Saturday, 11 August 2012
Bitter Suite, Fylde Road, Preston
'We've three bands on this evening and the first one's starting in just a couple of minutes', the woman sat at a little exam desk said.
'It's £4 entry'.
'Not so great'.
'Go on then it's Friday night, it's been a long week, a bit of live music might just do the job'.
With the backs of our hands stamped we walked into the venue to join the crowd.
Then we realised we were the crowd.
Just then the band struck up in a thrash of demonic fury.
The drummer brought his sticks down on the helpless symbols like a serial killer making sure the job was done, as the vocalist produced a terrifying guttural groan like the sounds of a devil dog ripping up a rabbit.
I was trembling.
'Do you think will notice if we slip out?', I shouted to my mate.
'Can't hear you, lets just edge backwards towards the door very slowly'.
This was my first visit to the Bitter Suite several years ago and as first impressions go, I was left with more of the 'bitter' than I normally get in a pub.
But last week we decided to make a long overdue return for a couple of Friday night pints.
Despite it being in the heart of the student strip which suffers in summer, it was packed last Friday night with a friendly crowd who have all clear been locals for a good many years.
No gimmicks to try to drag customers in here.
But my attention was very quickly diverted from the happy hum of people's week being dissected, to the bar, loaded and ready with six real ales of my choosing.
I felt like I'd been reunited with a lost relative, someone who'd left for Australia so long ago I no longer recognised their face, until their beaming smile brought it all back.
We excitedly kicked off the evening with a couple of pints of Columbus, then Forest of Bowland's Hen Harrier, before going for some dark, chewy stuff which went down a treat.
And unlike almost every other pub in Preston which displays the same nostalgic old pictures of Preston bought as a job lot from oldpicturesofpreston.com, they have got some brilliant prints of every-day sights in the city from a perspective you had never imagined.
Even if you are not a fan of real ale or friendly locals, I would recommend popping in for a drink to have a nosey at the 'pool room photo gallery'.
I waved goodbye to my long-lost brother with a genuine intention to meet again.
Maybe next time we will even have another go at a band.
*You can follow me on Twitter @RobinsonBee and let me know where I should go next