Pub 10 – The Signalman, Longton. 23/1/18
In attendance – DJT, Po, Bram, Pete Cotton
After the previous trip to the Plume of Feathers, we had to take an unscheduled week off from visiting a random pub due to being close to death (Australian Flu). Because of this short hiatus, I was looking forward to getting back amongst it. This time by visiting The Signalman in Longton. I knew for a fact that the experience had the potential to be quite an interesting one, based on the location and some stories that I had been told by a pal regarding their last visit to the venue in question! The pub doesn’t look much from the outside, whilst there isn’t parking facilities there is plenty of room on the road outside. You might notice my exterior photo does not show the front of the pub. This is due to there being a massive van parked right outside, and this is not 2 Van Perspective! Location-wise, I wasn’t actually aware of this pub before the number that represented it came up. It’s the kind of place that would be easy to drive past without noticing the pub was there. Especially with the world’s largest van basically obscuring the whole building!
Anyway, as you move into the pub it does initially look a bit rough. There is a fairly large bar along the back of the pub and a couple of tables in the “bar area”, with a kind of DJ booth at the end. There is an open fire, which was kicking out some heat. Always a positive as far as I’m concerned. The pub itself wasn’t particularly busy, four or five old guys sat at the bar, you could debate whether they were enjoying their beers. Service was quick and pretty friendly. There was the standard lager choice of either Carling, Stella or Coors. On the subject, I’ve noticed Coors being quite readily available in the pubs we’ve been to so far. I’m unsure of why it’s so popular as I’m not actually a fan, being more of a real ale drinker. I don’t mind a continental lager though. Each to their own, I suppose. I’m digressing. Otherwise, there was either Bass Mild or one of the Creamflow type beers (either John Smiths or Worthingtons). Not a particularly great beer choice, to be fair. I opted for a pint of Bass which was £3.60 and whilst not the best pint in the world was drinkable enough. A nice pint of Fruli would have gone down well, but alas this was not possible.
There are 3 large flat screen TVs in the pub that were showing the premier league football, I think if you want to go to watch a sporting event that was on, you’d be able to get a pretty decent view of at least one of these. The pub itself has quite a nice limited style wooden flooring throughout which looks like a pretty recent introduction. Moving past the bar, where there is a dartboard and down a couple of steps is more of a lounge type area and to the right in a decent sized pool area, with a pool table (obviously) and some more seating including a leather sofa that introduces some nice comfort into the proceedings. Generally, the seating is comfortable enough anyway with a combination of stripy design and stools.
Although you are able to vape inside, there is also a small smoking area at the back of the pub. Whilst not the largest, it is alright for it’s purpose with stools to sit on if required. There aren’t any heaters, and the aircon unit for the pub is in this area and was really loud on our visit. An amusing (but also quite concerning) aspect of the smoking area was the axe and saw placed nonchalantly on one of the tables. I haven’t got a clue what these were for, and to be honest I think it’s probably best that I’m in the dark about this.
Pork scratchings were 90p and were “Alf Turner Premium Pork Scratching”. These had a good balance of crunch & softness, and were just salty enough. The gents toilets were pretty cold, fairly standard for this type of pub with 3 urinals, 1 cubicle and 2 sinks. The Newlec hand dryer took a while to get going, and could have provided more drying power but it got the job done. The best part of going to the toilet is the mural in front of the urinals, depicting a nice sunrise so that you can imaging you are having a piss whilst in the open air. That’s if you’ve either got a pretty vivid imagination or you’ve had about 8 pints of Bass. As we had no female attendees for the second time running, I cannot verify any of the features of the women’s toilets.
So, we had just procured our second pint, when surprisingly last orders was called. This was at 8.30pm. The landlady did explain that they shut early on a Tuesday but are usually open until half 12. At this point, other than us, there were only 2 people in the pub so whilst I can kind of understand this approach it is disappointing when a pub either isn’t open or closes early. Booooo! Therefore the visit was cut short and we ended up having quite an early night with just a couple of pints each consumed.
In conclusion, the pub does have potential and a decent amount of facilities with a good pool area, open fire, comfortable seating and a fairly safe vibe. However, they should consider getting a better range of beers with some real/cask ales and ditch the early closing! I think the short time spent in the pub was enough time to get the vibe, and I probably wouldn’t have a need to go back unless it was really necessary. It’s another one off the list, and a step closer to having a pint in every pub in Stoke/North Staffordshire.
Beer choice/range – 1.5/5
Ambience – 3/5
Facilities – 4/5
Location – 2/5
Locals/Safeness – 3.5/5
Pork scratchings – 4/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 3/5
Other – 2.5/5
Random Attendee Comments –
“You can have have all the facilities in the world but it’s all pointless when the pub shuts at half 8. Make an effort” – Po
“Didn’t look much from the outside but had plenty of TVs to watch the footy. Beer was ok, shame the pub closed early though” – Pete Cotton
“Ah up nah Jim lad how are we, hmmm can’t be too kind to the old Signalman pal. I think the pool table was the only redeeming feature” – Bram