The genesis of The Merseyside Pub Guide was an occasion in June 1998 when I and a group of friends decided to go "somewhere different" for our Friday night out, and selected West Derby Village where we enjoyed good beer in good pubs, and I started recording details of the places we drank in. Today I headed back to where it all started almost twenty years ago.
It seems to happen fairly often on
this blog that I contradict what I wrote last time so, having said last
week that I have to start mid afternoon because of limited opening
hours, today I reached the Halton Castle at noon:
No other customers came in while I was there, so I left the pub empty.
short walk down the road to the impressive bulk of the Sefton Arms:
The handpumps on the bar were
offering a few of GK's standards, plus a guest, but most were not
actually available so I had another pint of their IPA, once again in
excellent nick but a very short measure. There was the contented
hubub of diners in the background, almost drowning out the gentle
background music, as I enjoyed my drink.
My records from 2003 refer to a noisy main room with a young clientele, and a "totally separate" pub round the side, much quieter. I thought this had been refurbished away, but on my search for the gents I discovered a door through which I could see the side room and bar, looking operational but not in use at the time of my visit.
the corner to the Hare and Hounds:
There's a little bit of
the conspiracy theorist in me, so I wondered if the Halton Castle had
phoned up their mates to say there's a bloke photographing pubs and
writing things on his tablet, it might be worth buttering him up in case
it's a pub guide. If so, then I have broken my rule about never
accepting free drinks.
Anyway, whether this was attempted bribery
or not, the Hobgoblin was OK, perhaps towards the end of the barrel,
and the Bombardier was perfect. All in all a pleasant boozer, the
barmaid was chatting to the regulars, there was racing on the tellies but quiet enough
to be unobtrusive, it was just generally comfortable.
I must say I thought
the "Seven deadly gins" promotion was rather witty, an obvious pun now
I've seen it but it'd never occurred to me before. On the gantry above
the bar were various gin bottles with labels like envy and greed
It's up to you to decide whether free ale has biased my report. Why not go in and say "Merseypub got a free pint, where's
mine?", and see how far you get! On reflection, I'd rather you didn't,
although it wouldn't be as bad as the lying bastard who's going round
charging gullible staff £75 to put their pub in my guide.