Pub 2 – The Auctioneer, Hanley. 13th November 2017
In attendance – DJT, Kate.
I’ve got a confession to make. When the Random Number Generator pulled out a pub that was “Up Hanley” this early in proceedings, a few thoughts went through my mind. Not generally being a massive fan of this part of the city, you could say that I was somewhat concerned with what the experience would hold. The general consensus from anyone I spoke to was that we might be in for an interesting time. We chose a Monday night, partly to avoid the crowd for the following day’s International Football match. I recall (when I was in my youth, all those years back), that Hanley on a Monday was the go-to part of town, being the ubiquitous student night. Well, the first thing to mention is that times have changed. It wasn’t quite a ghost town, but you get my drift.
Being a City Centre pub, there isn’t really parking unless you want to risk putting your car on the street outside. We parked on Tesco’s carpark, and made the walk up through the Cultural Quarter which only takes a few minutes. The Auctioneer then, has a fairly large frontage, which doesn’t look uninviting from the outside although it is on the fringe of the city centre and to be honest is not in the best part of town these days. I don’t think this is the pub’s fault, and being in Hanley it’s pretty easy to get to.
Upon approaching the entrance, there were a couple of guys having a cigarette outside the front door and we were instantly engaged in conversation by one who introduced himself as the Manager of the pub. I thought this was quite a nice touch, and made us feel immediately welcome in the establishment which also set any nerves at ease. He was a pretty friendly guy and seemed to be the only person working that night. Walking into the pub, you immediately notice that this is a pretty large establishment which is on multiple levels, with plenty of seating available. There’s a mixture of carpet and wood towards the back of the pub, although pool or darts isn’t available, there is a lowered area featuring table football. In retrospect the wooden floor area is probably a dance floor at weekends. The second thing that strikes you is that if you love a fruit machine, it’s the place to go. There were 4 fruit machines. Four. I’m actually contemplating an additional competition to find the pub with the most fruit machines. This is certainly an early front-runner. At the bar, there were 4 Lagers on tap (Fosters, Carling, Kronenbourg and San Miguel) and 4 Ales available (Directors, Bombardier, Pedigree and Cock a Hoop). I think that there was Strongbow on draft for the cider drinkers. Again, no Fruli! We ordered a pint of Cock a Hoop, and a Fosters Shandy. All I can say is that this place is good value for money, our drinks cost £4.35! I’m unsure whether there was an offer on or these are the regular prices. Judging by the amount of old timers, sat alone with their pints of Directors bitter, I’d speculate that it is the latter. It seems that kind of place. From the look of it, I don’t think the pub currently does food though.
We sat down with our drinks on slightly raised area towards the front of the pub, it’s brown and beige colour scheme wasn’t the smartest but it was comfortable and clean, the music playing was at a decent background volume which didn’t impinge of conversation, and was fairly inoffensive. We even had a little sing along to a few classics that came on! I wasn’t sure about the carpet, which were fairly bright zig zags. Similar to last week’s pub, if you were a bit lubricated it might make walking more of a chore! There was a large projector screen and around the pub were a number of large TV’s, some showing some international football, others showing some horse racing for the older punters (pun intended). I’m sure it would be an ok place to watch a football match, you’d definitely be able to get a good view of the action, however there doesn’t seem to be a beer garden or smoking area. As I’ve mentioned, this is a really big pub, with lots of space which is probably why it felt a little empty on our visit. There didn’t appear to be a lot of atmosphere, probably for the same reason but the people who were there were not getting lairy and we certainly didn’t feel unsafe. It was kind of giving the vibe as being a slightly more upmarket alternative to a Weatherspoons. It would be interesting to see how busy it gets at the weekend, and what kind of clientele the pub attracts during the busier times.
Drinks-wise, my pint of Cock a Hoop was actually not too shabby and I was informed that the Fosters Shandy was up to scratch (she loves a Fosters Shandy). For our second drink, the manager remembered what we had to drink which is always a nice touch, spoke to us about the pub and plans of a refurbishment in March. The pork scratchings were “Q Pork Scratchings” from Black Country Snacks, costing £1 and with a packet boasting about being a “Pork Idol” winner! These were a decent bag of pig, having a good level of saltiness and crunch.
Both Ladies and Gents toilets are upstairs. I always like those automatic lights, that come on as you walk into the toilets (but I’m a bit strange), so had a little smile on my face when the toilets were dark for a split second! The Gents were clean and bright, with 5 urinals, 3 cubicles (although one of these was out of order) and 2 sinks. There was a fresh smell, which reminded me somewhat of the popular 90’s fragrance “Cool Water”. Either that, or the person who was there prior had bathed in it before going to the pub. Whichever it was, I’ve got no complaints. The hand dryer was intense and dried my hands in seconds, the red light changing to green as it worked away in silent efficiency. I was reliably informed that the ladies toilets shared a similar theme, albeit without the staple fragrance of a 15 year old schoolboy (or is that Joop?).
Anyway, I digress. In conclusion, despite some initial misgivings, we had a pleasant visit to this pub. Although you could argue that the location isn’t the bes and there aren’t great facilities, if you find yourself in Hanley and want a pretty decent (and cheap) pint it’s definitely worth a visit. Particularly if you are bored of going to Weatherspoons. For the authentic experience sit on your own, grab a pint of Directors and see if your horse comes in…..
Beer choice/range – 3/5
Ambience – 3/5
Facilities – 1.5/5
Location – 3/5
Locals/Safeness – 3/5
Pork scratchings – 4/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 4.5/5
Other – 0/5