The Red Lion, Cheswardine
If the Fox and Hounds is an older pub "de-modernised" to give it a traditional feel, then the Red Lion is the pub that the Fox and Hounds is trying to be.
There ought to be a law that the inside of a pub should match the outside. I've lost track of the number of times I've been tempted inside an attractive Victorian, for example, pub only to find a bland modern interior or worse. And although the Red Lion has been modified internally during its life time and is not quite the same as it was when I first visited ten years ago, essentially its still the homely, traditional village local it always was.
Enter through the front door and you are confronted with two further, unmarked, internal doors. Turn right and you enter a long room lined with bench seating and tables along either wall with a small L-shaped bar at the far end. To the left of the bar is a small snug and in front of that another room with an old wooden settle along one wall and a fireplace opposite with a corner door, through which you would have entered had you turned left on the way in. Both rooms have bay windows with seats from which you can watch the world - or at least Cheswardine - go by. There's no television or piped music, just the gentle buzz of conversation conducted in the rich local accents of the Shropshire/Staffordshire border country.
The Red Lion features in Camra's Good Beer Guide and has a further attraction - the landlord brews his own beer - including a wonderful strongish dark mild: and a couple of pints of "Chesbrunette" last weekend made my visit complete.
So, next time you are at Goldstone Wharf, by all means visit the Fox and Hounds (if only to see if they are selling any Joule's beer yet); call in at the Wharf Tavern if you must (after all, it did, in a previous life, get a mention in Rolt's "Narrow Boat") but please make sure you don't miss the Red Lion.