Saturday 25 May 2024

Closed and Closing in Bootle

I started today's excursion with a train to Bootle where my first target was the Merton:

As I'd already noted in my database, this one is well and truly closed.  I have ticked it a number of times over the years, before, during and after its time as a Wetherspoon.  It's a shame to see this rather fine building disused.  Give me a few million quid and I'll reopen it as a real ale outlet! 

I walked on, skipping the Jawbone because I've done it once this year already.  Soon I reached the Albion.  Would this rather out of the way pub be open?

It certainly is.  Something of a classic this one, with a dark wood and mirrors interior, beautifully maintained.  If I'm nitpicking, there was some gaffer tape involved in the comfortable bench seat along the wall, so perhaps a reupholster is called for.

Nearly a dozen regulars were keeping the place going, one or two watching the racing on the tellies and maybe nipping out to the bookie. 

Next, I retraced my steps towards central Bootle for a look at the Mayflower which I was also expecting to find closed:

And it was.  Another regrettable loss, this was a classic down market boozer where one drank lager or stood out as a stranger. 

On past the long closed Wharf, last visited in 2004.

And on to Lock and Quay:

Without checking my notes I seem to recall that in 2019 I felt both the interior and the ale were past their best.  Perhaps a false memory, and certainly not true today, the inside is comfortable and well looked after, and my pint of Republic Of Liverpool (A Bootle brewery) Pale Ale was excellent. 

Only a handful of customers at half two on a Saturday, they all seemed to know each other and the barman, always a sign of a good local pub, I think. 

Live music is clearly important here, there's a stage at one side of the room.

The bloke on a mobility scooter dropped something and half the customers started searching the floor.  They didn't find it. 

Next, on to the main reason I'm here in Bootle, the Top Rope Brewery:

This place is only open one Saturday a month so a few weeks ago I had it pencilled in for today.  Then this week I learned they are to close down at the end of June, so it became more crucial. 

Just like I'm back in Texas, an array of tables and chairs in the corner of a warehouse, but the ones I visited there are open for four or more days a week, not once a month. 

I was 'captured' by a friendly woman who guided me to a seat and then fetched me 2/3 of Oatimus Prime which turned out to be a rather gorgeous fruity hazy pale, once again reminding me of my American holiday.

They have got one handpump but sadly not in use.

Now I'm in American mode, I ought to have a stronger one before I go so maybe Bossk Time Imperial Stout, 10.5%.  Wow!!!  I'm always fond of strong stouts and I've sampled lots of them.  This one is an all time great, nutty and coffee flavoured, sweet (maple), smooth and heavy, just wonderful.  

Where next?  The nearest "required" tick is a long walk and I can't be bothered, so perhaps I'll visit what was the Wetherspoons Wild Rose when I was there in December 2022, to see what it's like post-spoons.  Well, that was the plan as I left the brewery, but on the way I spotted Aurora:

This used to be Iona House, after which it had changed to a restaurant many years ago.  Much more recently, in 2021 I think, it became a bar once again.  So not strictly a new tick for me, but long overdue as I was last here in '04.

Inside I found four customers watching the FA cup in a rather wonderfully decorated room.  The excellent apparently hand painted murals include some liver birds. 

Perhaps more of a late evening place, I think, but comfortable and welcoming at four on a Saturday.

The reds were leading two nil and I wondered if there would be anyone in here if it wasn't for the footie?  

Time for home, I think...  The previously sunny weather was getting darker, am I going to get wet?  The sun came out again before I left, so maybe not...

Pub of the day: Lock and Quay
Beer of the day: Bossk Time Imperial Stout
Miles walked: 3.9
Maybe coming soon: Bebington, Maghull, Canny Farm

No comments:

Post a Comment