Secret Drinker reviews The Ivy in Wragby
Have you ever found yourself asking a lady to go into the toilets and take a very specific photograph for you?
I hadn’t until my first visit to The Ivy in Wragby.
It was a Sunday afternoon and after a long day behind the wheel I was heading towards my first pint of the day with the kind of anticipation I’d expect from someone who’d read the opening two paragraphs of this review and actually thought they were getting the pay-off in the opening throes.
Patience, my friend.
At first glance The Ivy, neatly located between the beautifully named Box of Frogs antiques shop and Corndolly Cafe looked exactly the type of place I’d want to warm the cockles; traditional white walls, black window frames and well-attended hanging baskets gave it that old-time tavern feel.
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Some fetching portraits-of-animals-as-humans wallpaper greeted you in the porch, before the real reason I was here - a wide, warm, well-lit main bar area, with a dining room to the rear and a few snug areas for those looking for a little more intimacy.
The usual suspects glared back at me from the line-up of pumps; Carlsberg, Carling Stella, Stowford Press, Greene King IPA, Estrella, Guinness et al.
Not feeling any of them, I opted for the Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker, a decision I was more than happy with one swig in.
Taking my seat in a comfy armchair I clocked photos of Freddie Mercury, Elton John and David Bowie on the wall next to me. My kind of people, the gang I should be surrounded by of an afternoon.
To the opposite wall were images of – without doubt – the two finest James Bonds; Sean Connery and Daniel Craig. The British spy’s drink of choice may be a little different to mine, but it was easy to appreciate the place was designed by someone with style and taste.
I supped to the soundtrack of the boozy afternoon crowd behind me laughing loudly and talking over one another with joyful keenness to be the next to get laugh, eager to squeeze every last drop of fun from the weekend.
“I see Farage is in the jungle… best place for him.”
“Anyone watch Doctor Who last night? I preferred that spin-off that was an anagram. Touchwood?”
“I’m having another. Anyone else?”
This is how pubs should be on a Sunday. How all pubs used to be.
Feeling a warm, fuzzy nostalgia of afternoon sessions from my formative years I headed off to check out the gents, causing two regulars on stools at the bar to cock their heads in unison as I passed, ensuring they didn’t miss a second of the darts on the big screen.
The toilets were as anticipated with clean, white urinals, simple beige tiles, plastic ivy and bondage art.
Yes. Bondage art.
If the scantily scantily-clad models in suspenders, holding riding crops and licking their lips weren’t quite enough to throw you off guard then the A3-sized still from the Wolf of Wall Street depicting Leonardo DiCaprio doing something with an illegal substance to a lady that wasn’t his wife on the opposite wall certainly was.
Taken aback I returned to my pint and began questioning whether the ladies was decorated in a similar manner. It became my duty to find out and, with the two Bonds looking down at me, I took it upon myself to ask a lady to go under cover. I needed some circumstantial evidence.
Thankfully the answer was a Dr Yes and my secret spy dutifully returned with photographs of a Mona Lisa with ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ scrawled across the front, a mock Playboy cover and some dried pampas grass.
With a sudden desire to head off and watch a David Lynch movie I finished my pint and got back to my journey, passing a sign by the door which asked: “Which key makes it harder to open a door? The whis-key.”
Back to reality.
Thanks for a great afternoon Freddie, Dave, Elton and the two Jameses.
Will I be back? Never Say Never.
THE IVY, MARKET PLACE, WRAGBY, LN8 5QU
DECOR: On the whole, a traditional, comfortable and welcoming local. In the toilets, a different world completely. An unexpected juxtaposition but one that left a lasting, smile-raising impression. 3/5
DRINK: Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker is an enjoyable bitter and a preference to the other drinks on the pumps. 3/5
PRICE: At £6.70 for the pint and a coke for my travelling companion you can’t grumble. 4/5
ATMOSPHERE: The pub was full of lively chat, the sort of place you could happily make your local if you lived nearby. 3/5
STAFF: The barman was a friendly gent, presumably well thought of by the locals who continued to engage him in conversation while he was serving me. 3/5