Night reviewed: Thursday
When the sound of buzzing fridges is the loudest noise in the pub, you know something is badly wrong.
Unfortunately when the music stopped, this was the only sound to be heard apart from our muted conversation and footsteps from the flat above us.
The Albion is tucked away behind Craven Court shopping centre, close to the main town car park. The last time we visited this pub two years ago, it was a Wednesday evening and they were screening a Liverpool Champions League football match. The place was packed full of people watching the game, enjoying a drink and having a game of darts. It was all very agreeable – except for the beer (John Smiths), which was absolutely awful and quite undrinkable.
How a couple of years have changed things for the worse though, both for Liverpool football club and for The Albion. Just as Liverpool are now starved of money spinning Champions League football, The Albion seems to be lacking its own main source of income – customers.
There were two regulars propping up the bar as we entered, engaged in a very intriguing and deep conversation about the merits of singer Katy Perry’s breasts. Once their scientific analysis had been completed, they staggered off (to the obvious relief of the girl behind the bar) leaving us as the sole customers.
Once or twice a passing gent popped in for a lonely swift pint and then quickly departed, but apart from that we were the only customers.
This time around, the beer quality was actually very good. There was a choice of John Smith’s or Theakston’s Best Bitter – after our previous bad experience we went for the Theakston’s and it was a very enjoyable pint. The pub also serves food during the day and I was particularly pleased to see Bradford’s own Seabrook Crisps amongst the bar snacks.
The décor is a little dated, and the marine theme of paintings of ships, model ships and lighthouses is a little odd for a pub in a landlocked town. The name ‘Albion’ is the oldest known name for the island of Great Britain, so maybe this was a nod to the seafaring heritage of our island nation. Unfortunately on the evening we visited it was more Marie Celeste than QE2.
When we visited previously, it was nice and busy and we left wondering why we hadn’t been before. This time we left wondering if they actually wanted to continue as a business. In fact, later in the evening we spotted the girl who’d served us earlier going into the fish and chip shop, having evidently already locked up for the night and clocked off. It was 10pm.
Despite the negatives, we’d encourage people to give this pub a try – it’s got all the makings of a good pub, but it just needs some custom. Judging by its location it probably relies heavily on the weekend and peak season tourist trade; though it would be nice if more locals gave it a chance during the quieter times.
Beer Choice (1 – 5): 2.5
Beer Quality (1 – 10): 6
Service (1 – 10): 6
Atmosphere (1 – 5): 1
Décor (1 – 5): 2
Toilets (1 – 5): 2
TOTAL: 19.5 (out of 40)