|The Signal Box , Cleethorpes - ' the smallest pub on the planet'|
The Bloke from Hull writes...
Dewsbury may be 70 miles from the coast, but in 1997 it was decided to create Dewsbury on Sea. It has become an annual event and seventeen years on the seaside was again recently brought to the town complete with beach, donkey rides, fun fair, face painters, brass bands, street performers and inflatables. The event gave me the urge to go and do the real thing and visit the pubs of Cleethorpes and of course have fish and chips. A recent sunny Sunday brought this to fruition as a friend and I arrived at the seaside at lunchtime.
Armed with a map, the plan was to walk from one end to another where our carriage would collect us. The first pub was the recently opened Coliseum Picture Theatre. Now a JD Wetherspoon, the distinctive building has been a local landmark for a hundred years, firstly as a cinema and following closure in 1953, as a an indoor market, a branch of Woolworths, Arthur's Snooker Hall, the Baton Rouge bar and more recently Amishi nightclub. Boasting two large bar and restaurant areas on two levels it also has a wonderful rooftop terrace, which with the aid of mirrors appears to be twice the size. Other interesting features are the cask cellar on the ground floor which can be viewed through a glass panel and a huge Cleethorpes Pier mural which greets customers on the first floor, guarded by a Roman statue. The beer of choice here was Otter Bitter.
|No1 Refreshment Room|
A short walk took us to the No.1 Refreshment Room, which as the name suggests was formerly just that, located halfway along platform one of the railway station. Not only does it have a large public bar with a raised area close to the door but also a pleasant lounge and a small room overlooking the platform. On the main bar were two beers from Batemans and one from Tom Wood but my fading eagle eyes spotted two interesting beers marked up on the guest board. They were Lucifer’s Desire and Sacrificed Souls from the new Horncastle Ales brewery launched at Old Nick’s Tavern in Horncastle in July this year. Naturally, we tried both and gave the thumbs up. Will they ever make it over to Yorkshire?
A stroll along the platform soon found us at the multi-award winning No.2 Refreshment Room - a small, well decorated and popular bar run by enthusiastic licensees with a good range of beers on the five handpumps. The top beers we tried were Rudgate Mild and Castle Rock Harvest Pale.
Not far away on Market Street is The Fiddler, a one roomed, busy open plan pub with Greene King IPA, Well Bombardier and Ploughman’s Pride from Great Newsome in East Yorkshire. The latter was the choice of us both here.
|The Nottinghamshire House|
A walk along the front to take in the sea air brought us to the Nottingham House. Located at the highest point in town this former Tetley only house is a traditional local with three rooms. The former snug has quite rare all round banquette seating, but the highlight for me was the old style Spartan public bar – not many left these days! Seven cask beers were available including guest beers from Great Newsome (Corn Dolly), Derby (the award winning Mercia IPA) and Flipside (Russian Rouble - a strong dark 7.3% Russian Imperial Stout with rich chocolate and malt flavours and brewed using traditional English hops). With three real ciders also available this is a real destination place catering for all tastes.
|Willys Pub & Brewery|
A little further on is Willy's, a former wine bar. Here spectacular views are on offer as you can look out across the River Humber and beach through a glass frontage. Willy's Original is brewed on the premises and the now 25 year old brewery can be seen towards the rear. Together with another regular beer - Bass bitter and guests from Brunswick in Derby and The Rat in Huddersfield there was plenty of choice to keep us here for an extra beer.
The penultimate pub of our run was the King’s Royal .Two pubs in one here. To the left is an Irish themed bar whilst to the right is a rather more peaceful lounge with dark wood fittings and a genuine snug immediately upon entry. Further on is the serving area and towards the rear is a small lounge area. Appropriately to match the weather Golden Summer from Batemans went down very well.
A leisurely stroll alongside the boating lake led us to our final destination, the Signal Box Inn which is acknowledged as the smallest pub in Britain at just 8'x8'. It is a genuine old signal box made redundant at Scunthorpe steelworks but is now located at the Lakeside terminus of the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. It can only accommodate 6 people inside but there is more than enough outside seating in the beer garden – even on a Sunny summer Sunday afternoon. Whilst drinking our Great Newsome Ploughman’s Pride I spotted two familiar faces from West Yorkshire, Diane and Paul. As I am always saying, there is no escape!
Our chauffeur soon arrived and after huge platefuls of Fish & Chips at a nearby restaurant on the front we made our way home well stuffed and happy. Life really can be a beach at times!