Friday saw me and a friend popping out to a brand new pub in Harrogate. The Fat Badger on Cold Bath Road. I’d seen some noise on twitter about it along with rumour that it was a VIP ticket only launch. The power of social networking to find real-time information was proved to be hugely powerful – I put the question ‘out there’ and within minutes had on site live reporting from the venue itself. I found out it was a free for all so headed down.
Just before I got in there, I created an entity on foursquare and check in. (I’ve been getting increasingly obsessed with this new ish social media tool). It was rammed – like a new years eve without the countdown. Never the less, I battled my way to a gap in the bar flanks and got served after a wait – the staff we’re friendly and good – sympathising with us for waiting and properly keeping tabs on who to serve next ish (instead of letting us punters work out who’s next and not caring). The ale (and it touts itself as a real ale pub) looked to be a good selection. I had a Spitfire – a nice drop. The clientèle – There looked to be a hotelier and industry types and quite a few of the Harrogate ‘monied’ clique as well. I think there may have been a few drink tokens sloshing about, good PR move if that was the case.
Hard to tell what it’s really like as a pub under those conditions – but first impressions were good – as a real ale pub venue. Booth and group seating type arrangement with a big long bar, brightly lit and perhaps and if anything smacked of hotel bar bolt on, rather than that of a “real pub”. A strap line I saw proffering ‘everything a pub should be’ irked me somewhat – such a ubiquitous phrase conjurer up different things for different people. Shouldn’t this super-inclusive one size fits all concept be an amalgamation of the opinion of everyone on the matter in that case? Eg – music, dogs, real ale, a dart board, a snug, pies, fruit machines.. and ashtrays? etc. etc.? Mind you ‘everything we think a pub should be’ doesn’t work either. Anyhoo – semantics.
The kind of place I’ll look forward to going back to though. When the novelty wears off and the dust settles. We enjoyed a nice table outside on a warm evening and watched the world going by. A good summer haunt and I guess it’ll be a good cosy winter warmer venue. A nice quarter of town – The Blues Bar, Montpellier, Hales, the Bell Tavern and now The Fat Badger with club land just around the corner. Will there be any reason to go up the hill for a night out again?