Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Yew Tree, Victoria Road, Walton-le-Dale

As a rule I am not a big fan of  'out-of town retail parks'.
 In fact I find the whole process of trawling around shops pretty traumatic.
I try to keep such excursions to an absolute minimum but when they are completely unavoidable (mum's birthday) I always head straight for the city centre.
You could argue all day about the merits of wandering through the city centre against trekking miles out of town to buy an over-priced shampoo pack and the cheapest perfume you can find.
Some argue city centres are places of cultural, social and historic importance which should be protected and nurtured, while others point to variety and character in a city.
But for me it comes down to beer.
I can only ever motivate myself to hit the shops if I promise myself a nice pint of ale on completion of the arduous task.
With this in mind, I had never had cause to stop in at The Yew Tree, which is perched in the shadow of the Capitol Centre, in Walton-le-Dale.
The traditional-looking frontage seems to hark back to an age when Victoria Road was a quiet little rural run, rather than the entrance to an enormous retail park.
In fact to get to the car park from certain directions, you have to take a detour through about 3,000 sets of traffic lights.
 Inside, the pub is surprisingly spacious with a restaurant area which seems significantly larger than the pub section at the front.
I am reliably informed the pub serves very good food and the restaurant area seems to be the most modern part of the place.
With a great tasting pint of Flying Scotsman in hand I settled down to watch Newcastle United dent Manchester United's title hopes.
While the restaurant seems to have had some attention in recent years, the bar area where we sat looks a little tired and could probably benefit from a bit of a spruce.
  But outside it has a good decking area which includes a large television so smokers do not miss any of the action.
Considering the nation's football and sunny weather obsession, I imagine this is a big hit in the summer.
The lease is advertised as being available and while its place as a quaint semi-rural pub may have been swallowed up by ring roads and retail parks, it has the potential to carve out a niche as the promised stop-off after a dismal day's shopping.

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