Friday 1 March 2024

Woolton and Halewood

A chilly damp Friday with no trains saw me on the bus to Woolton from where I soon walked to the CookHouse:

This unusual curved building used to be the English Rose, a two sided pub which still had many original features inside when I was first here twenty-six years ago.  More recently it was refurbished out of all recognition in a pleasant modern style.  The CookHouse is definitely food-oriented but still welcomes drinkers.  It still has the uncommon curved shape to the main room.

The cask ale I enjoyed in 2018 has gone and there was no Carling visible (It's surprising how few pubs don't sell it, only Guinness is more ubiquitous, I think) so I treated myself to a pint of the delicious Neck Oil.  Having written that it occurred to me that I didn't see any Guinness taps either.  I checked on the way out and yes, they only have Murphy's.

Only a smattering of customers at one thirty on a Friday, some eating others drinking.  No one visited the carvery while I was there, I always think this will result in chewy dried out meat.  The menu of pub standards looks good and occasionally a waiter emerged from the kitchen with food for elsewhere in the pub.

Next, how about another unusual building; Will the Grenadier be open?

Yes it is.  Inside this wonderful piece of sixties whimsy is a classic estate boozer.  There has been some knocking through inside but it still has three rooms and two counters in what I assume is close to the original layout.

Carling this time (and Guinness was available), a scan round the room showed almost everyone had a Carling glass, as did I.

Here we had that irritating arrangement of a silent music channel on the TVs and different music on the speakers.  Why do they do that?

Six regulars plus me were the custom at two fifteen, that's poor for a Friday but I guess it's the norm nowadays.

As usual in the 2020s, the furniture, carpet and walls were all immaculate.  When was the last time I visited a truly scruffy pub?

Next, let's tick the Hillfoot.  I thought I was being smart when Google Maps offered me a short cut, but it turned out I was too clever for my own good as I headed across a rather squelchy golf course and then along a narrow overgrown path between houses.  I managed to avoid being cut to shreds by the brambles in the jungle and eventually reached civilisation and my destination, the Hillfoot:

A bog standard chain dining pub, this, nicely decorated.  I entered to a lot of lively chatter, it was very loud in here, but by the time I had drunk an inch of my Carling the big group had departed and it was suddenly much more peaceful.  The music, perhaps turned up while it was busy, was now a little on the loud side but not too bad.  

I wonder if a microphone could be used with a control system to adjust the music level according to the noise in the room?  That sounds like the sort of thing a big pub chain would be interested in, much of their modus operandi seems to involve removing from the local staff any kind of decision making or initiative, so why not take away their volume controls.  Perhaps I've just invented something that could be a lucrative product - Dragons' Den here I come!

I looked out of the rear windows, the beer garden looks good, I bet it is popular in warmer weather.  They've got plenty of tables on the grass and also a number of wooden shelters to keep the sun (or rain) off.  Needless to say there was no one out there today, despite the late afternoon sunshine.

As I reached the end of my pint I looked around again, they are really doing well with most tables occupied as we headed towards Friday evening.  It's only four o'clock but the rush is getting started.

Now on to Hunts Cross station and the Waiting Room:

Good grief, busy or what?  I took my Carling (In a Fosters glass, tut tut) on a tour of the pub, eventually finding a high table to sit at.

So, how to describe this pub, located in the original station buildings?  Pleasant, comfortable, plain, well done are all comments that come to mind.  Whatever it looks like, it is certainly a successful boozer, you'd be hard put to find a seat at four on a Friday.

The music was at the right level, audible but mostly beaten by the hubbub of cheerful chatter.

Now the 89 bus has a weird timetable in which they get less frequent in rush hour so I had to drink slowly and wait for the next bus home.  In the increased traffic due to the train strike they were not managing to keep to time anyway, luckily the live bus map kept me updated.

The big screen was showing horse racing.  One horse had decided he or she didn't want to race, the jockey kicked his heels in and the horse just stood still.  Eventually the jockey dismounted and a groom walked the horse, still unwilling, away from the start.  Horse one, humans nil.

The staff of a local Home Bargains, six or more of them, turned up.  Presumably the unlucky ones had to run the shop until closing time.

The map said my bus was approaching, so time for home.  I did another complete tour of the pub before realising the gents is upstairs.

Pub of the day: The Grenadier, for the interesting building
Beer of the day: Neck Oil
Miles walked: 3.1
Maybe coming soon: Bebington

1 comment:

  1. There's a lot slack in the off peak 89 timetable. Lots of them run early and then have to wait at Belle Vale and Huyton. The app is very useful.