Friday 28 September 2012

Thatto Heath

A convenient coincidence meant I could do research for both my blogs (The other is Northwest Sparks News by the way.) at the same time, so I headed for some pubs in Thatto Heath, starting with a quick look at the Railway Hotel which has been closed for at least two years.  I had a drink in there in 1999 when it was a Greenalls pub.  In common with many of their outlets, it had a bowling green at the back.

Just a short walk round the corner to The Elephant, a rather imposing building containing a plain clean and tidy interior.  When I last visited, in 1999, this was a two bar pub but now it's been fully knocked through into one large L-shaped room, although one end still seems plainer than the other.  No real ale, so I had my usual pint of the black stuff.

Very close to the Elephant is the externally less impressive Vine Tavern.  Inside is a classic two-sided boozer with no access between the halves except via the gents.  The plain bar side had a cluster of cheerful regulars sitting at the bar whiling away a Friday afternoon.

The review from my previous visit grumbled that "The 'Cask Ales' sign would appear to be a lie".  I was surprised to discover the sign is still there and still wrong thirteen years later, so it was another pint of G.
Back to the station and, next door, the Springfield.  This impressive building contains a large two bar pub pleasantly decorated inside, with dark wood panelling on the bar front.  In the plain bar side a couple of regulars were playing pool, and there were one or two more customers in the lounge end I think.  The trophy cabinet was well filled.  Again, no decent ale so it was yet another Guinness.  (This picture was taken in 2010.)

All three pubs were ticking over on a sunny Friday afternoon, a little surprising considering they're located within 1/4 mile of each other.  They all had the "local pub for local people" feel, where everyone in the pub (except me) knew each other, but they seemed to have no objection to a stranger coming in and jotting in a notebook.  All three were last visited in 1999, so long overdue for an update!

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