Thursday, 5 July 2012

A Day in Newark

We had no trouble filling a day in Newark. If you can, it's best to pick a market day (Wednesday, Friday or Saturday) as the town comes alive on those days. First call was the Auction Ring, just across the park from the mooring. At first glance it's a market - but then you notice a line of people with assorted objects on the ground alongside them - a bit like the queues in Antiques Roadshow, expect the stuff they've brought is rather lower in value - stuff like a ball of string (50p) or an old bucket (£1)!
In the queue for the auction

The Auctioneer
There was a separate - and bit more upmarket - flower auction:
The Flower Auction

Meanwhile, over in the town centre, the street market was in full swing.

The town centre is a maze of streets and passageway s- and modern shopping developments have been incorporated into the centre much more successfully than in many towns. When you get tired of markets and shops, there's also the remains of the castle to explore as well as a couple of museums. It's the sort of place I might want to live, except for one thing:
In a comment on yesterday's blog Sarah on Chertsey asked about the pubs we'd visited. Over two nights we visited four pubs - all chosen from Camra's Good Beer Guide, but all in some way disappointing.
The Fox and Crown, owned by the local Castle Rock brewery, was an interesting building which modernisation of the inside hadn't spoiled too much, but the beer was served much too cold and with a tight sparkler that knocked all the taste out of it.  The Castle and Falcon wasn't a bad pub but again, the beer was cold and lifeless and the choice very limited. (I don't count John Smiths as a beer, even in cask form). The Vine, when we eventually found it (a long way out of town) could have been an excellent pub. A Victorian street-corner local, the public bar still had its wooden perimeter bench seating and scrubbed-top tables but it was spoilt for us by an over-loud juke box and, again a poor beer range. Owned by another local brewery (Springhead) it offered one very strong pale beer, an alcoholic ginger beer and a honey-flavoured beer. Call me old-fashioned but whatever happened to "beer-flavoured beer"?

That left "Just Beer" - a self-styled "micropub" . This certainly won the prize for ambiance. A small, simply-furnished room decorated with brewery memorabilia. But for a pub supposedly specialising in beer the quality was only average and the short-measure was almost criminal. If drinkers were short-changed by 20 or 30p every time they bought a pint there would be a riot, but people seem to accept "pints" that are 5 or 10% short without comment - and "Just Beer" was towards the top of this range.

So, all-in-all, a disappointment. Perhaps we just caught them on a bad night - Tuesday night is the low point of the pub week and Wednesday not much better - but I had expected more.  Oh well, off to the Fossdyke tomorrow!


Sarah said...

Oh dear. We found Just Beer to be good on beer but lacking in ambiance. Not tried the Vine or the Castle Rock one, but our favourite was the Prince Rupert - lovely building, good range of beer and a landlord who was passionate about it, and very decent food.

Sarah said...

Sorry, Jim's just reminded me we did go in the Vine but it wasn't memorable. The Prince Rupert won't be in the GBG as it only re-opened last year.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I'll remember the Prince Rupert on the way back. Thanks for the tip.

liam said...

I think you have been very unfair. Just Beer use oversized glasses to ensure you get a full pint. from the site:

We use oversized, lined glasses so you get a full pint (or half- or third!) every time you visit the bar.

Your pint was probably bigger than most as they pour so that the head is over the pint line, not counted as part of it.

I wish people would get the facts before posting, as this could have a really bad effect on a small, new business.

Anonymous said...

Liam, I'm sorry if I got that wrong. I did wonder if they were oversize glasses but couldn't see a "line". Even if they were the "pint" was pulled very casually with no obvious attempt to ensure the liquid reached the line. Lined glasses are very uncommon and people don't expect them so perhaps their existance and use should be made clear to customers? I did like the pub though.

Sarah said...

Now Liam mentions it I think they did have lined glasses in Just Beer. I don't like them myself, they just don't feel right. My view is that if you're daft enough to want froth on top of your beer then you deserve to do without the equivalent amount of beer! Certainly I recall also that they were happy to serve it without a sparkler. My gripe was that they didn't have a t-shirt in my size. Glad to hear they've acquired some atmosphere though, it felt very much like a shed when we were there.