Tuesday 11 September 2018

The Closed Pubs of Kirkdale

I set off in improving weather for a pub survey where my internet research suggests I might be in for a meagre harvest, but let's see...

I wasn't worried when I passed the Cabin - derelict, the Miranda - gone, and on to the William Shakespeare - closed, as they have all been closed for some years:
On to one I hoped might be open, the Pitch Pine, but no, it's closed as well.   I wonder if that is permanent, or just Tuesday afternoon - difficult to tell:
The Bedford and the Banjo were definitely out of action, as were the Victoria and Swifts:

Not a good start!  On to the Hawthorne and, at last, an open pub:
One large main bar, plus a side room not visited in this pleasant locals' boozer.  The understated decor, with pale wood matchboarding above the dado is very pleasant.  There's a rather fine old fireplace at one end, must be 100 years old (Or a modern repro.)

This is the first keg pub I've visited for yonks which doesn't have Carling on offer, or maybe it was there and I couldn't see it.

Silence reigned when I went in, until someone fired up the jukebox.  Just five or so regulars were keeping the place ticking over, so there was gentle chatter under the music.

As I enjoyed my long-awaited pint I gazed around.  The room really is well decorated and well looked after, a number of little touches giving it a homely comfortable ambience, although if I'm going to nit-pick, it's time to reupholster the bench seat where I was sitting.

The disco lights around the ceiling suggest it'll be very noisy in here on a Friday night.

Only one more pub on my target list and, guess what, it's shut!  The Peacock looks like it is still operational, but not this afternoon:

So that's the plan wrecked!  Where next?  It hints at desperation, going to a pub I visited only two years or so ago.  But I was desperate, so on to the Mons:
A standard chain dining pub this, under Mitchells and Butlers' Stonehouse brand.  Very quiet as you might expect on a Tuesday afternoon, but still the occasional food order going through at the bar.  I must say the carvery meals look good, and at £6.29 quite a bargain.

The three handpumps had no clips so it was lager again.

I think I've previously reported that this pub is allegedly named after the airfield in Belgium from which the bombers that cleared the area came.   Whether that is true I cannot say, but it seems in rather poor taste if it is, since the previous use of the land was probably terraced housing.

Totally off plan now, but let's carry on to a couple of places not visited since 2004.  Quite a long stroll eventually brought me to the Top House and, praise be, it's open:
I described this as a back street gem fourteen years ago, and there's no reason to change that.  The traditional interior has been partly knocked through while retaining separate rooms and I wonder if, originally, the side of the servery facing the lounge rooms would have had a glazed partition with hatches.

Anyway, it is still very pleasant and beautifully cared for.  I sat alone in the back room, which has a bench seat round two sides plus tables and chairs in the middle, and enjoyed another Carling.

Very gentle background music, and quiet chatter were all I could hear here, the loudest sound was the hand-dryer in the toilets!

I took a moment to find out by how many we'd won the cricket.  What??  India 298 for 5 at tea needing 166 to win.  Surely we can't lose the Chef's last match?

On to the Anfield Hotel.  Would my improving luck hold out?  Yes:
Repetition alert!  My notes from 2004 again say "backstreet gem" and once more, that's right.

A rather splendid three room traditional pub, with a rather odd layout, I suspect things have changed since it was built, probably over 100 years ago.  The ceilings are very high throughout, but parts of the dividing wall between lounge and bar sides are "only" eight feet high.

At four on a Tuesday the place was very quiet, a couple of blokes playing pool and I were the only custom, I think.

I learned from a notice that this place is also known as the Bottom House, presumably becuase it's just down the road from the Top House.

There's a drum kit located above the entrance porch, very strange, but I think I've seen that done before somewhere?  Now I know some people would say that putting the drum kit out of reach of the drummer will improve many groups but I don't think I agree.

Time to test my luck one more time, on to the Abbey:
Oh yes!  It's open.

A rather fine one room boozer, with quite a few regulars sat at the bar.  No real ale, of course, so I was on the Carling again.

The regulars chatted, with some commercial radio station providing background music.

330 for 7...

The barman/landlord joined his friends sitting at the bar, only returning briefly behind the counter when he was needed.

So, after a very poor start I collected some good ticks, that's Kirkdale pretty much cleared.  I walked about 4 miles.  England won eventually.

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