Cliff Slade lives in Tenbury and enjoys writing about his food and drinking experiences in the local area. Here he regales LGL with his recent visits to our three Parlour Pubs.
So, I love Tenbury, its people, businesses, shops, organisations, community spirit, facilities, pubs, restaurants and events. I am so grateful and appreciative of how amazing Tenbury is, and I try not to compare it with our town neighbours.
However, a few days ago, whilst on an evening out in Ludlow, the tavern lamp was lit outside The Dog Hangs Well. We popped in for an ale and were transported back to a proper old-fashioned Georgian pub with its strange payment scheme called cash and no mobile phones. After we purchased our hand-pulled ale from a selection, served over a solid oak serving counter, we sat in one of the oak-panelled, very busy snugs unadulterated with music or food. We absorbed the splendour, charm and character of this quintessential period alehouse. As we sat in front of the crackling open log-burning fire, I half expected a poacher to present himself selling his ill-gotten gains at any minute!
Cheered on by our experience, we walked up the town into another micro, real ale pub, Old Street Tavern, which was equally intoxicating, cosy and atmospheric of days gone by. We sat and chatted with interesting locals, again warming our hearts in front of an open fire.
With our Tenbury visa about to elapse and our carriage waiting outside, it would have been rude not to see ‘The Blood Bay’ to round off our three pewter feats, parlour pub fest in Ludlow. Entering the front door of ‘The Blood Bay’, we encountered a wall of inaudible chatter, laughter, and banter, as well as the natural ambient noise of the chinking of glasses and the busyness of a traditional Victorian pub snug where space was a premium in a mostly standing ale drinking arena.
Our arrival didn’t raise a single eyebrow or acknowledgement, albeit we immediately felt welcome, warm and at home on a bitterly cold night. We ordered our drinks from the landlord from a choice of two light, one dark ale, or a glass of one size fits all, red or white wine for our wenches. Retiring to a bench in a back room bar linked to the main bar by a tiny square hatch, we bathed in the authentic, historical charm of the period, mahogany wood panelled interior debunked of any prints or marketing spiel.
This, coupled with the non-existence of any 21st-century amplification of music, TV, tills bleeping, tablets, fruit machines or mobile phones tinging, tooting or dinging, invited the patrons to talk and socialise to an eclectic gathering of male, female, neutral gender, young, old, not so old, single and couples, all enjoying the delights of the popular ‘Blood Bay’ and each other’s company. I even popped to the toilet, climbing the uneven and misshaped wooden stairs, only faltering once, culminating in my pulling the chain — another long-lost toiletry task and skill!
As we bid a hearty farewell, the whole ‘Blood Bay’ congregation synchronised a disjointed bon voyage, and we left with more friends than when we entered, including Bertie, the West Island cross terrier with the ego of a Great Dane!
I have to concede Ludlow has three up on Tenbury for these unique drinking experiences!
Things to know about Ludlow’s Parlour pubs
These micro pubs generate loyal followings and are like best-kept secrets locally, so finding information about them can be challenging (given they’re against modern trappings). You’ll likely have to take a punt or call ahead to check opening times:
The Dog Hangs Well
Step back in time when you enter this establishment. The signal it’s open is the lit lantern on this Georgian townhouse.
14 Corve St
Opening times: Thurs – Sat, 5-9 pm
The Blood Bay
The pub is centrally located close to the hustle and bustle of the town square but entering in is like walking into bygone era with its authentic Victorian décor. There’s room at the back and upstairs as well.
13 High St
Opening times: Mon- Fri 5-9 pm, Fri – Sun 12-9 pm
Old Street Tavern
This recently opened pub is cosy and traditionally decorated in warm dark green and natural wood. There are a few small tables, benches, and an inviting log-burning stove in the snug area.
4 Old St
Opening times: Closed Tues, M, W, Sun 4-10 pm, Thurs, Fri, Sat 4-11 pm
Written by LGL Editors