Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST10 3EJ
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, but highly individual landlord who does seem lately to have become less tolerant of new faces, especially those with children and generally seems a lot less happy soul. The toilets were always basic, but now seem to have become a real problem and I am not sure Alan either cares or wants to notice. 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 that you could always rely on here. 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 still 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 that you will probably never experience a pub like this in your lifetime again, it is worth visiting just for that. It is simply like going through a time warp into the past, the decor being incredible and what a fabulous collection of items to observe. The bar prices likewise are also in a time warp.
Situated somewhat incongruously between a massive, ugly cement works and some 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 and, 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 in front 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 glass 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.
For the record and in case anyone’s interested, beers normally on are Burton Bridge, Bass and a Mild – in October 2010 all of them were on then and at a very reasonable price of £ 2.00p per pint, and the Bass was on very good form.