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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Owl of Minerva

There are more than two hundred and fifty pubs where I live, of which I would class no more than ten as fit for human consumption. One of these is the 199-year-old Minerva, which features a philosophical owl on its façade, a room that seats two a maximum of two drinkers, a fleet’s worth of nautical charts, and fine views of the sludgy brown Humber. As described in Peter Didsbury’s poem ‘The Pierhead’:

The name of the goddess of arts and trades is written on a board, painted in the livery of one of the old railway companies. The windows of the pub beneath it stare at the empty shore a mile away, at other windows, jigged with grey light. Mute and opposite hostelries wear faces like slices of meat, haslet for example, and wait for Byron to swim between them, for the ticket office is locked,

the last ferry has gone.

{Quotation ends}

The Minerva’s hinterland is due to be redeveloped, which makes it all the more ridiculous that the pub is about to close down, ostensibly for two years, but in reality quite obviously to make way for riverside flats. This is a total disgrace, and anyway in drinking distance of this marvellous boozer should contact Camra or simply go there and barricade yourself in before its proposed closure on 25 May.

Photo found here.



Great pub. I get really stressed out drinking around that area, though, as I'm terrified of large expanses of water. Fuelled by this and an unreasonable amount of alcohol, I tend to start thinking I'm going to drown at any moment. Suddenly a pint glass more than half full seems to contain sure death. Also, the determined breeze around there unfailingly ruins my hair (these are the things that kill me).

They've just refurbished the Whittington And Cat not too far from the Minerva, or at least in that great, flexible territory known as 'That Way On', and I'm quite enjoying it. Elsewhere, I love most of the pubs on High Street (you haven't lived until you've been to the Ladies Darts Night at Black Boy).

Shittest pub has to be the Silver Cod (fact: after losing a bet, my girlfriend's brother went in there in a Leeds United shirt and ordered a shandy). There are also some horrific Little Englander pubs around, and lots of soulless cafe bars with dodgy African themes where the fake bourgeois gather and, inbetween pretending to know what each other's talking about, frown at people who mispronounce Leffe.

But, with twelve pubs within five minutes of my front door, I'm not complaining, although I have thought about starting a campaign to get absinthe served properly (it's just not acceptable in a shot glass).

puthwuth said...

My other Hull pubs would include:

The Whalebone
The Wellington
The Olde White Harte
The Old Black Boy
Zest (cafe bar but not soulless)
Pave (ditto)
The Hop and Vine


I'll concede Pave, if only for their cherry beer, but I've never been comfortable with the idea of getting drunk while sitting on a couch, nor the concept of allowing natural light and fresh air (you know, the kind of conditions human beings thrive in) into a drinking establishment. If we must, that's what beer gardens are there for. If it's raining, tough. Half an hour in there and I'm longing for the dark, oppressive climes of Black Boy.

The Whalebone I've not heard of, nor drank in. Is that shameful, being (begrudgingly) Hull born and bred?

puthwuth said...

Shame on you! I'm saying no more. Supreme Hull pub. Go there now.