By coincidence I've visited two of the former Cains pubs in Liverpool recently, with mixed results.
I've been to Doctor Duncan's a couple of times in the last month. The interior remains unchanged, including the wonderful tiled room. The beer range now that Cains have gone is a selection of what I might call bog standard real ales - Bombardier, Black Sheep, Pedigree etc. along with one or two less common guests. The ones I sampled were well looked after, but the measures were appalling. I have pretty much given up asking for a top-up in some pubs, but at this high price (£3.20) they can jolly well provide the full pint I am legally entitled to. Even after the top-up (which was politely provided) the drinks were still very short.
So, slightly disappointing overall, and I wont be returning in a hurry until they reduce the prices a bit, improve the serving, and/or get some more unusual guest ales in - The last being the least important as I'm quite fond of a pint of Bombardier.
Moving on, I called in at the Dispensary. My only complaint about this pub in the past has been that it's too popular and busy, but there was no danger of that on a wet and windy Thursday afternoon, and I found just a couple of customers chatting to the friendly bar staff. Redecoration is currently under way, and I imagine the paintwork and windows will be looking very nice in a few days time.
At this point, reviewer's objectivity was perhaps lost somewhat, as I spotted Titanic Plum Porter, one of my all-time favourite beers, and it was, as always, gorgeous. There were five or six real ales on, including another one from Titanic.
In conclusion then, one "must try harder" and one "keep up the good work". I wonder how the branch on Smithdown Road - Kelly's Dispensary - is doing? I haven't been there for ages.