Wednesday, 19 May 2021

... And We're Back

Finding myself unexpectedly in Rainhill I set out on a quick survey.  Not properly planned, this one, so I was expecting to find some places shut, and sure enough the Holt was, although it certainly looks operational:

A short walk down the road brought me to the Rocket, and it's open:

My first pub research visit of the new era.  (I've been in - or outside - quite a few over recent weeks, but mainly for social reasons rather than research - Lowlight was sitting outside the Fall Well with my hand over my pint to keep the rain out; highlight was my first indoor pint in the Ship and Mitre on Monday.)

I still haven't got the habit of the new arrangements:  I remembered to wear a mask and then walked up to the bar and ordered a pint.  The cheerful barmaid patiently explained the rules, probably for the hundredth time.

No real ale, it looks like the handpumps went in the refurbishment, so I was back to the old familiar Carling.

The interior has changed a lot since my last call, back in 2016, knocked through into one U-shaped room surrounding the servery.  Very nicely decorated in restrained style, perhaps a little "identikit" but very well done.

Only a few customers in, but not bad for half twelve on a Wednesday I suppose.

On to the Victoria:

This one hasn't changed since last time (also 2016), the decor is not quite as "new" as in the Rocket, but still very pleasant.  No sign of any handpumps here either (I've got a suspicion this might become a theme in my researches now.) so I had another lager.  Again, customers were sparse, surely not enough to pay for the two friendly efficient staff.

Even in a fairly empty boozer I must say it's good to be sitting inside and absorbing the atmosphere.  The soundtrack in here was a music channel on the tellies, mixed with the happy chatter of the bar staff, obviously pleased to be back on duty.

As I finished my pint I wondered how many more of the Rainhill hostleries would be open?  Would I find some real ale?  Let's see...

On to the Commercial:

Open?  Yes.  Cask?  YES!

This pub - one of my favourites - never changes, thank goodness, and I was soon ensconced in one of the side rooms with a fine pint of Wainwright.

They've gone mad on the social distancing in here, with miles of hazard tape marking off alternate sections of the bench seating round the room.  I wonder how long into Friday night that'll last!

Not very busy, unsurprisingly at two on a Wednesday, but I could hear mixed chatter from the regulars scattered around the wonderful interior of this architectural gem.  An important part of the conversations was along the lines of "you have to sit down, she'll take your order" as people got used to the hopefully temporary rules.

I must admit I was somewhat concerned about this pub's survival a few years ago when it closed for a few weeks with a banner advertising new owners, but apparently I was worrying unnecessarily.  I note it is on CAMRA's list of historic pub interiors, but not (yet) listed.

Next, the Coach And Horses, but the blackboard says opening at 4.30.  So, on to the Black Horse:

A pleasant food-oriented pub with standard "Sizzling" decor inside and out, pretty empty at this time on a Wednesday.

I spent an annoyingly long amount of time wrestling with installing the app so I could order, I should have said no and given a manual order instead.  No real ales on offer in the app, to be honest I didn't actually check the counter for pumps.  Once I'd sorted out my technology, my lager was promptly delivered, but this isn't really what I want in a pub;  I look forward to ordering at the bar before too long.

A few more customers came in, and had a lot less trouble with the technology than I did.

So, my first survey post lockdown.  How was it?  No real problems, but I am a little worried to note that all four of today's ticks had real ale last time I visited but we're down to just one now.  I hope that as things settle down and restrictions are further lifted we will see more cask.

Pub of the day: The Commercial by a wide margin
Miles walked: 2
Maybe coming soon: New Brighton

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Blown Out at the Bombed Out

I nipped into town with the objective of collecting a brand new tick which I'm told serves real ale.  The train journey was extremely crowded, they've had years to sort out the new trains but still we get a six car train with everyone crowded into three carriages.

Once I'd escaped from the station I marched hopefully up Renshaw Street to the Bombed Out Church:

This has been open as a cafe for some time, I think, and I recently learned that they do real ale so time for a visit.

Unfortunately it is reservations only on Saturdays, apparently, so I didn't get my tick.  Hmph!  I'll be back, perhaps when it is a bit quieter.  Irritatingly I could see umpteen empty tables.

So, where's the nearest real ale?  The Dispensary, of course:

Only my fourth visit here since lockdown!

They were doing a decent trade at 12:30, but with plenty of free tables, so I was soon enjoying a pint of favourite Oakham Citra in the chilly breeze.

I must say I am looking forward to two weeks time when I will be able to sit in comfort inside pubs instead of freezing on a wobbly bench in the street!

Where next?  There's another new one, well a new name anyway, just round the corner so I headed for the Coach House:

Formerly Hard Times And Misery and then Dickens and King, this now belongs to the Angus on Dale Street.

The waiter reeled off a list of real ales I didn't recognise and Inferno, another Oakham brew, so I selected that one and it was very good, although I still prefer my favourite Citra from the last place.

Again, ticking over nicely but with plenty of free tables.  This place, usually the smallest pub in Liverpool, has benefited from the current situation as they have a lot more space outside in the street than they have inside.  I wonder if they will be allowed to occupy half the width of the road long term.

Town was getting a bit busy, what with a kill the bill march and Saturday shoppers, so I decided to beat a retreat at this point and headed for home.

Pub of the day: Dispensary
Miles walked: 1.5