You’ve got to check out The Grenadier at Hangleton – I always wonder why people are so keen for me to try a particular pub.

It’s usually because, to them, it’s either a) the best thing since sliced bread or b) a complete disaster with no redeeming features.

Two PubSpy fans contacted me independently about this one, both describing it as a “unique experience” – I was fascinated to find out if it fell into category a) or b).

It’s a huge old pub designed and built in that curved, frontage-style so loved in the 1930s.

I was faced by three beer pumps with the signs all facing the wrong way.

The lankier of the two barmen informed me all the beer was off because it comes from up north and everyone is snowed in.

I told him I’d been up north the day before and it had all melted but that didn’t cut any ice.

Another wag standing at the bar commented that I wouldn’t find anything local here, including the customers, as they knew better.

So, that’s how I ended up settling for a pint of very competitively priced ‘wife beater’.

The snow must have somehow affected the cash dispenser as well because that, like the north, wasn’t working either.

But, and here’s the good news, the food must be sourced locally because the black and blue burger on the menu was still available. The fellow asked what number table I was at and, to be fair, there are signs on the tables telling you to note the number, but the trick is that there are no numbers on any of the tables.

However, the bar staff are fortunately equipped with special powers so he told me I’d be sitting at table 128.

Divided neatly into three quite separate areas, The Grenadier is almost three places in one.

There’s a really quite nice, extensive restaurant area on the right-hand side with a whole stack of furnishings which reminded slightly of the 1970s.

But I liked the look of it, and so did scores of other people - even on a Thursday lunchtime.

The left-hand side of the pub is given over to a proper bar with a pool table, jukebox, two fruities and a selection of the sort of old fellows who like a pint and wear caps.

The middle bar is exactly that, a middle ground which divides the two different worlds and gives them both breathing space.

It’s over 18s only in the left-hand bar, but it might as well have been over 65s only. In the right hand, much more upmarket section, the age range was very different with a babe of just a few months joining middle-aged couples and pensioners.

By now my burger had arrived and I naturally headed left to join the old men.

This is the best burger and chips I’ve had in a pub – ever. Credit where it’s due, I spent £6.39 and it was superb – succulent, perfectly cooked, smothered in Stilton, great flavoured mushrooms. I hear Amy was on duty in the kitchen – pass my compliments to the chef, this was a thing of beauty.

A sign behind the bar gave a warm welcome from Richard, Julie and her team (I assume Julie was the one with red hair in the glasses who was unflustered when she heard the coffee machine was broken). By now I felt like part of the furniture so I offered to fix it – the trouble was it was full of beans and had been cleaned (just like me!) but this was where my area of expertise ran out.

Back in the old man bar I quite literally bumped into larger than life Rick, what a super fellow. He let me go first as he said it was clear I was working and as retired gentleman he had all the time in the world.

The three TVs were all showing F1 highlights, the jukebox was pumping out Westlife’s The Rose and a poster advertised a burger and drink for £4.79, for just £1 more you could make the drink alcoholic.

I’m still not entirely sure what my loyal fans expected my reaction to The Grenadier to be, but I think it’s a pretty damn good pub.

It doesn’t take itself too seriously, just like its customers, and offers good, honest value.

It manages to cater for everyone, from about nine-week-olds to 90-year-old great-grandads and it does so in a good natured, friendly way.

If anyone else has had a bad experience, and was hoping I would too, then I’m afraid you’re going to be sadly disappointed – I’m a fan of this one.


Decor: ★★★☆☆

Stacks of seat and tables, just no numbers – and a tad dated.

Drink: ★☆☆☆☆

The beer’s stuck up north, just like the northerners.

Price: ★★★★☆

A pint of Stella, including the chemicals, for just £3.70.

Atmosphere: ★★★★☆

Liked the buzz, loved the fact it doesn’t try to be something it’s not.

Food: ★★★★★

The best pub grub for the price that I’ve had in ages, bon appetit.

Staff: ★★★☆☆

Efficient and attentive – they certainly did what Julie asked them to.