I started today's excursion with a bus to Tuebrook, where I wanted to try the Venue Sports Bar:
Sadly, investigation inside revealed they only sell beer for events and functions, so I don't think this really counts as a bar. I could have had a bottle of Moretti from the fridge to claim the tick, but it's not really valid. Shame, this would have been another step towards fourteen hundred.
Instead I left for a walk to the second pub on my list.
Oh no, the Claremont, last visited in 2017, is well and truly closed:
On to my third target, the Flat Iron:
Thank goodness, a tick at last! Eighteen years since my last visit and the internal layout, three rooms in a wedge shaped building, hasn't changed. In the intervening period it has been beautifully maintained, inside and out.
I sat in the triangular front bar which has giant windows letting in plenty of daylight. Every inch of wall is covered with all sorts of pictures and posters, ranging from White Star Line notices offering places on the Titanic, to humorous slogans (e.g. Save water, drink beer.)
Only five other customers at two on a Saturday, no wonder they don't bother to open in the afternoon during the week.
I really do like this boozer, the interior is very well done although a coat of paint might improve the window frames.
Just a short walk towards the football ground took me to the Arkles, last ticked on the same crawl as the Flat Iron back in '04:
As far as I can tell from my notes this place is unchanged, although obviously some good redecoration work and carpet replacement has happened. One large open room around the servery.
I wonder if it's named after the racehorse? I did some research (Google) to find that was called Arkle so clearly not. The pub sign is no help as it shows a picture of the pub. I guess the pub's name comes from Arkles Road and Arkles Lane, which meet here, but that doesn't really answer the question.
Three handpumps on the counter, two with glasses over, so with a little trepidation I ordered the other one, and was rewarded with a fine pint of Abbot.
I was intrigued by a sign warning that by entering I have given permission for Greene King to use footage in future advertising. I've always wanted to be on the telly, but I don't think this empty pub, pleasant thought it is, is what they want to portray. Anyway, they can't afford my appearance fee!
Oooer: The predictive text on my tablet produced "but I don't think" in the last sentence without me having to type anything after but. I'm afraid this demonstrates that my writing is unoriginal and repetitive but, dear reader, I think we knew that already, didn't we?
Next, the Midden:
It looks like an operational pub but it's not open at three on a Saturday. Last visited in the year 2000, I would have liked to tick it again, but I was out of luck today. This is not the first time I've found it disappointingly shut. While we're discussing the origin of pub names, I thought a midden was a dungheap - Not an attractive name for a pub.
How about Turpins, last ticked in 1999?
Yes, it's still going and my comments from 23 years ago, "a rather grubby exterior hides a pleasant, clean, popular, friendly pub knocked through into one room" still apply, except that the outside is a bit tidier I think. Although it could do with sign showing the name!
Quite a few customers in, and the main sound was animated chatter, mostly drowning the racing channel on the tellies.
In the well done interior I noticed some old, possibly original features, some fine leaded glass including the word bar in the porch through which I had entered.
I watched the racing channel for a few minutes, they were loading the horses into the starting gates at Ascot. They really don't want to go in, do they? Is it cruel? I can understand the argument that the horses enjoy a good gallop, but they really didn't seem happy to be clamped into the gate. I guess there's too much money being made by rich people for us to ever consider stricter rules, or an outright ban.
After a few pints one's mind wanders off on all sorts of odd paths. I wondered how it would be if there were various distance races for human runners every day, and we could bet on them. This would avoid any complaints of animal cruelty. All the current horseracing stuff about form and so on would still apply. Would we lose the theatre of the ring before the race? Why, the trainer could lead their runner around for the crowd to assess.
The "salesman" here was selling plugins, I think it's a kind of air freshener. He didn't find any customers.
Where next? It's not far, in fact I can see it up the road, to the Grove:
A fine building with some good external ceramics and great leaded glasswork contains a fine two sided boozer, with quite a few regulars keeping the bar staff busy.
The interior is a mix of original and contemporary, a rather fine blend, I really like the decor here.
Again racing commentary mixed with happy chatter, one particularly loud gambler making most of the noise. His horse came second, "I should have gone each way"!
On the counter was one of those Corona fonts which has a window in the front showing bubbles rising in a lager coloured liquid. I hope this is a fake? I'm not sure I want to drink beer that's been exposed to the light and bubbled since the last person ordered.
Time for home.
Miles walked: 3.2
Maybe coming soon: Rainhill, Kirkby