Pub 6 – Ye Olde Bull & Bush, Stoke. 12/12/17
In attendance – DJT, Kate, Po, Hannah, Lottie, Walrus, Mountford, Chloe 2
I was somewhat apprehensive when the next pub was being drawn out, on account of the weather being somewhat wintery at the moment. Where would we have to go in the snow? Leek, Cheadle, Biddulph? Luckily enough, and not at all dodgy in any way (honest), the pub selected was Ye Olde Bull & Bush in Stoke. Walking distance again. Result! If you are from Stoke, you may remember this pub as being called Grays Corner. You may also remember it selling Fruli (I do). More about that later.
The pub is sat on the corner of one of the main roads into/out of Stoke and looks pretty good from the outside, with the stained glass windows and Christmas decorations on display. With a record 8 people in attendance for this week’s adventure, the evening was full of promise as we entered the establishment. You are immediately faced with a nicely patterned tile floor and wooden bar, the pub seemed pretty lively for a Tuesday night but wasn’t overly frantic with a few people propping the bar up and/or sat around the pub. We soon also realised that a Tuesday night is “Chinese food” night, and the prices seem fairly reasonable.
Beverage-wise, the choice is pretty good with Carling, Stella, Staropramen, Hop House 13 and Coors if you want a lager (as well as the potential for a panic-bought bottle of Tiger), and various real ales that change on a regular basis, as shown by the boards that have the current and upcoming beers displayed. Walrus mentioned that he finds this to be a “proper classy touch” and I cannot argue to logic. There are also 5 random ciders available, however I was disappointed to find out that the pub no longer sells Fruli. Zero Fruli points, I’m afraid.
Putting the disappointment to one side, I ordered a pint of Heritage Gold and “Ay Up Duck” which came to a very reasonable £6 and we then sat down on the comfortable, generic pub seating (benches & stools etc). I would say though when at the bar, it’s the type of pub where you have to squeeze between the locals who are propping the bar up. Service was quick & friendly though and we had soon made a couple of trips to the bar each. There were 2x flat screen tv’s showing the premier league football match and music played in the pub was at a pretty low level so not to be too offensive. The music choice wasn’t too bad overall either but the only song I can remember was “Tiny Dancer” by Reginald Dwight. I’ve been told that they also played something by Blondie.
Moving towards the back of the pub there are more seats and a fairly bizarre but not disastrous Stoke City based mural. Steps to the right lead past a games machine and the toilets with more of a lounge vibe to the seating in the “upstairs” area. There is a bar skittles table (is that the right term?) but this appears to be broken or missing parts. I don’t think there is a darts board and a pool table is definitely absent. Other than the Stoke City based “art”, there is some interesting choice of décor, including a character we now refer to as the “Disapproval Deer” (see picture).
To get to the outdoor area, you go through a door at the back, up some more (quite steep) steps. If you were smashed, it might be easy to lose your balance on these and take a tumble. Otherwise, the smoking area/beer garden is a pleasant area which you wouldn’t actually expect to be in Stoke. It has a number of wooden benches and music is piped at low volume into the area. However, there are no heaters.
The gent’s toilets were pretty impressive, having a pleasant smell and a light atmosphere with wood effect tiles on the floor, a porcelain trough style urinal and one cubicle. The “no brand” generic pub hand dryer is functional but plays a game where you it tricks you into thinking it’s working and then it blasts away. Good work! The women’s toilets were clean, with tiles and a couple of cubicles. The general impression was that they were quite basic but I cannot verify this information.
So overall, a decent atmosphere in the pub for a Tuesday, it was a good temperature, bar staff and locals were friendly and there was enough entertainment to keep us amused. Although I was disappointed that there were no pork scratchings available, however there are other bar snacks. There is a good choice of beers and a decent outdoor area.
The pub was open until 12, and we were the last to leave. I think that tells you all that you need to know.
Beer choice/range – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Facilities – 2.5/5
Location – 4/5
Locals/Safeness – 4/5
Pork scratchings – 0/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 4/5
Other – 2.5/5
Random Attendee Comments –
“Beer was good, had a laugh, walk home a little bit slippery but very jolly none the less” – Kate
“Drinking in there on a Tuesday rather than a Friday or Saturday feels like trying a curry for the first time and having a Korma rather than risking a Vindaloo. A decent pub without being too boring or too exciting” – Po