Monday, 28 September 2009

Prices on the soles of their shoes

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 toLondon prices.

My mother told me that, before she met my father, a boyfriend took her on her first visit to the Crown. He pointed out several women in the room who he said were prostitutes. None of them looked in any way out of the ordinary, so she asked: how did he know? He told her to watch their feet the next time a man entered the pub, and when one did, they raised the 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.


  1. Great post. I reme
    ber seeing some poor girl who'd left price sticker on shoes at church and tellling my mum a little less than sotto voce that she must be a pro


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