William Leigh contributor MSN Food
12/12/2011 15:35 | By William Leigh, contributor, MSN Food

The UK's weirdest pubs

From the wonkiest, to the smallest, to the oldest - we celebrate the UK's weirdest and most characterful pubs.

The UK's weirdest pubs (© The Brewdog Bar, Edinburgh)

So - the truth of the matter. Everyone knows a pub with a weird story - a special glass, a ghost, a hidden door, a selection of books that upon reading disappear, an underground passage used by smugglers, a murderer or two. Oh, and about a hundred 'oldest pubs in Britain'. From this we can glean two things - firstly, the UK is a nation of wonderful pub lovers with a fancy for the weird and secondly that there will never be a definitive list. We've compiled ours from a selection of pubs that we like; just in a weird way.

On MSN Food: The UK's best pub snacks

The Crooked House, Himley, Staffordshire

The Crooked House, Himley, Staffordshire

Historic photo of The Crooked House, Himley, Staffordshire

No - that's not the drink. The door is actually that wonky. And the bar. And the windows. And the tables. Yep, grab your pint, it's slipping sideways. No, really. The Crooked House in Himley, Staffordshire, (an 18th century pub, no doubt) has been subsiding due to local mining. It was condemned in the forties but was then purchased and reinforced. The pub is 4 feet lower at one end than the other, complete with wonky floors and slanting doorways. Glass has now been sealed in the cracks in the floor - if the glass breaks, the pub is once more beginning to shift.

Visit The Crooked House website

On Bing: The Crooked House located on Bing Maps

The Signal Box Inn, Cleethorpes

This pub is fighting a battle to be the world's smallest - a much disputed title. Otherwise, really, you've just got a very small pub. It is actually so little its cellar is a protrusion from the side of the pub rather than below it. The pub is less than 6sqm in area and as the name suggests was originally a signal box for the railway line. Despite its diminutive size, the pub still manages to keep a regular supply of interesting beers on hand.

On Bing: The Signal Box Inn located on Bing Maps

The Jorrocks, Derby

Once the most famous coaching inn in Derby, The Jorrocks has had plenty of ghosts reported. Workmen dug up a bashed-in female skull in a pit along with animal bones, leather and old shoes. The mystery deepens as the skull seems to be remarkably old. Some poltergeist activity has also been reported - when cellar extension works were complete, crockery was thrown around and smashed, buckets were thrown, pint pots lobbed around and moans and groans heard. Spine-tingling.

On Bing: The Jorrocks located on Bing Maps

Somerset House, Stourbridge, West Midlands

Somerset House, Stourbridge, West Midlands

Somerset House, Stourbridge, West Midlands

You'd be forgiven for thinking this pub had a resident ghost or three. Place your pint glass against the wall and take your hand away. Lo and behold, the glass will be stuck in place. Local scientists have been sent in to investigate; their theory claims that this magical happening is caused by a combination of wallpaper glue, old smoke and dirt. So on second thoughts, best not to stick your pint to it.

Visit the Somerset House, Stourbridge, West Midlandswebsite

On Bing: Somerset House located on Bing Maps

The Luppitt Inn, Devon

One of the last in a dying tradition of British pubs, places like The Luppitt should be cherished and celebrated. This weensy pub is located in the front room of Mary Wright's house; it can take ten people at a push, has two casks of beer from a local micro-brewery, a small wooden bar and a few tables and chairs. The country used to be littered with pubs like these, essentially the front room of someone's house - now only a handful remain.

On Bing: The Luppitt Inn located on Bing Maps

The Haunch of Venison, Salisbury

When this 684-year-old pub was renovated 100 years ago, a gruesome discovery was made - the severed, mummified hand, understood to have been removed from a gambler who was caught cheating at whist. The hand is rumoured to be cursed and is kept locked in an old fireplace with some 18th century playing cards. Oddly, the pub and the hand recently rose to fame once more when the hand was stolen from its case by a very determined burglar - sleight of hand, some might say.

Visit The Haunch of Venison, Salisbury website

On Bing: The Haunch of Venison located on Bing Maps

The Well House, Exeter

The Well House, Exeter

The Well House, Exeter

Claiming to be one of the most haunted pubs in Britain (another hotly disputed title), taking a trip down to the cellar will reveal some ghoulish goings on - bones hanging on the wall. Originally thought to be the bones of a single individual, archaeological analysis has revealed that they belong to two people. This evidence seems to corroborate one of the city's famous and tragic love stories - that of John the monk and Martha the nun, who ended their lives in unison to be together forever.

On Bing: The Well House, Exeter, located on Bing Maps

The Brewdog Bar, Edinburgh

Brewdog are perpetually making waves with bonkers ideas - beer bottles inside stuffed squirrels, for starters - and when they opened their bar in Edinburgh it was no different, even serving beer from a Stag's Head to smash the British public's perception of beer. To top if off, they actually offered punters a 20% discount for life if they got the Brewdog logo or name tattooed on themselves. Facts and figures about the number of bright sparks who did this to save 50p on a pint were not available at the time of going to press...

Visit The Brewdog Bar, Edinburgh, website

On Bing: The Brewdog Bar, Edinburgh, located on Bing Maps

The Hatchet Inn, Bristol

The Hatchet is Bristol's oldest pub, dating back to 1606. No ghosts lurk in its darkest corners, glasses don't stick to walls; the pub isn't in someone's front room nor are there any body parts to speak of. Well...for the macabre among you, you may recognise the term anthropodermic bibliopegy - the term used to denote the binding of books in human skin. At the Hatchet, take a close look at the door - underneath the layers of paint and tar, rumour has it the entire door is bound in the stuff.

On Bing: The Hatchet Inn located on Bing Maps

Always drink in moderation - visit the Drink Aware website for the facts

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