Tuesday 20 November 2018


I decided the cold, windy and wet weather and the early sunset meant my planned Bromborough trip, which would involve a good few long walks, was unwise; in fact I think such excursions might need to be postponed until the spring.  It took me about two hours in the morning to sort out a map of (hopefully) all the pubs in Birkenhead, after which it was time to head out.

My first target was the rather intriguing Vandal which according to Google Maps is located in a residential area near Birkenhead Central station.  I wandered down the indicated street and saw nothing, so I suspect someone is having fun at Google's (and my) expense.

I soon reached a real destination, the Windsor Castle:
Behind the rather good ceramic exterior is one pleasant L-shaped space, with a dozen or more regulars standing at the counter or sitting around the room.  A hubub of chatter filled the comfortable room.

I walked a short distance to the Warwick, clearly operational but not open on a Tuesday afternoon, especially disappointing as I've never visited before:

So, on to the Charing Cross:
Now here we find a classic.  A splendid two sided traditional boozer, busy with chattering locals.  Underneath the cheerful conversations I could hear sixties music and the clack of pool balls.  Free sandwiches and sausage rolls were on the bar, but I was just a touch too late, and only a few scraps remained, so I resisted.

I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the John Smith's hand pumps were purely decorative, and stuck to lager.  I didn't see any pulled while I was there.

Just a few yards up the road is the former Yates's Wine Lodge, now called Desi's:
One very large room, double height in the middle over the counter but with a mezzanine floor above half the area.  There were about twenty people in, but there was room for at least ten times that number, plus more upstairs.

Again, the soundtrack was a hubub of chit-chat from the many regulars, with music in the background.

Some redecoration was in progress, perhaps eliminating any last traces of Yates's styling.

On into the enormous labyrinthine pedestrianised shopping area of Birkenhead, and the rather wonderful Garrick Snug:
Just one room with most seats occupied, I managed to perch on the end of a bench seat, no table to stand my drink on so I had to hold it in one hand and balance the tablet on my knee to type this.

Quite a few old features remain here, leaded glass in the windows and dark wood panelling on the walls.

In common with all the ticks so far today, the main sound was cheerful chatter, with music in the background (Until the landlady started to sing along!)

The music video channel moved on to If She Knew What She Wants by the Bangles.  Here's a music trivia question for you:  Who was the first DJ on a UK radio station to regularly play the Bangles?  The answer is that it was I, back in my pirate radio days!

Next, the George and Dragon:
Another popular pleasant two sided boozer, partly knocked through but it has still got some separate areas, and I adjourned to a quiet back part with my half of Canada's "finest".

Again, the soundtrack was cheerful chatter over music.  Strangely, they seemed to be playing a lot of Tracey Chapman, including tracks unfamiliar to me, so not just her debut eponymous album.

The decor in here is traditional, and the fireplace, the bar back and carved wood counter front appear to be pretty old, possibly original.

My final target for today was the Waterloo:
All the pubs visited so far have been well cared for, this one was exceptionally so.  The carved wood bar front with leaded glass above are all "fake", I think, but no less attractive for that.

The spotless two-sided interior was populated by a handful of regulars, chatting and playing pool.

It was rather chilly in here, and it occurred to me that I hadn't taken my coat off yet on today's excursion.  None of the pubs were warm, this one the coldest of all.  I think the warmest was, surprisingly, the largest, Desi's.

Pub of the day: The Garrick Snug for its slightly historic interior and pleasant atmosphere.
Miles walked: 2.5
Maybe coming soon: Fazakerley

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