Friday 14 December 2018


I started an excursion to Birkenhead on a very cold day with a bus ride under the river, aiming for the Richmond:
One room with a counter at the back in this plain boozer.  My order for a pint of lager resulted in three and a half going down the drain before I was served.

This struck a chord in my memory - Is this the place where I had vinegary Guinness after a number of pints had been thrown away, back in 2013?  Ah yes, so it is:  Oxton Road  At least today's lager tasted OK.

Most of the room was empty, with just a few regulars at the counter.  The decor is pleasant and plain, with Christmas decorations just right.  Apart from a torn seat cover on one of the benches along the walls, it had a well cared for appearance.

If anyone is following these trips on a map they may be wondering why I didn't come in here a few weeks ago when I started at the Windsor just four doors away.  To be honest, I'd slipped up and missed this one off my map!  Bad planning.

Annoyingly, despite looking so open that I actually rattled the door, the Warwick was shut again  (Last time's picture):

Not far to the next destination, the never before visited Cavendish:
This is quite a large place inside, clean and tidy.  There are a few steps up to the back and side rooms which were deserted, with the half a dozen regulars and me staying in the area by the counter.  I was nice and warm sitting by a radiator.

On to Seamus O'Donell's, another place I should have done last month, but again it was missing from my map:
This fairly modern building which used to be the Exmouth Arms, contains an above average "plastic paddy" pub where the usual Irish decor, Dublin street signs, Jameson mirror etc etc is not done to excess as it so often is.

Definitely the scariest tick for some time, two hefty vicious looking dogs barked at me as I approached the counter.  I resolved that if they showed signs of jumping over I was out of here, but they were clearly well trained and knew their border.

In honour of the pub's name I switched to Guinness.

This place reminded me of Flanagans in Waterloo, another Irish pub in an un-pub-like building.  No free corned beef hash, though, and it was freezing in here.

Next MacKenzie:
Now, this bar holds a special place in my Pub Guide because back in 2004 it was my thousandth Merseyside pub.  I had had grandiose ideas of organising a minibus for my friends to take us to some out of the way real ale haven for number one thousand, but I never actually got round to doing anything about it, so the milestone just came up unplanned in the middle of a survey of Birkenhead.  I think I can say with some confidence that there won't ever be a number two thousand!

Anyway, as it was back then, this pub remains a well cared for modern plastic boozer, and it was doing a good trade on a chilly Friday afternoon with a dozen or more regulars keeping the place going, resulting in the main sound being mixed chatter, with a Christmas music TV channel very much in the background.  It was a lot warmer in here than in Seamus's.

I headed to the North Western but I fear I'm too late, it was shut:

Next, the Blue Bell:
Tucked away on a side street, surely this must have closed by now, but no, here it is going strong.

Just one regular, me, and the landlady inside.  The excellent interior is partly knocked through but retains two halves around the three-sided counter.  It felt very warm after the bitter wind outside, but I still kept my coat on.

Once again in what seems to be a common theme today, the Christmas decorations were good and not excessive.  Mind you, my threshold of "excessive" moves as we get closer to the day, and also as I drink more!

Finally, Molly's Chambers - is that a Thin Lizzie reference?  Or Kings of Leon (says he, trying to sound a bit more up to date.)
A long time ago this was the Old Colonial, a (totally fake) antique-style pub belonging to Cains.  After closing it was offices for some years, until the people who run the Swinging Arm took it over.  Initially it was a music venue only open Fridays and Saturdays but more recently it has opened all week.

A total transformation from the Colonial, it's now a cellar bar very nicely done out.  Perhaps the upstairs is used as well?

More importantly, where is the gents?  I couldn't see any sign!

Having skipped the Trooper on the only handpump, I enjoyed a half of Shipyard for a change.

Initially I was the only customer, but then some girls came in, ordering gins and bottle(s) of wine.  All were wearing ID badges, I guess this was a work Christmas celebration.  You wouldn't think four women could fill a room with chatter, but they did!  Oh no - Three more turned up.  Further examination showed there was one bloke with the original group.  I'm not sure if being the only man in a Christmas party with eight girls is the ultimate nightmare or the ultimate fantasy!  I think one would need ear defenders, either way.

Time to go home and thaw out.

Miles walked: 2.5
Maybe coming soon:  Perhaps another St Helens Saturday.


  1. Blimey, the Richmond looks like it has been abandoned for 80 years!