Friday 20th November 2015
This likeable little pub is to be found just south of the town centre diagonally opposite the famous public school, birthplace of Rugby Union Football. Although very much established on the town’s cask beer scene, there isn’t much of a back story.
The off-license was opened in July 2012 by Colin Arthur. It specialises in bottled beers from local brewers and also from throughout the world; the range available is quite extensive. Draught cask beer is also available to take away in one litre bottles and this is very reasonably priced. Colin had always harboured desires to go one step further and open his own pub.
The opportunity to do this arose during 2014 when the adjacent shop became available and he leased it. The off-licence was called The Rugby Tap so I suppose it was logical that this latest venture should be known as the Rugby Tap Room. It opened to a grateful public in December 2014 and having visited I can say it most definitely is a micropub.
The two premises share a common entrance door. You turn right into the off-licence and find the counter in front of you and shelves and shelves of beers stretching down the room. Behind the counter are bespoke wooden shelves containing the spirits.
Looking down the room I could see that all of the many bottles, wine, beer and cider, were all in custom-made wooden cabinets. The result is very pleasing and you can tell this is a first class off-licence.
Crossing to the left-hand premises, the first thing I saw was surprising. It was a large coin-operated coffee machine. At first I thought this was very odd. Yet, when you think that the pub keeps normal shop hours then it makes a bit more sense. Six days a week they open at 10.00 and a coffee is not out of place at that time of the morning, so I suppose it isn’t so strange after all.
Turning right into the pub proper I noticed that the room was quite long and there was no bar. On my left as I walked down there were two red-cushioned bench-type seats separated by a wooden bookcase that apart from containing the obvious, also held some pub games. In front there were low shiny wooden tables with stools facing them. There was another table beyond and then two tall tables and an upturned barrel for upright drinking. This is where I settled.
I ordered a pint and looked at the other side of the room. On the rear wall there were shelves of glasses, then the glass-washing sink. Further up there was the stillage with casks racked on it. These all had covers and there seemed to be cooling by lagged pipes.
Moving on, there was a fridge for wines (I guess that if they want a bottled beer they just go to the off-licence to collect. Beyond that were a table and chairs.
That neatly brings us on the beers that were available. The choice was: Salopian (Hadnall, Shropshire) Oracle (4.0%); Church End (Ridge Lane, Warwickshire) Goat’s Milk (3.8%); Hart Family Brewery (Wellingborough, Nothamptonshire) House Beer (3.6%); Sarah Hughes (Sedgley, West Midlands) Dark Ruby Mild (6.0%) and two from Phipp’s NBC (Northampton) India Pale Ale (4.3%) and Steam Roller (4.4%).
The cider selection was equally as good with the following: Twisted Cider (Longburton, Dorset) Misty Medium (6.0%); Thistly Cross (South Belton, East Lothian, Scotland) Whisky Cask (6.9%); Abrahall’s (Bishop’s Frome, Herefordshire) Lily the Pink (4.5%); Black Rat (Sandford, Somerset) Cider (6.5%) and three from Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales): Black Dragon (7.2%) , Happy Daze (4.5%) and Pyder (6.0%).
This is an excellent little pub and I think that on some nights they stay open later, especially on Friday and Saturday. Also there is a music night on the first Monday of the month, so I guess they are also open later then. In fact one source states they close at 22.00 on the weekend evenings.
The Rugby Tap Room, 3 St Mathews Street, Rugby CV21 3BY. Tel: 01788 576767
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10.00-18.00; Friday-Saturday 10.00-19.00; Sunday 12.00-15.00
The pub is to be found at the south end of the town centre, very close to the famous public school. Many bus routes are around five minutes away.
The railway station is over a mile and it would take around 25 minutes to walk from it.
The station is well served by Virgin and London Midland with trains to London, Birmingham and the north.