Under the river again, this time to Rock Ferry. Across the road from the station was the Rock Station which I first visited in 2003 and more recently in 2015. My internet researches had led me to expect it to be closed, in fact it's completely demolished, with only a sign frame and a cache of kegs/casks remaining (Aren't the aluminium kegs valuable and stealable?)
Next, down towards the river. Annoyingly I'd forgotten that the straight road from the station to my next destination has an impassable break where it crosses the bypass, so I had to fire up Google Maps and take a diversion. Eventually, I reached my next target, the Refreshment Rooms:
Happily, this place is unchanged since my previous visit, in 2015. It's mainly oriented towards food, but welcoming of drinkers as well. Table service only - I was soon allocated a table (Reserved from 4.30) and enjoying a pint of the house beer, HMS Conway, a rather good "ordinary" bitter brewed by Lees.
The maritime themed decor (But they've also got a model Liverpool tram for some reason.) is pleasant and at two on a Thursday afternoon there were a fair number of mostly dining customers, keeping the chatter level up.
I must say the food arriving at the next table looked and smelled good, scouse, fish and chips, bangers and mash etc.
Next, a short stroll to the Derby Arms:
Places like this are getting rarer, here's a classic pub with beautifully cared for decor, and lots of regulars enjoying their local at three on a Thursday. Many of the denizens were older than I, but there were younger ones as well, a good cross section.
No real ale, so I parked myself in a side room with a pint of Carling. Conversations and the click of pool balls were louder than the music.
The first time I came here, three years ago, I was somewhat startled to find it open, hidden as it is up a side street surrounded by new housing. I was less surprised this time, because I could see then that it was a great local pub, with enough regulars to keep it going as long as the people running it maintained the standards. They clearly have.
Next, continuing to circle around Rock Ferry station, I headed to the Rockvilla while the formerly grey weather changed to bright sunshine. Not visited since 2003, what will I find?
It's been done up since I was here, rather good rough wood and bare brick decor. Again doing a good trade on a Thursday afternoon, although the loud drunken noise of one group made it sound busier than it actually was.
The Rock, as they almost certainly don't call this part of Wirral, is clearly the place for traditional boozers, in both meanings of the word. Another classic, this. And I've got another two which I expect to be similar to try before I go home.
About 50% of the regulars, and also the excellent barmaid, headed to the door for a smoke while I swigged my Carling.
Still circling round the station, I aimed for the Lord Napier:
Another traditional pub, unchanged since I was here in '18, but sadly deserted, none of the lively custom of the last two ticks.
I could see one other customer in the other side of this two sided boozer, but apart from him it was just the barmaid/landlady and I.
The only sound was "Now 80s" on a telly in the corner of the well cared for lounge side.
For a change, I had a Guinness here, there was a handpump but with a blank clip; I've got a feeling that was the same last time I was here.
The bloke in the other side, ordering another pint, caught my eye and called hello across the servery. Was he just friendly or did he mistake me for a regular?
Time to aim towards home, but I've saved the pub by the station for last, for bladder comfort reasons. So, in to the Bedford:
It seems to be also known as Luke's now.
My 2015 notes described this as a plain well cared for multi-roomed boozer, and in 2021 it's exactly the same.
My pint of Carling was extra cheap because it's happy hour on Thursdays!
There were enough customers to fill the room with chatter, but it wasn't packed at five o'clock.
Yet another "down market" pub doing good trade at a non-peak time, just like the others today, clean, tidy and deservedly popular.
Miles walked: 3
Maybe coming soon: St Helens, Woolton