For no obvious reason, yours truly has always been quite inordinately fond of the Sun Hotel in Friargate.
Inside and out it is an unprepossessing enough place at first glance, no doubt, and yet...
For me The Sun has a relaxed easy feel that few pubs in the city centre match.
The place is deceptively small, for starters. Not quite a hole in the wall, but definitely up that end of the spectrum.
From the street cutting a fairly imposing presence, you cross the threshold to find just the one room, not particularly large, loosely sectioned into saloon, snug and pool room.
The ceiling is low, the decor muted, the furniture plain.
A simple mix and, like most simple things, all the better for it.
Long considered an Irish pub – although making no effort to overtly tout itself as such bar the occasional GAA match on the unobtrusive sport screens – good Guinness is a given, but swinging through one evening this week I allowed the cask offer to lure me away from darkness.
Boscombe Bitter was first out of the traps, racing all the way from the Somerset Mendips to wet my weary whistle after a sodden trudge along Friargate.
A good old-fashioned nut brown bitter, with a nice wheat aroma, sweet, earthy, breadish taste and just enough tang on the way down to qualify as refreshing. Autumn in a glass, I thought, inhaling it.
Next up, a special brew from Wigan’s All Gates brewery, Edith & Mabel, named after pits which were once part of the nearby Hindley Collieries.
A lovely pint this, and by some way my pick of the pair.
A super light light ale with bright clean floral perfume and flavour shot through with citrus notes, two trips to the lips and my glass was perilously near conclusion. Took the last few inches out to The Sun’s compact but comfy covered smoking area to savour over a fresh rolled tab.
The drizzle which swept me in was now a downpour, and with heavy heart I polished off this summery ale as a dark deluge rattled the roof and winter knocked at the door.
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