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Monday, 29 August 2016

The Up Steps in Birkdale

Sunny day at the Up Steps
Birkdale's Up Steps reopened just over a year ago after a lengthy closure; it is now a family-run free house and seems all the better for it. It has been attractively refurbished, although I liked seeing the old Lion Ales etched glass windows from its days as a Matthew Brown pub. There is a single bar serving three separate drinking areas and a snug; fortunately the pub managed to survive the 1970s tendency to knock pub rooms through into one.

They have two regular real ales, Thwaites Wainwright and Up Steps Ale, plus one changing guest which when I visited was Waterloo Sunset from the Rock The Boat Brewery of Little Crosby. Other guest ales are usually from other local breweries such as Lytham, Parker, Red Star and Southport. I enjoyed my Waterloo Sunset, especially at £2.50 a pint.

My visit was on Sunday afternoon during the bank holiday weekend when they were busy with a charity fundraiser for the Southport Stroke Club with a hog roast, barbecue, raffle, and live music the night before. Children are allowed on such special occasions, but are not normally admitted. They do not do food, other than occasional free bar snacks in the evenings: this pub is intended for people who simply wish to go out for a drink and a chat in a sociable atmosphere, and in this aim it succeeds. Dogs are welcome.

There is an outdoor drinking area to the front of the building and a pleasant enclosed beer garden to the rear which was full of customers enjoying the sunshine when I had a look.

They have been putting on live music recently and expect that it might settle into a pattern of alternate Saturdays; music events are publicised on their Facebook page. There are Sky Sports for the big matches and they show horse racing every day: you can find a handy bookies across the road if you enjoy a flutter.

There is a very small car park, but no shortage of free street parking; buses and trains stop in Birkdale village less than 10 minutes' walk away.

The Up Steps is open from midday to midnight every day. It is at 20 Upper Aughton Road, Southport, PR8 5ND. Tel: 01704 562943.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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