Wednesday 10th August 2016
Nearly every business located in Baker Street is housed in a building that was once a terraced house. These former residences have paid the price of being located in a street that connects the Teesside University campus and the much rebuilt town centre. As a result the street looks quite unusual with pubs, bars, cafés and a bakery shop mixed up with perfectly normal houses in a random manner.
Since it first opened its doors in April 2014 the Twisted Lip has got bigger as in early 2016 it expanded into the adjacent property so that this one-time micropub is now not so “micro” as it was previously.
The extension also heralded many other changes that will annoy the Micropub Police Force. The extra room created contains a new kitchen and they now offer deli sandwiches and other snacks, hot and cold, from 12.00 to 20.00 daily which can be taken away if required, thus tapping in to the office lunchtime market.
The pub’s name comes from the “The Man with the Twisted Lip”, a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes that was published in 1891. Of course, it is located in Baker Street! It was established by Andrew Wetherall along with Erica Saul. A room upstairs has an ornate wrought iron bar surround. Further consternation to the MPPF will be caused by the Open Mic night on Thursdays, the Live Bands on Fridays and the DJ playing Funk and Hip Hop on Saturday nights.
Of course, the most important facet of this pub is that is serves cask beer so all the other aspects of what it offers are immaterial. What’s more, I found it a pleasant place to while away a half hour or so. The original pub is on the right as you enter from the street and the first thing I noticed was the rather ornate glass chandelier that was centre stage in what was the front room of the one-time terraced house.
The floor is wooden boards and above the cast iron fire-place is a very nice framed mirror on the red painted wall. Either side there is an old glass-fronted bookcase containing naturally, books and also other ephemera. The one on the left is surmounted by a stuffed stoat, the other displays a grinning badger. Why it is smiling after what has happened to it is beyond me.
There are three round tables with accompanying chairs at the front which looks out to the street through a large bay window. Further back into the pub is the bar counter on the right. This was reclaimed from a church in Redcar. I settled at the standing area in front of the counter with a shelf and stools below the blackboard that displays the beer selection.
Further back is a small “snug” with one table and wooden benches around the walls. Beyond this is an outside drinking (smoking?) area that has an art-work by a local artist painted on its wall.
Although I didn’t go upstairs I did have a peek at the other side of the pub at street level. It has green-painted walls with another fireplace with a boar’s head mounted above along with shelves with a stuffed white bird (ptarmigan?). The furniture is wooden with a mix of high and low seats. In between is the entrance area with a shelf which displays many leaflets and above it are posters promoting live dates.
The beer selection was rather strange, one strong, one dark and one cloudy. So if you just wanted a clear bitter or golden ale you would have been disappointed. It also left me with a choice of one. I had Sonnet 43 (Cohoe, Co Durham) Raven Milk Stout (4.3%). The other two beers were Maxim Brewery (Houghton le Spring, Co Durham) Maximus (6.0%) and Durham (Bowburn, Co Durham) Hazy Daze (3.7%).
One thing that must be mentioned is the lack of information on the hand-written pump clip regarding the brewery that produced this latter beer. Sadly this situation was extended to the blackboard facing the bar that displayed the beers, both cask and keg, also the ciders on sale. Not one single mention of a brewery or producer. This is sloppy and not really acceptable.
The two ciders offered were Orchard Pig (West Bradley, Somerset) Maverick Ginger and Chilli cider (4.0%) and Westons (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Flat Tyre (4.0%) which is flavoured with rhubarb, another fact not mentioned on that blackboard!
A range of spirits and wines are offered and you’ll find all the usual packaged snacks in addition to the food mentioned above.
Twisted Lip, 11-13 Baker Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 2LF. Tel: 07996 247895
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 11.00-23.00
The pub is close to many bus stops and is about ten minutes from the bus station.
From the railway station the best way is to walk. Leave the station by the main exit. Turn left and go down the steps. Turn right at the bottom. Cross over the dual-carriageway road. Continue in the same direction. Cross over Corporation Street and keep on. The Town Hall is on your left. Then you will come across Grange Road on the right with a glimpse of the Infant Hercules micropub. Ignore it (for now) and keep going. The second of two more streets on the right is Baker Street. The three micropubs are near the other end.
Middlesbrough is served by many trains. From the south the most useful is the hourly Trans Pennine Express service from Manchester, Leeds, York and many other places on the way. There is a Northern rail service from Darlington and another from Newcastle via Sunderland.