Saturday 8 April 2023

Two Steps Forward, Four Steps Back

On a pleasant sunny April Saturday I travelled to Rice Lane, hoping for some new ticks and some overdue ones.  I started in the back streets at the Breeze:

How did that happen?  This pub has been in my list for twenty-three years, it's only a couple of hundred yards from other pubs I have drunk in, and yet I've never been here.  It seems so unlikely that I'm wondering if I came in twenty something years ago and then the record got lost in the pre-database days.

Anyway, this is a typical backstreet boozer, knocked through to create an L-shaped room, plainly decorated and fairly tidy.  Apart from the bench seats being due for a recovering the interior is in good nick, as all pubs seem to be nowadays.  I was amused to note one place where the painter doing the what do you call it, the moulding between wall and ceiling, (Checks Google - crown moulding, no wait, that's American, it is of course coving.) had run out of paint half way along and never returned to finish it.

Just a handful of regulars were watching Everton lose on the telly.  Oddly the caption on the screen was labelled home and away with no indication of the team names.  Perhaps some dodgy foreign channel? 

Now, on to Rice Lane itself for a quick picture of the Queen Victoria which my pre-flight checks had shown was closed:

Next, probably the least well known architectural gem in Liverpool, the Prince Arthur:

I'm pleased to see they've improved the outside by taking down the excess of Sky banners, but it is the inside that is most important and, wow, it's all still here.  The lounge side is served via hatches in the bar back, across a drinking corridor.  The bar back itself is filled with wonderful leaded glass, and the arches between the lounge rooms and the corridor are also crowned with leaded glasswork.  

I relaxed and enjoyed my pint of fizz, admiring the interior.

Quite a lot of people were in here, the pub was filled with lively chatter.  Most were watching Everton lose on a channel which has the team names in the caption.  As soon as the football was over the TV switched to racing, and there was a flurry of newspapers and betting slips.  I was interested to note modernity creeping in, a significant proportion of the racing fans were betting on their phones rather than nipping out to the bookies.

Just across the road from the Arthur is the former Raffles/Shamrock/Northcote which has turned into a shop since I was last here in 2018:

My next target, again for purely photographic purposes, is the former Plough, last visited in 2003 and now a nursery.  At least the rather good building has survived, it was proposed for demolition in 2017 I believe.

Now, a few steps up a side road is Dunny's:

I always had this down as a social club and the only time I tried to get in, back in 2000, it was shut, but it's certainly welcoming drinkers today so I gained another brand new tick.

Behind the small frontage is a large social club style L-shaped bar room and a function room laid out for a "do" later, or perhaps it always looks like that.

The bar room was quite busy, although there were plenty of free tables and I selected one in a secluded corner.  BT sports news competed with racing on various TVs, but the main sound I could hear was the chatter of the regulars.

I noticed a small area divided from the main room by a glass partition and signed "smoker room".  I assume that's left over from the pre-smoking ban era.

Continuing northwards up Rice Lane we reach the former Bakery Inn, now an Indian restaurant.  Another one lost:

Just across the road is the Prince Leopold:

The outside has been well looked after since I was last here, and inside I found a very well cared for two sided boozer in which everyone, including me, was in the bar side.  A bit of a classic, this one, with a small amount of leaded glasswork surviving, and the lounge side served from a small opening in the bar back.

Five years ago I was startled to find decent cask ale here, no sign of any handpumps this time, so I stuck with my usual Canadian fizz.

Just four regulars keeping the place going at four on a Saturday, MTV providing the soundtrack.

Time for home, I think.  Two new ticks is excellent, but four closures is less welcome.

Pub of the day: Prince Arthur
Beer of the day: Carling
Miles walked: 1.9
Maybe coming soon: Everton, Southport, Smithdown Road.

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