Thursday 20 June 2024


On a sunny Thursday I ventured under the river, aiming for Oxton.  Leaving the bus at the Half Way House which I will save for a subsequent trip, I toiled up the hill to the Queens Arms:

A very pleasant plain interior here, beautifully cared for and sadly empty.  I could see only three customers and two of those left shortly after I arrived. 

My hopes were raised by a White Rat clip, the barmaids' conversation "Is it on?", "I don't know, I haven't served any today" was a little ominous and then when she tried to pull my pint it was just froth.  "Sorry, it's gone."  So I had my usual Carling.  She didn't turn the clip round. 

Actually there were more customers than I at first thought, some food went into the other side, from where I could hear conversations. 

Next a short stroll to the Caernavon Castle:

Exactly as I found back in 2018, this is a standard Greene King dining pub except that they have a wider than usual range of cask ales on, six I think it was today. 

The friendly cheerful barmaid/landlady struggled with a lot of froth but eventually managed to produce a fine pint of Landlord.  CAMRA discount was offered and given without me actually showing my card - I must have an honest face!

Much busier than the Queens with lots of customers inside and out, the majority of whom were dining I think.  Still plenty of room for more.  As I enjoyed my ale I could see a steady stream of people at the counter keeping the bar staff busy.

Football was on some TVs but I couldn't see anyone watching.  When's England's next match?  Ah, it's 5pm today, I'd better try and be finished by then.

On into Oxton village centre where I spotted a number of possible bars I'd never heard of.  I'll need some internet research to see where they sit on the bar-restaurant divide.

I ignored them for now and headed for my next planned target, the Oxton Bar and Kitchen:

I think this one looks a little uninviting from the outside, the door onto the street is only a fire exit, and you have to enter via the car park.  On the other hand, once inside it's a very well done out restaurant/pub with a great stone floor (Is it old or fake?) and rather fine understated decor. 

At the counter I found two handpumps and I was soon enjoying a great pint of Trappers Hat.  The other handpump also offered something local.

I didn't see any food but drinkers were keeping the place ticking over, most of them were sitting outside in the sun. 

One bloke sitting at the counter had a dog which insisted on barking a lot.  Very annoying, dog owners should know when to take their animal outside or, even better, not bring them out to the pub in the first place.

A bit of internet research revealed that of the potential new locations I had seen, the Bowler Hat seems to be functions only, the Library opens at five, and Elixir is worthy of a tick.  This leaves me with a bit of a dilemma as I was planning to do the Shrewsbury Arms and new tick the Homebrew Taproom and then head for home.  If I do Elixir then I ought to drop one of those.  Or do six pints, by which time the Library will be open tempting me into number seven.  No, I don't think so, I have a long list of tasks to complete tomorrow.  And there's the bladder-stressing bus ride home to consider!  (But there's always Uber)

I eventually decided to start by getting the bonus new tick, so I headed for Elixir:

Definitely more of a restaurant than a pub, but with a very pleasant bar area at the front.  The whole place is beautifully decorated and very attractive.

No customers at all at four on a Thursday, the waitress leapt into action to greet me as I entered but lost interest when I said I only wanted a drink, guiding me to the counter where the equally unemployed barman was waiting for me.  I spotted Budweiser Budvar which I haven't had for some time, but there was a problem with it so instead I had Grand Central IPA, never heard of it but it is very flavoursome. Aha, Untappd tells me it's a Hyde's brew.  So there is a use for Untappd!  Although how this modern place qualifies me for a "Ye Olde Pub" badge I don't know.  I can think of a number of phrases that describe this place (All of them complimentary) but Ye Olde isn't one. 

I can't comment on the food because I didn't try any nor look at the menu, but this really is a very well done out place which deserves more customers than I could see. 

I wonder how these places survive, no one else but me here, and barman, waitress and chef to pay.  Perhaps it is really busy later?  Hang on, the waitress is fiddling with the coffee machine, are there some customers I can't see?  Unless she made two cups for herself there must be some people round the corner. 

Back to the original plan, and the never before ticked Homebrew Tap:

Two handpumps but no clips, I was sorry to find, so I scanned the extensive list of keg and chose Hofbrau Dunkel, a very malty brew perhaps too sweet for my taste?  I was expecting a Dunkelweiss which it wasn't.

The pillar by the bar was decorated with cask ale pump clips, it's a shame none of them were on today; I spotted favourites including Oakham Citra, Tiny Rebel Cwtch, and a number of others.

A handful of customers were keeping the place going, they all seemed to know the friendly barmaid, obviously I was the odd stranger here. 

The same barking dog I'd suffered in the Oxton was now in here, or was it a different equally annoying animal? 

Let's worry about the journey home later, and revisit the Shrewsbury Arms while I'm so near, especially as I have to walk past to get to the bus!

A mistake, of course, it was full of people watching the footie, so no chance of a seat.  Nonetheless, I stood by the counter and enjoyed my pint of Shrewsbury Arms Best Bitter, I wonder who brews it. 

A rather fine traditional pub, I imagine, when the football's not on, but it's good to see they're making some money out of the Euros, I'm guessing a number of struggling pubs will extend their lives thanks to the footie. 

Pub of the day: Caernavon Castle
Beer of the day: Trappers Hat
Miles walked: 1.7
Maybe coming soon: Prenton, Bebington, Cantril Farm


  1. I noticed you have marked the Cock and Pullet as closed on your map - it’s actually open although it did have a spell of being boarded up a few years ago.

    1. Thanks for the good news. I'll update by database.