Next on our list of pubs to visit in Beccles was the Bear & Bells. We were hopeful of getting food here and I’d been looking forwards to coming to the pub as I’ve spent plenty of time waiting at the bus stops opposite waiting to get the First high speed thunderbolt bus back to Norwich. The pub building dates back to the early seventeenth century and it was known as just the Bear for a long part of its history. There’s more about the history at https://suffolk.camra.org.uk/pub/35, with a suggestion that there might have been two pubs, one called the Bear and one called the Bell. That would make sense and often the most obvious explanation is the right one.
Here’s the exciting real ale selection. I wasn’t entirely surprised and delighted.
The next slightly less than surprising and delighting factor was that they were finishing food service early, so we weren’t eating there either. Here’s what we could have won….. It looked an interesting menu, I would have been very tempted by the fish and chips.
The drinks were the most expensive of the day, so again I can’t say I was thrilled at the whole arrangement. The Blue Moon tasted as expected and had the requisite slice of orange, so that was all good. The drinks range was weak though, it wasn’t what I had anticipated from a town centre pub. However, in fairness, the pub said that they had a delivery issue and so perhaps that was the cause of the problems.
I’m not sure that I’ve seen as many dead flies in a pub for some time and they were covering numerous surfaces. Perhaps the pub was collecting them though for some purpose that I wasn’t aware of. I like the effort being made with holding various events though, they’ve got a quiz and comedy night, with that curry night looking most delightful. Unfortunately, we were a day early for the curry.
There’s an historic feeling to the interior of the pub and the service at the bar was prompt, so that’s all to the good. I actually suspect if we had arrived on a different day when they were serving lunch for the full hours we might have had a very different experience, not least as the recent food reviews are all very positive. There were a few other customers in during our visit, with the atmosphere feeling safe and secure.
The outdoors area offers a view over the square and would be a marvellous place for anyone who fancied taking up bus spotting. As for the pub, this was the most disappointing of the day and not really what I had expected. My expectations were more of a cosy little traditional pub with a selection of real ales and a clean and comfortable environment. However, I don’t want to end on a down point, as it’s always great to see that pubs are still trading and serving their local community. As we still needed food, we would have to rely on visiting the large JD Wetherspoon pub in the town, and I wondered what delights we could expect there.