Tuesday 26 October 2010

Cafe Culture?

Yesterday morning I wandered into Wetherspoon's on Charlotte Street just before nine in the morning, and I found "cafe culture" in full swing. There were a couple of boozers (Or three if you include me.) in, but a couple of dozen people taking breakfast, drinking tea and coffee.

This reminds me of the excellent cafe/bars one finds on the continent where people come for coffee and croissants in the morning and return for beer in the evening. If you stay in a cheap hotel in Belgium you'll often find yourself joining the regulars in the bar for breakfast.

So, is Wetherspoon's move to seven a.m. opening a step towards 24 hour pubs? The difficult part is how you make the transition between a pub full of drunks at two a.m. and the pleasant atmosphere I found in the morning. Or would the drunks gradually stagger away as the night progressed?

Friday 22 October 2010

Crown Catastrophe!

The Crown on Lime Street has long been a favourite of mine. Wandering in at about half nine last night I was appalled to find a towel over the handpumps. What a disaster! As they used to say in the papers, we made our excuses and left.

Update: I'm pleased to report that real ale was back on the following day.

Monday 18 October 2010

JD Wetherspoon Coming to Huyton

I've just had an email from Wetherspoon's Head of Property and Acquisitions to let me know they've bought the Wheatsheaf (formerly the Rose and Crown) in Huyton and hope to be open by Christmas.

Mossley Hill

The weather was good on Sunday, so it was time to go out into the sunshine and do some exploring. A train took me to Lime Street where I bumped into old colleague Mike who was waiting for a friend before going to the match, and we had a quick chat, mainly about pubs and blogs. A Manchester-bound train then carried me one stop to Mossley Hill station. I passed by the Rose of Mossley (Wasn't this formerly called just The Rose?) and continued to my first destination, which wasn't a pub at all.

I've never been to Calderstones Park before so had a good wander round this pleasant green space. The buildings looked a bit tatty but otherwise the formal gardens were well looked after. I always thought the Calder Stones were a myth but there they were, six neolithic boulders, hidden in an almost-derelict greenhouse. Time for a drink...

I haven't been in the Half Way House on Woolton Road since 1998, but it hasn't changed much. It was crowded with footie fans watching the derby on the TV. I quickly got a pint of Greene King IPA and found a pillar to lean against (No chance of a seat) and started to look around in between keeping an eye on the match. That's odd, why's that bloke wearing dark glasses indoors? And that feller, and him and him and her over there too, they've all got the same design of dark glasses on. Most peculiar! The penny soon dropped, this is the first time I've met Sky's 3D TV in a pub! The screen I was watching was normal but theirs had a strange double image on it, unwatchable without the glasses. It'll never catch on. Anyway, back to the pub: Pleasantly decorated and retaining some old woodwork, it's absolutely enormous, with three large rooms on the lounge side, a smaller bar side, and a large restaurant area at the back which was also very busy. My beer was in excellent nick. Everton won by the way.

Next, I headed along Queens Drive to the Childwall Fiveways. Wetherspoons took it over earlier this year but they haven't done much to the already very nice interior. This place was a regular Friday night haunt of mine back in the 1990s. Much quieter in here than the Half Way House but they were still doing a good trade in Sunday dinners. As usual in Wetherspoon's there were four people behind the bar but only one actually serving and I had to wait five minutes for my pint of Abbot.

My next pub was The Turnpike on Bowring Park Road. Another one I haven't visited since 1998 but showing little change in style. One very welcome change, they've gained real ale which wasn't available last time.

I nipped across the road to Broad Green station for a train home.


The Merseyside Pub Guide has been going for twelve years now, so I thought it might be time to move into the twenty-first century and add a blog!

Hopefully this will let me reveal to the many visitors to the website just how I go about researching the information. And also allow me the occasional (I promise) editorial rant.

Of course, it'll also allow readers to provide their own input in a more public way than previously.