- Leamington Station Sign -
Buckinghamshire is therefore spared our scrutiny for now as we convene aboard a Leamington-bound train, Nick appearing at Warwick Parkway on cue as intended. Given that Leamington is recognised for its regal architecture, it's pleasing to note that the town's railway station is an appropriately impressive building - 1930s art deco more so than Regency admittedly but very handsome with a neo-classical Portland stone frontage.
- Old Librarian in the Old Library -
Nick Turpin is in charge of our itinerary today and instantly sets his sights upon the Old Library, a former Wetherspoons establishment on Bath Street (in JDW days it was known as the Jug & Jester). A half of the house beer - Old Library Ale as supplied by Jennings - provides initial refreshment as we read through some previous research that Nick has resurrected for the occasion. Prior to being a pub, the building served as a theatre and indeed a library - no wonder we feel very much at home!
- Fizzy Moon -
Making our way along the Parade, we pause to see how Queen Victoria's statue was displaced an inch across its pedestal by German bombs in 1940. There are elephants to enjoy on Livery Street before we chance upon the Fizzy Moon, a Regent Street gin and fizz palace that happens to have its own microbrewery. We say hello to Santa whilst imbibing of Reinbeer and We're Three Kings, although the 9% King Sadhu IPA is a little too strong even for our seasonal delectation.
- Feeling Festive! -
Besides the beer, Fizzy Moon makes an impression with quirky artefacts including one of those face-in-the-hole saucy photo boards you find on seaside piers (I decided to include the picture of Nick as Father Christmas rather than the buxom young wench equivalent). If that isn't entertainment enough, we merely have to move a few yards down the street to meet Spiderman and Batman scaling the walls of Murphy's Bar. Such a surreal sight demands closer examination so we make this Irish emporium our lunchtime stop, happily devouring a bargain £2.50 cajun chicken, chips and salad.
- Remains of the Great Western -
All this excitement must be getting too much for Nick Turpin as before I know it he's slipped into a coma... the Big Cat Coma just down from Leamington Station that is! A half of Duck Soup ensures our slumberous interlude is sufficiently restorative and we can catch the 13:55 to Warwick with a spring in our collective step. A sad sight awaits us when we alight however - the charred remains of the Great Western lurk at the bottom of the station driveway after the pub suffered fire damage earlier this year. We very much doubt this place will ever open again, demolition surely being its only fate.
- Lord Nelson -
Our Warwick wanderings take us first to the Lord Nelson, a community local on Emscote Road where we encounter Slaughterhouse Winter Ale and admire the nautical timber effect in the lounge. From here we progress into the town centre to do trade with the Old Coffee Tavern, recently established in a grand townhouse on Old Square. Some Maggs' Magnificent Mild (West Berkshire Brewery) lives up to its billing while the open kitchen adds a certain drama to proceedings.
- Rigsby's Cellar Bar -
The Turpin travel plans also include a quick look in the Tilted Wig (a 2018 Good Beer Guide entrant situated overlooking the Market Place) and a brave dive into the Railway in honour of Mr D9. That said, our favourite find undoubtedly must be Rigsby's Cellar Bar, a tiny little drinking den in the style of a continental bierkeller. Blonde Star in the basement is the order of the day here, wondering what lurks behind a curious locked door (it isn't the toilet as that's inside a Narnia-esque wardrobe by the entrance). We even have time for a Stout Snout in the Wild Boar prior to the train home, meaning our full-on forage has surely lived up to the customary exalted standards. Cheers!