Citizen Voices: Darrel Kirby, author of The Story of Gloucester Pubs, stops by Kingsholm pubs to see how they've changed
IN my ongoing mission to re-visit all of Gloucester's pubs, I undertook my fourth 'research trip' around the pubs of Kingsholm.
This was my first research trip that I undertook when writing The Story of Gloucester's Pubs in January 2009 – conducting the research around attending a rugby match, so the pubs were all absolutely heaving with rugby fans.
This time I decided to avoid match day to get a better feel of what the pubs are like.
This trip takes in seven pubs, starting at The Station Hotel on Bruton Way – not strictly speaking in Kingsholm, but it fits well into the route.
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It targets itself as a specialist bar for the over-30s, so we definitely qualified. I wasn't aware of anything particular marking it out as an over-30s bar. It was friendly enough and had a couple of real ales available.
We then took a long walk to our furthest point, the Queen's Head, which we were particularly impressed with. It is a small, very traditional pub with a 1950s feel and when we arrived it was full of life and had a good range of real ale and ciders.
Retracing our steps back towards the centre, Teague's Bar is a very short walk.
The Citizen has reported th e pub may close, which would be a great shame as it is a wonderful Victorian building. This is a definite sports bar with lots of memorabilia, but only sells real ale on match days.
Another short walk brings you to the Kingsholm Inn – The Jockey.
This is a great pub with low ceilings and a rustic interior. The decor is a mix of the kind of nick-nacks you generally find in old country pubs, alongside cabinets full of rugby memorabilia. There was a real ale on, but on match days it offers more.
Next, we branched off into St Catherine's Street to the Coach and Horses, which was recently refurbished and reopened as The Cider Tree – a great addition to Gloucester's pub offerings, although some of the cider needs to be handled with caution.
At the far end of St Catherine Street is the Dean's Walk Inn. The pub's affiliation with rugby is in no doubt when you see the giant ball protruding from the roof and the pub sign shows the Dean of Gloucester clutching a rugby ball.
Inside it has a nice traditional feel: it's hard to believe it was rebuilt in 1980 after being burned down. Again it only serves real ale on match days.
A short walk under the railway bridge and across Gouda Way brings you to The Pelican, one of Gloucester's finest pubs. This is a small, friendly pub with plenty of beer and cider to choose from as well as a large number of rums.
I can heartily recommend a visit to Kingsholm's pubs, but it would be better if they could get the message that real ale is for life, not just match days.