On a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon I headed under the river with the aim of mopping up a few odds and ends in Birkenhead. I started towards the north end of the town, at the Bidston:
Here I found a plain two sided boozer, looking good inside and out. A small lounge side and a much larger opened out bar side, both nicely appointed with spotless carpets and comfortable seats. I described it as "well cared for" in 2009 and it still is.
Being a Saturday afternoon it was quite busy, plenty of regulars chattering, with football commentary in the background.
I soon found a comfy sofa and table at which to write this and enjoy my pint of fizz, of Danish branding for a change.
A short stroll along the road is the North Star:
Perhaps a little plainer than the Bidston, but still clean and tidy, a two sided locals boozer with just a handful of regulars chatting. The background noise was racing this time, switching to footie when half time was over. (Silent racing continued on the screen above my head.)
My comment back in 2003 was "rather too green for my liking", no longer applicable as the walls are cream and white, although I did notice some green upholstery in the other side.
Another proper locals boozer this, it's good to see they're continuing to survive, although who knows what's to come, with new restrictions starting Tuesday.
Almost next door is the Comet Inn, long closed:
Next, a long walk towards central Birkenhead, and the never before visited Sea Dog:
Unfortunately it was shut, as I've found it more than once before. I'm tempted to suggest that a boozer not open at two on a Saturday is not an active boozer, but it looks operational, with Brewery signs and neons (not lit). Perhaps I'll have to try a Saturday night visit.
I walked on to the Warwick. I've tried to tick this one a couples of times, once I actually got as far as rattling the handle on the door, it looked so much like an open pub. Sadly it's now boarded up so it seems this is one that got away:
By now I was in urgent need of a toilet, but I ticked all the nearby pubs only two years ago. A repeat was called for so I selected the Cavendish, which I was relieved (pun) to see was open:
A well done out split level shop conversion ticking over with not many customers. Footie on the telly, Everton had just won, taking them top of the league!
The hard walls here make it a bit echoey, so the main sound was the locals conversation.
I had to register before getting another pint of fizz.
Football punditry and silent racing occupied the two screens I could see. Do we get three o'clock matches now no one's allowed in?
A plain but pleasant pub, this, but I wonder how they will cope with "table service only" from Tuesday - Or have I misunderstood the new rules?
Where next? There's one more "target", on the other side of Birkenhead, quite a long walk... But I can't go home after only two wanted ones, so on I marched. Sadly, Hornblower's wasn't open, although it looked operational, complete with social distancing notices.
That's pretty much it for ticks here, but wait a moment, what about the Riverview? This was snubbed on a recent day out with friends because it didn't seem to have any real ale, and the wonderful Gallagher's is next door, but my duties as a researcher mean it's required. I dragged myself past Gallagher's and went in. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.
And jolly good it is too! There was a forward facing clip on one of the handpumps this time, and my pint of Trappers Hat was excellent.
Rather a quirky interior here, the main area has a fine, probably fake, tiled floor, with raised areas to either side. There's a peculiar bare brickwork pillar in the middle, and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. The counter and bar back are antique-style woodwork, presumably installed during the 2013 refurbishment. The overall effect is very pleasant, and I like it.
A good cross section of customers were keeping the place ticking over, couples, old blokes, cyclists outside in the street, and one pub surveyor.
I think that's enough, so time to head for home.
I caught the Merseyrail from Hamilton Square. Between Moorfields and Lime Street we passed quite a significant fire in the tunnel, a bright orange glow passing the windows as the carriage filled with smoke. On arrival at Lime Street the platform was also very smoky. After a short delay the doors were opened and everyone was able to exit, the fire alarms went off as I ascended the escalators. More exciting than my usual journey home, but nothing to worry about, just a "pot fire", or perhaps some rubbish ignited by the live rail.
Miles walked: 4.1
Maybe coming soon: Mathew Street or Ainsdale