Friday, 6 January 2012

An inexpensive night out, if you want it!

I had a meeting on Tuesday in the Falstaff on King Street, Southport, with some CAMRA people to discuss the future of the local branch magazine, Ale & Hearty.  I felt encouraged as there seemed to be a determination to get it published again.  I'd hate to be the editor in charge if it finally collapsed.  The Falstaff, which was at one time my local when it served up to 10 real ales, had just Theakston's Lightfoot on at £2.60 a pint.  It's "a delicious and refreshing, golden ale" according to the brewery website, but to me it was merely inoffensive and unremarkable.  There were four other handpumps which weren't in use.  The place was empty when we arrived and still was when we left.  I do hope this pub can revive, but it's not looking hopeful.

I then called into the Phoenix (owned by the Smith & Jones pub company) on Coronation Walk where there was a surprise for me:  a pint of real ale for £1.29.  It was Tolly English Ale, brewed under the Tolly Cobbold name, but actually Greene King, with a strength of 2.8%, designed to take advantage of the new lower duty for beers that are 2.8% or below.  It had more flavour than you'd expect from such a weak beer, but still seemed thin to me.  They were also serving Morland Original (4.1%), another Greene King beer which was more to my taste, at £1.49 and Bombardier at £1.79.  For those who like sport, and I'm not one, the Phoenix has several large screen TVs.  In fact, Liverpool were being thrashed 3-0 by Man City while I was there.

On to the Baron's Bar.  This bar suffered badly after the formerly independent Scarisbrick Hotel, in which it is housed, was taken over by Britannia Hotels, who immediately put on predictable regional and national beers from a single supplier, and sales plummeted accordingly.  I'm pleased to report that the company has responded to the market and it was serving Moles Brewery Tap, Tetley Bitter, George Wright Pipe Dream, Flag & Turret (the house beer), Vale Brewery Best Bitter, Pride of Pendle, Lancaster Blonde and Black Sheep.  All were £1.90 a pint, except for the Tetley Bitter, which was £2.25.  They also had Old Rosie real cider, and there was one more one handpump which was turned around.

These two pubs, along with the Sir Henry Segrave (Wetherspoons) and the Willow Grove (Lloyds No. 1), mean that there are now several local ale houses you can drink in if you are on a limited budget.  As ever, the question arises:  if they can do it, why can't other pub companies?

P.S.  I should also have mentioned the London Hotel, a suburban pub a short walk from the town centre.  It sells Oakwell beer:  Barnsley Bitter at £1.80 a pint and Dark Mild at £1.70.

All these pubs are on the Southport real ale pubs map, which you can find here.

1 comment:

  1. Was in Baron's on 6/1.Enjoyed a pint of Jarl from Fyne Ales,a brewery I'm not familiar with.Baron's has been back on form last couple of months:price is also right.
    My local,Bold Arms,taken a bit of a dip in quality;guest beers not that interesting.
    A few days after Chritmas went for a 'stroll' along Leeds/Liverpool Canal.Tried the beer in the following:
    Scarisbrick Arms:should have taken Black Sheep back.My lad could'nt finish his.
    Kings Arms:shut at 12.15 p.m.Pity 'cos I've enjoyed beer here of late.
    Ship Inn:nice pint of Spotland Gold.
    Saracens Head:Lancaster Blonde O.K.
    Heatons Bridge:Tetley Bitter O.K.More guest ales than last year.
    Martin Inn:First time I've ever been in.Enjoyed pint of Barley to Beer(Bank Top).£2 a pint as well.
    Farmers Arms:Pride of Pendle O.K.
    Slipway:Only Thwaites Bitter on.Nothing to write home about.
    Hop Vine:Should have booked a table well in advance.Hop Vine Bitter good.
    Ship Inn(Lathom):Stayed for meal.Enjoyed pint of Ship special.
    Cheers
    Ernesto

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