Saturday 11 November 2023

Kirkdale and Walton

On a sunny autumn afternoon I set off towards County Road without making much of a detailed plan.  There are so many "required" pubs around here (About twenty) that finding some not open will not be a problem.  From Kirkdale station I skipped the Peacock because it has already been ticked this year and carried on to the Hawthorne:

A large well appointed boozer this, two sides plus another area which today was set out for some kind of function.  (Baby shower I later learned by listening in to the chat at the bar.)  Everywhere is nicely decorated, wood panelling and stained glass, and is that counter front genuine 1930s/50s or is it a 1980s re-creation?  Either way, the whole place is attractive and pleasant.

Only a handful of customers, watching the early match on the telly or chatting to the bar staff.

I avoided messing up the party area and sat in a corner with the footie fan, to enjoy a fine pint of Guinness, which only cost £3.35.

Next, towards County Road, with the Stuart on the way.  Sadly estate agents' signs warned me that I was probably too late for a revisit and sure enough the doors were all closed.  A sad loss, this one, I remember an interior retaining the classic layout with lounges served from a hatch in the bar back across a drinking corridor.

I carried on to County Road and the Black Horse:

A Greene King outlet with no real ale so it was another Guinness for me.  (Over four quid this time)  This large pub has a very well maintained interior in traditional style and I sat in the impressive "concert hall" area which has a high arched roof with a square stained glass lantern.  The modernisation has not been kind to this feature, with a servery extension and the kitchen occupying part of the space, but at least they didn't demolish it.

I looked at my marked up map with orange highlighter indicating all the required ticks.  Today really would have been a good time to revert to a half in each pub, but frankly I can't be bothered, and anyway it takes me a whole pint to write this drivel.  So you can expect further visits to this area in the near future.  Thinking about it, I need to come on an Everton home match day, as some have limited opening hours.  Why didn't I do that last Saturday?  Who knows!

A family group with a number of very young kids arrived and occupied part of the room.  It's good to see people still come to the pub for a family outing. The little ones were well behaved, I'm pleased to report.  These are the people who will be keeping the pubs going twenty years from now!

Next, on to the Top House.  Another estate agent's sign caused a moment of concern, but it was on the next door building, and the pub was open:

A beautifully cared for traditional boozer ticking over with a number of regulars chatting with the friendly barmaid who soon poured me another Guinness.  (£3.70 I think)  I sat in a quiet side room, the two bar layout of this pub has obviously been modified over the years, so historic features are thin on the ground, but it is very pleasant.  My guide entry from 2018 called this a "backstreet gem", you can't say fairer than that.

The early match continued, but hardly anyone was paying attention, sometimes I wonder whether the pub gets any value from their (presumably expensive) subscription.  Do they get the occasional more "interesting" match - Top of the league and/or a local team - in their package?  Wolves, who I'm guessing were the underdogs, equalised near the end and then scored a winner in injury time, to the general approval of the clientele here.

After the Top House one can only really go on to the Bottom House, more correctly known as the Anfield Hotel:

Curses!  It's shut.  Handwritten signs in the window say Open 12 November, so it should be back in action tomorrow.

Back to County Road and in to what used to be the Glebe, now Bernie May's.  My picture was very blurry so here's one from 2018, it hasn't changed much:

This knocked through pub with very good contemporary decor was remarkably busy, probably because they've got the Everton match on.  So my comments last week were well wide of the mark!  Just a moment!  Five minutes in to the match and it's already one each?

The majority of the customers in here were watching the football, but by no means all of them.  Racing fans were watching the horses on other screens, and others were just chatting with each other.

There's something special about a boozer on a Saturday afternoon, with blokes (they're all blokes) enjoying lots of beer, and the sports on the tellies.

Is it time for home?

Pub of the day: Bernie May's, for the atmosphere
Beer of the day: Guinness
Miles walked: 1.9
Maybe coming soon: More Kirkdale, Wavertree

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