Howard Arms, Carlisle

107 Lowther Street
01228 648398

The Howard Arms in Carlisle has a striking tiled facade celebrating Carlisle Old Brewery and its beers (photos 1, 2 & 6). The tiling was added before the start of the State Management Scheme in 1916 when all of Carlisle’s pub were taken over by the government in a bid to reduce alcohol consumption. One of the scheme’s tasks was to make pub exteriors much plainer with advertising and unnecessary decoration removed. This meant that for most of the 20th century until the scheme ended in 1973, the tiling on the Howard Arms was boarded over.

It’s a smallish pub but manages to make space for 5 cosy rooms, one with a large fireplace and piano (photo 3). The “Piano Man” leads a singalong on Sunday afternoons. Theakston’s Best Bitter is the regular cask beer and there is one changing beer which on my visit was a very tasty Lancaster Blonde. The pub is busy with diners at lunchtimes, but it’s not especially foody. Food is a mix of baguettes, jackets, small plates and pub favourites, with roasts on Sundays.

There are a few State Management Scheme mementoes on the walls including a plaque and newspaper cartoons dating from the early days of the scheme (photos 4 & 5).

The Grade II listed pub was built in the late 1700s and the Doulton tiling was added in the 1890s.

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