Monday, 29 June 2020

L is for Lakeside Inn

The World Famous Wrigley head Morris Men outside the Lakeside Inn

The Lakeside Inn in Southport will always be one of my favourites. I've not been in there for a while, but when we first moved to Southport it became our local, despite it being a 5 minute drive from home.

It holds a claim to be Britain's smallest pub and it has appeared in the Guinness Book of Records. It has always provided good beer. Recent extensions have now provided plenty of outdoor drinking areas.

The pub is housed in a former boathouse and the building is owned by Sefton Council.

When we were regulars the pub was managed by our friends Jan and Joe.

The regular gang were an eclectic bunch of characters, including Gerry(our resident drunkard) Tim who organised the varied social events, our great friends Roy & Margaret and our old chum Little Joe.

Despite its size, we had many great nights there including regular quizzes(that were always fixed to make sure that the same team didn't always win), Last Night of The Proms nights, a Chinese Banquet  for 40 and Fancy Dress nights amongst many others.

Joe & Jan used to keep several photo albums behind the bar which we featured in on many occasions.

Many stories came out of this pub, many of which I daren't reproduce here.

One story safe to tell concerns a famous dwarf, Kenny Baker. Kenny is best known for being the actor inside R2D2 in the Star Wars films. He often appeared at Southport Theatre as one of the 7 dwarfs whenever Snow White was on as a pantomime. 

When shows were on at the theatre the cast often called into the Lakeside for drinks after each show. Many well known actors who drank in the pub had their photos on the walls. Sadly when Joe and Jan left the pub many of the photos left with them.

Kenny had a photo on the wall but he also had another memento in the gents toilets.

The gents at the Lakeside were very small(like the pub) before they were extended recently. The door handle to open and close the door on the inside was set at a normal height. This used to cause problems when Kenny paid a visit, so Joe had an extra door knob installed specially for Kenny at a reduced hight.

"Kenny's Knob" therefore became legendary amongst those in the know!

Kings Arms Haskyne

K is for Knackered. There aren't any pubs in Southport beginning with the letter "K".

The only pub I can find is the Kings Arms at Haskyne, by the canal between Halsall and Lydiate.

This is another pub that I've only been in once, so I can't really comment on its beer or atmosphere etc.

We called in on the way back from a meeting in either Bootle or Maghull Town Hall several years ago.

I can just about include it in my A to Z as it's possible to get there by push bike.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

J is for Sporting Jester

The Sporting Jester

I'm cheating a bit here as this pub's name really begins with a S but I can't think of another pub beginning with a J.

Not a lot to tell you about this pub.

Until quite recently it was called the Volunteer Arms.

I've only been in the pub once, many years ago.

It was pretty rough and ready with crap beer but a decent juke box and pool table.

I've yet to venture inside under it's new persona.

So time to move on.

It may be a while until I post the next pub.

As yet I can't find a pub beginning with the letter K without venturing out of Southport.

Let's see what I can find.

Bye for now. 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

H is for Hesketh Arms and I is for Imperial

Hesketh Arms
The Hesketh Arms is a decent pub located in Churchtown village, a 20 minute walk from our cottage.

It's a popular pub, particularly on good days when outdoor seating is popular.

It went though a major refurbishment a few years ago and it's now open plan and able to cram more people inside.

I preferred the pub before the refit as it had numerous small spaces to drink in. Wednesday nights were Jazz Nights with a trad band. We used to go with our mate Tony Johnson for a carvery before the Jazz.

The beer now is OK but getting served can be a slow process as this is a pub where locals get served first. It's also an expensive place to drink.

Great location, so a good pub to park your sports car or motorbike outside for a posy picture(not done that yet).

Pub is also a popular spot for Southport Swords to perform at(inside and outside)

The Imperial

Another pub that's had a major refurbishment recently. I don't remember ever going in here before it was done up so I can't comment on whether the improvements improved.

This is also within walking distance of our cottage, but it's a good 40 minute walk, so better by push bike.

This is another pub that's very popular on good days due to a large outside drinking area.It's also huge inside and most people seem to eat here rather than just popping in for a pint.
Beer OK but nothing to shout about.

Our last visit was on Christmas Day for a quick pint on our way into town for Christmas dinner at an Indian. I've never seen sp many people crammed into every space all eating their Christmas dinners - kids everywhere!

Not on my pub crawl list, but I couldn't think of another pub beginning with the letter "I"!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

G is for Guest House

I may change my mind, as I often do, but this is the best pub in Southport(when it's open).

What Pub describe it as:

Located close to station and Lord Street, listed building with an impressive frontage and interior with three separate wood panelled drinking areas.

There are eleven hand pumps with a wide variety of ales from breweries noted or other brewers, one of which serves a local micro brewery and there is a wide range of malt whiskies. 

Quiet traditional pub with outside seating at front and courtyard area to the rear. Mixed clientele with quiz night on Thursday and acoustic folk club nights on the first and third Mondays of each month.

I've been drinking here ever since we first found it when me moved here from Warrington.

It has only changed in minute details, such as there being less horse brasses on the walls.

When we got married in 2001 we met our friends from Wrigley head Morris Men here, walking to the pub from the Town Hall where we were wed.

I have enjoyed quiz nights, folk music nights, folk song nights, Southport Swords events(they beheaded me only once), pub crawls and generally meeting and drinking with my mates.

What do I like about the pub?

Good choice of beer
Well kept beer
Excellent landlady.
No jukebox.
Proper bogs(well Gents at least)
Rarely any children.
Until very food.

There's a hidden beer garden(yard) at the back and a couple of benches outside the door on the street to enjoy the beer and watch the world go by when the weather allows.

When the current plague ends, this is probably where I will sup my first pint)s).

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

F is for Fisherman's Rest

What we now know to be The Fishermens Rest (formerly the Birkdale Palace Coach House) is the only part of the Hotel to remain. The Birkdale Palace was an extravagant Hotel that in 1939 boasted of billiards, croquet on the lawns, dancing, evening concerts, Sunday afternoon orchestral teas and tennis, to name but a few activities available. The Birkdale Palace had 1,000 rooms and around 200 bedrooms and suites. By the late 1930’s, the hotel had become a successful holiday resort hotel and conference centre, with stars like Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable staying there.

The “Fish’ has it’s own story, and the brass mermaids that secure the bar’s handrails commemorate the lives of the 14 Lifeboat men who lost their lives in 1886.

The bodies of the unfortunate lifeboat men (who were fishermen by trade) were removed from the beaches and laid out in the coaching house of the nearby Birkdale Palace Hotel and is reputed to be haunted by the spirits of the dead men.
The disaster is the worst in the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, with 27-lifeboat crew lost. A public fund for relief of the sixteen widows and fifty orphans was opened with the RNLI contributing £2,000, the queen and the emperor of Germany also contributing to the fund. £30,000 was raised in total.
The Fish was also a temporary morgue for 14 sailors after the Eliza Fernley Lifeboat disaster of 1886. The brass mermaids that secure the bar’s handrail, commemorate them to this day.

My own associations with the pub go back to when we first moved to Southport. The Fish was the one of the few pubs that allowed dogs(it doesn't any more) and we often went there with our dog Ellie for beer and a decent plate of food. 

An added benefit was that our neighbour's boyfriend was the landlord at the time.

Unfortunately, as he told us, someone complained to the brewery about dogs being present in the lounge. There wasn't a separate public bar so he had to ban dogs.

Since then we've only made the occasional visit so I can't really comment on the quality of the beer or food; but the number of cars in the car park give an indication of how popular it still is. 

Whilst working at Rufford Old Hall(National Trust) I often meet visitors who are staying at the caravan site close to the pub.

The pub isn't visible from the site so I often give directions for the 5 minute walk to the pub.

I should be on commission, or at least be offered a discount on my beer!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Virtual Pub Crawl C, D & E

C is for Cheshire Lines

The Cheshire Lines Pub in Southport is an interesting place. It's tucked away behind the Prince of Wales Hotel on King St. 

When we first moved to Southport we discovered a bar called The Falstaff, also on King St, that is now closed down. The beer was OK but the food was good and excellent value for money. The pub used to be full of pensioners and we joined them on many occasions when we couldn't be bothered to cook anything.

The Cheshire Lines must have realised that good cheap food would fill their pub and take custom away from their competitor The Falstaff. Therefore, a couple of years later the Cheshire Lines was full of the same pensioners and The Falstaff closed.

Following the appeal of good cheap food we ventured in.

Apart from the strange welcome we liked it. It was a bit of a "tardis" with a huge room at the back with walls full of interesting railway themed photos. The food was good, if you like Sunday roasts etc and the beer was good with a fair choice including a mild.

The welcome was strange as it reminded me of The Slaughtered Lamb in the film American Werewolf in London. As soon as you enter everyone seems to go quiet and stare at you.

Things have changed slightly over the years. The photos seem to have mainly disappeared but the strange welcome and the decent beer remain.

It's a pub always worth including in a pub crawl if only for its hidden location.

D is for Dukes Folly

The Dukes Folly is included as I can't think of another pub or bar beginning with the letter D.

I've yet to go in it, so there's not much I can tell you about it other than that it has a large beer garden at the front.

This is the second pub/hotel to carry this name.

The original hotel was on the other side of Lord St and it was the first hotel in the town. If you want to know about the history of the town Google The Dukes Folly and you will learn all about the "Duke" that created Southport.

E is for El Rincon

Once again I struggled to find somewhere beginning with the letter E, so I include this as the only bar I could find.

I have been in this one, but only once to see what it was like a few years ago when it first opened.
The bar's claim to fame is that it is located in a former public toilets.

It's very small and it serves expensive drinks and expensive Tapas.

At the moment it is closed(not due to the virus) for refurbishment.

I've always referred to this bar as the Bogs Bar.

Rant update

In my last post I have a minor rant about not being allowed to drive to exercise.

I put a post on a local Facebook page to seek clarification on where we stand, locally, on this.

To date it got 200 replies!

The outcome is that, it would appear, I am allowed to drive short distances to exercise.

Therefore we have done so for the last 2 days.

Life is now much better and we feel safer not having to negotiate our way around: people chatting on phones as they walk, mothers with prams and small children and dog walkers with several dogs attached to washing lines.

Letters F and G next - to include my favourite pub in Southport.

PS  I'm struggling with entries for letters K, Q, X and Y. 

L is for Lakeside Inn The World Famous Wrigley head Morris Men outside the Lakeside Inn The Lakeside Inn in Southport will always be one of ...