Friday 7 June 2024

All New in Meols Cop

Today I had a rather special plan; to scoop in no less than four pubs never before visited.

So, three trains carried me to Meols Cop station in the outskirts of Southport, from where it was just a short stroll to the Thatch & Thistle:

Another member of the exclusive group of thatched Merseyside pubs, I can only think of three others. Inside is a bog standard food led operation, pleasantly done out but nothing special except, perhaps, for the old stone floor.

The bar staff were having trouble with the ordering system, requiring five minutes and two tills to sort out a simple food order. Eventually one could serve me with an excellent pint of Theakstons.

The pub was doing a gentle steady trade at two on a Friday, almost everyone I could see was eating, the menu of pub standards included Fish and Chips for £11.20.

On to the Richmond:

This pub belonging to Holt's concentrates on dining but serves a fine pint of Two Hoots.  The friendly barmaid asked what I was doing this afternoon and before I knew what was happening I was showing her the Merseyside Pub Guide book, and soon it was being passed around bar staff and regulars, to the admiration of all.  Where are you going next was the most common question, and once I'd told them, some asked, "What about the Old Duke?".  That one was missing from my database so could I make it five new ticks?  I wondered if it was in Merseyside, we're not far from the border here, but the maps say it is. 

Anyway, back to the pub.  I think it was only built fairly recently, maybe since 2000, but it does seem to have some old features inside including some old timber in the ceiling so I could be wrong about that.

Custom was fairly thin at three o'clock, I gazed across vast expanses of empty tables as I enjoyed my ale. 

So, let's try the Old Duke next:

An enormous twenty-first century roadhouse built by Marstons in 2017 or 2018, with their standard plastic very good decor inside.

Worryingly quiet at three on a Friday with just a few diners scattered around the enormous space.  Bombardier and Wainwright were on tap, my Wainwright was spot on.  

Talking of beers on tap, I have been playing with the Untappd app for the last few days, logging all the pubs I have been drinking in.  As I wrote this I had eight pubs and eight beers on the scoreboard.  But what is the point?  I don't see what I am achieving, especially as almost all the pubs I visit are "not verified", whatever that means.  Looking back, perhaps I should have been doing this when I was in America, twenty brewery taps would certainly look good on any stats.  I'll keep going for the time being but I don't really understand what I am producing with all my check-ins.  Perhaps I'm too old to grasp the concept of this social media lark.

Thank goodness my fans in the Richmond told me about the Old Duke, if I had done the other four and not this it would have been a real pain to come back for this one.  Actually, it wouldn't have been a pain because I wouldn't have bothered.  (See Beer Den which will have to wait until that end of Southport comes round for another visit.)

What I didn't realise as I sat in the Old Duke enjoying my Wainwright was that this pub marked a milestone in the Merseyside Pub Guide, as it was entry number 2,000.

So far, so brilliant:  Three never visited pubs, three quality cask ales.  I predict I won't get any more cask, but I'm still hoping for two more new ticks.  Let's see...


My new friends in the Richmond told me what this was called when it was a pub, but I've forgotten.  (A quick Streetview scan once I got home shows it was The Pageant.)  Anyway, an enormous food oriented knocked through place.  I was captured by a waiter at the entrance but when I said I just wanted a drink he pointed me towards the bar counter and what was clearly the non food end of the room. 

No handpumps so I scanned the taps until I spotted Hickory's Pale Ale - I always like to choose the house brew.  Despite the name it wasn't very pale, a hefty sweet beer, very good.  It was also hazy, I'm not sure if that was intended but it didn't spoil the taste: I would say it was a wonderful keg beer!

Once again, a large space with no one in, how do these places survive?  It's after four on a Friday and I suspect there might be more staff than customers.  As I typed that a family came in, so now there's more customers than staff.  I must say the delicious wafting odours of barbecue were very tempting here - luckily my table didn't have a menu on it, or I could have ended up eating.

I must stay I was impressed by this restaurant/pub, excellent decor, quality service, tempting food.  If there was a branch near me I would be a regular customer I think. 

I recall some time ago going to the Hickory's in West Kirby, also a conversion of a pub, it used to be the Moby Dick.  I checked my own blog and found I had Hickory's Pale Ale there as well, back in 2018.

One more target on the list, Forty Seven:

This is a really beautiful shop conversion.  No real ale so I asked for 47, he offered two different beers from which I selected the Pilsner style one which was really good. 

It could be the effect of the four previous pints, but I couldn't get untappd to work here, because it didn't have the beer I was drinking on the list.  How do you add a new brew? I couldn't work it out. 

About half way down my pint two other customers left, leaving just me, one other drinker and the barman.  Soon, two more regulars with a dog came in, so the place was ticking over. 

In summary, not the four brand new ticks I hoped for, but five!  My score is now 1,489, that fifteen hundred milestone is getting closer!  Time for a bus and two trains to take me home.

Pub of the day: Richmond (But they were all good.)
Beer of the day: Two Hoots
Miles walked: 2.7
Maybe coming soon: Canny Farm, Bebington

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