Pub 24. Park Inn, Burslem. 9/5/18
In attendance – DJT, Po, Pete Cotton
Surprisingly, this would be our first trip to Burslem for a beer, a part of the city that I’ve historically not frequented very often. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not got a problem with the “mother town” but the random number generator that I use to select the pub that we are visiting must have done up until this point. To be honest, this is another pub that I didn’t know existed, once again using Google maps to show me where we were heading. We were definitely heading into the unknown here. A pub in a side street? It could either be a hidden gem, or a quick “one and gone” type visit.
Well, the Park Inn obviously gets its name from being close to Burslem Park. It’s up a side street, off the main road out of Burslem, and if you didn’t know where it was you could get confused with the one way streets and dead ends that make up the road network in this location. Obviously, my superior navigational skills took us straight there! The pub is in an area of terraced houses, and parking is on the street outside. The exterior of the pub doesn’t give you much of an indication as to what the inside is like, with the black and gold signage being the only real indication that it’s actually a drinking establishment. As you walk in, you are faced with a large, single room and the bar is in front of you as you enter. To the left is some seating, a dartboard, fruit machine and flat screen TV. To majority of the pub is to the right as you enter, and has a nice wooden floor, decent amount of seating, and another flat screen TV. On our visit, the football was being shown and there were about 5 other people in the pub watching it, although they were obviously consuming a fair amount of beers, they weren’t getting rowdy or causing any trouble, and didn’t seem concerned about a few outsiders entering the pub.
The landlord was immediately friendly, the service was good, and we had a laugh and a chat with him throughout our visit. Beer choice was surprisingly good, with Carling, Staropramen, Grolsch and Coors available if you want a lager. For proper beer drinkers, you can have either a Caffreys, Guinness, St George’s Premium Grouse, Doom Bar, Bass or Boddingtons. If you want a cider, there is Strongbow, Carling Cider or my old nemesis Old Rosie. I opted for a Doom Bar, a pint of this and a Grolsch was £5.80, although there was also an offer on Bass at £2.00 a pint. You’d expect that the cheap beer would attract a certain type of customer, but on a Wednesday night this wasn’t the case. It might be completely different on a Friday or Saturday though. Seating was comfy, with decent striped seats/stools, and towards the back of the pub they had more of a plush, leather feel about the seating, with carpet and a nice fireplace. The pub also features various old sporting pictures on the walls, and there are curtains in the windows. You can vape inside, as long as you’re not producing massive clouds but I don’t think it’s the kind of place that does food. You get the feeling that the pub has had a fairly recent refurbishment but was maybe not always such a pleasant place to be in.
The gents features a metal trough urinal, a single cubicle and one sink. The walls are painted a nice yellow colour, and there are white tiles and a couple of mirrors. To be honest, I can’t fault them. The no brand silver hand dryer was pretty good, and there was some, erm, interesting artwork on the walls. For a few weeks running, it has been a male only turnout so once again I cannot verify the quality of the ladies facilities.
Pork scratchings were the fairly common Black Country Snacks, which aren’t too bad but were a little salty on this occasion. I’m not complaining though, at least there were scratchings available. Here’s a question. Can a pub call itself a pub if it doesn’t sell pork scratchings? There is a fairly large enclosed smoking area to the side of the pub that has 6 benches, a large parasol and heaters. Although these weren’t working on our visit, I’d imagine they were turned off due to it almost being summer. There were various, and at times quite random, signs in this area. However, it makes what is in effect a large courtyard a more interesting place.
In conclusion then, this is actually the kind of pub that I really enjoy going to. A proper, unpretentious place that has decent, well priced beer, a friendly landlord and overall a good vibe. I would go as far as to say that it’s definitely a hidden gem, and if I’m in the area I’d have no problem popping in for a couple of Doom Bars.
Beer choice/range – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Facilities – 2/5
Location – 2/5
Pork scratchings – 3.5/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 4/5
Other – 2.5/5
Overall – 25.5/41
Random Attendee Comments –
“Decent beer, friendly barman. Enjoyed playing darts whilst watching the footy. Not sure what all the erotica signage in the gents is all about though” – Pete Cotton
“Any pub with a dartboard is a winner. It’s a shame that we were all such losers when we were playing” – Po