Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Maps, Beer Guides, Brewery Guides & pub mapping a street atlas

This is a blog about the maps and guides I use to to help me do pub crawls.

Before the days of the internet and now smart phones people had to use maps to find their way around towns and cities. I still do to this day as I do not have a smart phone, but I do use the internet now to find pub locations to mark off on my A-Z of Bristol or Leeds, as an example. 

I must heap praise on the mapping of pubs on the Pubs Galore site, by far the best for finding most proper pub locations. I always use it to pre-plan most pub crawls by marking off on my maps the location of pubs, or even doing hand drawn maps of smaller towns by copying off the Pubs Galore pub map.

If you're wanting to know how many pubs are in an area, just look at the Pubs Galore map and you will soon find out.

It was much harder back in the '80s and '90s so Pub Guides with maps were the best and listed all pubs. Brewery guides also listed all of their tied houses, which was a big help. You just had to ask, when in a town or city, where there were pubs that appeared in these guides. The worst guides of all were the CAMRA ones that just listed real ale pubs, or even worse, listed only what they deemed to be the best real ale pubs.

Back to maps, by far the best for large conurbations is the A-Z series, and the Red Local maps were also good for separate towns.

The Beer Guides

I have guides to most counties in England but not all. The Wiltshire Pub Guide 1991 listed all pubs in Wiltshire in alphabetical order. Pretty simple but I liked it and it gave me good lists of pubs I wanted to do in Wiltshire towns.

There are some more modern guides which I really like, as they map all pubs in the town or city, even if they are keg only pubs. Here are a couple of good examples which I like using.

Real Ale in Derby

Derby CAMRA seem to do these City guides every five years or so, and this is the latest one from 2016. The whole of the city is mapped with pubs marked off by numbers. I cannot fault the guide as it lists all pubs if real ale or keg only. I wish Nottingham CAMRA would do something similar - the last proper CAMRA guide to Nottinghamshire was way back in in the '80s.

Another good fairly recent guide I picked up was the CAMRA Oxford Witney & Abingdon Pub Guide:

A very smart publication with nice mapping of all pubs in the guide, with keg only pubs also mapped. I quite like this guide and used it when going a pub crawl round Witney.

Brewery Guides

I have lots of brewery guides, many of closed breweries and several still open breweries. If they were a good brewery guide, which most were, they listed every tied house they had at the time of publication. This helped me find out where the tied houses were as I have always tried to do independent brewery tied houses over any other type of pub.

North Country Breweries Pub Guide

A guide to all North Country tied houses that lists pubs by areas of Hull and then counties. I picked this guide up for 75p from the Castle Barge in Newark which was a North Country tied house back in 1983.

Home Ales - A Pub Guide 

Home Ales brewery of Nottingham did a good guide of their large tied estate of over 400 pubs in the mid '80s. It listed all pubs with Nottingham at the start, then going onto Nottinghamshire and all other counties they had pubs in. I did not complete this guide but was not far from doing it when the brewery was closed down by S&N.

The Hoppers' Handbook - A Guide to the Harvey Pubs

A nice brewery guide listing all Harveys tied houses and all having a photo. It is a shame that I have not done that many Harveys tied houses.

Innwards - A Guide to Wards Country

A very nice guide to all Wards tied house of Sheffield. There were photos of most pubs and a map of the ones in Sheffield. This was another '80s brewery guide.

Map of Wards pubs in Sheffield


This section is about the maps I use and how I mark them off so that I know roughly where I have been. But the first maps shown listed every pub in the county map they were in, and what brewery was running the pub at the time. The maps were called Better Pubs of each county they were in.

Better Pubs Map of Kent

These maps were folded like a normal map but listed every pub in the county and and what brewery was running them. When it was opened out you could see the shape of the county.

North East Kent

South East Kent


Better Pubs Map of Cambridgeshire

I have tied to get more of these maps as I only have Kent, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Better Pubs did these maps for all of the South of England but not London. I picked these up in the mid to late '80s and would love to get more of them.

Street Maps that show where pubs are located

My wife treated me to a pub crawl in Cardiff but I had no map of it. I then found a map called Streetezee which mapped all of the Cardiff area, but on a closer look it also had a tankard where there was a pub,. When I did my pub crawl round Cardiff in the '90s all tankards were therefore where I did pubs.

I was quick to order more of these maps which were only in the West side of the country.

Cardiff Central & Canton

A-Z Maps


I never really used this map for pub crawling round Birmingham as I do not like the city that much, but it was a big help when going round the Black Country.



I have worn out Manchester A-Zs due to the amount of pubs I have done in the area.

Beswick,Openshaw & Clayton

All of these areas done on foot with a bus sometimes caught out or back, but never both ways.

Ashton-under-Lyne, Dukinfied & Guide Bridge

I think I pretty much did all of this area and did not know where Dukinfield was.

Manchester City Centre & parts of Salford

I had at one point done every proper pub in the middle of Manchester and most bars.


I made a massive effort to do every pub in Oldham and finally did 156 in the town. I wonder how many are left now.

Local Red Books

These street maps are always handy if doing a pub crawl in a town or smaller city. I have loads of these types of street maps along with the larger A-Z maps.


A map I have used many times on my pub crawls round Norwich though I've only done 88 pubs in the city.

Weymouth & Dorchester

Very handy while on holiday in Weymouth, but I have not had a drink in Dorchester yet.

My mapping of how many pubs I've done in towns, cities and villages

I picked this road atlas for a couple of pounds from one of those cheap book shops. It took me a while to work out how to get the number of pubs done in each town and village onto the maps without writing on it, and I also had the problem of updating towns and cities where I was doing lots of pubs.

Then I came up with putting small stickers in it with the number of pubs I had done on it. My wife liked the look of it and when I showed my brother he really liked it.

So here is how it looks:

The towns north of Manchester, Skipton & Blackburn

Leeds, Bradford & West Yorkshire towns

Greater Manchester & area


Nottingham & Derby

Lincoln & Newark

Hull & York

I am able to take stickers off to update to map. I think it looks really good, but then I did it so others may think different!

I've only shown a small selection here, and they are all old-school of ways of finding pubs to do when on a pub crawl. I know which way I would prefer to plan pub crawls - by looking at a map, rather than looking at a smart phone and hoping it is giving me the right directions.

So there you have it, a few of my pub guides and maps.


  1. Fascinating collection of books and maps - I could spend a happy few hours browsing that lot.

    However, there's one bit of the blog that surprised me - you don't like Birmingham! (my adopted home city!) I'd love to know what put you off the place and whether you've been back recently - it has changed a lot over the years (and still is - it's a bit of a building site in places at the moment).

    I am genuinely interested and, whilst I think it is a great place, I can also accept that Birmingham might not be to everyone's taste. If I can convince you that it isn't as bad as you think I'd be more than happy to be your 'guide' on a Brummie pub crawl - it's the sort of sacrifice I was made for.

    1. I think my dislike for Birmingham stems from the 80s when i did a few pub crawls there,it was only Ansells or M&B though the M&B mild was good,there were no real independent breweries in the city apart from Davenports who had a few tied houses.
      My son went to Birmingham University so i know Selly Oak and even stayed in an hotel in the city centre when he graduated over 4 years ago,i did do a pub crawl round the City Centre and Jewellery Quarter which i did enjoy,it just seems to lack the amount of pubs that you find in cities like Manchester,Sheffield and Nottingham.
      The only pub crawl i have planned for Birmingham is doing Harbourne as there seems to be a good amount of pubs there,but i have bigger fish to fry at the momennt.
      I do appreciate your offer of a guided pub crawl but dont think there would be 22 or 23 pubs to do that i have not been in,but i will keep it in mind.
      Thanks for reading my blog Alan

    2. I had a feeling that it might stem from the years that Brum was an Ansell's and M&B 'desert'!
      Harborne is a good place for a mini crawl (by your usual standards!). The city centre has quite a few more pubs than even 4 years ago, but probably not enough, still.
      Did you ever venture into Digbeth on your previous visits? That's the main place in Birmingham that has retained many of it's old pubs.
      That's my defence of Birmingham done...it is definitely so much better than in the 70's/80's when I first came here.
      Good crawling in the future and I'll keep popping by to see the pictures of the old pubs you've visited.

    3. Yes i did quite a few pubs in Digbeth in 1984 when i took my younger brother with me,my wife to be was training to be a nurse at Leicester and i stayed there for shutdown weeks during the summer,you were not allowed to do this but everybody was doing it,so when my wife to be went to work i took my brother on pub crawls close to Leicester,did quite a few in Digbeth most pretty grotty and it seemed so quiet round there,we did do a Davenports tied house that is probably long gone The Australian Arms,i did go back to Digbeth before my Jewellery Quarter crawl to take photos of the pubs i had done there,i was surprised how many had survived.

    4. The Australian Bar...I remember it well!!The premises are still there, but it is now called Missing and is now a bar/entertainment venue in the gay quarter. http://www.missingbar.co.uk/ Haven't been inside for a good few years now, but it seems to have found its own niche!

  2. Nice collection of maps - I have the Cambridge Better Maps, some nice pub sign pictures on it too. Another nice map is the Whitbread 1981 guide to Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, with small drawings of each pub

  3. Nice little read Al. I started with ripped out pages of the Yellow Pages when I started doing Bristol in mid 90's and if found an unlisted pub added arrows and wrote in the margins/wherever space the pubs name.

    I've since found some old Camara books which would've helped make life easier but was wet behind the ears compared to you as I am a lager drinker so no interest in pub estates portfolios.

    Nothing better than just wondering and stumbling though even with the internet and Pubs Galore/What Pubs as places still get missed.

    Hoping to add a couple in Cheltenham tomorrow after stumbling on a fold out leaflet of town centre walk in premises, with a couple of clubs added, I picked up the other week when doing 17 pubs there.

    1. Thanks for reading it Jon,
      I read about your mammoth 17 pint crawl round Cheltenham,i could not do that many pints in a day.
      I noticed you added some photos of the River Cottage Canteen that i added to the site yesterday,i bet you have been in it but not added it to the site.

      I have had a quiet start to the year up to now.

      Cheers Alan

  4. That is quite a collection of maps, especially being a small selection of the whole.

    Dave and I use an atlas to get from place to place, but when in a city or town, use a map we create with google maps with the pubs we wish to visit. Fun to plan, even more to work the plan.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog Richard,
      After doing pub crawls and taking photos of the pubs i have been in,my other love of life apart from the wife of course is looking at maps and pub guides,i have loads of them and nearly all of the OS Landranger series,i have even got a street map of New York which i bought in Amsterdam,it shows all areas of New York like Statin Island,Queens and areas to the North.
      I agree i like planning pub crawls,but when it comes to doing them they can be harder that you thought it would be.

      Cheers Alan

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  6. Very interesting blog and I'm amazed at the amount of pubs you've covered. I like using maps myself and when I used to live and work in the UK - in pre-internet times - I used them all the time.

    I notice you've even visited my home town of Eccles of all places :-)

    Great blog, really enjoyed visiting.

    1. I love Eccles,and have took my wife there twice and been there a third time to more pubs there,the Joseph Holts tied houses were the big draw for us and it was also nice to do some Boddingtons tied houses.
      Many thanks for your kind comments about my blog,Alan

  7. Wow that's a great content!
    You should guys visit the super crawl In Chicago! http://www.thesupercrawl.com