Today's plan was for a trip to Crosby to revisit a favourite and catch some new ones, but I decided I couldn't be bothered and only went as far as the city centre where I had learned there was a new pub. So, up to Hope Street and the White Hart:
A freshly minted pub (This is only its third day.) in a location which has had various operations including Clove Hitch, Bread and Butter, and finally Keystone which I visited a couple of years ago.
Inside I found a rather wonderful multi room multi floor pub with quirky decor that immediately caused me to suspect that it's a new operation by The 36 Pub Company (The Vines, Queen of Hope Street, Red Lion etc.)
The fine choice of six cask ales confirmed my suspicion; I selected Proper Job which was very good, just as it was in the Big House on Wednesday.
What a beautiful pub, "Dickensian decor" according to one puff piece I read, with the usual trademark real fire, candles, stuffed animals and some ancient furniture.
Where next? As I enjoyed my pint I was checking the internet to confirm the owning company and I'm very glad I did because I learned that the White Hart opened on Thursday along with another bar from the same company. So I headed out the back of the Hart, through the conservatory and in to the Engineer:
Now, one might argue these only count as one pub, but the Engineer has a street entrance and its own toilet so I'm claiming two ticks.
The decor here is very different to the Hart. A sort of industrial vibe, bare brick, tiled floor with cracks, and a mezzanine walkway made of wood which affords access to some small upstairs rooms.
"Only" four handpumps here, I had a lovely pint of Ossett Silver King.
A couple came in with two dogs, one a giant shaggy thing whose head was higher than the counter. (And the dogs were quite big as well! Sorry.) I was pleased when they headed through to the White Hart.
Unlike the other half they had footie on the telly here. Arsenal scored, with Jesus awarded an assist. That reminded me of the very old graffiti outside a Liverpool church. The sign said "JESUS SAVES" and someone wrote underneath "but Dalglish scores on the rebound". I see today is another Saturday with no 3 o'clock matches. Next time a manager whines about fixture congestion ask him what they were doing in January.
You know that thing where a real ale pub has a collection of previous pump clips on display? I've always had a little suspicion that they buy in a job lot of clips. Well there's a row of them behind the bar here and since it's only day three of operation they obviously aren't beers that have previously been on sale!
The Silver King went off sale as I drank mine which was a touch cloudy but tasted fine. Another member of staff came over from the White Hart and disappeared into the "cellar" behind the counter, and I could hear the sound of a mallet working on a cask. Soon the Silver King was back on.
Time to move on, perhaps I can continue with places never before ticked?
Down towards the other (Anglican) end of Hope Street is Papillon:
Despite the sign saying "a public house" it is actually very close to the pub/restaurant borderline. Ignoring the Please wait to be seated sign I stood at the counter by the pumps, but my order was taken by a passing waitress who pointed me to a table and soon brought me a fine pint of White Rat.
Could this one also belong to 36? Similar ale selection and candles on the tables suggest so but the internet says no. Anyway it is a rather good place although more of a restaurant than a pub in my opinion.
That's two new ticks, can we get more? Of course we can, let's try Antisocial:
Here I found a completely empty one room bar where the friendly barman poured me a pint of Camden Hells. He had seen me taking a picture and apparently there's something special about the building's frontage which causes architecture students to take photos, so I explained the Guide and why I was here. He bemoaned the problems of being on the borderline between bar and restaurant, it looks like a restaurant from the front so they don't get the drinkers that they deserve. On reflection, perhaps it would do better if they wrote the name in big letters on the front!
Our chat was interrupted by two more customers but they turned out to be enquiring about a function booking, so didn't actually buy any drinks.
The decor in here is sort of modern plain, in my opinion rather well done with just enough clutter to make the place feel comfortable.
Two more customers came in, they had some complicated coffee/chocolate order which kept the barman busy for ages. Still, custom is custom.
Someone else came in, but he seemed to be staff, so once again no sale.
Time to go home, but maybe one more brand new tick? On the route back to the station on Hardman Street is Metrocola:
The picture was taken on my way up some hours ago, it was getting dark by now.
How does one pronounce the name? My guess would be metro-cola but it could be met-rock-o-la? Aha, their web site says Metro-cola.
Annoyingly, being four pints to the good I wasn't on the ball so I completely failed to spot the handpumps and ordered a fine pint of (real) Budweiser. I wonder if the Cheshire Cat would have been any good.
How can I sum up the decor? Distressed wooden floor, bare brick walls, yellow tiles on the counter front, neon signage and lots of hanging greenery, I really like it.
Quite a few groups, my age and much younger were keeping the place going so obviously they're doing something right. At four on a Saturday afternoon they are ticking over, I bet it's a lot busier later, at least I hope so.
I wondered if I had been in here before, in the days before the pub guide I used to frequent night clubs around here on a Friday night, but I think Plummers and Kirkland's were elsewhere on Hardman Street, so this really is a new one.
My electrical engineering mind kicked in: There are a number of METROCOLA neon signs around the room, but are they really neon or some modern simulacrum? I have to say the one nearest my seat had the blacked tubes between each letter which suggested to me it was genuine. If I'm right it's good to know someone is still making real neon signage. Google to the rescue once again, the answer is yes and there's a company in Bolton for example.
Well, how about that! Two brand new pubs and four brand new ticks taking my grand total to 1,470. Can I make 1,500 this year? Time for home.
Beer of the day: White Rat
Miles walked: 1.8
Maybe coming soon: Fazakerley, Crosby, Anfield, Wallasey, Kirkdale.