Saturday, 23 February 2013

The clue isn't in the name

Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area are currently blessed with excellent breweries and a host of reputable pubs. In the 2 years that Paul and Sarah Cope have been resident at the ‘Holy Inadequate’, they’ve taken a watering hole of little repute and turned it into one of THE venues in North Staffordshire, so much so they were recognised as the owners of Stoke-on-Trent Pub of the Year by CAMRA in 2012.

No dogs playing snooker
Ardent and fair weather drinkers will often argue the merits of a decent boozer, debating what exactly makes somewhere worth visiting, a place of which you inform every man (and his dog), hence returning again and again. Such a crucial piece in the ever-puzzling jigsaw of ‘the local’ is often missing. One night drinking real ale and enjoying a half decent plate of snapping isn’t enough in such days of austerity to ensure the return of anyone. There has to be an added element. This is where ‘The Holy’ steps into a class of its own. You have to go back, any thwarting seems unthinkable once you’ve experienced the pub, the ale, the staff, the real ale, the pork pies, the range of beers, the locally sourced crisps…did I mention the beer?

I proudly declare myself a regular now and on a recent visit, the ever alluring bar was adorned with the always excellent locally produced Lymestone ‘Einstein’, Newby Wyke’s ‘England Expects’ (a stirring support to the efforts of our Rugby Team in the 6 Nations), Dark Star Sussex Extra Stout, all headliners admirably understudied by the ever present Joules Pale Ale. Upon arrival, your eye is automatically drawn to the board of beers, the anticipation of what delights await you that day. An extensive range of bottled beers from Blue Monkey amongst others, offer an alternative as does a hand pulled perry, scrumpy and ciders destined to make ‘The Holy’ memorable…or not, depending on the quantity consumed. And it is wonderful to see the local Freedom brewery represented on the bar too.

So what is the secret of the success? That’s the beauty. There is no great secret. The beers are kept immaculately, the knowledge of each brewery and its product are perfectly ‘sold’ by the staff to all that ask. The desire to grow and develop, to build on the success of all the beer festivals hosted, is paramount in the future of a pub whose reputation continues to grow.

Building development is imminent; oatcakes made on the premises are also in the planning. Bowls of Staffordshire lobby have made an appearance already, the continued sale of the local delicacy is undoubted and there are plans for 17 real ales on the bar as well as more live music and a food fayre. When chatting to all involved in the ‘Holy’, you can’t help but feel their excitement, enthusiasm and belief in where the pub is heading.

Two more things of note - the fascinating artwork, courtesy of a friend of landlord Paul that dresses the rooms is something that has to be seen. And finally the name? What is it’s origin? Why not pop in and ask yourself?

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