Saturday, 17 November 2018

Not Saint Helens

Don't you just hate it when a plan falls apart, especially when it's entirely due to ones own stupidity.

Another train strike Saturday so I walked up to the bus station intending a trip to St Helens where there are still a couple of days worth of pubs calling for my attention.  I entered the ticket office to buy my day pass, and promptly bought the wrong one.  Luckily I realised my mistake before boarding the bus, but what to do now?  Any normal person would have written off the four quid and bought the right ticket but I'm far too mean for that, so I returned home to re-plan.  Where could I go, by bus, with the ticket I'd got?  A quick shuffle through my pub maps and I hit on the Woolton and Hunts Cross one, which had a few targets, accessible by bus from outside my house.

So, half an hour later I found myself at the Hillfoot:
A standard food-led place in the "Sizzling" chain, ticking over nicely but not packed at one, the friendly barman said it usually gets busy about two or three on a Saturday.  Two or three handpumps, with clips turned round.

There was some kind of baby shower (Whatever that is) going on in part of the pub, of the rest of the customers I guess about half were dining.

These food-led places have a tendency to be a bit soul-less, if that's the right term, but this one seemed more friendly/comfortable/pleasant than most.  The barmaid paused to chat to the regular at the next table, the barman was cheerful and chatty with all, it just seemed more like a "proper pub" than most.

Next, Allerton Hall Farm,which was called the Pub In The Park last time I came:
On the counter here were three handpumps, two with clips turned round, the other offering Greene King IPA, but I didn't risk it.  Back in 2002 I had a naff pint in here, and I always hold a grudge!!  None was pulled while I drank my lager, so probably a wise decision.

The interior of this food-led operation in an historic building is a bit of a hotch-potch including Ionic columns, ceiling plasterwork and wooden panelling.  I'm not sure if any of it is genuine but I like it anyway.

The carvery was doing a good trade and the majority of my fellow customers were eating.  Despite the "please wait to be seated" sign at the door (which I had ignored) non-diners are welcome, and there were a number of tables without cutlery and condiments ready for us.  Mind you, with the wafting smell of roast meat, I was nearly tempted myself.  I guess that's what it's for.

Next, I strolled in to Woolton itself where, despite the annual pub crawl and a mopping up trip this April, there was still one place I hadn't visited since 2013, the Quarry:
Hidden up a driveway, this doesn't look very attractive from the outside, but once you get in it's a very pleasant social club style place, with a bar ticking over with a handful of regulars, and a larger function room with all the tables laid for a posh do later.

I must day the interior of the bar is rather attractive, despite being all modern.  There's some painted wood panelling, some fake ancient stone walling, and some plastic brickwork, combining to create a comfortable homely atmosphere.

Silent racing was on the telly, the only sound was quiet conversation.

On leaving, I noted the rumoured closure of the Loft was incorrect or had been temporary, and it was open as usual.

Decision time:  Should I (a) re-do pubs last visited in 2017, (b) re-do a favourite pub last visited four months ago, or (c) go home?

Sod it, I can't be bothered, lets go home.  If I'd gone to St Helens as intended I could have ticked six or seven today, instead of only three.

Pub of the day: To be honest, none of the visits on this mini-survey stood out.
Miles walked: 2.5
Maybe coming soon: Bromborough.

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