The Dirty Duck (or The Black Swan)
Waterside, Stratford Upon Avon, United Kingdom
The Dirty Duck (or The Black Swan) Stratford Upon Avon Reviews
Mix with the theatre crowds by the riverside. Jul 16, 2008
Another fairly old pub, 15th Century this time. What it loses in aesthetic charm compared to The Garrick it gains by where it is situated, right down facing the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres. This is absolutely the place to be to have cool summer glass of wine, or G'n'T whilst everyone bustles around in their best dress ahead of a night at the theatre, talking excitedly. Admittedly Stratford (esp. the theatres) are a messy construction site at the moment, but The Dirty Duck is buzzing nonetheless.
Actually formally called The Black Swan, this pub is only really known and referred to as The Dirty Duck, and plays on the humour of this double name with a fabulous double-sided pub sign. On one side is a gracefully rendered black swan, but the side you face as you walk to the pub en route to the theatre is of a comedically presented and very inebriated little duck. (apologies for the paucity of by one photo, visit the following for a better view : http://www.pub-explorer.com/warwks/pub/dirtyduckstratforduponavon.htm)
The pub is run by the same brewery operators as The Garrick Inn (Greene King) so in terms of decor and food'n' drinks fair these are basically identical. A shame there's less variety between two of Stratford's most renowned pubs but homogenisation (for survival) sadly is the way of the British pub industry these days. Fortunately again the food is of such agreeble quality that you won't mind. For a bargainous £5 I order what turns out to be a the most fulfilling cheese-board platters I've ever had. Generous salad, large slabs of mature Mendip Hills farmhouse cheddar, a scrummy Cornish blue-stilton and a chunk of brie with plenty of butter, varied savoury biscuits, a quartered apple and a lovely apple'n'IPA ale chutney to accompany the lot.
There is a nice front-of-house veranda to sit on (if you can find a place) or just stand (absorb all the different American accents) and watch the world and the River Avon go by. A perfect tee-up before you head on to The Courtyard Theatre (just next door.)
Part of the The Last Days of Brum (a prologue to the rest of the World...) travel blog
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