Bright sunshine today as I took a short bus ride to Old Swan. I was here only six months ago ticking outliers and oddities, but it occurred to me yesterday that it is four years since I visited the main pubs in Old Swan.
I started in the Millfield Inn:
One of the former Oak Lodge chain (See this blog passim) with their usual "traditional" decor and split level interior. Down market, maybe, but warm, comfortable, clean and tidy - Although the plethora of arrows for the COVID one way system could do with being peeled off the floor.
Early on a Thursday afternoon it was ticking over gently with a number of regulars drinking and chatting.
Racing commentary mixed with the chatter, until it was drowned out when a customer fired up the Jukebox. Play That Funky Music, White Boy.
My mind drifted to the umpteen pubs like this I drank in back in the 90s. So many of them have gone, sadly missed. It's pleasing to see "plain" boozers continuing post COVID, I was afraid they would all be lost.
On to the Old Swan:
Is this district named after the pub or vice versa, I wonder?
The pleasant interior in plain style contained a lot more customers than the previous place. Once again no real ale (I'm not expecting any at all today) so I had a Guinness.
I sat in one of an unusual row of booths which have those annoying high chairs where one's feet don't reach the ground. Why? The high chairs are each for two people. Each booth has its own telly, plus mains and phone charger sockets. According to the signs you can "Reserve a booth for any occasion!"
There was a massive speaker on the wall above my head, luckily playing quiet background music. Looking round the room I could see two different horse races and a footie match on various TVs, fortunately all silent.
Again, I was warm (-ish) and comfortable in a well cared for pub.
Looking around I could see a number of customers were actually watching the racing, presumably they had placed some bets.
The pub drunk came over for a chat. Impressively bevied at half two in the afternoon, he was leaving before he got thrown out, he told me, and heading to the Masons (I might be going there later) even though their ale is more expensive. After instructing me to take care of myself, he weaved his unsteady way towards the door.
Next, I took a look at Brambles. Would it be open?
Of course it is!
Looking a bit more threadbare than last time I was here, and with only a handful of customers, this one is doing less well than the previous places.
The plain decor would be rather good if it received a lick of paint and some new carpet.
Silence reigned until a girl used the jukebox, after which the music was louder than is necessary in an empty pub.
The four other customers were gathered around the pool table. Was the barmaid one of the players? Yes.
I wonder if the Albany is open?
Once again, did I need to ask? This rather unusual pub which looks like a few terraced houses from the outside has slightly chaotic decor inside, rather fun I think. There's a small performance area at one end, containing a drum kit and some microphone stands, do they have live music or is it just fun decor?
Quite a few locals in at four on a Thursday, keeping the place ticking over nicely.
I've always been rather fond of this pub, something about its hidden location up a quiet cul-de-sac and its external appearance as a couple of terraced houses lead to a great surprise when you find a proper, comfortable, friendly pub inside. Many years ago I think it had real ale, I'm afraid that has gone but it remains a fine traditional boozer with what appears to be a good team of regulars.
Miles walked: 2
Maybe coming soon: I've been saying this for months, but it's still Garswood.