Regulars here cluster around the counter and banter with the amiable, larger-than-life bar lady. Walk in here again in five years’ time and it’ll be the same. Beers are chalked up like a Tote board. Runners and riders change almost daily: 100-1 shots might be Sweet Chariot from the excellent Mighty Oak brewery in Maldon, or Spring Cottage Biscuit from Caerphilly’s Newmans Brewery.
A sure bet, though, is Rita’s Special, in honour of a former barmaid, sold here and here alone. Rita’s costs a mere £2.90 a pint, a reasonable pricing policy that extends to tea (85p), coffee (ditto) and sandwiches (£1.60); perhaps part of the deal for being nominated for a Tetley pub award in 1992 was to keep everything at Black Wednesday prices.
There’s nothing grim about the surroundings: a nice walled garden hints at a previous life as a guesthouse. You’ll be lucky if you get a game on the dartboard.