I thought there might be a little gap between storms Dudley and Eunice suitable for a survey in Southport. I was wrong.
I arrived in Southport to be greeted by torrential rain. A brief bit of shopping in the precinct by the station allowed this to ease off, and I set out towards the sea. Half way there, I was being shotblasted by hailstones and had to shelter in the amusements.
A minute later and it was very light rain, so I headed on, but the rain increased as I approached my first destination, the never before visited Guelder Rose:
This is a standard 21st century chain dining place, surprisingly busy at one on a cold wet Thursday afternoon with many families enjoying lunch. I bet they didn't walk here in a hailstorm, only your scribe is that daft.
Wainwright and Pedigree were the real ales on offer, I chose Wainwright purely because the person in front of me had one. It was of fine quality.
The carvery was doing a good trade, and the wafting smell was very tempting.
I kept an eye on the weather outside. The rain seemed to have eased off but the wind was getting stronger.
Next, another chain place and another first tick, this time a Hungry Horse, the Waterfront:
You know what to expect in a Hungry Horse, and this was pretty much as predicted, but with one possible exception: I have had poor real ale in other branches of this chain in the past, but the Greene King IPA here was spot on.
As I said in the last place, I expected it to be quiet on a cold windy wet February Thursday, but it was doing a good trade, again mostly family diners. It would appear that this end of the pub trade is surviving well.
I noticed behind the counter that they have the same "Logwood" food order software as Wetherspoon's do. I could see four tables highlighted in pink, meaning the food is ready. Perhaps another waiter is needed.
Next door, the Bliss Hotel advertises a rooftop bar - Perhaps not today!
Annoyingly, the Victoria across the road doesn't seem to be open, despite their website saying 12 and Google saying 2pm. For some reason this one has never been ticked.
Onwards, to an odd cul-de-sac called Cable Street which mixes three pubs, one chicken shop, and residential properties. The Fox and Goose and the Ship and Anchor were shut (I think a summer visit may be required)
... but O'Leary's was open, so I headed in to this pleasant "Irish" bar.
To be honest, I can't remember anything from a visit on a pub crawl in the last century, but I rather like this place this time. The inevitable Irish clutter on the walls seems to have been done with better than average taste somehow.
Sadly, only two other customers when I arrived, and one more just behind me, were not keeping the barmaid busy. I hope it does better later.
I headed out. What the!? The sun was shining!!
Where next? So many targets from which to choose... How about The Old Bank?
No real ale, but an impressive choice of craft ales (And Guinness) from which I picked one at random which was delicious. The friendly efficient barman knew about the beers and advised me. (Perhaps he was a little disappointed when I said mine was a random choice?)
Up market in appearance (and price) in a wonderful room which, I guess, was a bank. A bit echoey, I bet it's noisy at busy times. The lampshades are particularly fine.
The only other customers were a family group with a number of young kids. Not really the target demographic, I would have thought, but they seemed happy so who's complaining? The atmosphere did tend towards that of a nursery school at one point, but the little-uns were eventually corralled in their proper place, and then departed at which point it suddenly got a lot quieter.
The barman apologised for the noise, and brought me a free beer as compensation. Not necessary but very welcome. Cheers!
Three brand new ticks, the other one new in this millennium, and a free drink, that's a good score I think, so time for home. I walked back to the station in bright sunshine, a great contrast to the weather earlier.
Miles walked: 2
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