Saturday, 16 July 2022

A Trip To The Theatre - Or Not

I headed to Prescot with the aim of checking out the new Shakespeare North Playhouse which opens today.  If it has got a bar I could get a new tick?  There was a queue to get in, so I didn't bother!

Just round the corner is the Old Mill:

A pleasantly decorated interior here, it's hard to put a name to the style.  

I selected a handpump from three Hydes' brews but "we're not having cask until next week".  So I ordered a Carling.  A regular butted in recommending Dock 4, Hydes' own lager; "go on, give him a taste".  The barmaid did, and it was OK so I switched to that.  "And it's cheaper", my new friend added.

I headed for one of the seating areas.  "Members only" said a woman there, I hesitated and she added "only kidding".

There were plenty of regulars keeping this cheerful friendly place going at one on a Saturday.

I checked the queue, it was longer, so on the the Deanes House:

No change in here since my 2018 visit, except the handpumps seem to have disappeared.

Pretty much deserted, perhaps three other customers, only just outnumbering the two staff, so not doing so well on a Saturday afternoon, with no atmosphere at all.

Perhaps it could be full for LFC home games, St Helens rugby and other sporting events, but I get the feeling this kind of pub is in decline.  No food to bring in the families, no cask for real ale fans, sports is the only thing they offer and everyone's got Sky nowadays (Except me).  On today's evidence, the daily boozers prefer the Old Mill, and who wouldn't?

Where next?  First another look at the queue - same length - and then on to the Hope and Anchor:

Similar in some ways to the Deanes, yet somehow more pubby and friendly.  Once again two staff but this time six or seven customers, so doing slightly better.   Still worryingly empty on a Saturday afternoon.

The plain traditional decor is well cared for, and I think that's a real stone floor, and not the usual vinyl nonsense.

Next, the Bard:

There's only one thing wrong with this tiny shop conversion, and that is that it is too popular.  I remember struggling for a seat last time I was here and it looked like being the same this time, but as my excellent pint of Shakespeare's Blonde was being poured, some people departed leaving a free table which I soon nabbed.

As you might expect, the walls are covered with your favourite (He certainly isn't mine) author's quotes.  I noticed a "greengrocer's apostrophe" in one, but whether the Bard himself erred I could not say.  (Subsequent research revealed that the apostrophe was used in plural's in some early edition's of his work's.)

Next, the least recently visited pub nearby is Wetherspoon's, so that's where I'm heading. Really, I ought to walk a mile to the Holt, last visited in 2015, but I can't be bothered.

Actually, I eyed up the beer list here in the Bard and was tempted to stay for another, probably Tiny Rebel's lovely Clwb Tropicana, but I resisted.

The Watch Maker:

Sometimes the requirements of pub ticking mean I have to walk past the cask pub and have a lager down the road, it is pleasing when it works the other way round.  Amongst the ales on offer was Shakesbeer, celebrating the theatre's opening.  When I noticed it was brewed by Peerless I knew it would be good and indeed it was.

The pub was busy but not packed, with plenty of food coming out of the kitchen, I don't really understand why my shares are going down, surely if people are worried about inflation they are more likely to come somewhere cheap, and it's the expensive dining places that will see a drop in trade?

So, in conclusion, I failed on the prime objective because I didn't go inside the theatre, but I did visit five pubs last ticked in 2018, so that's a pretty good result.  I also had two pints of quality real ale.  On the down side, the Holt, last visited in 2015, now sits alone, miles from any other wanted tick.

Or does it?  On my walk to the bus stop I passed no less than three bars I've never heard of, so clearly Prescot deserves another visit, sooner rather than later.

Pub of the day: Wetherspoon's
Miles walked: 1.1
Maybe coming soon: Crossens, Southport, more Prescot

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