Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tranmere and Birkenhead

A bus to Tranmere dropped me outside the Prenton Park:
Not much has changed inside this impressive brewers' Tudor building since my last visit six years ago, except they've recovered the seats, getting rid of the mauve upholstery I grumbled about then.  There was one customer in the lounge side and one in the bar, and no sign of the barmaid, who was dealing with a delivery of some sort.

In due course she reappeared and served me a lager, and I settled down in a corner on a comfortable bench seat to write this.

The music was turned so low I couldn't identify the tune, so the only sounds were a quiet conversation between a regular and the barmaid, and the beeping of the pedestrian crossing outside.

The decor in the bar side was plain and well maintained, with the right amount of Christmas decorations.

Next, a short walk (Why are all the roads in this part of the world uphill?) took me to the splendid 50s or 60s building that is the Sportsman's Arms:
My notes from 2012 - nicely done, concentrating on good value food, cheap real ale - are all still applicable, and in marked contrast to the Prenton Park, this pub was doing a roaring trade at one on a Tuesday, with only a few tables free.

Only one real ale was available, Wainwright, and it was spot on and only cost £1.95 - A special deal on a Tuesday, the friendly landlady advised me, and I also got a buy six get one free loyalty card.

Quiet music mixed with gentle chatter and the occasional click of cutlery on plate.  Again, Christmas decorations were not overdone.

I think everyone except me was dining, this pub is obviously doing something very right to be this busy on a Tuesday.

A large family were enjoying a meal out at the next table, the little-uns bored but well behaved.

Next, I passed the Black Horse which my pre-flight checks this morning had shown to be closed:
Builders were on site so we can hope it might re-open as a pub.

On to the Beehive:
Much emptier than the Sportsmans, with just me and one family group with little ones running around in the lounge side, which is nicely decorated and well cared for and the seasonal decorations are tasteful.

Well, that's it for Tranmere, all the pubs I know about have been visited this year.  So, I caught a bus back to Birkenhead where I headed for the Fireman's Arms:
Inside this free-standing building (Probably the surrounding buildings have all been knocked down?) is a plain pub knocked through into one room.  To be honest it was a little on the untidy side, with disco/karaoke gear at one end hidden by a tarpaulin and a heap of bin bags and boxes full of Christmas decorations - I guess - waiting to be put up, but everywhere was clean.

Quite a few people were in, all seeming to know each other, and the main sound was multiple conversations.

I wonder why there's a picture on the wall of Gallaghers, are they advertising the competition?  Or perhaps they're connected in some way?

Next, I headed down Argyle Street.  What's this?  It looks like a pub but it hasn't got a name:
I entered the doors to find a rather well done shop conversion.  The decor is interesting, and features corrugated iron on some walls, and the counter front.

As usual everyone seems to know everyone else, except for the solitary pub ticker in a quiet corner.

Suddenly, all the customers except me and one other disappeared.  Was it something I said?

There were other rooms which seemed to be full of builders and their detritus, as was the gents - I held it in until the next pub!

Streetview research when I got home revealed that it was called Tobago back in May, when it had a bright colourful frontage, and Facebook research suggests it still is.

Finally, on to Sue's - Too dark for a photo, I'm afraid.

A rather nicely done and comfortably warm, unlike some of today's ticks, boozer in one open room.  The real ale in its previous incarnations as Letters and Sonny's has gone, so it was another lager for me.

The other customer left shortly after I arrived, leaving me alone with the barmaid/landlady - I wonder if she's the eponymous Sue?

No sound in here apart from the gentle background music.

I must say the parquet floor is in severe need of a clean and polish.  Other than that the place is well looked after.

Two schoolchildren came in, perhaps belonging to the landlady?  They didn't seem to mind/notice that a pub blogger was invading their living room.

A short walk got me to Hamilton Square station for a train back under the river.

Pub of the day: The Sportsmans, for serving quality cheap real ale in a pub not aimed at real ale drinkers, and having more customers than all the others put together.
Miles walked: 2 miles
Maybe coming soon: There are dozens of pubs in Southport crying out for a visit.

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