This visit was a few weeks ago, this isn’t a pub staying open during the lockdown…..
The pub is very well-reviewed in numerous places on-line and there are comments about its quirkiness running throughout those reviews. When we arrived, it also had the most onerous health related rules that I’ve seen in a pub in terms of what they had on posters by the door. They required a face mask when moving around (not required at the time, so they were ahead of the curve here), they required temperature checks, address details and had a complex toilet procedure involving spades. The pub then proceeded to not really enforce these rules, although I’d add that everything still felt safe and they were following what they needed to do.
I think quirky is an appropriate word for this set-up, which looks like I’ve done it (hence, I approve). It also didn’t serve any obvious point, as customers walked in both directions on both sides, so it more corralled people together if anything. But, then again, it did remind people to be careful and that was useful.
It’s cheaper than plastic screens and just as effective, so why not? I didn’t buy the round here, so I’m not sure exactly how friendly the service was, but apparently it was all polite and welcoming from what I was told.
I had an Old Man and The Sea from Mighty Oak Brewing, which I thought was served at a temperature which seemed to me to be nearer to frozen than chilled. It knocked the entire taste out of the beer, there were no flavours evident at all, and I think that’s the first time I’ve experienced that with a beer of this type. There are meant to be flavours of espresso coffee, dark chocolate and dark fruit, but they were indiscernible and the nearest I’ve tasted to this is Guinness Extra Cold (which in itself has rather died away). Rather awkwardly, the pub toasted my rating on Untappd…
I do know that Mighty Oak Brewing are a decent brewery, they’re local to this pub being from Maldon, and I’ve had their beers at the Hop Beer Shop, United Brethren and the Duke of York, all in Chelmsford.
Anyway, back to this pub, which was beautifully quirky in very many ways and it clearly had a loyal clientele. It had a community feel to it, with an impressive range of Belgian bottled beers and a number of ciders. Even though some of their arrangements might have felt quirky, it still seemed safe to me, it’s all rather different to what the chains were doing at the time. So, I think I quite liked this pub and the reviews on Untappd don’t suggest any issues with the beer, so I’ll pop back again at some time as their choice of beer and ciders looked innovative and intriguing.