Today's jaunt started with a foolish decision: As I loaded tablet and map into my bag I glanced out of the window and was pleased to see sunshine. So I was a little miffed when I exited the front door a few minutes later into heavy rain. The sensible choice would have been to let the shower pass and catch a later train but I was in "I've started so I'll finish" mode so arrived at the station rather wet.
The rain, of course, had almost stopped by the time I reached Liverpool, my train was somewhat delayed due to what appeared to be signaller incompetence.
Anyway, I was soon at Kirkdale station for a stroll to my first target, the Mons:
This large pub is now branded Stonehouse. On the first Friday of "dryanuary" it was pretty deserted, I could only see one other customer as I waited at the counter. After a short delay the lone barman spotted me and poured me a Guinness. It was taking some time to settle so he brought it to my table.
The decor in here is rather good, bog standard "traditional" with pastel blue matchboarding below the dado. Everything appeared well maintained.
As I enjoyed my pint a few additional customers came in but there was still acres of empty space.
I looked at the menu on my table which offered a good selection of bar snacks. Don't they do meals any more? Perhaps there's a full menu in the other side. On my way to the gents I learned that there is a restaurant part, complete with a carvery option.
A rather bedraggled looking Just Eat guy came in to collect an order. Not a job I'd fancy in this weather. Or in any other weather, come to think of it.
The other day a friend asked me if Guinness Extra Cold is still a thing. Here there are two Guinness taps, one says Extra Cold and the other doesn't, and I wondered if there was actually any difference. My pint came from the extra cold one, I think that was because that was where I and the barman were standing. Does anyone in the trade know if the difference still exists (Assuming it ever did.)
Next comes my Bootle bonus. While checking my targets last night I discovered 14 Bar and Grill. To be honest, I did wonder if this was a fictitious place - I remember some years ago searching residential streets in Birkenhead for a bar that appeared on Google Maps but had never existed. But there's definitely something sparkly on top of Daniel House:
The entrance doesn't give any clues:
I love the decor in here, the entire ceiling is covered in sparkly baubles. Is that just for Christmas? I hope not.
More customers than the Mons, the muzac mixed with a number of gentle conversations.
The menu looks good although not cheap, fish and chips is £17 and I noticed a 14oz chateaubriand for sharing is £75.
They have a substantial outdoor area which must be good in better weather, and I think there's also a terrace on the roof for even better views.
So, not really the type of place my guide aims at as it is definitely a restaurant, but well worth a visit if only for the decor and the views of the docks, three football grounds, two cathedrals etc etc. Not the sort of place you expect to find in Bootle, perhaps, but deserving of great success in my opinion.
My most expensive pint so far this year, it cost £6.
Next, another tower block but this time it's the ground floor for the Cat and Fiddle:
Years ago this was something of a real ale gem, but sadly no longer: On my 2017 visit I recorded low quality cask, and this time there are no handpumps at all. Nonetheless it is a pleasant comfortable boozer, well maintained, clean and tidy. I had another Guinness.
Quite a few regulars were in, indulging in chatter or, in one case, working on his laptop.
Rather odd sound in here, the TV's are showing a music channel, Now 80s I think, but silently, while the speakers are playing another music selection. On the plus side, we don't get to be annoyed by the adverts from the telly, but it does rather render the screens redundant. Also, if the screen shows a song I like, it's annoying to listen to something completely different. As I wrote that both TV and muzac were rubbish.
Next, the Jawbone Tavern which I'm ashamed to stay I haven't ticked since 2016:
Another one formerly providing real ales, and it says cask ales on the signage, but no handpumps were in evidence so I had another Guinness.
Ticking over with a number of customers here, and the music mixed with animated chatter. It's half three on a Friday, places really need to be busier than this. As I've said before, come on folks, I can't save the industry on my own. (So far this year I've drunk in nine pubs which is not bad in five days, so I think I'm doing my part! Probably one more today plus one or maybe two tomorrow.)
There's just one more target in Bootle so I can't go home without call in to the Addison Arms:
Formerly a Yates's, this enormous pleasantly done one room boozer is, in stark contrast to my four previous calls, busy. Not packed out like I used to experience back in the 90s, but I had to tour the whole room before finding a free table to enjoy my final Guinness of the day.
There was some vague music playing but I couldn't identify it under the loud chatter of umpteen happy drinkers. I think one day I should bring an audio recorder to one of these places, as this cheerful hubbub is something you just don't hear very often nowadays.
The lively atmosphere in here really makes the place, and the contrast to the quiet Mons and Jawbone is amazing.
I could see some food menus on display but no one in my end of the pub was eating, this is certainly a drinkers' boozer and none the worse for that.
Two horse racing channels were on different tellies, and as I looked around quite a few of the customers were watching with interest.
Time for home I think, with the satisfaction of my first new tick of the year, plus four required revisits.
Beer of the day: Guinness
Miles walked: 2.2
Maybe coming soon: Fazakerley, Crosby, Egremont, Wallasey