Monday 28 March 2016

The Fishermen's Rest, Birkdale

The historic Fishermen's Rest
Over the Easter weekend, I called into the Fishermen's Rest, which is close to the sea front in Birkdale. This single-storey building was once the coach house to the supposedly haunted Palace Hotel, but it was a real life tragedy that gave the pub its name: after the Mexico lifeboat disaster, the worst in British history, occurred in the seas just off Southport, the lifeboatmen who had perished were laid out in the building. This is commemorated by fourteen mermaids on the brass rail on the bar.

Nowadays, the pub is pleasantly decorated, there are two separate areas with split levels and, although it was busy, I found there to be a comfortable, relaxed feel to the place. There were a lot of diners when I called in: the menu looks interesting and reasonably priced, there is a changing specials board, and food is served until 9.30pm every day. Children are welcome while food is being served. Ed Loftus, the licensee, told me with some pride that the Fish (as it's known locally) is number one on TripAdvisor among pubs in the area.

There are four real ales on sale: two regulars, Theakstons Bitter and Deuchars IPA, and two guests, which on my visit were Brains Reverend James and Marstons Pedigree, with Hogboblin Gold and St Austell Tribute lined up next. The two beers I tried were very well-kept, and the pub has deservedly received two CAMRA awards in recent years: Licensee of Excellence 2013 and Best Community pub in 2014. Ed told me that, while the food is popular, drinks make up most of their sales, so anyone who just wants to call in for a pint is welcome.

They have a quiz night on Thursdays, and once a year just before Christmas, the local Bothy Folk Club present a concert of carols. There is a car park, outside seating and a smoking shelter. For more information, go to their website, and they're also on Facebook. The address is 2 Weld Road, Southport, PR8 2AZ; phone 01704 569986. The 47, 49 and X2 buses stop nearby on Lulworth Road.

To summarise, this is an historic pub and well worth your attention today.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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