Monday, 1 April 2013

The Bear Inn, Beyton, Suffolk

The traditional tile-floored bar at The Bear Inn is the kind of place that encourages you to linger a while. An open fire and a pint from Norfolk's award winning Woodforde's Brewery are always going to set the mood on a cold Winter day, but it's the quiet comfort of this unspoilt space which really hits the spot for me. Conversation comes easily in a bar like this, which is of course the single most rewarding pastime associated with pub going (despite what beer geeks and foodies might have us believe). Of course dining plays a very important part in the success of the Bear, but this is kept largely separate from the business of drinking and chat in a well appointed restaurant.

It's a good bar for a game of Skittles too, though the rattle and clunk of ball-on-pins perhaps suits the busier times at the pub. Often you'll see a piece of carpet fitted to the tray of a Devil Amongst The Tailors, and better quality tables were sometimes 'upholstered' with padded leather, but this one has a simple green baize lining, so it's a bit loud in use.

The table is most often used these days for a weekend game of Killer, one of the most traditional games played at the pub when no league is active.

This Devil Amongst The Tailors set is another sturdy model from Jaques of London, one of the most widely found manufactures of this and other traditional pub games, and still producing 'League' standard tables to this day.

The wood appears to be a lovely golden Oak, the pins and ball a hardwood, possibly Lignum Vitae. The scoring board slightly unusual in that it more closely resembles a Billiards scoreboard rather than the more standard cribbage board layout.

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