A bright sunny Saturday saw me on two trains and a bus to the most northerly extremity of my purview, at Crossens. I started in the Marsh Harrier:
It's hard to put a date on this building. It could be 70s or even 2010s but I'm going to guess 80s.
Indoors is a two sided layout, very well decorated in restrained modern style, I really like it.
I eyed up the three handpumps and dithered. "I'll make it easy for you", said the friendly barman, "I've only got this one on." So, a pint of Theakston Light Foot, and very good it was too. The barmaid suggested turning the clips round on the other pumps, but apparently "he doesn't like it". I advised that "he" was wrong!
I relaxed on a comfortable bench seat to enjoy a good pint. Only a few customers in to keep the place ticking over at two on a Saturday, with more gradually coming in, including dining families.
Just a short walk through suburban streets is my other Crossens target, Beer Den 2. Oh!
Colour me grumpy, but if a pub can't be bothered to open at half two on a Saturday, when the internet says they are, then I don't see why I should bother to spend any money there.
I considered going round and banging on the back door to see if anyone was setting up, but decided not to bother, so I caught a bus back towards Southport, jumping off early for another new tick, the Imperial:
This is a rather well done dining pub in an old house. It is run by Holt's and the real ale offer is two of their brews, my Two Hoots was spot on.
The quiet background music was mostly obscured by cheerful conversation and the rattle of cutlery. I looked at the menu, a good selection and reasonably priced. What's "Wexford Chicken", I wondered - I passed through there two days ago, but didn't stop to check out the local cuisine. Google tells me it's in a creamy mushroom sauce.
England seem to be slowing to a halt in the test match, while both local footie teams are winning, according to the large, thankfully silent, screen above the fireplace.
I looked around. This seems to be an above average chain dining pub, for some reason I can't put my finger on I really like it. A little voice in my head says "That's because it's open!"
Next, can I get a third new tick? I headed for Coopers:
I hadn't researched this one much so I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a very nicely done shop conversion with a small counter in one corner offering three real ales. At first swig I didn't much like the one I chose, called Hubble, but that was purely a matter of personal taste, there certainly wasn't anything wrong with it.
Live music is obviously an important part of this pub, judging by the guitars, amps, mic stands and so on on the stage area.
No live music at four on a Saturday, and only two or three customers.
I noticed in Dublin this week that all the "tourist" bars had live music, the quality varying from good to excellent, although I wish they wouldn't all murder Beatles numbers.
The ale was growing on me as I drank it, actually I quite like it. My handled mug came from IKEA, surely the wholesaler is cheaper than that?
Next, just round the corner used to be the Bottle Room, is it still there with a different name? Yes, Beer Inn.
I seem to have forgotten to take a picture.
From my vague recollections of 2014 this place hasn't changed at all apart from the name, it's a very narrow corridor bar. Unfortunately the handpumps were not in use, but my pint of Beavertown Neck Oil was great. One of my favourite keg beers, I think.
Not many customers in, I'm afraid, this place deserves to do better than two of us inside and two out in the street.
I scanned the impressive selection of bottles on shelves and in fridges. From Titanic Plum Porter to Oude Geuze Boon via Hacker Pschorr Hefe Weisse, what a fantastic range.
Gosh, LFC are 9-0 up, Everton now drawing, and in the cricket England are slowly grinding on towards a win, I think.
I looked around. I'm the only customer now! Two came in as I was finishing my pint.
Time for home.
Miles walked: 2.2
Maybe coming soon: Heswall