Saturday 15 April 2023

Another Junction

I headed away from the inevitable overcrowding in Liverpool on Grand National day and took the train to St Helens Junction where there are a number of pubs overdue for a call.  I started in the Boilermaker's Arms:

Outside, the previous red colour scheme has been replaced by a less conspicuous green.  The closed door gave me a moment of concern, but the entrance round the corner was more inviting and I was soon inside this pleasant plain two room pub.

A handful of locals were enjoying the early footie, we had a choice of two matches.  On the screen near me I noticed there were two beer glass logos bottom right.  For those who don't know, the beer glass indicates that the pub price, much higher than domestic prices, has been paid to Sky.  An investigator only has to look in the door to see if the pub is cheating.  The glass varies between full, half full, and empty from day to day so the landlord can't paint it on the screen!  However, I've never seen two glasses before.  BT Sport have a red box top right for the same purpose.

I resisted the free curry on offer, there was a pile of nans beside the heated pot, but I didn't see anyone eating.

It is good to once again be sitting in a classic boozer, I keep saying they are a dying breed but I keep finding them, thank goodness.  Hopefully another one next...

The Little Pig:

This two sided corner house is beautiful, comfortable, tidy and well maintained.  It really is a little gem. 

A dozen or so customers were keeping the place alive, commentary from Aintree mixing with gentle conversations.

Unlike in the Boilermaker's, the TVs were showing the racing here with some of the regulars watching.

Next, the Red Lion:

This classic sixties building contains a rather fine two sided pub in which I'm not sure which is lounge and which is bar.  I walked through the corridor to the other side because that's where the landlady was, and soon had an excellent, and cheap, pint of cask Holt's Bitter to enjoy.

I returned through the corridor to the quieter side where I could sit in peace and quiet and write this.  There's a stage at the end of this room with a DJ booth and lots of disco lights set up so I imagine it will be noisy later.  Shortly after I sat down, the other two occupants of the room finished their drinks and departed, leaving me alone.  I seem to recall sitting in solitude on the same seat in this room last time I was here five and a half years ago.  Occasionally a local passed through to have a smoke outside, one said "Orright bud".

I looked at the counter, this is a Holt's house so almost all of the fonts are for their own products, Crystal Lager, Crystal Gold, Trailblazer Stout and so on.  But they don't make a cider so Strongbow and Strongbow Dark Fruits are allowed in as the only non-Holt taps.  An opportunity missed there, they should be making a cider as well.  (Business management advice available, only £100 an hour, enquire within.)

Finally, back towards the station and the second Junction of the month:

As you can see, it's really hard to get a good photo of this place, the busy car park thwarting my attempts.

Gosh, this place is busy.  The garden has a bouncy castle and lots of kids, the lounge side has some kind of buffet going on, and I managed to grab the last table in the bar.

A rather fine and obviously very successful pub this, I can only assume skilful management gets everyone in when the other three pubs I visited were fairly quiet.

I reached into my bag for my tablet, to make some notes, and panicked when it wasn't there.  I searched through the bag twice and then decided to abandon my lager and head back to the Red Lion to find it.  Then I noticed I'd already got it out and put it on the table beside me.  What an idiot.

No racng here, Sky Sports News forming the soundtrack in the bar side, mixing with the animated hubbub from the lounge.  Actually I'm wrong, a smaller telly was showing Aintree for those who wanted it - No one that I could see.

Mindful of the sparse post-COVID service I was checking the timetable for a train home, fortunately there was one at a convenient time.

People familiar with the pubs in the area may be wondering why I missed out some.  I even had to walk past the Vulcan.  No slight was intended to the Bowling Green and the Vulcan, it's just that I ticked both of them last year, so priority went to pubs not visited for over five years.

Pub of the day: Little Pig, by a narrow margin.
Beer of the day: Holt's Bitter
Miles walked: 1.8
Maybe coming soon: Everton, Wavertree

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