Wigan has a varied selection of good pubs. You can get there easily by train from Southport (c. 30 minutes), Manchester, Liverpool, and Preston. All pubs were surveyed on 14 August, and the numbers refer to those on the map. The furthest pub on this crawl is just over 10 minutes’ walk from the railway stations.
1. Swan and Railway, 80 WallgateThis is an attractive pub just across the road from North Western station. It has a beautiful large stained glass in the bar showing a large swan and some little trains, a separate public bar and it retains a lot of original features. It is listed as doing B&B. Outside smoking area.
Beers on sale were: Jennings Honey Bole, Ringwood Old Thumper (not often seen in this part of the world) and Banks Original.
2. The Berkeley, 27-29 Wallgate
Just across the road from Wallgate station is the Berkeley, an open plan bar that was once a coaching house. It has a function room upstairs, from which you can watch what’s going on down below. It is a sport-oriented pub with a Wetherspoons style of decoration but with lighter wood and it has its loyalty card for discounts on drinks, which they call the Berkeley Card.
The beers on when we called in were: Prospect Nutty Slack, Prospect 120, Cameron’s Nimmo XXXX and Bateman’s Thirsty Work.
3. The Boulevard, 17-19 Wallgate
This basement pub is surprisingly large and has a large room to the rear where entertainment is sometimes provided. A wall is covered with pump clips showing the beers that previously been on. It opens late (4pm Mon to Thu; 2pm Fri to Sun) and stays open late too.
The beers on were Thwaites Original and Liberation, George Wright Drunken Duck, Phoenix Wobbly Bob, and a real cider called Old Timer.
4. The Moon Under Water, 5-7a Market Place
Wigan's first J D Wetherspoon’s outlet, converted from of a building society, a tailor's and a photography shop. It is a fairly typical ‘Spoons with the usual beers plus: George Wright Longboat and Pure Blonde, Moorhouses Witch Hunt, Stonehenge Danish Dynamite and Saxon Archer.
The pub has an upstairs side entrance which leads to the Wiend, an attractive open area that resembles a village green with a large sculptured head that is actually a fountain, although there was no water when we were there. The next pub is near the Wiend.
5. The John Bull Chop House, 2 Coopers Row
Situated down a narrow alley off Market Place, this is a local rock pub with an excellent jukebox: “Baba O'Riley” by The Who was playing as we were being served, followed by “Snowblind” by Black Sabbath. Despite its rock pub reputation, the clientele was quite mixed when we were there.
The beers that were on were Thwaites Bomber and Wainwright, and apparently Original is usually on too. Please note that this pub tends to serve real ale only at weekends.
6. The Anvil, Dorning Street
This popular, multi-award winning pub is close to the bus station. It has an outside drinking area to the rear. The beers available when we visited were: Allgates All Black, Dark Star Meltdown, Roosters Yankee, Allgates Twitter and Bisted, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde and Hydes Original. Also on sale are six draught continental beers through tall silver fonts on the bar, and a range of bottles too.
7. The Tudor House Hotel, New Market Street
Apparently a former nunnery, this pub is popular with students and plays an active role in the local live music scene. It has a dark interior and an outside drinking area to the rear. When we were there, they were serving; Acorn Barnsley Gold, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew.
If you’ve time to spare at the end of this crawl, you can always return to the Berkeley or the Swan and Railway for a final drink, as both are only a minute’s walk from the railway stations. The final train back to Southport is 11-15pm, except on Sunday when it’s 9-13pm. Thanks to Ken and Carol Worthington of CAMRA Wigan Branch for their help in researching this crawl.