The four handpumps had no clips, hence my choice of the black stuff.
The staff set to assembling and decorating Christmas trees - I suppose it is December, says he grudgingly.
The decor in here, dark woodwork and a hint of bare brick, is rather well done. I'm not sure what the building work is for, they've only been here a year or so, I think.
Towards the end of my pint another customer arrived to double the figures.
It's a shop conversion, a narrow corridor bar plainly decorated but well looked after. Compared with the last tick, they were doing well, with about ten regulars, some standing at the counter, the rest sitting at tables.
I noticed it was pleasantly warm in here, unlike Punch Tarmey's. There are some enormous speakers suggesting it'll be very noisy later on, but the music was at a comfortable volume while I enjoyed my lager.
On to the Sefton:
"CAMRA discount?" he asked. The barmaid called, "I've seen his card", I owned up that she hadn't, and showed it anyway. I also got a "Collect eight stamps get your ninth pint free" loyalty card - If I lived a bit nearer it would be worth me using it.
So, once again, St Helens comes up trumps on the real ale front. I should be accustomed to it by now!
It occurred to me at this point that it is the first Saturday of the month, so that highly contentious Good Beer Guide entry, the Connoisseur Brewery, might be open. Should I go and tick it? No! I don't care what St Helens CAMRA say, it's NOT A PUB!
Rant over. I moved on to the Market Tavern:
The place was doing a good mixed trade, with most tables occupied. A group of lads included one dressed as an oompa-loompa, I couldn't work out why, but they were having fun. (Without causing annoyance to anyone else in the pub, I should add.) Oddly, the oompa-loompa didn't seem to be drinking, unlike the rest of them.
Another in my occasional series of silly sayings from pub walls:
"People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable."Finally, Brasserie Chalon:
No real ale, so I was back on the lager.
Gentle background music, including El Condor Pasa by Simon & Garfunkel, was mostly drowned out by lively chatter.
The continuing rail strikes meant I had to get a bus home.
That was the plan, anyway, but by the time the bus reached Prescot I was bursting, so I leapt off to utilise the facilities in the Deanes House:
Pleasingly, they have one hand pump, and my half of Hobgoblin was spot on.
While one barmaid was busy serving, the other one was employed putting up Christmas lights.
Back to the bus stop for the rest of the journey home.
Pub of the day: Very difficult, as they were all good in their own way. I think the Market because despite not being a specialist "real ale" pub they served a perfect pint.
Miles walked: A touch under two.
Maybe coming soon: Tranmere.