Saturday 15 September 2018

St Helens

I started another St Helens Saturday at the Phoenix Inn, a new entry in the Good Beer Guide:
The outside looks a little down at heel, perhaps, but the inside is comfortable and well looked after, as indeed it was back in 2003 when it was keg only.  I turned left for the lounge side where I found three handpumps in operation, and my pint of White Rat was superb, and only £2.50.

A smattering of regulars were keeping the place going, I was pleased to see at least one of them was on the cask.  Some were watching soccer on the tellies, (Liverpool winning.) others were just chatting.

There was no evidence of an influx of CAMRA members brought by the new guide.  This has been top of the list for my next St Helens tour for some time, it's just a coincidence that I arrived two days after their promotion to the top flight.

On to Wetherspoon's Glass House:
"Don't go in on a Saturday", a friend warned, "you'll never get served".  I'm pleased to report he was wrong, and I soon had a spot on pint of Exmoor Gold.  The place was busy but not packed, and I easily found a table.

I had noticed once before in here when I visited at peak Sunday roast time (Back in the days when they still did roasts.) that almost no-one was eating, and the same was true today.  The denizens of St Helens still think of a pub as somewhere to drink - Quite right too!

Next, the George:
A classic two sided boozer, this one, well cared for and comfortable.

On the counter in the lounge side - I took the right hand door this time - were three handpumps with no clips, and it was only after I'd ordered my lager that I spotted three more on the other side, at least one of which had a clip, so I can't comment on the quality of the real ale, if any.

Football was on the telly, analysis of Liverpool's victory by now, but no-one was watching.  A number of regulars in the other side, and one or two in the lounge, chatted.

A brief delay at this point, while I nipped back to Wetherspoon's because I'd forgotten to take a picture!  Then on to Rendezvous:
I arrived to find some regulars but no bar staff, "He's gone to change a barrel".  Eventually the harassed landlord/barman returned, and fiddled with the Fosters font, failing to produce any beer.  "I've changed the keg and the gas", he said, "I don't know what else to do."  This meant Carling and Fosters were both off.  I had a Guinness to avoid any further hassle for him.

I sat in a rather pleasant room with the regulars, there's a much larger room with another counter, deserted when I was there but I bet it's busy later on, when they have live music.

Finally, the Royal Alfred:
This pub has spent some time closed and boarded up, but I received a report a few weeks ago that it's back in action.

I can see why it closed - In the large pleasant interior were about three customers, and if that's all you can muster at half three on a Saturday afternoon things are not looking good.

It's rare for the jokes painted on the walls of pubs to make me laugh, usually because I've seen them before, but there was a new one on me:
And here is the weather forecast.  Tomorrow will be muggy.  Followed by Toogy, Weggy, Thurgy and Frigy.
Actually "Wanted:  Odd job man to wash dishes and two waitresses" also raised a grin.

The decor in here includes some beer memorabilia left over from when this was a Porters Ale House, but the handpumps on the counter have clearly not been used for a long time.

As I drank my lager the place filled up, negating my comment above about lack of custom.  Soon, the juke box had been fired up and I was in a lively, busy, popular boozer, building up to Saturday night.

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