Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Wharf Inn, Hinckley, Leicestershire
Over the years I must have had a pint at the very least in almost every pub in Hinckley. In the late 80's and early 90's, a pint in Hinckley invariably meant a pint of Marston's Pedigree (or perhaps a Mild from the same stable if you were lucky), such was the hegemony of the Burton-on-Trent brewer in these parts. Their presence in the town is now not quite as strong as it was, though there's still plenty of distinctive Marston's livery to be seen, including on the Mock Tudor exterior of the Wharf Inn featured here.
The Wharf is a notable exception to my previous drinking experiences in Hinckley. Located a good 20 minute walk out from the town centre, it was just never on the circuit, and of course the ubiquity of Marston's ales in Hinckley at the time would have made the journey slightly less desirable. Given that Marston's stranglehold on the Hinkley beer scene has now been relaxed somewhat, the town offers much greater variety in the beer stakes, and it's certainly a town that I'd recommend for a day of pub exploring. I'd also strongly recommend not leaving it as late as I did and taking a stroll out to The Wharf Inn, which is one of the best of several very good pubs in Hinckley.
A small games room is located to the left as you enter, served from a small hatch, once a common feature in pubs but now much rarer. This snug little games room features a very fine old Skittles Table, which is in as original a condition as you're likely to find anywhere. The brown leather playing surface and brass fixings appear to be original, as is the upholstery and battered woodwork to the sides. The pin-head circles which indicate where the skittles should stand are noticeably sunken in the leather surface from many years of play. This table has clearly seen plenty of action over the years (and I understand that the Wharf is not the tables first home), yet it's clearly been very well looked after.