The Shoes, Durham in Gilesgate is one of those pubs where you just don’t know what it’s going to be like inside when you’re outside. It’s on Sunderland Road, on the East side of Durham, just past the fork in the road that takes you to Sherburn Road, on the way to the big Dragonville Industrial Estate. It’s sandwiched between Mahan’s fish and chip shop and Sainsburys.
The car park doubles up for both the supermarket and the pub, and there’s usually plenty of space if you need it. It looks nowt special from the outside, but don’t let that put you off at all. Only when you go in do you get the feeling of what a friendly pucker place it is. It’s newly done up, and looks clean and tidy. The Shoes is a traditional, family run bar offering a good selection of pub grub on a canny sized lunch time menu, which is served 12 noon til’ 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Shoes also has three bedrooms for those who want to stop out just that little bit longer on a night, with en-suite bathrooms and TV/Wifi for the guests. It’s in a very handy spot for Durham, being less than a mile from the city centre. You can get there either by Shankses Pony (on foot), or by using one of the plentiful buses that pass every 10 minutes or so. The pub is regularly filled by it’s darts/dominoes and poker league teams, has live entertainment twice a month and a Sunday night quiz and bingo. The pub is also popular with the gee-gee fraternity during the day and shows Premier League football during the season (I believe the landlord is a Sunderland fan for his sins). They also have a beer garden at the rear for summer nights of al-fresco drinking and star gazing.
Since moving to Gilesgate, this is our local, and when we first went in before we bought our house, we were talking to the landlord who was genuinely interested that we were living on ‘The Duffy’. The next time we called in, some 6 weeks or so later (we were hard at work on the DIY), he remembered our faces and asked if we’d moved in yet. This really made us happy, that he was taking notice of his customers, considereing he’d only seen us just the once back then. We’ve always been made to feel really welcome since and everyone seems genuinely friendly in there.
We’ve yet to try the meals in The Shoes (although we’ve seen and smelled them as they’ve gone past), but the menu looks good and if you want traditional pub grub then you could do a lot worse, with starters pitched between £2 and £3 and the most expensive main course being less than 7 quid! Beer is well priced too, with Desperados (the drink of our choice at the mo) only £3 per bottle, which is cheaper than a lot of other places, and real ales and beer for just a little bit more. The beer seems to slip down easier as well, knowing it’s just a short stumble back to the gaff.
16 Sunderland Road
Tel: 0191 3844099