Friday 12 October 2018

Live Long And Prosper!

I started today's research with a longish walk, passing a number of pubs to be visited on the way back, to Vulcan Village.  Actually, it wasn't anywhere near as far as I remembered, and I soon reached the outer limits of the galaxy, or at least Merseyside, at the Vulcan Inn:
Here I found a very well cared for pleasant pub with two rooms around a three-sided counter.

Last time I commented about the music stopping and everyone looking round when a stranger came in.  I must confess to being a touch disappointed when no-one except the landlord took any notice of me this time.

Half a dozen locals were mostly sitting at the bar or standing outside smoking, and gentle chatter was the main sound as I relaxed on a long bench seat in the lounge side.

When I announced this was my next destination for research, a friend had asked "Do they have pointed ears?".  I can report that they do not.

I notice some other pub bloggers (You know who you are!) go on about their various aches and pains, so in order to join the club maybe I should mention my sore left arm following a 'flu jab yesterday?

Next I began to retrace my steps back towards Earlestown, aiming to visit the pubs I'd walked past earlier.  First, the Wargrave Hacienda:
Last time I was here it was the Wargrave Inn, a traditional boozer.  Now it was total chaos inside, with building work under way all over the place, and just one corner with the counter available for the regulars.  It was hard to tell at this stage, but I think it'll be a great pub when they've finished.

Some Mexican decorations above the bar were the only concession, so far, to the new name, I'm guessing when the work is finished it'll be Mexican-themed throughout.  It looks like this could become a really nice pub, they've resisted the temptation to knock everything through into one large room, there are various side rooms of different sizes so there could be, for example, a peaceful snug and a noisy pool room.

Quiet music and regulars' chat plus hammering and sawing were the soundtrack here as I downed my pint of lager sitting on a seat which was in imminent danger of having its woodwork re-done.  I was poised to move if required, but the carpenter just measured round me!

Next, the Victoria:
Unfortunately, despite showing all the signs of a working pub it was closed.  So I continued to the Sunbeam:
If I had been asked to predict which pubs visited on previous trips to this area would now be closed, this place would have been high on the list, not because there was anything wrong with it, but just because of its out-of-the-way back street location.

How wrong can one be?  It was much busier than today's previous ticks, with plenty of regulars in the bar side, chatting, playing darts etc.  Absolute Radio provided the background music but the main noise was happy chatter and the thunk of darts.

I watched, confused, two fellas playing darts.  How did they do it without keeping score?  Eventually I realised they weren't playing the "501" I was familiar with, but simply "round the clock" where you have to get 1 then 2 then 3 and so on to 20, and then bull to finish.  Much easier on the maths!

I couldn't get over how busy and lively this place was, I don't know what they're doing right, but it's certainly working!

Next, on to the Old Crow which I tried to do a few months ago but found it closed (Photo from July):
I initially thought I'd failed again, but one of the doors was half open and I went in.

Inside, I found a large rather poshly done pub, looking something like a food-led chain pub, but there was no indication of any food.  Very pleasant, anyway.  At four on a Friday there were about a dozen people in.

Sadly, the cask Tetley I enthused about in 2003 has gone, there was a handpump with a Tribute clip turned round, so I had to have another lager.

Now where?  Apart from the Victoria, there's just one place in Earlestown overdue for a visit, another failure from July's trip, so I walked through the town centre to the Griffin:
Yes!!!  It's open.  Inside the splendid building is a very pleasant large pub knocked through around an island servery.  The signage in here and their Facebook page suggests live music is an important part of the operation.  Tonight it's the wonderfully named "Lazzy Band" [1]. If their music is as good as their name, they will be well worth hearing.

My notes from 2003 recorded eleven darts boards around the wall, I could only see one today.

Tipping Point was on the telly above my head, annoyingly I couldn't see the counters dropping, I could only answer the questions, wrongly in at least one case.  Serves me right for describing them as easy in a previous blog.

As usual nowadays, the place was well looked after and spotless - I've said it before and I'll say it again:  The days of the scruffy dump have long gone.

Aaargh!  They've got one of those backwards clocks:  So confusing!  I thought I'd missed my train home.

The pub cat wanted to go out, but no-one used that door so it had to sit patiently and wait.

[1] For non-Liverpudlians, lazzy band is Scouse for elastic band.

Pub of the day: I think the Griffin by a narrow margin, it felt more friendly than the other ones.  (Of course, with a series of near-equal pubs the last one tends to have the edge, because I'm drunker.)
Miles: 3.5
Maybe coming soon: New Brighton, Maghull

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