Friday 19 October 2018


I started today's research with a longer than usual walk of about two miles from Maghull station through suburban, light industrial and finally rural scenery to the pretty village of Sefton, and the never before visited Punchbowl:
A nice enough interior in the standard food-led chain pub style, this could have been an Ember but it's actually Vintage Inns.  At three there were still quite a few diners lingering over a long lunch, finishing their drinks or ordering sweets.

There were five handpumps on the bar but only Doom Bar and Black Sheep facing forward.  Not a very exciting range, but the Doom Bar was in good nick so who's complaining.

What more can I say about this place, a bit boring really?

I could have waited for a bus back to Maghull, but it was twenty minutes away and I reached my next target in less than that.  The Meadows:
Contemporary decor in this large roadhouse, partly knocked through to create one open room plus a couple of side rooms.  In the Hungry Horse chain, so targeting diners, but drinkers are welcome too and one end of the big room is the "bar", occupied by half a dozen regulars playing pool.  I was interested to note there are still separate gents for the bar and lounge sides.

My notes from 2004 describe it rather disparagingly as "youth oriented", obviously it's had a change of direction since then.

I couldn't see anyone eating but perhaps they were concealed in the side rooms.

Ooh look, it's nearly Hallowe'en - Lots of stupid decorations.  On the plus side, at least they can't put up the Christmas stuff yet!

Overall, the place was quite busy, steady chatter from all directions mixing with the background music.  Bruce Hornsby and the Range - Isn't his pub near here?  Wait, no, that's Hornby.

A break for my tired feet, as Bar Du Fay is just across the road:
I wanted to criticise this place by describing it as the bar for people for whom the Meadows is too posh, but that's completely unfair.  It's a very well done shop conversion, with plenty of cheerful regulars chatting to a friendly barman.

The decor, fake stone floor, varnished matchboarding below the dado and plain cream plaster above enlivened by just the right number of pictures and signs makes for a very pleasant interior.

The one hand pump is purely decorative, I suspect, although I did spot a "Today's cask ale" blackboard.  It was blank.

As I noted in 2010, no-one seemed to be drinking wine in this wine bar, all were on lager or Guinness.  I had the latter, it came in a rather stylish new tapered glass.

I had also noted previously a "Wheel tappers and shunters" bell on the wall, but initially I couldn't see it this time.  Hang on, there it is, strategically positioned at the end of the counter so that the staff can use it to call time, I guess!

Next, just a short stroll to the Cask Cafe:
This shop conversion/micro pub wasn't quite what I expected:  I entered a small room, packed with cheerful noisy regulars, with a counter with five hand-pumps.  I was quickly served something delicious and local.  So far, so standard micro, but through an opening at the side of the counter were two more rooms, more peaceful and spacious, and I retreated to a comfy chair right at the back to enjoy my ale and write this.  It's great, and rare, to have the choice between the friendly lively regulars at the front or the peaceful back room.

Mind you, I'm not sure I fancy some of the seats, they look a bit uncomfortable (And I think the brewery might want them back!)
The sound here was Smooth Radio playing gently from a speaker above my head (You can't really do any better than Dancing Queen) and the fairly distant chatter and laughter from the front room.

There were lit candles on every table in the back room, a bit unnecessary when most were empty.

Not far down the road is the Alt Park:
Another chain food pub, this time wearing the Sizzling brand.

One enormous knocked through room, with chain pub contemporary decor.  At half five on a Friday it was busy, as you would expect, with many of the customers having food.

The handpumps seemed to all be labelled "Settling in the cellar" - Yeah, right.  I had a lager.

Finally, back to the station, for a last drink in the Great Mogul.  Luckily I took a picture on my way out, because it was too dark by the time I got back there:
At six on a Friday it was busy, as expected, but I managed to find a table at which to enjoy my pint of Great Mogul.  The pump clip had Joshua Tetley's signature, lord knows where it's brewed nowadays.

The interior is rather good, with glassless windows in the walls between the rooms, creating an open feel whilst keeping the separation.

I spotted a Meccano poster celebrating local man Frank Hornby.  I had also seen some in the Meadows.  I guess both were a bit miffed when Wetherspoon's "stole" him.

Time to wend my weary way home.

Pub of the day: While I'm tempted to select the Punchbowl purely because of the sense of achievement ticking a pub in the middle of no-where, it's obvious that today's winner must be the excellent Cask Cafe.
Miles: Five miles walked.
Maybe coming soon:  Litherland, Edge Hill

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