Wednesday 7 September 2011

A Dash to Southport

Imagine my annoyance when I realised that one of the new entries in this year's Good Beer Guide was a pub in Southport which I had never visited. Time for an urgent train trip.

The Volunteer is just a short walk from the station. Outside it is a rather impressive building which looks like it dates from the 1920s I guess. Inside it has been knocked through to make one large open bar area, plainly decorated but well looked after. On a wet Wednesday lunchtime it was ticking over nicely with a number of regulars sitting at the bar. I got a slight feeling of the music stopping and everyone looking round as I went in, but they soon got back to their chit-chat while I settled down to a fine pint of Thwaites' Wainwright. I'm not entirely convinced that two real ales (The other was Lancaster Bomber.) is enough to merit a Good Beer Guide listing but the ale was spot on so who's complaining.

I moved on in the blustery wind to re-visit the splendid Baron's Bar in the Scarisbrick complex. Fun fake "baronial hall" decor and about ten real ales on tap. There comes a time in every man's life when he must admit that he will never again be the youngest person in the pub. I can report that I haven't reached that stage yet! (Technically, the barman was definitely younger than me so maybe this doesn't count!)

Next it was time to choose a pub at random so I selected the Oast House which I haven't visited simce 1998 when my notes grumbled about the poor quality of the real ale. No danger of a repeat of this problem, because they don't sell any any more. A plain back street boozer with Sky Sports on the telly and just a few regulars in. Unusual sight of the day was the regulars and the barman playing snakes and ladders, for money!

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