Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST10 3EJ

Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon, Water Houses, Stoke on Trent Staffordshire, ST10 3EJ

UPDATE 14.05.14  – The below was originally posted on October 3rd 2010. In 2013 Alan East’s step-son Dan Buckland became involved in this business since when huge changes appear to have been made – the many comments below are testament to this. There is also now a website which also shows massive but sympathetic changes to this fantastic pub; I was last there in 2010. – http://www.yewtreeinncauldon.co.uk/index.html

Dan invited me down to The Yew Tree Inn some seven months or so ago to have a look at these changes first hand and to update this blog but work, family life etc has precluded this so far. He has again in the past day or so asked me to go and have a look at the changes made. This I am happy to do and will try & organise a visit in the next week or so and  update the blog and hopefully be able to report that this extraordinary place is back to where it was – an unmissable pub.

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I have loved this place for ages, but a recent visit confirmed some of the criticisms made of the place in general over the past year. The landlord, Alan East, has always been a good highly individual landlord who does seem lately to have become less tolerant especially with children and seems a lot less happy soul. The toilets were always basic, but now have become a real problem.  The condition of the beer has also I hear been erratic of late too.

The above are all symptoms of a general decline in the level of homeliness and welcome you could always rely on. Hopefully this is only a temporary blip and maybe Alan can pull himself and the pub back to what it was; an extraordinary place …… but don’t worry about the shabbiness of the fittings, though, that really is part of the charm.

On balance therefore it’s difficult on how to recommend this pub, despite the undeniable characterof the place. However because it is so unique and you will probably never experience a pub like this in your lifetime again, it is worth visiting, just for that.  It is like going through a time warp, the decor being incredible and what a fabulous collection of items to observe. The bar prices likewise!

Situated at odds between an ugly cement works and quarry factories, the inside of The Yew Tree really does look like a cross between the Antiques Road show and Steptoe’s junkyard.

It’s an old stone built building situated off the A523 with no hanging pub sign and seemingly no real effort to attract custom, no sandwich boards etc and nothing to encourage you in, so it’s easy to miss, although the large yew tree outside of the pub helps.

Particularly impressive are the working polyphons, some fine Jacobean furniture and a collection of old radios. There is also an old penny farthing bicycle hidden behind a wooden settle.  The cash register, reminiscent of the one in Open All Hours, is yet another throwback to earlier days. On the bar usually are a few homemade pork pies and a jar of pickled eggs.

The pub is listed in the 2010 CAMRA Good Beer Guide where the commentary says “there cannot be another pub like this”.  So on balance this is a pub I would encourage you to visit and experience at first hand and decide for yourself.  Oh and when you do, don’t forget to sign the visitors book – situated by the entrance, on an old school desk – when you finally go to leave.

Beers normally on are Burton Bridge, Bass and a Mild – in October 2010 all of them were on and at a very reasonable price of £ 2.00p per pint and the Bass was on very good form.

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15 Responses to “Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST10 3EJ”

  1. The Earl of Nuffield Says:

    Have just spent a very enjoyable evening at the Yew Tree, can not recommend it highly enough, one of the last bastions of old England. Excellent in every way, even purchased goods from the cabinet of antiques, a must place to visit for any one !

  2. James Turner Says:

    We happened to find this great little pub having taken a wrong turn on a day out with the family, it was lunchtime and although no hot food was available the sandwiches and pies were more than enough for our hungry tribe and at a great price. My introduction to Burton Bridge could not have been better and it’s now in my top 5 beers list. The pub itself was amazing and just as fascinating for the kids as it was the adults with music machines and all kinds of wonderful antique artifacts to look at. The only slight downside was the toilets which were a little run down. All in all I would thoroughly recommend this very special pub.

  3. Peter Timlett Says:

    Having just visited this pub it seems that changes are afoot. Alan East suffered a major stroke earlier this year and his wife is very ill. Her son Dan is taking over the running of the pub and does not plan to make any changes other than to address the problems (eg. toilets). His brother Gary took responsibility for the cellar and the beer is now in first class condition. Good luck to them all at this unique pub – long may it survive! Lunchtime opening is now only on Sat & Sun.

  4. mrs Shirley Alice Baker (nee Cooper) Says:

    I would like to comment on the Yew Tree Inn being one of the most amazing pubs in the district. If I remember right Alan East’s mother took over the pub from my father, Sydney Cooper, who ran the pub during the 2nd world war until 1950 when he emigrated to Southern Rhodesia with the family. They served Ind Copes Beer from Burton on Trent in those days. I remember every Saturday night we had mystery bus tours from the Potteries mainly and a Mrs Ferns played the piano for a good old sing song. The local Soccer Team and Darts Team were based at the pub. I often wondered what happened to all the very old artifacts which were thrown out in order to build in the toilets ( obviously not up to standards these days) We held many weddings etc there and probably a few of the locals still remain in Cauldon and surroundings. The Cement works were in full production up to 1950. My husband and I have driven past in the times we have been over on holiday and find many changes have taken place.

  5. Fizz Jones Says:

    I have just spent three wonderful weeks in the Peak District, & thanks to this unique pub, & it’s amazing staff, Dan, Alan, & the two ladies who were possibly Dan’s sister’s, we will be returning as soon as we can. We spent evening after evening here, it’s warm welcome, excellent choice of beers, & ales, a great selection of malt whiskey’s, fabulous locals, who made us feel like we belonged. It’s a great pub inside, & out, would highly recommend a visit, the Summer opening times are great too, 12-12 Saturdays, & 12-11 Sundays. I can’t wait for our return :)

  6. Dan Buckland Says:

    The Yew Tree has addressed all the criticisms that have now been addressed, it’s worth pointing out that Alan (Landlord) was seriously ill in 2011 and had also been given the devastating news that his wife and partner of 40 years was terminally ill, it is no wonder his mind was not on the business at this time. This blog entry was in October 2011 three weeks before Alan suffered a huge stroke and was in hospital for three months. Although Alan’s wife sadly lost her battle with cancer, Alan is now fighting fit and as enthusiastic about his beloved pub as he has ever been.

  7. Charles Rhodes Says:

    I am a local of The Yew Tree and can agree that some of the comments made in this blog may have carried some relevance back in 2011, at a time when we all knew Alan and his family were going through a tough time, maybe some forgiveness for a period of decline can be given. It would appear that people have visited the pub since this time and can bare witness to hard graft taking place to reinstate The Yew Tree to its former glory, new toilets, better beer, better food, the list goes on. May be the writer of the blog should make more of an effort to revisit and see this for himself. Business is tough enough in this day and age without, out of date comments being left making things more difficult. Well done to Alan, Dan and their team on the improvements made to date and the future plans they have.

  8. Rachel Buxton Says:

    After visiting the Yew Tree over the weekend, I feel the need to point out that this review is completely out of date and is in no way a true reflection of the Yew Tree in 2014. The items that make the Yew Tree the most unique pub you are likely to visit still remain in situ as described above. But it seems that the rest of the blog above may as well be deleted! My husband was extremely impressed with the Burton Bridge beer that he was drinking, as was I with my chilled glass of rose! I would say that the toilets have been recently refurbished, as we did not find any issues with these. Alan seems to have regained his mojo since the above review was written, and is now accompanied by Daniel who quite simply is a complete hoot!

    All in all we had no issues at the Yew Tree, and will be returning very soon to sample some of the pie and peas that were being served as they smelt blooming delicious! Maybe I’m not the only one due to return Mr Mayhall???

  9. matt swindlehurst Says:

    An out of date report which bears little resemblance to the present situation. Family members have worked hard to bring up standards. They deserve a revisit and the present comments should be removed until this has been done. Small, independant pubs such as this need all our support and deserve to be treated fairly

  10. Dan Buckland Says:

    The Good Pub Guide has 4800 entries in it, there is one pub out of those 4800 pubs which has achieved 2 stars and that is The Yew Tree Inn in Cauldon

  11. Paul Blakeman Says:

    This review feels a bit dated now. Since Dan’s injection of energy there’s new toilets, hot & cold pies as well as sandwiches, a new beer garden and it’s clean and in generally better repair. There’s usually 2 draught ciders, Burton Bridge as the house beer, Rudgate mild and 1-2 guest beers. I think the most expensive is about £2.75 a pint. Still full of antiques and remains as far from a “pub co” as you can get.

  12. Hertfordshire Lad Says:

    I have been drinking on and off in the Yew Tree Inn for 34 years (as far as Alan and I can determine!) Over the last year or so the pub has seen something of a renaissance as Alan has been helped out with what is a long and tiring job. The loos have been refurbished, there’s a courtyard garden on the way and lots of events now take place. All this has been achieved without losing the essential (eccentric?) character of the place and the people. Visit, drink a pint, eat a pie then just enjoy!

  13. Dan Buckland Says:

    A big ‘Thank You’ to all our customers and friends for the many kind words and thanks too to David for his rapid response to the comments. I look forward to David’s visit and think his faith will be restored in this great little pub.

  14. Steve Bailey Says:

    I have not been to the Yew Tree that often over the years, for no reason other than its fair way to drive, however, I have been 3 times since October 2013, twice with a group of shooting mates on our way home and once with the good lady and I have to say I found Alan and all the staff and locals great, friendly and chatty (oh and the bar pies!) I personally love the place and long may it continue!

    Steve Bailey

  15. Ed & Maureen Says:

    Just arrived home after a more than pleasant evening at the Yew Tree Inn. Both Alan and Dan were excellent hosts, and we only wish we had been able to arrive earlier in the evening so as to have enjoyed even more Yew Tree hospitality, (and more pork pie).

    The Yew tree is truly unique. Yes, it’s been said before, and I’m sure it will be said many more times. Anyone who doesn’t pay the Yew Tree a visit is missing a real treat.

    Ed & Maur, Kidsgrove, Stoke On Trent.

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