|An old photo of the Falstaff|
I was pleased to see Inglenook Inns & Taverns, who have taken it over, announce a £325,000 revamp. Inglenook runs the Thatch & Thistle that I wrote positively about recently. According to one of our local papers, the interior will be redesigned to include a coffee lounge, a raised dining area, booths and a zone suitable for larger parties. If as a result of these plans the large expanses are broken up, that would definitely be an improvement. The paper wrongly asserts that food will be provided for the first time: nonsense - the Falstaff used to have a good reputation for its food. It has a large terrace to the front which is great on a summer's day; we had acoustic song sessions there a couple of times. I'm hoping all this revives a pub that I used to regard as my local.
Also in the news are plans for a new micropub in a former shop in Sandon Road near Hillside Station, a couple of stops from Southport on the Liverpool line. The plans include limited opening hours (Monday to Friday 4pm to 9.30pm, and midday to 9.30pm at weekends), no hot food and no music. They haven't got permission yet, but the application is recommended for approval. Hillside is badly served for pubs: there's only The Crown on Liverpool Road. Interestingly, there's also an application to convert a shop into a café bar just around the corner in Hillside Road; if that is approved too, as is recommended, the number of licensed outlets in the area will triple.
This will be the fourth micropub in Southport - I wrote about the others in April. It is interesting that these are opening while some big old pubs in residential areas are suffering and closing, which all suggests less that going to the pub is a declining activity, and more that what people want from pubs is changing.