One of my favourite films of all time is Anchorman. It wasn’t ground breaking. It had no outstanding sound effects. No evocative storyline. But it did contain the unforgettable line from weatherman Brick Tamland : “I love lamp”.
Although to be fair, I first said it in The Ropewalk two full years beforehand.
The futuristic, silver lamp was one of the bar’s original fixtures and fittings. And it’s still there today (look closely at the right hand side of the picture). Every time I see it, I’m instantly transported to days and nights of japes and drinking that would make Ron Burgandy and his team seem like a bunch of wimps.
I even plotted to steal it, concealed beneath a giant coat. This was in between such fun games as “vandalise the Boggle”, “attach the clipboard to your earlobe”, “erase letters from the wine list blackboard to create rude words” and “attempt to tie two Kettle Chips bags into a perfect knot, with no holes.” Yeah. We knew how to live.
It’s amazing what a simple bit of furniture can do. But that was the Ropewalk back in 2004. Transformed from its former life as a yellow-clad “Scream” student bar, the Ropewalk suddenly became, well, rather quite good. Run by managers who knew their audience, this was the place for a decent pint, a cheap bite, some indie/retro music at an acceptable level and some great views from the giant windows over the vista of Canning Circus.
Fast forward eight years, and the Ropewalk has hit one of those reality check moments. Around a year ago there was a decent selection of well kept real ales to compliment the mix of Carling, Amstel and Peroni. These days, you’re lucky to find one drinkable brew on sale. In fact, a recent visit disappointed to the point that even the Guinness had to be sent back. Twice.
Not even everlasting mysteries like “the permanently flooded gents” or the “what the hell is that smell anyway” retain their original charm.
The Ropewalk was once a funeral parlour. Perhaps a theme bar could be the only way forward.