Perfect Pint: The Bird in Hand
As part of our Perfect Pint series, we visit the Bird in Hand in Buckinghamshire, a true community pub with three types of Small Beer on tap.
The Bird in Hand is a “friendly local pub” in a residential area of Princes Risborough, a market town in Buckinghamshire that is known as the ‘Gateway to the Chilterns.’
Katie Baldock took over the running of the pub in November 2021 and has brought a fresh new vision to the pub, which has helped to diversify its drinkers and make it more inviting for her regulars.
“My aim was to create a community pub: not a pub where everyone stares at you when you walk in,” she says.
Katie has changed up the bar menu to champion craft ale, British craft beer and offer over 30 gins, with a strong focus on local providers. The pub even makes their own gin.
To create a sense of community, there’s now a regular quiz night, art workshops on a Monday and street food festivals throughout the summer.
The pub makes up for its lack of kitchen, with a revolving line up of street food vendors from the local area. Thursday is their resident pizza night, but on Fridays and Saturdays, they like to mix things up. Katie is particularly excited about Tacito (“an incredible Mexican street food van”), which will next return to the pub on October 22nd.
“We get all ages in here: groups of 18-year-olds, the old boys up at the bar and couples who have recently moved to the area from London. We also get a lot of ladies in now. There’s a nice mix of generations.”
More pubs: Small Beer at the Hackney Tap
"Pubs are community spaces, where people feel safe and comfortable."
Katie Baldock, Manager at the Bird in Hand
Reflecting on what her pub provides for the local community, Katie mentions an article she read recently, which argues that in the wake of COVID-19, the hospitality industry has earned the right to ask for more credit for the vital role it plays in British society.
“When you’re at school, it’s not seen as aspirational to want to work in the hospitality industry,” she says. “But people’s lives revolve around pubs: they’re community spaces, where people feel safe and comfortable.”
When we spoke to Katie, she had just returned from the The Low2NoBev Show at Olympia London and was inspired by the range of new brands exhibiting at the show alongside Small Beer.
With two of the Bird in Hand’s taps dedicated to craft beer and four real ales on cask, Small Beer feels like a natural fit for this friendly pub on the commuter belt.
Katie and her team are currently pouring Small Beer Lager and Small Beer Session Pale from their craft taps and excitingly, have added our newly-casked Small Beer Steam to their lines.
Although very much a community pub, you don’t have to live in Buckinghamshire to enjoy a pint of Small Beer at the Bird in Hand.
A train from London Marylebone to Princes Risborough takes less than 45 minutes, so it works as a perfect pit stop to refresh yourself during a day of exploring the nearby Chilterns.
To learn more about Katie's pub or to make a booking, please visit the Bird in Hand website.