Yet another one of those streets in Lancaster that you probably didn’t think had a name. Church Street is in the centre of town, housing Go Burrito, d2 and Bella Italia. But we’re after pubs.
It’s a good job then that there are four to choose from, starting at the excellent Sun, and finishing at the Stonewell Tavern – a pub that never seemed to be open when I went, hence the introduction of Beer Apprentice Jason Naylor.
I’d always been a bit apprehensive about going into The Sun because I never really knew that the bar was distinct enough from the hotel. But when I finally summoned the courage to go in, I realised what I’d been missing. It’s small (AKA cosy), but the warm fire, stone walls and wooden tables create a wonderfully intimate atmosphere.
In terms of beers, for such a small bar there’s a massive amount. They serve all four core flavours from the Lancaster Brewery, as well as a seasonal pint of Sorachi at the time of writing. And there’s five more on the other side of the lagers, including ales from Somerset, York and more.
The best on offer recently was Red Ryder by Rudgate, a surprisingly light red rye beer with a taste of lychee. Additionally they serve pints in handle glasses, which automatically gives The Sun unlimited bonus points.
One of the best in Lancaster, because some pubs just emanate great vibes.
The Crafty Scholar
Once a Yates’, now a Stonegate Pub, though this chain doesn’t explicitly advertise themselves as being such. I only grew suspicious when I realised that after the refurbishment, it shared exactly the same décor as a pub back home in Coventry under the same brand. It’s very stylish and quite refined, but still hosts plenty of louder nights during the week for students and is a common location for organised bar crawls.
Wednesday nights are probably the ideal time to come, if you time it right. Happy hour means cheap pints, but it’s at the risk of having your ears blown off by the DJ. Outside of a Wednesday night though, the beers are a little expensive, and I believe that the happy hour offers no longer apply to their craft ales (though prove me wrong please).
The Crafty Scholar will always be a safe bet in Lancaster, but won’t offer you a unique pubbing experience that you can’t get anywhere else in the country. The large setting probably doesn’t help its cause, as The Crafty Scholar covers two floors, which are rarely filled to the brim.
The Study Room
In some ways, The Study Room is identical to The Crafty Scholar. The music’s too loud, the beers are fairly pricey and it orients to students. It’s definitely slick inside, as the literary decorations suit the bar’s name. The question is whether The Study Rooms is anything special.
They’re recently pimped up their menu, with a fairly expansive selection of burgers and hot dogs to indulge in, so it might be more apt to call The Study Room a gastropub more than anything. There’s 2-4-1 cocktails throughout the week, but this means that the beers miss out. If you’re going out for beer, The Study Room will hardly be at the top of the list unfortunately. Last time I went, many taps were empty and there was a slim choice of blondes.
The free quiz on Thursdays salvages something, but it’s pretty much in direct competition with Crafty just across the road and I can only come to the same conclusion. Nothing you won’t find anywhere else. Perhaps it’s a little classier, but the beers are arguably worse off.
The Stonewell Tavern is a pub that one may miss when walking down Church Street on account that it seems to only open every other Friday! And contrary to popular belief (i.e. ours), it’s not the Stonewall, but Stonewell.
A spacious down stairs area is usually filled with a live band of some sorts and does well during the music festival. The upstairs, almost balcony style space, offers a different, more cosy place to drink and chat.
The Stonewell could arguably benefit from airing sports, since it’d give people more of a reason for visiting than just sporadic music nights.
But most of the time it lacks atmosphere and with its small selection of real ales being at the upper end of the price scale it is a pub that fails to draw students in.