On a day of rubbish autumn weather I headed for some overdue ticks in the vicinity of Old Swan. I was expecting just "routine" pub visits, but I was in for a surprise.
I've done all the pubs in the middle of Old Swan recently so I headed along Prescot Road aiming for the Derby Lodge. First, I wanted to confirm that the former Corner Tavern is closed, and it is:
Having photographed the Corner and the Derby I carried on to the next pedestrian crossing to get over the busy road. While I'm here I might as well go a few yards further to see what the state of the Old Stanley Arms is. My last visit was back in 2002 and it closed not long after. Much to my surprise I found it open, now called Mr Smiths:
Well I never! What a great bonus tick this one is; I never thought I'd see it open again. Mind you, the area has got form in this regard; I remember walking up Green Lane a few years ago to photograph the closed Melbourne only to find it open.
Plain well decorated and maintained rooms in this classic ordinary boozer. I tried to recall what it looked like 21 years ago, but failed.
Just four regulars were chatting with the friendly barmaid who soon provided me with a pint of Carling.
Across the road was the Stanley, this has been derelict for many years and is now covered in scaffolding.
Back up the road to the Derby Lodge:
A plain comfortable boozer this, ticking over at two with a handful of blokes aged between ten and seventy watching the early match.
Again, the place is clean and well cared for although the carpet is getting a touch tired in places. Unchanged since my last visit, in 2018, two rooms with counters, plus a back room.
Above the counter was an Everton flag. Are LFC fans welcome as well, I wonder? Luckily today my teeshirt is blue!
My next move was up Green Lane where there were two pubs about fifty yards apart. Surely they can't both have survived COVID? Yes they have; I started in the Melbourne:
Another classic boozer this, with plain but well maintained decor in two rooms. And it's had an external repaint since the last time I was here.
Man United had managed to win the early match in injury time, again footie was on the tellies here.
The dominant soundtrack was animated chatter, plus the weirdo in the corner talking to himself. I was sitting in the quieter side room with just two others, there were a lot more in the other side.
One bloke departed, leaving me with just the wierdo. Should I join his chatter? I didn't.
The tellies switched to rugger, of course the three o'clock soccer matches are not legally available. Years ago pubs could buy dodgy decoders or cards and show all matches but maybe that doesn't happen any more. I remember being in a pub in Tuebrook and fifteen minutes into the match the illegal feed went off. There were a lot of disgruntled fans! I'm guessing it was a deliberate tactic to change the encoding so that pirate decoders would stop working right in the middle of the match.
Just a short walk now, to the Wellington:
Having purchased yet another Carling I had to retreat to the back room because there were no seats available in the front bar, where everyone seemed to be watching the racing on the telly.
Another classic boozer this, with more traditional styling I think. The back room was fairly empty, just three other drinkers and I shared plenty of space.
I seem to remember coming in here on a very chilly day and enjoying a fan heater in the front room, no need for that today as the whole pub was at a comfortable temperature, if not exactly warm.
Definitely a horses pub this, Everton went 1-0 up then 1-1, then back to 1-0 thanks to VAR and no one noticed, while they all watched the horses at Wetherby. I apologise for the excess of footie coverage, especially as I know absolutely nothing about the subject, but a friend who lives in West Wales and is an Everton fan is here for a visit and we enjoyed a few pints together last night. He'll be at today's match so I have a special interest in how the blues are getting on.
What a pleasant pub this is, regulars chatting to the barmaid/landlady, lots of customers watching the racing, what more could one ask for on a Saturday afternoon?
Having found more pubs open than expected, I didn't need my fallback options, Cask and the Stag and Rainbow, so I might as well head home now.
Beer of the day: Carling
Miles walked: 1
Maybe coming soon: New Brighton