Visited on 1/12/11. “ GO AWAY – WE DON’T WANT YOUR SORT IN HERE* ” proclaims the blackboard wedged into the doorway of this perfectly preserved Victorian street corner boozer. Indeed, according to its legendary 137-year-old landlord, Mike Mercer (he of the chalk and trademark misanthropy), the Albion is the only perfectly preserved street corner Victorian boozer remaining in Chesterville. Hmm… I think there might be one or two others to be honest. I guess it depends on how you define ‘perfectly preserved’. Without doubt the phrase definitely applies to ‘the Albion’ though and Mr. Mercer has gone to great lengths to maintain the pub’s original features. For example, the open fires are all still in operation and the rooms, including a snug are still pretty much as per the original building design. He’s also packed the place with early 20th century relics, many related to the 1st world war, including a number of original propaganda posters, ‘PUT THE HUN ON IRON RATIONS’, being my personal favourite. It’s a great place in which to entertain German colleagues I find – brings their famous sense of humour to the fore. Unsurprisingly this is a solid real ale pub with two constantly changing guest bitters always on the bar - on this occasion, Black Sheep bitter and Titanic Anchor. We gave the Black Sheep a swerve because the Titanic is an infinitely superior ale – and it was on very fine form indeed. Incidentally, the ‘guest lager’ according to more of Mr. Mercer’s blackboard invective was ‘GNAT’S PISS’ or some such (it was Carling – and it’s on permanently, although I doubt many people drink it). This is a fascinating boozer in many ways then, and maybe one that people should enjoy while they can because I can’t see it remaining in it’s current form once Mr. Mercer finally hangs up his boots (we’ve been saying this for years !). In addition to the various sleb chefs and other luminaries it definitely gets our seal of approval as well. I’ll not be surprised if the list of excluded groups is extended in the near future though: “ NO PUB CRAWLS, NO STAG NIGHTS, NO HEN NIGHTS, NO CHILDREN AND DEFINITELY… NO BLOGGERS “ You read it here first.
* OK, this is paraphrased, erm, ‘a bit’.