Tuesday 18 September 2018

Gayton and Heswall

Three trains and a long walk (Well, 1km so not that long.) were required to get me to my first target today, the Glegg Arms in Gayton:
Inside the ancient-looking building is a pleasant modern Beefeater restaurant which makes non-diners such as myself welcome.  I ordered cask with some trepidation but I needn't have worried, the Doom Bar was fine.

At three on a Tuesday the place was understandably very quiet, I could just hear some background chatter and the occasional clink of crockery, from the few other customers.

The Beefeater brand belongs to Whitbread, I noticed.

I checked my database to find I was last here twenty years and two weeks ago, on the same trip mentioned a couple of weeks ago that included Oxton - So it was certainly overdue for a revisit!

On the other side of the roundabout is another even more ancient-looking building, housing the Devon Doorway:
Inside the splendid thatched building is an up-market restaurant with very pleasant mostly modern styling, and just a few original features, wooden beams and the like, remain.  Happily, one part of the space is allocated to non-diners, and that was where the only customers were.

There were two handpumps on the bar and I had a fine pint of the wonderful Salopian Oracle.

As far as I could tell, customers at four consisted of one group of about seven, and one couple, and me.  We were all sitting in the drinkers' area.  As I typed that another couple with a baby came in, they were also non-dining.

I was somewhat intrigued to see a special offer of "Two courses and bottomless Prosecco."  I wonder how much fizz one could drink in an evening if it was unlimited.  I fear I would end up passed out on the floor trying to make sure I got my money's worth.  Mind you, it does say "T&C Apply", perhaps "not available to professional boozers" is one.

On to the Beer Lab:
A standard-looking micro-pub in a converted shop, with two women and I as the only customers at four thirty on a Tuesday.  The friendly landlord, obviously interested and knowledgeable, discussed the beers with me and the ladies, and I eventually chose something rather good from Maghul's Neptune Brewery.  Unfined said the clip, but it was less cloudy than some normal ales I've suffered!  And very tasty.

A slow trickle of new customers kept the place going, everyone got a friendly welcome and some chit-chat/beer advice.  Most of them seemed to be after gossip about the To Let shop next door, to become a Turkish Restaurant apparently.  I suspect that means kebab shop!

I was pleased to notice that while 1/3 and 2/3 are available, all the draught beers come in pints as well.

Everyone (Except me) knew the landlord, and had a chat on arrival.  I think if a place like this opened within walking distance of my home I'd close down the pub guide and just drink there every day!

Next, Barcode:
What a contrast!  Something of a come-down after the last call, when it comes to quality ale anyway.  A tiny shop conversion, but not a micro-pub in the way we expect them, no sign of any cask or craft, this is at the Tetley smoothflow end of the ale spectrum.  And there's nothing wrong with that, it's clean and tidy, and very pleasant inside, and the friendly barman/landlord was chatting about football with the other customer.

Various sports were on the tellies around the walls of the small room, I bet it's busy in here for Liverpool matches.  Or do they support Tranmere around here?

This is quite an unusual type in the pub range, a recent shop conversion that's not a real ale place.  Will it be a success?  Let's hope so.

Finally, the Johnny Pie:
This is a completely modern construction behind the bus station.  Inside it has fake traditional styling creating a rather good ambiance for a standard food-led pub.

In contrast to all the other places visited today the first thing that struck me on entering the door was a loud hubub of conversation from the umpteen other customers.  Having already said food-led I have to say the majority of the customers I could see weren't eating.

My pint of Jennings Cocker Hoop was drinkable but not the best I've had, and possibly cloudier than the unfined ale I had earlier.

My pub guide entry from 2009 described the food as "not cheap" but with fish and chips costing just £7.60 it's clear that's no longer true.

They've got that feature of a telly in your booth here, surely it must be annoying unless you can choose the channel yourself?  And the volume.  I didn't sit in a booth myself, perhaps you can.

Time to head home.  Here's a new idea for the blog, how about Pub of the Day?  Today, it'd have to be the brilliant Beer Lab - Great ale, great atmosphere, great everything!  I very nearly stayed there for another drink or two, abandoning the rest of the day's research.

Coming soon:  Billinge, maybe.