Red Rat brewery in Suffolk – I guess some of you might already have known that much was true to be honest. We also tried the quite frankly unpleasant Mahseer IPA from Green Jack – a vile, cloying creation that I hope we don’t encounter again. The staff here were really pleasant and well informed and it would have been nice to sample a couple more of these ‘challenging’ ales, but in the interests of avoiding brain damage, we decided to move on...


  1. Before Nicholsons took over this pub I'm sure people would go in and cash their Giros so they could start on the pop at 10:00. And the doorway was always covered by gaspers, cluttering up the pavement and dragging on Woodbines and Capstans Full Strength.

    The seem to own a few good boozers - the Philharmonic in Liverpool being a fine example and when I was darn sarf a couple of months ago I ended up in another one of theirs smack bang in the middle of The Smoke. Strike a light and stand on me !

  2. Nicholson's seem to have done a decent job with the Phil - it was looking a bit tired before they got it and the famous gents bogs absolutely stank. Last time I went in there it was much better. Been in a few of theirs down in the smoke an' all and the ale's always ok - by London standards at least !