One train and one bus and I was soon in Eccleston and at my first objective for the day, the Seven Stars:
A large pleasant two-sided pub, this, in Green King's Flaming Grill chain. I was immediately grabbed by an efficient waiter/barman who, on learning I didn't have a reservation and only wanted a drink, led me through to the bar side where I was the only customer. The lounge side was much busier with plenty of people dining.
Sign in was by QR code and text, my order for a pint of About was taken at the table but I had to go to the counter to collect it and pay. Sadly it was somewhat past is best, perhaps the first out of the pump today.
I noticed my report from 2004 says "slightly tatty"; not true now, the bar side is plain but very well decorated and looked after. I've said this before and I'll say it again: People won't use a scruffy pub nowadays so they tidy up or close down.
My eye was caught by a poster advertising a "2 pint serve", I wonder if you can get a two pint glass of Abbot, on a night out it would reduce by half the number of visits to the bar! I seem to recall Wetherspoon's experimented with a pint-and-a-half glass some years ago. [Pause while I search my glass collection...] Ah yes, here it is, with a standard pint conic for comparison. Actually, it measures 940ml to the brim, which is 1.65 pints.
As I drank my pint three more customers came in.
I totally failed on the one way system as I searched for the gents on departure, oh dear.
Next, a long walk through the countryside. I had created in my head a story of taking my life in my hands on a country road with no pavement, but in fact all the drivers were courteous and slowed and moved aside as required, so I was soon safely at my destination, the never before visited Game Bird:
This is a dining pub in the middle of nowhere on the East Lancs Road, I bet I'm the only customer today to arrive on foot! Will I get in without a reservation?
Yes, easily. On learning I only wanted a drink the waitress guided me to a convenient table and advised me I could order at the bar or through her. The two handpumps had the clips turned so I resorted to the black stuff. Check in (no one asked me) was successful by QR code and text again.
Another Greene King chain, Hungry Horse this time, it was ticking over gently but with plenty of empty tables.
A brewers' Tudor roadhouse from the 1930s, I would guess, it has been well modified inside, mostly knocked through around the servery but retaining some separation between areas, I sat in solitude in a side area with four tables. Just a few original features remain, there's some leaded glass in the windows.
The background muzac was mixed with cheerful chatter in here, both at a quiet level.
Next comes another walk down country lanes, but this time with a pavement, to the Stanley Arms:
(Sorry about the rather poor picture, I didn't fancy taking my life in my hands on the other side of the road.)
A splendid traditionally-styled pub in the middle of nowhere, once again I bet I'm the only pedestrian customer. Pretty quiet but gently ticking over in the pub side, I didn't see the restaurant area.
I was pleased to see Landlord and Boltmaker on handpumps and the Landlord was excellent.
I suspect the "olde worlde" decor in here is all fake, but it's very well done. This was the pub today where I most expected to be caught out by bookings only, but it was surprisingly empty, just gently ticking over. The restaurant side might be busier.
No one asked for my details so I didn't get logged here.
Now, a slightly shorter stroll back towards suburban Eccleston, and my final pub for today, the Griffin:
What an impressive building this is, to be honest I didn't remember it from my 2004 visit. Inside is an enormous pub/restaurant, recently refurbished with rather fine modern styling. Everywhere I looked was quality woodwork, quality floor tiles, quality paintwork etc. - A lot of effort went into the refurbishment and it shows.
The friendly cheerful waitress guided me to a table, and fetched me a pint of Jennings Cumberland which was in fine nick. I think she said I could have the table until five which is a bit mean at four thirty, but checking the journey home there was a good connection off the 17:04 bus from just outside, so it fitted rather well.
The rather echoey interior was reverberating with animated chatter, the pub seems doing well although there was plenty of room for more people. Approaching five on a Friday they perhaps ought to be fuller than this, although as soon as I had written that more and more people came in.
I was chivied away from my table before I'd finished my pint and before the 5 o'clock deadline, poor customer service I think.
Three pubs last visited sixteen years ago and one never visited before is a pretty good result nowadays, time to go home.
Miles walked: 4.8
Maybe coming soon: Mathew Street, Halewood