Pub 14. Jolly Potters, Hartshill. 28/2/18
In attendance – DJT, Po, Pete Cotton, Kate, Swin, Lockett
In the midst of the worst winter storm in decades, named “The Beast From the East”, we ventured the short distance up to Hartshill to enjoy a few drinks at the Jolly Potters. It will take more than a bit of wind and snow to stop the quest to have a pint in every pub in North Staffordshire! I’ve actually been to this pub on a number of occasions so knew that we’d have a pretty decent time, despite the inclement weather.
The pub sits on the main road from Stoke to Newcastle, and despite not having dedicated parking there was plenty of room on the side street that runs alongside the establishment. The building itself looks pleasant with the exterior painted white and some nice looking signage. As you enter, you can immediately tell that the layout is not what you’d normally expect. There are literally different sections scattered everywhere! The room to the left as you walk in (through a door) is where the main bar area is, and it is a fairly snug little room with a few places to sit. To the right is an area with a dartboard and fruit machines which is a bit more open plan. There is a small serving area in the corridor and a room behind which has a log burner to keep you warm, very much required in winter! This is mainly where we sat during our visit, and during this period we enjoyed the selection of sweets that were in a jar. I just hoped that this wasn’t a “guess the number of sweets” competition, as the answer might be a bit different after we’d been!
Drinks choice is fair, with Carling, Staropramen and Hop House 13 being the lager choices. Real ale choices were Bass Mild, Black Sheep and Ghost Ship. Cider drinkers can enjoy a pint of Thatchers Gold. Fruli was sadly absent. I opted for a few pints of Ghost Ship which was a really good pint of beer and I enjoyed these immensely. Service was cracking, and the girl behind the bar was really friendly, having a laugh with us at various points and telling us about the ghosts in the pub! Apparently, there are 4 ghosts resident in various parts of the pub, including one in the corner where we were sat. We actually experienced a haunting experience when the ringboard that was sat in the corner fall off the shelf it was on. The cynics among us might say it was because Swin was putting his keys on one of the hooks! However, as it’s the second oldest building in Hartshill, you never know.
Apart from the ghosts, this room has a few books and games, plus there is an adequate amount of brass in it, including what may (or may not) have been a collection of French Horns (or maybe bugles), which started a debate about where the name of said instrument originated from. We have some fairly highbrow discussions on these nights, let me tell you. Otherwise, there is nice tiled floors throughout the establishment, the seating is comfortable and the pub overall has a cracking vibe, with locals popping their heads into the room with a random comment soon following. Music was being played in the pub, and this was at a pretty low, unobtrusive volume. It’s not a food pub, but we were told we could vape inside as long as it isn’t one of the big ones. The only gripe is that there wasn’t any Pork Scratchings available when we visited.
Moving though the pub, you realise that it is basically a corridor with rooms running off it. Opposite the room we were in, there is another area with seats and a flat screen TV. Further up and to the right, there is a pool room (which is also haunted apparently), and the toilets are to the left. The pub generally has a bit of an older crowd in it, but there were a few younger lads in the pool room. At the end of the corridor and through a door is the outside area, which is probably my favourite feature of the pub. I’d even go as far as saying that this is the best beer garden in Stoke, certainly of the pubs we’ve visited so far. There is a gas heater, and although this wasn’t initially on, the staff turned them on for us. You head down some steps and there is a large area with an outside bar, which serves pizzas in the warmer months, and plenty of benches to sit on. Needless to say it was all closed on our visit but I can say from experience that in summer this is a fun and vibrant place to be.
The Gents has the usual dark red tiled floor, a long trough style toilet with 1 cubicle and a sink. It’s an old building, I know, but the toilets weren’t the best smelling that I’ve been into and the floor was fairly wet. The “Airdri Classic” Handryer worked sufficiently, so no complaints on this front. The women’s toilets were pretty standard but only have the one toilet, with tiled floor and walls although as ever I cannot verify any of this information.
In conclusion, this is a great little pub with all the facilities that you need (pool, darts, cracking smoking area/beer garden) and a great vibe. There could be a couple more real ales available, and make sure there’s enough pork scratchings in but I’d highly recommend this establishment, particularly once the Beast from the East has buggered off back where he came from!
Beer choice/range – 3/5
Ambience – 5/5
Facilities – 5/5
Location – 3/5
Locals/Safeness – 5/5
Pork scratchings – 0/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 3/5
Other – 2.5/5
Random Attendee Comments –
“One of my favourite pubs, really good in the summer when they have live music outside. Decent pint and a proper pub atmosphere. Well impressed with the open fire since it was about -5 outside” – Pete Cotton
“The jar of sweets in the corner doesn’t make up for the lack of pork scratchings behind the bar! Scores high on the brass ornament rating though” – Po
“What a superb pub I never knew existed. The staff were really friendly and the collection of French horns were mint. I will deffo return in the summer to experience the outside pizza bar. The ghosts were an added bonus. Simply lovely. One more thing – no god damn swine. Although it was in the middle of “The Beast from the East” so it can be forgiven” – Swin