Pub review: Ship Inn, Handbridge

One of our favourite things is when a new pub opens, or when an old one redeems itself. And when we heard that the Ship Inn was opening its doors (again) it was pretty obvious we were going to make a point to venture across town to see it for ourselves.

Ship Inn has had a temperamental history, to say the least. It has opened, closed and changed hands more times than we care to count and after the initial excitement of the grand opening it quickly goes quiet and slips away… only to begin the process again. As a venue it is pretty awesome. It’s got great views of the mews and the river, a beautiful façade and inside, it’s got the airs and graces or a decent pub where you can either pop in for a pint or take the family for dinner. It’s a shame that the pub hasn’t experienced stability which it deserves.

The seatsBut hopefully that is all about to change! After a lick of new paint, tables and addition some quite funky decorative units the Ship is open for business and determined to make an impression.

We visited on a quiet Thursday afternoon but noticed there were ale lovers gathered at the bar supping their ales. There were families sitting down for a meal, and a few young couples at tables deep in conversation over their drinks.

Upon checking the bar, we counted five hand pumps, a few kegs and a decent selection of bottles. It seems that Thwaites Brewery rules roost here along with a tasty addition from Brimsgate Brewery, but the selection was fairly varied. Usually when you are tied to a brewery, the selection is brown, twiggy beer and then some more brown, twiggy beer but if you manage a range from pale to treacly dark delights your patrons have it good.

The bottle lists can be found at the table and it boasts a selection of international and continental beers, most beer menunotably from Belgium. Your Duvels, La Trappes, Chimays and Vedetts are all there, proudly representing. Or if Italian, American or even Estonian beers take your fancy, you can try them as well. It’s a little sporadic menu to say the least, but if you advertise “world beers” on your list you best put your money where your mouth is.

The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, the staff are really lovely and from what we saw and sniffed in the air, the food seemed pretty awesome.

We really hope this is the beginning of a new era for the Ship. It deserves some love after being neglected for so long and it seems that it’s in good hands now.

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