I went to Liverpool yesterday to see off my friend Geoff, who was returning home to London after a short visit to Merseyside. With about 90 minutes to spare, we came out of Central Station and into the Globe just across the road. I wrote about this pub in April. There was a steady, relaxed Sunday lunchtime trade in this friendly pub. A woman was speaking very loudly down her mobile phone, and the barmaid said what I and probably everyone else was thinking, "you don't really need that mobile, do you, love?"
The beers were: Morland Original Bitter, Meantime LPA, and bitters from Cain’s and Black Sheep. There was also Weston’s Traditional Scrumpy. So, two novelties straight away: in Liverpool you rarely see real cider or Meantime beers. We tried the Morland’s, which was quite enjoyable, being bitter, but without the cloying flavour that the once-wonderful Morland's Old Speckled Hen now has; not a bad start. Then we tried the Meantime LPA, a 4.3% pale ale, which was so superior and better balanced in flavour that I could have happily stuck with it, although I think Geoff preferred the Morland's.
With time going on, we moved to the Crown by Lime Street Station. This pub was refurbished a couple of years ago and shows off many of the original Victorian features, including an impressive ceiling and an unusual old bar. The choice there was Abbot Ale (£1.80), John Smith's Cask (£1.49) and Tetley's Bitter (£1.69). Abbot Ale it was then. Sometimes this beer can develop a heavy over-malty flavour that is probably a result of a cask selling too slowly, but this wasn't like that. In fact, it's the best Abbot I've had for ages and I had another two after Geoff left for his train. At least he had a nice cheap pint before returning to London prices.
My mother told me a story from before she was married about a boyfriend who took her on her first visit to the Crown. He pointed out several women in the room who he said were prostitutes. She asked: how did he know? He told her to watch their feet next time a man came into the pub, and when one did, they raised to soles of their shoes for him to see: on each instep was chalked a price.
The Crown is a good place to wait for a train, with cheap food to match the inexpensive but well-kept beer. But nowadays, no ladies with prices on the soles of their shoes.