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.
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.