Wednesday 4 October 2017

Cabbage Hall

I started on a bus to Tuebrook. The driver got lost before we'd left Huyton!  I noted some pubs in Tuebrook for future visits but I walked up Lower Breck Road towards Clubmoor to continue my research from a few weeks ago.

On my way, I unexpectedly came across the Claremont:
This pub sort of falls through the cracks between areas, and I haven't been here for nineteen years, almost to the day. There was a Doom Bar pump on the bar but in this sort of place I'm not prepared to risk it, so I stuck to the black stuff. I can't actually remember my '98 visit, but judging by the notes nothing has changed: "Pleasant decor, friendly staff and a free jukebox in this traditional two bar local." is exactly right, and the juke box is still free. The pool table I also noted then still dominates the bar side, with bench seats along the walls. The place was a little threadbare in places, but spotlessly clean. As I swigged my Guinness a scruffy bloke came in attempting to sell tobacco, you don't often see that nowadays. None of the regulars were interested, so he went out again. These street corner boozers are becoming rarer nowadays and I was pleased to see this one apparently doing well and keeping up the traditions.

I was a little worried taking my picture of the pub, as it's just across the road from a school, and at home time the road was busy with little'uns, In the twenty-first century you can get into trouble for taking pictures outside a school, but luckily the passing policemen didn't react.

Moving on to my intended target area, my next call was at the impressive building that is the Cabbage Hall:
There are various theories as to how this place got it's name, my favourite is that a large house nearby had stone pineapples decorating its front wall (I notice these seem to be in fashion again nowadays.) and the local residents, never having seen a pineapple, christened the house Cabbage Hall.  This has become the name for this part of Liverpool, as well as the pub.
Anyway, having spent a number of years closed it has re-opened as a food-oriented "bar and grill". Inside is a nicely decorated (Although the floral wallpaper is a bit strong.) mostly knocked through pub aiming at diners and almost completely empty. I was pleased to see handpumps on the bar for Black Sheep and Landlord, but the barmaid advised me they're only available on match days (Anfield is just up the road.), so I had to have another Guinness. I checked the menu and the standard pub grill fare looks excellent value for money. As afternoon moved towards evening more people came in, most ordering food. I was somewhat irritated to see that the umpteen TV screens, showing a constantly rotating display of adverts for the pub, included one for their "new" real ale.

Just a short walk to the start of Townsend Lane, and the Stadium.  I had noted this on passing by a few weeks ago as a new pub, but further research (Actually, a big sign on the front.) revealed it to have been the Cockwell Inn. A large plain open room with a wooden floor. The seats, tables etc are all spotless and well cared for, obviously some effort goes into keeping the place in good nick. On a Wednesday at 5 pm there were only a handful of customers to keep it ticking over but I bet it's busy when there's footie on the telly, and the dance floor and large speakers suggest noisy nights at the weekend. Another Guinness for me, while I hid in a quiet corner and wrote this.

Over the road to the Willow Bank, where I found a smallish front room ticking over with a steady trade. I settled in a corner with yet another Guinness - By the way, watch out for the sloping floor!
A mum came in with a youngster and a baby in what passes for a pram nowadays. I was relieved to see the blue alcopop with straw was for her and not the kids! My notes from 1998 refer to an impressive back room so I had a wander round to find it's still there, complete with arched beams and a stage, although much smaller than the image in my mind which had grown somewhat over nineteen years.

Time to go home, but I noticed on my map there was one more pub in the area, and I didn't want to come here again just for one.  Furthermore, it was a pub I'd never visited.  The clincher was the prospect of walking back to Tuebrook in the rain, so I headed for what used to be the Winchester, now the Townsend Lane.  My fifth Guinness only cost £2.30, and it came with a raffle ticket but I've no idea what for.  It was number 219 if anyone's looking for the winner.
Another plain friendly clean and tidy street-corner boozer, maybe they're not as rare as I thought, with a handful of regulars in the bar side. A regular trickle of locals came in, and this time the "salesman" was offering shampoo, again I have to say perhaps they're not as rare as I thought.

Finally, I walked back to the bus home; happily the rain had stopped so my extra pub was definitely worthwhile.

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