Friday 30 November 2018

Fazakerley and Walton

This week's "Tuesday survey" was somewhat delayed due to the horrible weather but at last I arrived at Fazakerley station on a chilly but sunny Friday.

After noting that the (Closed for some years.) Grey Chaser has been demolished and replaced by a Lidl, I started in the Foresters Inn:
Not much has changed since my last visit eight years ago, this is a plain tidy one room bar in the Oak Lodges style (But without the split level.)  Probably a conversion from two shops.

Only four regulars, old blokes, were in - Three sitting at the counter and on on his own on the other side of the room.  I really shouldn't call them old, the youngest was about my age.

Possibly to become a theme of this blog over the next month is a report about Christmas decorations:  Here they were pleasant and understated.

On to the Farmers Arms:
I think this must be a post-war construction?  Inside there's not much original in a rather well done large open room with pleasant Crimbo decorations.  But it's bloody freezing - Why have they propped the front door open?

Five old blokes were the regular custom, and I added one more to the count.

Over the road the Prince George looked closed:
But in fact the side door was open and I entered the bar side to find two old blokes sitting at the counter.

The bar is plain but very well cared for and, hallelujah, it's impressively warm!  That seems very rare nowadays.

On visiting the gents I discovered there were a couple more customers in the lounge side.

It's only a short walk to Walton, where I started in the Black Bull:
My notes from '04 describe it as a little run down inside.  Not true now, it's plain, tidy and well looked after.  No Christmas dekos here!  A really large pub, and with more customers than the last three put together it still felt empty!  And very cold.

For the first time today there was a steady hubub of cheerful chatter, with the music taking a background role.

Next, I skipped the Wetherspoon's Raven because I did it earlier this year:

Just across the busy road from there is a shop conversion I've never visited, the Vale Bar:
Well I never!  The decor is over the top and great fun in this shop conversion.  I'm not sure how much of it was for Christmas, but as I sat amid flashing "disco" lighting I have to say I loved it.  Every square inch of wall space was filled with something:  Umpteen clocks, witty signs ("Wine - The Classy Persons way to get Hammered"), and so on.

I also noted an amusing bar stool with bike pedals for a footrest - complete with a matching sprocket wheel and chain.  Clearly, someone with a sense of humour has decorated the place, and they've done a great job.

Plenty of regulars were keeping the barmaid busy, there were more people in here than in the Bull.

On leaving the Vale I dodged around a bit to make sure I'd got pictures of all my remaining targets in daylight - All the pictures further down were taken at this time - before I headed for the Warbreck:
In this large interwar building with a touch of brewers' Tudor is a very large and comfortable two-sided traditional pub.  The interior looks like it was substantially remodelled in the sixties, with no changes (apart, that is, from careful maintenance) since then.

One handpump was visible but I think it's purely decorative - No clip, anyway.

The bar side was full of women with curlers in their hair, many of whom had suitcases with them - Some kind of girls' weekend away, I guess.  Or maybe Walton is the destination!  They were making an appalling racket, anyway, so I quickly headed for the quieter lounge side!

Now that I'd got all my required photies, I could slow down and relax in this warm comfortable boozer.  Suddenly I noticed it had got quieter - The hen party had departed.  The main sound now was gentle chatter mixed with a music video channel on the telly.

Next, back to the mysterious never visited Orrell Park Bar.  Is it a pub or just a function suite?
The answer is that it is mainly an enormous well done out function room, but there is also a smaller (not small) bar open to the public.  As I arrived the barman/landlord was receiving a delivery, I entered and climbed the stairs to find myself in the tidy plain (No Christmas decorations yet) bar on my own. 

Soon the barman joined me and poured me a lager before returning to sorting out the newly arrived bottles.

Two or three other customers came in while I drank, mostly to buy tickets or make arrangements for later events rather than buy a drink, and soon I was alone once again.  The drink sales can't possibly pay for the heating in here, it's comfortably warm.

Next, the impressive former bank that is now Joey Orr's:
Inside is a very well done and wonderfully warm pub knocked through to create one room around the island counter.  My comments from 2004 and before said shabby but, as usual, that's no longer the case.  The quality Christmas decorations were skilfully under-done.

The main sound in here was steady chatter with music in the background.  The TVs were showing The Sweeney, but it was hard to follow with no sound.  Actually, it was on in the Orrell Park as well, an odd coincidence until you realise that the previous programme was racing.

Finally, I headed to the fine building that is the Windsor:
A large construction dating from the 1950s (or maybe earlier), with three or four rooms busy at half four in a Friday, I struggled to find a free table.  Well decorated in "traditional" pub style.

I have fond memories of a visit here on a wet Sunday afternoon back in 2000 when I had a perfect pint of cask Tetley's, one of my favourite ales, sharing the pub with just one or two other customers and three staff.  I think only the front room was in use then.  Nothing like that today, there must be fifty people in here.  At least.

The dekkies were pleasantly restrained.

Time to head for home.  That's a record for recent times:  Nine pubs in one survey!  I did do ten halves in ten pubs on a Thursday evening once but that was a long time ago, and my all time best was nineteen pubs in twelve hours on a Woolton Pub Crawl.

The record came at a cost, of sorts, though:  Generally I was the only person with a half pint glass, in fact I never saw a half apart from mine anywhere today.  I guess you have to put up with this if you want to tick off lots of places!

Obviously surveying on a Friday I expect the places to be more busy than on my usual Tuesday, but I must say the pubs of Fazakerley and Walton were mostly busier and livelier than I had expected.

Pub of the day: The Vale Bar wins because of its fun decor and cheerful atmosphere.
Miles walked: 2.25
Maybe coming soon: St Helens, Tranmere

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