Saturday 25 February 2023

From Everton to Tuebrook

I headed out towards Breck Road, Everton on a very chilly Saturday afternoon, starting at the Brunel:

My pre-flight checks had warned me this closed in 2021, and it would appear to belong to the local Baptist church now.

A little further along is the Royal:

At first glance I thought this might also have closed, but through the steel grills I could see people moving about inside, so I went in and sure enough found a plain two sided boozer with a fair number of customers.

The interior seems to have lost the fake beams I noted last time.  It's a little tatty, perhaps, but clean and tidy.  And comfortable, albeit a touch chilly.

The spelling on the various notices is appalling:  "premesis" indeed!  I blame the teachers education system.

On to the Lutine Bell:

This one looked closed as well:  Shutters down on the front door and a man on a ladder working on the side door shutters.  But no, there are people inside.  Advised by the shutter menders, I headed round to the back yard entrance and in through the smokers area.

Once inside I found a plain beautifully maintained pub, well occupied by regulars at half one on a Saturday.

The rather bright mustard yellow paintwork I recall from my last visit, in 2017, has become a cheerful but not over garish red.  And it's warm in here as well.

There were enough people in the place to make the main sound a hubbub of cheerful chatter; of course they all know each other.  This really is the archetypal friendly boozer, long may it survive.

It was pleasing to see a barmaid kept busy all the time I was here, an almost non stop flow of drinks over the counter.  She did occasionally have time to stop for a chat, but mostly she was pouring.

A little further along is the Windermere:

Another one that looks to be closed, and this time it is, I'm sorry to say.  With the benefit of hindsight I wonder if I should have pushed on the door?

I carried on, passing the long closed but still standing Richmond Arms, last ticked in December 1998, when they had hand-pulled Walker's Bitter:

And on to the Cabbage Hall:

This is a nicely done family dining sort of place, very different from the Lutine - And just as successful.

A well decorated and spotlessly clean interior with nothing historic remaining in this fine 1920s or even earlier (guess) building.

Quite a few family groups were eating, although I wouldn't call it busy.

I've heard of "doggie bags" for taking left over food home but the group sitting near me had plastic glasses for left over lager when they departed, I've not seen that before.

I'm not sure if I've discussed the odd name previously:  It is said that a large manor house nearby had the wall on the street decorated with stone pineapples; this was fashionable in Victorian times - And nowadays as well.  The local people had never seen a pineapple and so named the house cabbage hall.

The closed Brunel, expected, and Windermere, unexpected, leaves me short of targets so now I have a choice:  Go home after three, redo a pub done last year, or go for a slightly longer walk.  I looked at my map, there's one isolated target in Tuebrook, so walk it is...

I last visited the Flat House in 2017, I wonder if it has changed?

The answer is it is basically unchanged but a little cooler and, I'm afraid, a lot emptier.  I remember last time I was here - in 2017 - rejoicing over the discovery that "proper" traditional boozers like this were continuing to do well.  I had to perch at the corner of a table, because there was nowhere else to sit.  Today I had the same table to myself and there were plenty of others available.

It would be warmer in here if the smokers would "put wood in't hole" when they went out the back for a smoke.  Actually, after I'd written that they mostly did, and the room felt a lot more comfortable without the icy draught.

There was a steady flow of customers in and out, and many of them knew each other and/or the rather attractive barmaid / landlady.

They've got that mysterious "Caines Lager" here; where does it come from?  Only £2 a pint in February.  I guess my Carling marked me out as an idiot, because Carlsberg is also £2, but I paid somewhat more.

OK, only four ticks today but I think I'll head for home...

Pub of the day: Lutine Bell
Beer of the day: Carling, again.
Miles walked: 1.9
Maybe coming soon: Southport, Everton, Edge Hill

Friday 17 February 2023


A bus under the river soon saw me in Liscard where there are a number of pubs last ticked in January 2018 and therefore due a revisit.

I started in the Queens:

Not much change in here in five years except for a refurbishment which has resulted in the side I selected looking even better than last time, I think.

Two handpumps on the counter but an "awaiting perfection" sign meant no cask at the moment.  Perhaps later?  I had a Carling.

About a dozen regulars were keeping the chatter going, not bad for one on a Friday, I imagine there are a lot more later.

I could see three different TV sports channels from my seat.

Three constables came in and had a brief word with the barman.  Nosy as always, I tried to listen in but failed.

Next, the slightly odd Stanley's:

No clips on the three handpumps, so it was fizz again for me, and they haven't got Carling!

As I remarked last time I was here, this is a rather peculiar place.  The bare brick decor with little touches that hint at "baronial" style, especially the impressive fireplace, is very attractive but I'm not sure what kind of clientele it is aimed at.

In any case, at two on a Friday I was the only customer which doesn't bode well, although if I recall correctly it was pretty quiet last time I came and it has apparently survived OK since then.  A sign advertised food on Sunday, I can imagine the place full of families enjoying Sunday dinner.

I listened to clonk-clonk-clonk, always in threes.  Yes, the staff were playing darts.  Where did I hear that sound before?  Oh yes, the Volly in Waterloo.

Moving on, I walked to the Vineyard which I expected to be closed; it was, so on to the Duke Of Wellington:

Here I confused the lone barmaid by sneaking in the side door while she went out the other for a smoke break.  She apologized profusely but actually a thirty second delay is hardly anything to complain about.  I insisted there was no problem.

Those stories about people going to their local to save on heating at home clearly don't apply here, it was freezing.  Just a very small number of customers, I think "ticking over" would be exaggerating the trade.  Perhaps some heat would get more people in.  There's a Wetherspoon's just down the road, I bet that's warm.  (We'll see later...)

Onwards, hoping for better ale, to the Lazy Landlord:

Result!  Oakham Citra, one of the greatest ales ever made. Carefully pulled through before my pint was served.  And it was gorgeous.

I've always thought of this as an above average micro-pub, and this visit just confirms that opinion.  Pleasant decor, friendly barman, quality ale, what more could one ask for?  Not that warm inside, but certainly warmer than the Wellington, and storm Otto outside.

Plenty of breweriana decorates the small back area, including a wonderful Tetley sign.

The place was ticking over at ten past three, with more customers than the ten times larger Wellington.

Finally, the Wetherspoon's Clairville, which I'm surprised to see I haven't ticked since 2017:

Another great result, another one of the best ales ever, this time it's Titanic Plum Porter.  Perhaps I ought to make a list of the top ten ales, but that might result in more controversy than I'm ready for?

Plenty of free tables but this is certainly the busiest pub today.  It is now nearly four o'clock, so I guess the others may be more busy than they were.  A classic Wetherspoon's this; where all you can hear is a hubbub of chatter.  My shares are gradually creeping up in value; I think investors are finally realising that the 'spoons formula will do even better in a time of financial constraint and it's the more expensive pubs that will suffer.

As I enjoyed my ale I thought some more about the "greatest ales":  Am I allowed to include historical ones?  Burtonwood Bitter in 1981 would be on my list, for example, but you can't get it any more.

Pub of the day: Lazy Landlord
Beer of the day: Oakham Citra
Miles walked: 1.5
Maybe coming soon: Breck Road, Rice Lane, Edge Hill

Tuesday 14 February 2023

The Book

Following a lot of editing and typesetting, the 2023 edition of the Merseyside Pub Guide book went on sale today.

This year's weighty tome has 298 pages and lists 1,941 pubs of which I have visited 1,426.

You can order a copy direct from the printer by clicking here, or it is available from Amazon and other distributors.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Another Match Day

My recent successes at Anfield prompted me to try the other local team, so I headed out to Kirkdale.  The danger of going out on a match day is that you, dear reader, will probably have to suffer the opinions on football of someone who knows nothing about it.  Mind you, if you watch the coverage on the telly you'll be accustomed to that, and I don't get paid millions for my drivel.  I'll try and resist the temptation...

A good start:  Close to the station the Peacock and the Melrose Abbey, both of which I feared were long gone, are open.  I snapped photos and carried on towards the ground, saving these two desirable ticks for later.

Always a sign of disgruntled fans, a Cessna was towing a banner around the ground, I didn't manage to work out what it said. 

Down a side road is the impressive building that is the Medlock Hotel:

Last ticked in 2000, I suspected this one was out of action but no, and I was soon swigging a Carling in the comfortable lounge.  I can't actually remember 23 years ago, but it seems to roughly match my database entry from then, a two sided pub.  The lounge side may have been knocked through as it's now one room with nice wood panelling below the dado.

The match was on the TV in the bar side, with a handful of locals watching, I was in splendid isolation in the lounge.

I hurried my drink, hoping to get as many ticks as possible done before full time, and headed out.

I passed the Westminster, which I thought might be match days only but it was shut, and noted the Barlow was open, and then did a double take when I realised I'd walked past the Elm Tree but it wasn't there any more, having been replaced by new flats and houses:

Next, last visited in 2004, the Springfield:

Last time I wrote "A beautiful well kept traditional boozer with a small front bar and a very pleasant lounge served from a small hatch", and nothing much has changed.  It was nearly empty while the match was on despite it being on the telly, and the staff were enjoying their chippy dinners during the lull.  A friendly barmaid offered to move with her chips so I could have a better view.

The decor in the lounge side is very plain, with no pictures on the walls, but well maintained and cared for.

Carling again, knocked back quickly, and then on to the Winslow:

Another '04 one, this, so a third desirable tick.  I've only ever been in here previously post-match, so a bit hard to make comparisons.  It was surprisingly busy at half time, but I got the feeling that a significant proportion of the customers were staff from here or other local businesses, enjoying the eye of the hurricane.

Pundit whitter on the TV was mostly drowned by cheerful chatter in the end I sat in, I noticed there didn't appear to be any way to the other bar without going outside.

Memories of here a long time ago were evoked; it was dark, the music was loud and the room was jam packed with friendly Everton and away fans.  I recall being impressed to see the away fans treated well by the locals, with a little friendly banter but no aggro.

I bet this place is still popular after the match, they even offer free food according to the signs.

With the second half under way it's time to start heading back towards the station, hoping I can get another two ticks without too much overcrowding.

The Melrose Abbey:

The efficient and friendly barmaid apologised for the lack of fivers in my change, and then later came to see me to offer to swap one for five coins, I said it's OK, I'll spend it in the next pub.  She also pointed out the free food, not sure what it was but it smelled good!

I'm getting tired of saying this but once again the pub is plain and well looked after.  The match was on in the bar side, I resorted to the lounge where I sat alone and made my notes.

Oh dear, I've resisted well so far but here we go...  Everton were now winning, if they keep on to full time it will be a great result for the new manager.  Also, the bottom of the league is quite "compressed", so one or two unexpected wins could move them up quite a bit.

Finally, the Peacock:

Another one last ticked in 2004.  The historical interior I noted last time seems to have gone, but it's still a plain pleasant well cared for boozer, with quite a few locals watching the last few minutes.  Others fired up the pool table so clearly weren't interested.

The quarry tiled floor is rather unusual, contributing to the plain but well maintained space.  There was quite a lot of LFC decor, it's obviously not an Everton pub like the Winslow was.

Everton still winning with just a few minutes to go, can they make it?  I've managed five pints during the match, can I get to the station before the fans?

They did and I did, sharing the train with just a few early leavers.

Pub of the day: Too close to call, they were all good.
Beer of the day: Er, Carling.
Miles walked: 2.1
Maybe coming soon: Undecided.