Monday 29 June 2009

Real Ale & Real Music

When I began this blog, I assumed that venues with both cask beer & real music in this area would be rather more common than in fact they are. Locally the Fox & Goose is an well-established rock venue, but it hasn't served real ale for many years; it used to serve Castle Eden, if I remember correctly. Our venue for big music events, the Southport Theatre (where I have seen Marvin Gaye, Kim Wilde, Hall & Oates and Black Sabbath, although not on the same bill) has never sold decent beer.

The Arts Centre occasionally puts on a cask of Southport beer for a big folk event, but mostly relies on bottled ales. It used to serve real Higson's many years ago, but strangely had both the cask and keg versions next to each other with the keg 2p cheaper; the staff automatically reached for the keg pump unless the customer specified otherwise, and as you'd expect the real version soon disappeared. Apparently we CAMRA types were all to blame for not coming in en masse and drinking it; I replied that there were simply weren't enough CAMRA members to sustain every real ale outlet in the area.

The Falstaff does have real ale and sometimes has live bands on, but strangely doesn't advertise them in the pub or on its website, so finding out what's going on there is surprisingly difficult. They seem to rely solely on adverts in the local papers, but these adverts are so cluttered with various meal offers, quiz nights, the Campaign for Real Chips, Liz Dawn, and everything else that's going on that any mention of live bands is usually swamped. Adrian, the licensee, agreed weeks ago to send details of forthcoming music events to local CAMRA to go on their website and then on this blog, but nothing has appeared yet.

Incidentally, the Southport CAMRA website now has a 'what's on' page, derived in part from this blog. The website has recently been revamped and is looking a lot better, especially now that they have dispensed with the muddy brown colour scheme, apparently intended to resemble the colour of beer.

I have been asked why I don't mention the Maghull Folk Club. I always have a link to their website, and will mention their guest artists in my 'What's On' column, but the venue doesn't serve real ale. For information, they meet on Tuesdays mostly with singers nights (i.e. anyone is welcome to perform) with a PA if you want to use it; it is a very friendly club, and they have a booked guest singer about once every two months.

I do know there are music nights at the award-winning Derby Arms in Aughton, about which I wrote a couple of weeks ago (click here),and the folk nights at the Ship Inn in Haskayne have begun again. I hope to visit and write about these in the near future.


  1. Your comments about Castle Eden at the Fox & Goose reminded me of the Adelphi Club in Hull, which use to attract some fine acts as well as selling Castle Eden. It was run by Paul Jackson, who, as legend has it, is one of the voices that can be heard at the end of Bowie's Life On Mars just before the telephone rings.

    I've been away from Hull for too long, so can't say if the place is still open sadly, but the memory of drinking too much Castle Eden and trying to converse with Bruce Foxton still haunts me. Sorry Bruce.

  2. Sounds like fond (if occasionally embarrassing) memories for you. I recall watching many local bands in the Fox, particularly the Gemtones, an excellent local band playing mostly original songs with a rockabilly style, who sadly split up a few years ago.

  3. With the exception of the Dog House pub, most places in London where I've seen music just have miserable selections. It's like they just don't care, and to be honest I don't think the punters are really demanding it either-- content with stella, etc.

  4. There's a lot in what you say, Impy. For some reason, rock music in particular seems to be associated with lager. This means most rock concerts I go to involve no drinking... well, by me anyway, unless we meet in a decent pub beforehand. The honourable exception is the Limelight Club in Crewe, which not only has some good live rock bands, but also has real ale. Unfortunately it's nearly 60 miles away & I can only get there by car.


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