Friday 4 October 2013

Pubs for sale

I noticed on the Southport CAMRA Facebook page that the Portland pub in Birkdale is up for sale. It is a huge pub that usually looks almost empty when I've gone past it. It doesn't serve real ale, there's no one in there that I know and it's on the wrong side of town for me, so it's a long time since I've gone in. It's difficult to know what the 'for sale' signs mean nowadays: do they just want a new tenant or are they winding down for closure? The Rabbit on Manchester Road is not only up for sale, but also doesn't open every night of the week: I've noticed that it's never open on Mondays and was actually closed last Friday evening when I'd have expected it to be busy. It's another non-real ale pub which I used to frequent in the days when it sold a fine pint of Draught Bass.

Another pub with a 'for sale' sign is the Upsteps on Upper Aughton Road, also in Birkdale. The people running it seem quite keen, so I'm not sure why it's up for sale. The sign says £135,000, in case anyone wants to check what they've got down the back of the sofa.

What all of these pubs have in common is that they are in residential areas. They have also in the past all had reputations for being rough, a name that's very easy to acquire, but very difficult to shed. In the case of the Upsteps, that isn't really fair any more. There's a sign in the pub stating that a pubs darts team would be very welcome, and they have got my friends, Mick Cooper and Sue Raymond, to play there on Tuesdays with their band, but offering their PA for an open mike night. I played there three days ago and there were quite a few performers. It sometimes has real ale on, but it apparently hadn't settled last Tuesday; in its absence, I was reduced to Newcastle Brown.

I don't like seeing 'for sale' signs on pubs, especially so soon after the Plough and the London spent months up for sale; in both cases, planning permission has been granted for redevelopment. Pub closures in this area were a trickle until the last 2 or 3 years; unfortunately it now looks like becoming rather more of a torrent.


  1. A lot of property can be found on the Morning Advertiser site, including the Up Steps.:

  2. Recently looked back at the 2002 GBG where the Up Steps is "a traditional street-corner local. one of a dying breed...... Easily the best pub in Birkdale". The "dying" reference seems all too apposite now.
    Incidentally, Southport had 5 entries in 2002.
    1. Barons Bar - still going strong. Superb beer when I was in last week.
    2. Berkeley Arms - now a block of flats.
    3. Falstaff - "the Falstaff is now the place in Southport to go for the keen beer drinker". Well not now it isn't.
    4. London - now scheduled for demolition.
    5. Up Steps - since struggling and now up for sale.

  3. The Falstaff was my favourite pub then. Gail the licensee at that time is now at the Guest House, definitely the place for the keen beer drinker.


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