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EATING & DRINKING

Big-up for Bodmin boozer

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted April 09, 2015
the hole in the wall in bodmin named camra local pub of the year
Former gaol: The Hole in the Wall in Bodmin. © The Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall in Bodmin named one of CAMRA's top local pubs.


A former debtors' prison in the Cornish metropolis of Bosvena (Bodmin) has been lauded as one of more than 200 Local Pubs of the Year by the UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Today offering a range of home-cooked fare, at least three draught real ales and a metric shedtonne of spirits, the Hole in the Wall on Crockwell Street was probably a tad less salubrious back in 18th century, mind.

Indeed, it's quite likely that anyone enduring an enforced lock-in back then would have been hard pushed to even find a menu, let alone a decent pint of Skinner's given that between 1749 and 1779 prisoners there were fed food by their families through a hole in the wall, from which the pub, opened in 1930, takes its name, or so it says on the hostelry's FaceBook page.

Admittedly, yours truly has never drunk in the place but I did screech past it with the clutch stuck in first when I failed my driving test a few years back having nearly smashed into a 30,000-litre road tanker while trying to get my head round Bodmin's infamous (and now thankfully gone) triple roundabout.

It's now just a double, if memory serves me correctly.

Anyway, from what I've seen of the pub on the interweb, it looks pretty good and well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Although probably best not to pop in just before your driving test, eh?


IT'S COMMUNITY PUBS MONTH!
But why has CAMRA chosen to name the Hole in the Wall a Local Pub of the Year today (9/4/15) of all days?

Cue a CAMRA press release that suitably spills the beans like a sloppy gaoler out of some Hogarthian nightmare.

The reason, it reveals, is because this very April is no ordinary month.

Oh no siree, Bob, for this month is officially Community Pubs Month.

So there.

Makes sense now, dunnit?

"Community Pubs Month is about highlighting the important role pubs play in community life and no pubs are better examples of fantastic locals than these 200 CAMRA branch winners," says CAMRA's head of communications Tom Stainer.

"Each one of them has been judged the best in their respective area and are well worth seeking out for any would-be ale lovers."

Indeed, so the press release states, CAMRA volunteers across Cornwall and the rest of the UK recently took to the streets "to judge the pubs in their area to find their branch's Pub of the Year, looking at decor, value for money, customer service and, of course, the quality of their real ale".

And when it comes to decor, the Hole in the Wall is adorned with numerous items of memoriabilia and even boasts its own stuffed lion to boot.

However, whether it's the same creature behind the spate of Beast of Bodmin sightings remains moot.

Answers on a postcard, please.


the hole in the wall even has its own lion
Who you lookin' at? The Hole in the Wall has got it all. © The Hole in the Wall


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL!
These 200-odd local branch winners (the complete list can be viewed here), will now "go forward to battle it out in the regional heats in their quest to become National Pub of the Year", with the full ordination and crowning ceremony set to take place early next year.

"Pubs play an essential role in our communities and are clearly very highly valued, but despite this are still being lost at an alarming rate across the UK," Stainer continues.

"The best way people can protect their local's future is by getting down there and supporting it, which is why throughout April CAMRA will be calling on people to visit their local pub and support an important British industry."

And that's precisely where that Rake bloke, who usually writes these sorts of stories up, is right this very minute.

In fact, no one's seen nor heard from him since Easter, so we can only assume he's doing quite a lot of supporting.

So let's all drink to that, eh?

Mind you, that's my 'wages' he's supporting them with so personally I hope he wakes up in a puddle with all kebab juice down his front.

Again.


OUR SURVEY SAYS
Anyway, fat indolent drunkards aside, a recent TNS CAPI Omnibus Survey, so a different CAMRA press release says, found that 75% of pub goers believe a well-run community pub is "as important as a post office, local shop or community centre", up from 73% a year ago.

The important role pubs play in local communities, it continues, makes it "even more vital to reverse the decline in numbers and a net closure rate which sees 29 pubs per week close for good".

"Pubs are unique in their ability to bring together all sides of a community in one single welcoming environment," says CAMRA CEO Tim Page.

"A well-run pub which engages with its surrounding community – whether that is via charity events, family fun days, live music or quizzes – will not only help to remain popular and profitable, it will also be viewed as something of real value to locals."

Too right.

Mine's a pint of Big Job while you're at it.

Please.

Oh, and a packet of crisps, yeah?

Salt and vinegar would be great, thanks.


Community Pubs Month runs throughout April and, so CAMRA says, is expected to involve more than 7,000 UK pubs that will be hosting "community-focussed events, such as charity fun days, barbecues, quizzes and live music events, in an effort to remind customers just what makes having a local pub so valuable". For more information and to download free Community Pubs Month artwork and posters, have a click of this, why don't you?


Ignatius Rake is currently on the sauce.



See also Happy Community Pubs Day!, posted 23/3/15; Salutes to the Salutation, posted 17/2/15; and UK pub closures escalate, posted 23/1/15.


Sandi Toxic
was raised by wolves inside a disused clay pit near Lanjeth. You can befriend her on FaceBook here. She is still quite feral.




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