Pub 8 – Albert Inn, Newcastle. 3/01/18
In attendance – DJT, Kate, Po, Bram
I’m surprised that I’ve not had to use the phrase “Old Man’s Pub” yet. There sometimes seems to be a negative connotation around it, but I’m actually a big fan. They are usually pretty friendly, you rarely get any trouble and there’s always a decent scoop available. So, on to the Albert Inn in Newcastle. I’ll be honest, I knew little to nothing of the existence of this pub. In fact, I had to do the old “Google Street View” to find out where it was. This kind of pub is becoming more rare, standing at the end of a terrace street. No parking – no problem! I have to say, from the outside the pub does look pretty good, I reckon if the BBC ever decided to do a soap based in North Staffordshire, you’d be hard pressed to find a pub that would look prettier on the screen.
From the outside, it looks like the pub might have a couple of rooms (it probably did at one point), but as you enter through the door you are face with just the one room, albeit still fairly small, with the fairly old wooden bar at one end. The pub is adorned with a pleasant flowery purple carpet with matching floral wallpaper. Whilst not overly “modern”, it wasn’t too old fashioned. The same can’t be same for the old-school copper tables which I’m also quite partial to.
On our visit, there was only one lager available which was the standard Carling. Other choices of beer were Theakstons Dark, Old Speckled Hen, Pedigree and John Smiths. The cider was Strongbow. I was never expecting there to be any Fruli, and there wasn’t.
We sat down with our drinks, half a lager shandy and a pint of Old Speckled Hen came to £4.70. There were a couple of old people enjoying a nice pint of bitter, but the service at the bar was quick & friendly. No issues so far, but I would have liked a nice cask ale or IPA. However, the pint of pseudo real-ale (O.S.H.) was decent enough. Otherwise, atmosphere-wise there’s not a great deal to mention other than there are a lot of signs that say that the pub is a “non-swearing” establishment! I’ll say it now – this is an old man’s pub. There are a couple of TV’s which were turned off whilst we were there, and a radio playing some old music. I thinks is was kinda Motown & Northern Soul type vibe but was inoffensive. There is also a dark board, and fruit machine but no pool table – there would be nowhere for it to go for a start! I don’t think they do food, maybe a cheese bap is available during the day if you want it but not a full meal. We forgot to ask if you could vape, with the feel of the place I’d assume not, so we went outside – must remember to ask next time!
Pork scratchings were Authentic Black Country, traditional pork scratchings and retailed at the standard £1. We’ve had these before, and they aren’t a bad bag of swine but could do with more scartchings. The smoking area consists of a couple of benches at the front of the pub, without any heaters. The toilets are reached through a door at the back of the pub. The gents has a small urinal (2 or 3 people max), one cubicle and single sink. The facilities overall smelt pretty fresh, which I wasn’t expecting at all.. However, my favourite part of the toilets, and maybe even the trip overall was the hand drying facilities. Of course, a posh new-fangled electronic drying device would not be fitting with the mood of the pub. No, there was a towel. Amazing. I think we might have an early frontrunner for “best pub toilets 2018”. It basically felt like having a piss at my nan’s. Apparently the women’s toilets were cute, with a homely feel and lilac painted walls. There were also complementary female sanitary items but I cannot verify any of this information.
Overall, then, I quite enjoyed our visit. It’s the kind of pub where everyone knows each other and has done for years. A really friendly, cosy pub where you feel welcome. The landlord seemed apologetic that the pub wasn’t busier, but that really isn’t a problem. When you feel like you are sat in a living room, and the locals say goodbye to everyone in the pub when they leave, you know it’s a decent boozer. Old Man’s Pub or not. Plus the toilets were pretty awesome. If there were a couple more real ales available, I was retired and lived closer, I’d like this to be my local.
Beer choice/range – 2.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Facilities – 2/5
Location – 3/5
Locals/Safeness – 5/5
Pork scratchings – 3/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 5/5
Other – 1/5
Random Attendee Comments –
“Re Albert – weird ornaments, brass décor and a hen-pecked old man sitting silently in the corner. Like going for a pint at my nan’s house” – Po
“Great old-school feel and very cosy, maybe not returning in a hurry though due to the lack of choice concerning ales” – Bram