Oddfellows Arms, Keswick, Cumbria

By | June 24, 2013

If you ask me, the Oddfellows Arms sounds more like an episode of the Channel 4 series Embarrassing Bodies than a pub.

The name of this boozer might also be apt for the meeting place of computer geeks, trainspotters, stamp collectors, butterfly catchers and other assembled nerds hoping to eat, drink and be merry, free from wisecracking members of the public.

But I was wrong on both counts. There were no people sitting with unsightly discharges oozing from awkward parts of their anatomy, nor was there evidence of any buck-toothed, anorak-wearing social retards.

Instead, a relatively normal pack of punters gathered in the large beer garden, soaking up some unseasonably hot weather in March.

This pub, which is situated close to Keswick’s Moot Hall, will particularly appeal to fans of horse racing and, as you’ll find out, car parks.

The walls and shelves are adorned with pictures, jugs, plates, tankards and brass items associated with the sport of kings, as well as newspaper cuttings featuring the former owner of the Oddfellows who had quite some considerable success as a horse trainer, making him a rather rich fellow.

It’s a long, narrow pub with a stairway as steep as a ski slope leading down to the beer garden, giving you ample opportunity to spill some of your precious pint before you take your seat in the great outdoors.

I took a deep breath and prepared to descend the stairs.

While tightly gripping a pint of Jennings Cumberland Ale (4%) for dear life, I wondered whether the famous British ski jumper, Eddie the Eagle Edwards, felt as nervous as me when he prepared to take on the daunting Calgary ski slope at the 1988 Olympics.

I went for it, landing at the furthest possible table from the pub, just shy of the disabled parking spaces. It was a miracle I didn’t spill anything.

The Lake District is known for it’s amazing scenery and wonderful views, and it’s worth remembering the vista from the Oddfellows’ beer garden of the facing car park is second to none.

What the ‘garden’ lacks in greenery, it makes up for with tarmac.

The Oddfellows is certainly a bit rough around the edges. Some tables were dirty after diners had departed which meant new punters had to sit surrounded by stacked plates, cutlery, condiments and leftover chips.

But let me end on a high note; if you want a beer garden with unbeatable views of stationary vehicles then this is the place for you. The red Vauxhall Corsa with the pink ‘Princess on Board’ sticker was my particular favourite.


ADDRESS: THE ODDFELLOWS ARMS, 19 Main Street, Keswick, Cumbria,
CA12 5BL.

ATMOSPHERE: ** Quiet inside as people made the most of the sun. It was quiet outside too, with punters prefering to play with their mobile phones rather than talk to each other.

DECOR: ** It’s all about the horse racing. Nice, if you like that kind of thing.

SELECTION: ** A good array of ales by Jennings, which for a non-local like myself, was just what I wanted. Jennings Bitter, Sneck Lifter and Cocker Hoop were all on draught.

PRICE: *** £3.10 for a pint of Cumberland Ale is pretty reasonable.

SERVICE: *** The barmaid was rushed off her feet taking food orders meaning we missed the chance to talk about the guy sat in the corner with the huge man boobs.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS: The pub hosts some loud live music nights.

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