Bricklayers Arms                                                        The English Rose                                                           Black Horse    

The last time I visited Luton, very recently actually, I first went to the Bricklayers Arms, 16-18 High Town Road LU2 0DD (01582 611017), sadly too late for food, though, which is served between midday and 2pm, Mondays to Fridays, usually a good variety of sandwiches and some regular pub grub, eg ploughmans and burger and chips. However, there was a good choice of ale on offer, including the regular Batemans XB (3.7%), Shefford Brewery (new to me) Dark MIld (3.8%), Tring Brookmans(4.1%), Mighty Oak Summer Pudding (4.3%), Harwich Town Pilgrim (4.0%) and the Bricklayer's new regular changing Oakham Ales beer, Inferno (pale and hoppy, not the usual excellent Oakham ale I would expect, but it may have been near the end of the cask, 4.0%); also Westons Stowford Press Cider was available.


The Bricklayers is well-known as a Luton supporting fans' pub, built in the early 19th century, and is not a place to visit on match days and loudly exhibit your support of the opposition, nor wear colours for that matter, though that is true of most pubs in Luton.  I’ve visited a few times on match days, never had any problems, but I don’t make too much noise in such hostelries.  I love the lay out of the pub, bare floorboards, wooden tables and chairs in 2 rooms, a smaller room out back, and a larger room at the front with 2 enormous bookcases on the right as you enter the pub. Both rooms have television screens.


The second pub I visited most recently, was The English Rose, 46 Old Bedford Road LU2 7PA (01582 723889), a much more friendly and welcoming family-run pub.  Usually there is a more extensive menu, but the kitchen is currently not fully open, though the landlady did go out the back and freshly prepare a much appreciated cheese sandwich (bap) for me, many thanks to her for that.  The English Rose sells 4 regularly changing ales and Westons 1st Quality Cider (5.0%).  On my recent visit, there were 4 pale and blonde ales on offer, all in excellent condition, Hop Back GFB (an incredibly flavoursome pale and hoppy 3.5% session ale), St Georges Lazy Days (4.1%), Titanic Sundeck (4.3%), and Kirkby Lonsdale Monumental Blonde (does what it says on the label, 4.5%), although they do regularly sell darker bitters and stouts too.


The English Rose is my favourite pub in Luton, and probably the oldest pub in Luton as well, dating from the 17th century and surviving the English Civil War.  In more recent times, the actress, Diana Dors used to frequent this pub, indeed, was even known to help out behind the bar, she would have looked like a stereotypical barmaid, I have little doubt!  This large single-roomed pub is two-thirds carpeted with bare floorboards by the bar itself, wood panelling about 4 foot up the wall and an open fireplace, though purely for decoration as radiators provide heating. There is also a very large outside garden area with individual heated hut type fixtures for comfort, and protection in colder months.


There are 2 more public houses I have visited, and that are in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, the Black Horse, 23 Hastings Street LU1 5BE (01582 450994) is another place more suitable to home fans, though I have had no problems here either.  The Black Horse is a large single-roomed pub with up to 4 regularly changing ales, mostly from micro breweries on offer plus Westons Old Rosie cider.  The Globe, 26 Union Street LU1 3AN (01582 728681) is the second, being a more friendly to visit for away fans.  The Globe has 2 regular ales, though they do change a little between Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar and Greene King IPA, and a changing guest ale is available too.  Many thanks to Will for his help and advice.