Potters Bar Extended
Number 11 Bus Social

When Andy the branch Social Secretary decided to do a social following the number 11 bus route from Hanley to Newcastle, we didn’t realise how much fun we would have.

We met in the Victoria Lounge, Hanley where we had a choice of 5 rotating guest ales from Salopian and Hunters to name a couple and Bass as a permanent. Situated close to the bus station and the Victoria Hall, the pub serves food and has a nice relaxing atmosphere with chesterfield sofas to chill out on. Always a lovely welcome, and don’t forget to pop in of you are going to a show.

We then made our merry way to catch the number 11 bus. From the start we met other CAMRA members and collected more along the way!

Our next stop was the New Finney Gardens, Bucknall. This is a Marstons pub and had Banks and Hobgoblin on at the time of our visit plus a range of bottled beers and ciders. A large family pub which offers food and plenty of outdoor seating. The bus stop is outside the pub so you can leave the car at home and enjoy a good evening out.

From there we caught the number 11 from outside the New Finney Gardens and ventured on to the Corner Pin, Adderley Green. This was a nice community local which had Pedigree on hand pull. We found a gem of a beer garden, to relax in and enjoy the warm weather.

After a short bus ride down the hill, we visited the Congress. Longton. This is a two roomed pub which I deem as a true Potteries local, built in the 1800’s in what was then a densely populated area surrounded by slum courts and pot banks The pub is situated just off the town centre. We were spoilt by choice of the selection of 7 casks including Castle Rock, Weetwood and Adnams as well as a good range of ciders and bottled beers. Some of us even tried our hand at bar billiards (there may have been some cheating here!) This pub has so much history to it, but that is an article for another day.

A short walk across Longton to the Strand where we enjoyed a selection of beers whilst reminiscing about how we had our photos taken there when it was Williamsons Photographers!

From there some of the group walked and a few of us jumped on the bus to go round the corner to the Potter, King Street. Another new pub for many of the people on the social, we had 3 beers to choose from and we all enjoyed yet another lovely beer garden in the sun and a good chat. It was good to introduce this pub and explain the work that has gone into the changes made to improve it. There is also a good range of gins if you fancied one of those instead. The pub hosts live entertainment and shows sporting events.

Next port of call was the White Star, Stoke. A Titanic run pub where you are spoilt for choice of 10 hand pulls, 5 of which are rotating Titanic beers, an Everard beer and 4 rotating guest casks from around the country, Added to this are several craft beers, gins and ciders to enjoy, The pub pays homage to the White Star Line and the Titanic through the split level pub, where customers can enjoy food, drink and entertainment. There is a function room with a bar on the first floor and seating outside the front of the pub.

A short walk from the White Star as we arrived at Ye Olde Bull &Bush, noticeable by the Ind Coope’s Ales on the side of the building, tastefully preserved in red and white. Another pub that was brought back to life in recent years, by careful renovations. With at least 4 real ales and numerous ciders, you can’t go wrong. Also there is an amazing piece of artwork on one of the walls. See how many famous people you can spot. Also remember to take a look at the large beer garden which is very popular all year round. Karaoke, DJ nights and entertainment can be enjoyed here as well as a Chinese food night on a Thursday (all cooked by the lovely landlady, Summer)

Now you must be thinking this is the end, but no! In all fairness we were drinking sensibly and mainly having halves and even soft drinks as nobody wanted to spoil a good day out. We were all happy as we got on the number 11 up the bank into Hartshill and arrived at the Sanctuary. Another pub that has in recent years made their mark on the beer scene in the city. Here we relaxed in the homely bar, it always makes me smile at the quirky range of chairs and tables and check out the hand made wall hangings. There are 4 rotating guest ales, several craft and ciders to choose from.

A short hop across the road to the Artisan Tap where we were spoilt by their good range of 4 cask ales, craft (including bottles & cans) and a selection of ciders. There is an outdoor seating area at the front and inside are 2 rooms. There is a stage in the main room which when there is no entertainment is used as another seating area. The second room has a range of mirrors on the wall, worth going and just having a look around. Several different types of chairs and benches are around to relax and enjoy your drink with friends, family or just to spend time alone with your thoughts.

The last ‘official’ stop was the Cask Bar, Newcastle, again a new bar to many of the people on the trip. There are 5 handpulls, 4 of which are rotating guest ales from across the country and Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild (a Stokie favourite) as the permanent beer, There are also a couple of craft beers and ciders to enjoy as well as a good selection of bottled beers and gins. Always a good atmosphere in the pub and good use has been made of the room by the choice of furniture.

A lovely day was had by all and it was good to see new people coming along to the social and lovely to make new friends. We did have to miss out so many amazing pubs along the route as we couldn’t fit them all in. I am determined to do all the pubs on the route at some point (it will be soft drinks in some as I do want to remember the day !) So it just remains for me to say a massive ‘THANK YOU’ to all the pubs who hosted us all on the day. I would also like to thank all the First Bus drivers for their patience with about 20 of us all getting on at each stop and especially to the lovely people of Stoke who chatted to us on the buses and in the pubs and joined in with the fun.

So if you fancy coming along on a social, you will be made very welcome and I am sure you will make new friends and have a good day out. See you all soon.

Lorna Denny (The majority of the above pubs are dog friendly. Check out ‘Whatpub’ for further details)