“ Main Street, Silecroft, Cumbria, LA18 5LP. Tel: 01229 772325 „
The pub shut for sometime awaiting the usual bureacracy of insurance claims etc. It is now open again and is very popular. A really good bar and excellent food with enthusiastic service. Ideal for lunchtime visits or a set meal with friends in the evening in the separate dining area. It is now on my list as one to visit as often as possible.
For the few (seriously there is only a few) who have heard of Silecroft you'll almost certainly know about the "Miners", the villages pub right in the centre of the solitary road that is the village. Silecroft is situated a few miles from Millom in Cumbria, it can be found by rail (on the Route from Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle) or by road going from Millom to Whitehaven and Workington. A village sandwiched between the rolling hills of Black-combe and the beach facing across to the Morecambe bay and situated right on the edge of the lake district. Though despite the size of Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven and Carlisle, none of them quite have the quaint and quintessential charm of Silecroft, though they have in most cases have more streets than Silecroft has people. The major places of note are the exquisite beach, the train station (not of much use for a speedy get away sadly), the golf course, the horse riding facility and of course... the pub.
Situated about 2 minutes walk from my house The Miners is ideal for a few drinks, some live sport or a meal out. When My girlfriend was staying up for a week I think we spent a couple of nights there (I spent most of it drunk on happiness as well as alcohol) and found ourselves merry by the time we left, her learning the ways of the pool cheat me learning that girls like to win.
With it being close, the clientèle are either "known" locals or tourists (and "everybody hates a tourist) which often feels rather odd, but the fact is the pub is usually quite empty it does have a lovely homely countryside pub feel to it.
The pub is run by a large South African who has is a rather large fan of sport and he seems to have the running of the pub well handled with often courteous and quick staff. The place is broken into 2 main rooms, the bar and the dining hall, though having been in their dozens of times I've never been in the dining hall so I can't comment on it, the idea is that those with younger kids can get away from the bar area and the older men with occasional foul language won't be giving any accidental lessons to the youngsters. Thankfully as a grown up I'm happy to listen to whatever filth comes out (with much of it being genuinely humorous by virtue of peoples ignorance) and thankfully that's often the feeling of the pub, there's a definite home from home for some of the regulars. This may seem strange to some strangers, with the missus pointing out that she was the only female in there (other than the barmaid) as three older blokes sat at the bar watching Top Gear on the little 14 inch TV in bar whilst she cheated once more.
The place is a pub first and a restaurant second, so lets start with the choice of drinks available, they range from the national and widely available drinks like John Smiths and WKD to the likes of Duechars IPA (at a wonderfully cheap price too of around £2.20 a pint). A wide range of spirits are available, though in all honesty none of the people I've been there with have been big spirit drinkers so I can't say for sure if there's any thing of major quality there. The typical Vodka's, Gin's, Whiskeys and of course Baileys are there as well as some of the more "in" drinks like Apple Sourz, however I don't think the landlord has yet buckled to supplying Sambucca or Jargemeister.
As a major lager drinker the range isn't as wide as perhaps would be ideal, it's not terrible, with Kronenbourg and Fosters sitting along side Duechars on tap, and Strongbow there for the Cider drinkers, there will be something there for you and often at a reasonable price.
The meals are quite varied but all seem rather normal, if your a fan of experimental cookery and avant-garde concepts this isn't for you, it's a pretty normal menu with daily specials. We went on a midweek day (Wednesday or Thursday) with the missus having a fish based dish (name eludes me) whilst the fat guy she was with ordered 1KG of steak (costing a whooping £19.95 and coming with a free pint). Funnily enough only one of use ate everything...then stole some of the other chips, and it wasn't the fishy eater. The meals came relatively quickly (well considering someone had to track down 2 lbs of steak...) and we we're well onto having a great and memorable evening by the time the food was gone. Much to the shock of the barman may I add, who had repeatedly wished me good luck as if he thought I was being an idiot when I ordered the medium extra large cows backside.
After the food we went and played pool for a bit and got a little bit beyond tipsy, however whilst on the subject of Pool. If your a professional and you know how tables run you will be hugely annoyed by this one which has a personality of it's own. By the time we we're paying the bill (which had come to around £70) we were both rather merry and full (lets not forget almost a 1/3 of the bill was from the steak, meaning it was a rather cheap night out ignoring that).
The following Sunday we again went down there, for the Sunday Carvery (well the Fish eating Vegetarian obviously didn't go for the Carvery, more the drink) and again we were seen to swiftly. Although on Sundays the menu for vegetarians is quite limited and I can't comment on what she had as I'm not a fan of what it was (think it included cheese). What I can happily talk about is the carvery which consists of Gammon, Chicken and Beef as well as the help yourself rule applying to the vegetables, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. A rule I'm more than happy to abuse piling as much as humanly possible on the plate including 6 Yorkshire puddings, each cleverly with a roast potato inside to minimize on the usage of space.
Again this came to about £45 for the whole night (including drinks and a few games of pool) so again rather cheap and another good night to top off a brilliant week, a walk to the beach with an over dressed girl with shoes not suited to country roads would have been almost the perfect ending to a brilliant week...but there was too many perves in the car park...
So with those being the two most recent memories there the spot is decent, though in the past their have been questions asked and I went on a 4 month boycott of the place (the only pub in the village) when I was rudely spoken to be the owner. A 4 month boycott that involved me walking home with over a ton in my pocket seemed to me to be a better deal for me than him. Sadly as good as his staff are, he often seems to be tactless and lacking the customer relations needed to really keep the place as the villages hub, instead there is no hub. Just regulars and those that have an occasional jaunt down there. Thankfully it seems like the day to day running of the place is slowly turning over to his nephew (I think), who seems to have common sense to keep customers on side and have a smile rather than an eternal growl.
The memories before that are often based on going down to watch the football (with the big games a projection screen is used as opposed to the little TV), which often leads to the pub having increased customer and a bit more friendly banter. The lesser foreign games are regularly shown on just the TV for those bothered, but it's not the sports bar I occasionally wish it was, it's, like previously stated a pub.
And like all pubs it has a dart board and like good pubs, a pool table (I know you poor readers must be sick of hearing about that bloody thing). Sadly (I promise this is the last mention of it) the table costs 50p a match...thankfully me and Oriana we're both bloody awful (I blame the drink...she was just crap at it), which meant we got our money's worth.
Although we didn't make the use of it we possibly should have, there is a beer garden out the back which looks fine, though it's nothing to phone home about (especially not if home is in 'arrow, Dahn Sarf), especially not when the beach is a mere 15 minute walk away.
Despite the websites recommendation of booking for a meal, the process is not something I've ever needed to do and in all likeliness never will as there always seems to be plenty of room.
Overall the pub is your typical country pub (it even has an open fire on the colder days), quaint and twee in the extreme serving mainly orthodox dishes with often local produce. The only major downfall for myself is the fact the owner doesn't quite seem able to connect with some of his customers and seems to look down on them. Not realising the first rule of business ("The customer is always right, [even when their wrong]") is as key to the survival of the pub as anything else. Other than that the pub is pretty near flawless.
For those venturing to the village, the pub's opening hours aren't great during the week (opening at 6pm) and with the public transport being terrible, you're probably as well of getting a room if your wanting a drink or a designated driver will be required. Despite it's proximity to the stations the lack of trains whilst the pub is open (that's another subject altogether) means it might as well not be there (except for Saturdays where the two do operate to a much more similar time sheet with the pub opening at noon). The pub is literally just off the A595 meaning if you find village draped in the shadows of the mighty Black Combe you will find the pub and likely enjoy yourself limitlessly. Great meals and cheapish drinks, a huge change for the city dwellers, who could well do with a treat to a real country pub.
The pubs contact details can all be found on http://www.theminersarms.net/news.html.
The vast majority of the 1 KG of steak steak: