Simplified right down, Stamford is almost ‘T’ shaped, with the horizontal running crudely along the line of the High Street, and the vertical crossing the river to an area called St Martin’s.
As such, there are two ways of tackling a pub crawl in Stamford – the west-easter (the horizontal), or the south-norther (the vertical), although these can obviously both be done in reverse order depending on where you live, or backwards depending on which way round your legs are.
As a traditionalist, my legs are on the right way round, and I’m going to crack a west-easter … I’m not going to bother with the south-norther because, quite honestly, the pubs on it are total arse.
It’s worth noting that there is next to no walking involved on any Stamford pub crawl. It used to have the highest number of pubs per capita in Britain, although I think this tile is now held by someone in Berkshire. These pubs are densely packed. The plus side – no feral hunt for an alley to slash down. The downside – no “beer burn” between pints so you will have to find room for all everything or drink some of those pints that come in glasses about half the size of a pint glass.
And Londoners (and my brother especially) beware – you will need fucking cash. The term “contactless” here is only used in the opticians.
Anyway, shoes on. Off we go.
- The Jolly Brewer – Easy first option. Best snack selection. A proper beer pub with a reputation for being a proper beer pub. Pool table. Loooooads of sunny seats outside.
- Green Man – Quickest route is to walk through Waitrose car park, cutting a diagonal line from the shop double-doors to the far corner of the car park. Little lane. Turn right. A few doors down on the left there is a sneaky alley brining you into the beer garden. Plenty of ales. Hot fire. Quiz machine featuring Pointless, Million Pound Drop, Deal or No Deal… Job done.
- Melbourne Brothers – 5 minutes down Scotgate. Lacking a bit of atmosphere inside so I’d go outdoors if weather permits. Decent selection of board games. Two handy shops nearby – newsagents for papers and fags. Harrison and Dunn hardware for skirting boards, doorstops, seeds and individually sold hinges.
- Crown Hotel – Don’t bother crossing the road to The Millstone. Instead crack across Red Lion Square to The Crown Hotel. Again, sit outside if you can. Don’t stop at the butchers/bakers in the square – the last pasty I got from here was frozen in the middle.
- The Kings Head – This is the only bit of this crawl that can be classed as a “walk”. Trundle down the High St and turn right just before Natwest, and just after the church/graveyard combo. The pub is the first building on the right. Awful little beer patio out the back so stay inside. I’m not fond of this pub but it’s lovely inside and chances are you won’t make it to the next place without needing a slash so worth bobbing in.
- Lord Burghley– Out of front door turn left and straight you’ll see a dark alley to the left of a phone box. Skirt up here and turn right when you exit. The Lord Burghley is the pub that looks like a house with the mobility scooters parked outside.
- Tobie Norris – Home straight. Down Star Lane passing between a Dominoes and an O2. Turn left, passing the pretentious wine bar, and into the Tobie Norris a couple of doors down. Mind your head on the way in. Toilets up the (steep) stairs. Have something mulled in here and you’re done.
For those that want to carry on, best bets are The Cosy Club and the unreviewed Periwig, both of which are back near The Crown Hotel. As are the kebab shops. Nom nom nom