Pub 29. Abbey Inn, Abbey Green. 27/06/18
In attendance – DJT, Po
One of the best things about living in Stoke is the fact that you are only ever really a short walk away from a pub. However, another thing that I find to be a pretty underestimated benefit is that we are pretty much surrounded with countryside, and that means you are only a short drive away from a decent country pub. Now, you may have noticed there are a lot of things I’m a massive fan of, when it comes to a drinking establishment. There are also a fair amount of things that I’m not a fan of, but Country Pubs are not one of them. Please remember though that the majority will require someone to be the sensible designated driver!
So, despite there being a fair few pubs in Leek, and the Staffordshire Moorlands in general, this was our first trip out to sample a pub this far afield. I’m actually enjoying being able to go and experience places that I’d never have dreamed of going before. That is, if anyone actually dreams about going to a country pub on the other side of Leek? Perhaps someone, somewhere does. Perhaps it is a lovely single lady? Who knows? She could review the ladies toilets for us! Anyway, following consultation with the reliable online maps, and with the postcode input into the Satnav we headed on the longest journey to the pub yet. The Abbey Inn, is, apparently in a place called Abbey Green. Although to those of you not familiar with the area, “the other side of Leek” will suffice. The pub is actually at the top of a country road, sat on the top of the hill, and I have to say it’s one of, if not the, best looking pubs that we have been to so far. You can tell that it is an old building, and the sign above the door that says confirms that the building has been there since 1702. There is a decent sized car park and the pub itself is definitely “out in the sticks” and away from the hustle and bustle of the town. The building is raised above the carpark, and you gain access via some steps to the right. Outside there are about 6 benches in front of the pub with another 4 at carpark level.
As you enter, it does feel a bit strange as the pub looks deceptively large from the outside, but only has two fairly small rooms inside, with a square central bar serving both. To the left, the setup seems to be for dining, it’s decorated in a pretty modern manner and it’s obvious that food is available here. To the right is more of a bar area, which is a bit more rustic with a setee, a few tables and chairs. There isn’t room for a pool table, but a dartboard is on the wall. However, to get access you’d need to do a bit of furniture moving so it’s maybe just for show. As far as I could tell, you weren’t allowed to vape inside of the pub.
Unfortunately, the beer choice was fairly disappointing with only Carling, Staropramen and Beaufort Ale available, and Stowford Press if you wanted a pint of cider. Again, there was an absence of the strawberry nectar known as Fruli. One of the things you expect from any country pub worth its salt is a decent range of real ales, however the Staropramen that I had wasn’t a bad pint and it makes a change from having Doom Bar every week, although I do need to be in the mood for a lager. Plus there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Doom Bar! Another slightly disappointing thing about the pub on our visit was the lack of other customers or locals. It might be busier at the weekend, but it was a lovely sunny evening so I’d expect people to want to drink in such a nice place. The views from the beer garden were, again, the best that we have had yet, enhanced by the addition of some beautiful hanging baskets and flowers. I’d go as far as saying that, location wise this was the best pub we’ve been to! Even if it takes half an hour to drive there! And as there were only two of us, it looked like we were on a fairly awkward date. Whilst we were sat outside we had a chat with the landlord who was a friendly guy, and it felt good to get out of the city and enjoy some of the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Disappointingly, there were no Pork Scratchings, which I feel are another staple of a country pub, if not any pub! We were offered the alternative of crisps and/or nuts but politely declined.
The gent’s toilets are through a door at the back of the bar, and in keeping with the theme are fairly small. However, the area is light and airy, featuring four urinals, one cubicle and on sink. The “No Brand” hand dryer was small but cunningly powerful, showing that size doesn’t always matter! Unfortunately, once again there were no female attendees this week so I cannot reflect on what the bathroom experience is like for the fairer sex.
Overall then the Abbey Inn has a lot going for it. The combination of a friendly landlord, great location, pretty building with quirky rooms and a picturesque environment is let down by disappointing beer choice and, on our visit, not much atmosphere. However, if you want somewhere quiet to have a pint to forget about the rat-race for an hour or two, and can handle the fact that you are limited in available ales, it’s a pretty good pub. As far as country pubs go, it’s one that I’m add to the list if I fancy a drive out on an evening and you can’t say fairer than that.
Beer choice/range – 1/5
Ambience – 2/5
Facilities – 2/5
Location – 5/5
Pork scratchings – 0/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 4/5
Other – 3/5
Overall – 21/41
Random Attendee Comments –
“Nice place to go for a drink with the wife. I was there with a bloke so the date vibe was not required” – Po