Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Carew Arms, Crowcombe

Now this is what I call a pub!  The sort that some people whould say needs of a good lick of paint – both inside and outside! The only problem is we are now on the way home after having lunch at The Ball Ball Inn … not to worry, we can sample a drink and the atmosphere surely?

There’s one space left in the car park … always a sign of a popular pub – but is it popular for the right reason? We walk around to the front and head towards the door, passing a room set out as a “tea room” complete with tables, chairs, and plastic teacloths. Quaint … but at the same time rather ominous. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a pub with a tearoom attached!

We bypass the tearoom and now face a choice of two doors.  I select the left hand one, tentatively push it open and enter the bar.  It’s immediately obvious that this is where the locals gather – and there’s quite a crowd of them.  The serving area here is more of a hatch which was almost impossible to get to, given that two large locals are stood in front of it!  But we manage.  I daren’t ask for a glass of wine, it really doesn’t seem to be that sort of place, so I ask for a half of cider instead. Sadly I couldn’t see what sort of cider it was, because I couldn’t really see the pumps … but it tasted good, which is what counts! 

We took a seat at a rustic table and I surveyed my surroundings.  I love a pub that looks as if it hasn’t been decorated in decades, the paint here is that lovely shade of creamy yellow which you don’t often see now that the smoking ban has been in force for a few years. As befits a pub on Exmoor the décor would offend animal-rights campaigners – plenty of reminders of hunts gone by.  A huge inglenook fireplace complete with roaring fire kept the room warm and the highlight of my visit was discovering that they sold Double Diamond – a real blast from the past!  The locals were trying to recall the date that a photograph had been taken, based on the fact that they were watching a television in the bar – it had to have been brought in for a special occasion, maybe the Royal Wedding? What year as that?  In the quest for an answer they even included us in the discussion, which was lovely, too often you feel a sense of them and us when you visit pubs other than your local!

The smells wafting from the large dining room to the rear of the pub were good – probably a roast was being served, but since we eaten we couldn’t indulge!  I would imagine that this is another pub popular with walkers and cyclists, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to return here to sample the cuisine another day. 

Cider 3,  Tuna Baguette 0 – already eaten,  Atmosphere - 5

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