Hassrale Trips - Hertford

Date: Saturday 22nd September 2001

Hassrale haven't been to Hertford for some years so this visit is opportunity to catch up on changes. Hertford is a relatively small market town which though situated in the commuter belt around London still manages to feel like a proper country town. It has the great advantage of still having its own local brewery, Mc Mullens, situated in the heart of the town. Since our previous visit there is a noticeable trend to the more fashionable and young person orientated pubs that plague other areas but its still worth a visit. For more information on the town I would recommend the following link Hertford Town To get a flavour of the town this trip starts at Hertford East railway station and processes through to Hertford North station where the trip ends. Take the 11:10 train from Liverpool Street to Hertford East, should arrive at 12:05 (on the trial it was 15 mins late). It should be pointed out that if you miss the 11:10 train then you can take a train at 11:19 which reaches Cheshunt 6 minutes before the Liverpool St to Hertford train . The first pub is opposite the station.

1. The Dolphin - Railway Street [13:00]
Beers: McMullens AK, Bass

Single bar pub, comfortable if a little faded. Landlord has a Raptor Rescue poster behind the bar and plenty of pictures of an ornitholigical nature on the wall. There is also an interesting display of banknotes and a cabinet with a collection of minatures. Scattering of tables and stools plus some more comfortable seating in a corner. Extra small seating area to one side of the bar. Doesn't look like it does food on Saturdays though a board proclaims a lunchtime menu (actually James informs me that he saw someone getting served) .Couldn't see a TV though a radio behind the bar was playing for the amusement of the customers. Dart board by the entrance which looks well used.

Its a bit of a walk to the next pub but this gets very busy so an early visit is recommended. I would recommend walking down Railway Street till we come to a turning on the left into Bull Plain which will lead us over a bridge crossing the canal from which we should easily sight:-

2. Old Barge - 2 The Folly [14:00]
Beers: Greene King Abbot, Charles Wells Bombadier, Burton, Adnams bitter

Popular pub by the side of the canal, large seating area outside. Long dim and low ceilinged bar which stretches a long way back, old flagstone floor in the bar area. To the rear is the dining area which is carpeted and has plenty of seating. Food very big here with lots of people (including your intrepid survey team) eating. TV showing cricket but sound turned down. Plenty of traffic to watch on the pond-weed infested canal and towpath.

{the next section was deleted from our trip as it was felt that 10 pubs was too much but I have left it in in case we get bored or one of the other pubs is shut}

Retracing our steps back over the bridge we return to the market area which was reasonably busy on the Saturday that we visited. There is an interesting fountain in front of our next pub (at least its supposed to be interesting).

2a. White Hart - Salisbury Square
Beers: McMullens AK

Busy pub looking out over marketplace. Recently refurbished in a somewhat sparse style with plenty of stripped pine. Numerous TVs (including an impressive widescreen flat TV) showing various sporting events. Food menu prominent, speciality Tex Mex. Popular with the young set, I wouldn't like to go here in the evening. Plenty of seating plus a fair amount in a courtyard at the back. Loud pop music continually being played. The music drove us out into the courtyard at the back which was liberally decorated with tables, parasols and even one of those gas heaters. Avoid the extractor fans for the kitchen unless you have no sense of smell.

We return back to Railway street for our next pub.

2b. Duncombe Arms - 2 Railway Street
Beers: Greene King IPA, Abbot

Large pub in the modern bistro style, plenty of seating plus a large beer garden at the back. The decoration is somewhat garish and not very well done.TVs dotted round the pub. Food again a major theme. Background music but not too intrusive. The patio at the back is crowded with benches and tables but was empty in the middle of the afternoon.

{end of deleted section}

We now move to Fore Street which runs parallel with Railway Street at this point and contains a fair sprinkling of pubs.

3. The Ram - 107 Fore Street
Beers: McMullens AK, Country, Bass

A local's pub busy on a Saturday afternoon. L-shaped bar extends down the narrow premises. There is a patio garden but on the trial run the summer weather prevailed and prevented us from fully investigating. Quite comfortable with a fair amount of traditional seating.

Walking back west along Fore Street takes us to

4. Baroosh - 76-78 Fore Street
Beers: McMullens Country, and guest (was Directors but had been Summersault)

Large recent conversion which strongly resembles an All Bar One type pub. This was next door to what had been a proper Macs pub called the Talbot but which was now a boutique of some sort. Very modern styling lots of stripped pine. No smoking area at rear with comfortable lounges. Food much in evidence and some people were drinking just coffee. I am informed that the food smells nice in here. Small outside drinking area. Air conditioned which was useful on our visit. Small patio garden was visible.

Continue to the end of Fore Street and turn right onto The Wash, walk along here till it becomes Mill Bridge (there is actually a bridge here) and you will find on your right the next pub.

5. Woolpack - Mill Bridge
Beers: McMullens AK, Country

A more old fashioned pub, dark woody interior. Not too busy on our visit with plenty of seating. Pub walls decorated with old pictures and posters. Art Deco style lamp shades generously distributed around a Projection TV showing football. Small outside seating area overlooking the river. This pub is very close to the McMullens brewery and those Hassrale members with long memories may remember being entertained here following a slight cockup with a brewery visit.

Cross over Mill Bridge and look for the turning on the left into St Andrew street where you should see

6. Old Cross Tavern - 8 St Andrew St
Beers: Laugh and Titters (house beer 4%), Fullers London Pride, Derwent Teachers Pet (4.3%), Black Magic Stout, Oakham JHB (3.8%)

Relatively small recent conversion (looks a bit like a shop) lots of exposed brickwork on view plus a few pseudo beam supports. Beer garden at the back with a barbeque on Saturdays. Has pickled eggs behind the bar. This was South Herts pub of the year in 2000. This pub has a excellent range of beer and is aimed at the real ale enthusiast (so we were alright). I can't swear to it but I thought I sighted pickled eggs behind the bar!

Go back to Mill Bridge and continue along as it turns from being Old Cross (was there and Old Cross here?) to Cowbridge and then Port Vale. This is a quiet residential street which is not a through road as there is a small pedestrian only section in the middle. You will eventually see on your right our next port of call.

7. Mill Stream - 88 Port Vale
Beers: McMullens AK, Country, Courage Directors, Wadworths Somersault

Small backstreet pub not too busy on our visit. Friendly staff and plenty of seating. TV showing sport.Conservatory plus beer garden at the back

Keep going along Port Vale till you reach the turning on your left into Beane Road, walk down here crossing over the bridge and admiring the cows in the water meadows (unless its too dark!) and you will reach the North Road where you should see on the other side of the road Hertford North station but before we leave we have one last pub which is on our side of the road.

8. Sele Arms - North Road
Beers: McMullens AK, Country

Large two bar pub with a genuine public bar (pool table, dartboard etc). The saloon bar has rather more accomodation but also has its own entrance (there doesnt appear to be any interconnection). Comfortable with standard Mac's decor. Beware the step down to the Gents, or rather the return from thence (or you may end up by amusing the whole pub with your Norman Wisdom impersonation). This pub is directly opposite the railway station, allow 3 minutes to cross the road and climb the steps to the platform (hint the 13 and 43 trains go from different platforms).

Trains from Hertford North to Kings Cross go at 13 and 43 minutes past the hour (up to 23:43 if you are interested), you can switch to the Victoria or Piccadilly tube lines at Finsbury Park.

Trial Details:
Date: Saturday 18th August 2001
Present: John Wright, James Featherstone, Edmund Featherstone

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