Now the 2022 Good Beer Guide is officially published I can reveal that the new edition contains four pubs in Merseyside which I've never ticked. The first was Jaxon's in Walton, covered last week. Number two is a branch of Peaky Blinders in Churchtown, so two trains and a bus ride were required, all free on my new pass of course, to take me there. (I promise I'll stop boasting about the pass
First, though, my Google maps research had thrown up a possible target of which I was previously unaware, and so I found myself strolling through the rather pleasant Botanical Gardens, to the Settle Inn:
I wonder what this building was originally? Anyway, inside is one large high ceilinged room, sort of church hall or village hall, with a cafe counter and a bar counter at one end. At this time of day (two thirty) all the other customers were on coffee and the like, but that didn't keep me from enjoying a pint of Shipyard.
This place is a rather clever combination of cafe and pub; they have live music in the evenings when I guess it's a lot more pubby. The menu, of basics like pie chips and peas, looks good and good value.
Next, the Hesketh Arms:
The church next door had a wedding just finishing, and I worried for a moment that the pub might be full, for the reception, but then I saw the bridesmaids getting into cars, so clearly the festivities were elsewhere.
Last visited in 2013, this is an up market dining place under the Vintage Inns brand. Nonetheless, quality real ale, I had Wainwright, is available and there was no attempt to persuade me to eat.
The interior decor here is very good but I suspect the antique features are all faked, although perhaps some of the wood panelling could be genuine. Very pleasant anyway, lots of small rooms partially knocked through (So totally unsuitable for a reception.)
It was quite busy for a wet Friday afternoon, a bit too early for dinner but too late for lunch. Although, as soon as I'd typed that, meals came out for the next table.
Just across the road from the Hesketh is the Bold Arms:
Down market this one, but only in comparison to the Hesketh, otherwise it's a very pleasant Greene King food-led operation, with quite a lot of antique features inside, woodwork and leaded glass. No change since my 2012 visit.
My pint of Abbot was good. Very few customers at three, although I could hear some chatter, perhaps there is another busier room?
The real fire near my seat wasn't lit, but clearly they do use them sometimes, in fact I could see a basket of kindling and some fire tongs. I always like a real fire in a pub, it lends some cosiness and comfort that you can't get any other way.
My exit via the gents revealed there is another side to the pub, but only one or two customers were in there.
Finally, on to the "prime objective", Peaky Blinders:
Never having watched the programme, I'm not sure how these places relate to the TV series, perhaps not at all? Anyway, a pleasantly decorated room, u-shaped around the servery area. It was converted from a bank, apparently. The lampshades, especially the giant one above the counter, are very attractive.
Four real ales were on offer and my pint of Landlord was spot on.
Not many customers at four on a Friday, one group of lads on lager was all I could see. More people came in as I drank my pint, and gradually the place got less empty.
My seat by the window gave me a good view of the rain, it looks like I'm going to be getting wet on the way home.
Miles walked: Less than a mile.
Maybe coming soon: Garswood, Aigburth, Bromborough