Posted on: October 29th, 2012 by steveh
Happy Halloween BITE Readers… There comes a time in every patrons pub-life, when the night grows still, usually during last orders, all you can hear is the ticking of the wall clock, or the gentle smudging noise of the barman cleaning a glass or two. It’s in moments like this that the old bar-barnacle or even the landlord himself decides is a good time to mention “the pub ghost”. We’ve all heard a dark tale of resident pub ghosts, trapped spirits (clean the optics) or mysterious happenings in our favourite locals. Below we have rounded up our choice of the top 5 most haunted pubs on BITE. Have you been to any of these spooky boozers? We invite you to share your pub-ghost stories with us on our Facebook page, do it before midnight though – else you’ll turn into a pumpkin!
The physical ground that the Ancient Ram resides on was once a Pagan burial ground, it is suggested that two ley lines cross beneath the pub and through this natural energy spirits, apparitions and ghosts have managed to traverse the realms of reality into our own. Built in the 12th Century the Inn has played host to a great many stories and tales that many would describe as unnatural. Devil worship, poltergeist activity, strange mists, black ghostly shapes of men hung from rafters, dramatic temperature changes and a deviant resident Incubus (women be warned). Unfortunately no longer a public house, the current owner of the Ancient Ram is an approachable fellow and open to operate small group tours around this once fabled watering hole, you will not want to be alone for a minute, even the surrounding village and countryside is creepy in the dead of night. Take a torch! In fact take a few…
Visit the Ancient Ram Pub Page | Map link
2. The Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook Berkshire
One of the oldest pubs in Britain, once used as a refuge by the notorious outlaw Dick Turpin, this venue’s tale seems to take a leaf or two from the Sweeney Todd fable. In the distant past many, many travellers have been murdered within these pub walls. Wealthy visitors to the area would often disappear after spending a night at the Ostrich. The legend tells of the greedy, murderous Jarman family who once lived and worked at the Inn. During the night whilst the weary traveller slept, the landlord would pull a lever and the unsuspecting guest would find themselves falling through a trapdoor dropping them into vat of boiling liquid and sealing their fate. The gruesome landlord and his wife after confessing to what they had done were hung for their crimes after a victim’s horse was found wandering the streets of Colnbrook alone and raised suspicion with local police. Today the Ostrich is known for poltergeist activity, the ghosts of trapped spirits who died in the pub, or the residual energy of the nefarious landlord himself? It’s hard to tell, despite the Ostrich Inn being a jolly good local these days, its cold, murderous past will leave you chilled to your dregs.
Visit The Ostrich Inn Pub Page | Map link
3. The Old Bull and Bush, Hampstead
For centuries, banging and knocking in the night can be heard, sharp temperature drops and a ghostly, dark and shrouded apparition in Victorian clothes has been seen moving between rooms, these are just some of the stories to chill patrons whilst visiting this pub. Recent and extensive renovations to the building may have unearthed the reason why. Behind one of the cellar walls a skeleton was discovered surrounded by Victorian surgical instruments. Whilst the bones have been laid to rest, the tale of how this person met their demise remains unsolved, and so, their uneasy spirit still resides.
Visit The Old Bull and Bush Pub Page | Map link
4. Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath
With a trio of apparitions, this pub once belonged to the father of Dick Turpin, and the highwayman himself used the Inn as a hideout during his escapades. The outlaw himself ‘Dick Turpin’ is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, banging, rattling and knocking can often be heard, whilst outside the spirit of Turpin’s horse “Black Bess” can sometimes be heard galloping away from the car park. Also, with a rather unfortunate name, the spirit of “Black Dick” haunts the bar itself, once a local moneylender he was run down in the street by a coach and horses, his spirit though, never left the pub.
On a different trivia note, did you know that many pubs named the “Black Horse” are a tribute to Turpin’s horse Black Bess, who in 1737 made the ride from London to York in a single night, a story of fiction, around which the legend was forged.
Visit the Spaniards Inn Pub Page | Map link
5. The Ring O’ Bells, Middleton, Manchester
Edward was a Royalist, dressed in full Cavalier military gear when his life met its fateful end. Edward, the son of a Local Lord, used the Ring O’ Bells as a secret Royalist meeting place in a Parliament forces held town during the English Civil War. One fateful evening Edward was hacked to pieces by Roundheads whilst trying to escape, now his sombre spirit lingers on within the pub walls. The pub grounds date back to the Saxon times, and are also rumoured to have been the location where ancient sacrificial victims were offered to Gods. What an ideal place to erect a pub! It’s been reported that Edwards ghost can manipulate objects, throwing them across rooms. Patrons have recorded a number of times when they have felt a firm hand on their shoulder or back only to turn and find themselves all alone. It is said that anyone who dares sit in the “Cavaliers seat” will feel an icy chill and wandering sadness.
Visit the Ring O’ Bells Pub Page | Map link
Posted on: October 9th, 2012 by steveh
You can’t beat a British pub. They are the cornerstone of many villages up and down the land, often housing a unique blend of décor and home-grown beer. Many pubs are steeped in history providing an important role in the community. Pubs are a meeting place in every city, and the “go-to” after a long week at work, they are still a common place we consider when needing to unwind. However, with the government enforcing budget cuts to remedy the recession, the pub has become an unlikely victim to these difficult economic times. In the last ten years the average price of a pint has risen by 43%. In 2002, an average pint would cost you £2.02, in 2011, you would expect to pay £2.90, the main increase in price is partly due to the 30% added tax.
With the increase in price, inevitably the profits have suffered too, with individual barrel prices having dropped by a staggering 28 million barrels over the last ten years. Produced by Business4Sale.co.uk, listing pubs for sale across the UK here is an infographic highlighting just how tough the last 10 years have been for publicans and what you can do to show a bit of love for your local pub.
Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by steveh
If you’re head is a little fuzzy from enjoying too much of National Cask Ale week, here’s a jolly good idea, check out this Big Brew Up map for the nearest Big Brew Up near you, pop your coat on and get out there and support our Great British Armed Forces with some solidarity tea drinking and chin wagging!
The SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) is an organisation that provides financial, practical and emotional assistance to those people working in the armed forces or those who have been injured in the line of duty as well as their families. The SSAFA is holding it’s 15th Big Brew Up, to raise awareness and funds for the charitable organisation SSAFA Forces Help. Some folks may quaff that it is the government neglecting their responsibility to look after our troops, some folks may sneer that we shouldn’t be positioning ourselves as world police, in fact there is lots of reasons to have a moan, but there is no reason not to support your fellow countrymen and women. We stick together, that’s why we are the United Kingdom, and we’re one of the greatest nations on the planet, that’s why we’re Great Britain.
If you’re keen to hold a Big Brew Up there’s still some time to register your event, or as we mentioned check out the Big Brew Up map for the nearest public event in your area. Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.
Posted on: September 25th, 2012 by steveh
“It’s the big one folks!” Organised by Cask Marque and with support from CAMRA, Britain’s “National Cask Ale Week 2012″ is almost here. The event, running from the 28th of September until the 7th October promotes Real Ale to those who have yet to try one the many, many varieties of Real Ale now available. It’s also a time for pubs to show some solidarity towards Britain’s national pub drink.
There are a lot of national events going on during the week, from Real Ale tasting sessions, to brewery tours, cellar tours, new beer launches, beer festivals, food festivals, competitions, a real ale trail and let’s throw some Morris Men in there too! A full list of the details of the events can be found on the Cask Ale Week website. There’s almost too much to do, thank the beer-gods that National Cask Ale week is in fact a 10 day affair spanning two weekends.
For the upcoming celebration BITE recommends:
Visit to one of these 5 Fullers pubs where the expert award winning Cellarmen will give you a glimpse into the science (and love) it takes to serve consistent beautiful beer;
- The Swan Hotel, Staines
- The Fox & Pelican, Hindhead
- The Harpenden Arms, Harpenden
- Red Lion, Barnes
- The Holly Bush, Potters Crouch
Greene King are supporting National Cask Ale Week 2012 again this year with the “try before you buy” scheme in operation in 300 of their pubs. If you fancy a pint of real ale, but can’t decide which is your tipple, just ask one of the bar-staff for a sample. More information on the “try before you buy” scheme can be found on the National Cask Ale Week website.
If you’re in the Cornwall area, head off to the St. Austell Brewery on Wednesday 26th September, Sophie Atherton, Britain’s first beer sommelier will hold a tutored beer tasting from 1pm at the Visitor Centre, you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the famous St. Austell signature ales as well as some new brews featuring just for National Cask Ale Week. Tickets are just £1 per head, and there are competitions and prizes on offer once you get there, for more information and a chance to meet the First Lady of Beer visit the St. Austell Brewery events page.
Good olde’ Punch Taverns are giving away free beers, all you have to do is buy the Daily Telegraph on Sunday 23rd September for your free pint voucher, so do look out for this free beer promo!
If you have any tipson a first ale for an ale-virgin to try, or would like your say on the National Cask Ale Week 2012 you can leave a comment below or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.
Posted on: September 6th, 2012 by steveh
“It’s Chrrrristmas!” Say that in your best Noddy Holder impersonation… Yes BITE readers, with just 110 days until Christmas The Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield have already gone into their attic and dusted off the tinsel. With the tree and decorations now up, The Wylde Green opened it’s doors on the 26th August with a rather festive affair and punters queued up to get a taste of Christmas 2012. Turkey dinner in your flip-flops and shorts, can you believe it?!
Lisa Evans, assistant manager of The Wylde Green, in a statement to the press said “It’s all to do with getting our bookings for Christmas, to be fair. We like to get it up early to explain what we have got going on and get as many bookings as we can. ‘It’s going all right at the moment, we have got quite a few.”
The Wylde Green, owned by Greene King and part of the Hungry Horse pub chain have confused locals with the stunt, Lisa Evans commented “they think we are a bit mad to be honest.” She even admitted herself “it is a bit early isn’t it?” Greene King spokesman Greg Gibbons said: “When a customer realises it’s just four more pay days until Christmas it brings it home how close we are.”
2012 has been a belting year for us Brits, with the Royals spear-heading our celebrations showing the world just how great we can be as a nation, we’re draped in Olympic Gold and proudly flying the flag once again. “Ooo, I could snap a match,” why shouldn’t we celebrate Christmas early? So, are you ready to invite nan round? Put on silly hats and loosen your belt? Or is this all just a bit too early for you?
Let us know your thoughts in our comments section below or by joining the conversation on our Facebook page.