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BITE user comments - Carlurmston

Comments by Carlurmston

The Lord Warden, Liverpool

Typically boisterous Liverpool pub, a stone's throw from Lime Street, with a good atmosphere. It's small, a horseshoe round a bar, and was packed on my visit. Music and TV sport seem to feature strongly here, and 3 real ales are avaialable. On my Saturday afternoon visit I went for Saltaire Cascade which was refreshing and well-kept.
Probably not one for the one who likes quiet pubs, but the beer is of good quality and the atmosphere generally friendly. Nothing amazing but worth going to if waiting for a train.

16 Jul 2011 11:33

White House, Stalybridge

Much-improved by the sounds of things, this street corner boozer has a clean yet traditional feel, with leather seating and traditional wall-mounted furnishings occupying the partially opened-out rooms, which give it quite a bit of character. As noted, 6 handpumps dispense a variety of ales alongsidhe Hydes, I enjoyed a well-kept Ginger Marble. Definitely worth a visit alongside Q and the Buffet Bar.

16 Jul 2011 11:29

The Walkley Cottage Inn, Sheffield

Suburban roadside boozer that regularly makes the GBG. It looks of inter-war stock, and inside an unremarkable horseshoe room around a bar was busy on my Sunday afternoon visit, mostly with families having sunday lunch, which I must say detracted from the 'pubbiness' of the place somewhat. Beer-wise, the ubiquitous Abbeydale Moonshine and Easy rider were available alongside Landlord. went for the latter which was in good nick. Sky sports was being shown.
A pretty unremarkable boozer, probably not worth going out of your way for but nothing to stop you popping in for a pint.

16 Jul 2011 11:26

The George and Dragon Hotel, Kirkbymoorside

Coaching house style pub in this pleasant small Moors town. It has a standard enough interior, with an L-shaped room around the bar, and traditional furnishings and wood panelling adding some character, although you feel the hotel operation is as important as the pub here. Beer-wise, Yorkshire breweries dominate, with Daleside and Black Sheep featuring strongly. All beers sampled were well-kept. Probably the best of the pubs in the town.

16 Jul 2011 10:36

The Bierkeller, Liverpool

Relatively new venture on Liverpool's burgeoning Dale Street real ale scene. I went in shortly before Christmas, so the information given amy have changed slightly.
As the name suggests, it's a basement bar in the German tradition, and on my visit an empty cavern with whitewashed walls and spartan furniture was found. Given that this was very early on in the pub's life, this has hopefully changed for the better, although it did feel like a vast place.
A solitary handpump wasn't serving on my visit, although real ales were promised and I imagien this too has changed.
What won't have changed will be the vast array of bottled beers avaiable from all corners of the globe, reflecting the modern trend for'craft beer' (a term that leaves me cold). I had soemthing from Namibia which i rather enjoyed.
All in all, a worthy venture which I hope succeeds, I can imagine it will make a fien addition to the Dale Street crawl.

16 Jul 2011 10:18

The Alexandra, Stockport

Unspoilt suburban boozer on CAMRA's list of unspoilt pub interiors. About 10 minutes' brisk walk from the station, and worth a visit for it's multi-roomed layout. A green-tiled entrance lobby leads to a bar area, around which 4 completely separate rooms are situated, including a vault with a TV. A larger room off to the right houses a pool table and darts. All rooms are traditionally furnished with wall-mounted leather seating and chairs, and some feature real fires.
This being Stockport, the ale is limited to Robinsons, but Dizzy Blonde was in good form on my visit.
Definitely worth a visit for the admirer of traditional itneriors, it can be combined with a visit to the Olde Vic, providing you take note of the latter's limited opening hours.

16 Jul 2011 10:13

Ye Olde Woolpack, Edgeley

Recently revamped pub, a 15 minute walk from the town centre and on the banks of a young River Mersey. It's pretty open plan inside, with a bar area and 2 separate, spacious lounges. However, the main reason to come is for the beer, as it has raised its' game and can now be counted among the many excellent pubs of Stockport. 6 handpumps dispensing guest ales from around the country and, as reported, a number of ciders. Had Saltaire Elderflower Ale which was very good. Seemed to be doing a brisk trade on a Saturday afternoon. Cheap pub grub also served- a toastie for 2 is excellent value. Definitely worth a visit, can be connected to a crawl of the Crown and the Pinapple

16 Jul 2011 10:09

The Howcroft Inn, Bolton

Traditional, relatively unspoilt boozer in an incongruous location on the edge of the town centre. It lies just outside the ring road in an area of modern developments, and seems to be the only original building left standing, it was probably once mid-terrace. As such it's pretty difficult to find.
Inside, the pub has retained a multi-roomed layout, with a vault with pool table and a curious snug in the middle of the pub, surrounded by rooms on both sides. Two larger areas are connected to this, the second with a raised area where an LP playing session was being planned- good luck to that.
Unlike the previous reporter, I found real ale to be available on my visit, in the form of Landlord and Greene King. Moorhouses Pride of Pendle was turned round. Landlord was in decent nick.
It was quiet on a Wednesday afternoon but I imagine it gets busier later on. In the GBG 2011.
Worth a visit in my view, especially if you're doing a crawl around Bolton.

16 Jul 2011 10:04

Bridge Inn Hotel, Port Sunlight

Large, typical pub in this pleasant Victorian 'model' village. It's split into main parts, a hotel, a reastaurant, and a pub. The pub is large and open plan, albeit with some features of interest such as a wood-panelled separation pillar with a real fire on each side. TV sport features prominently, with most areas catered for. Was busy on a Saturday afternoon with Everton fans, a good-natured atmosphere prevailed.
Beer-wise, the choice wasn't great, with only Marston's English Gold available- in OK condition but rather bland.
Not a must visit.

27 Feb 2011 11:51

Ring O'Bells, Warrington

Classic unspoilt pub in the coaching house style, pleasantly situated by the gate of the impressive sandstone church to the east of the town centre, in the old part of town.
From the outside it looks unspoilt, with small leaded windows lit by lamps. Whilst many such pubs disappoint upon going in, the rustic nature is continued as you walk through the door, with a myriad of rooms contained under a low ceiling. Although there has been a degree of opening up, most areas feel strongly separate, with a small snug to the left as you enter, behind which is a bar room. to the right as you enter are a number of other areas, all equally pubby, with typically rustic pictures, wall-mounted seating and wood panelling.
There is a food operation which is not strongly emphasised and does not compromise the overall pubby feeling of the place.
The choice of beers is reasonable, with one from the local Coach House, Moorhouses Pendle Witch's Brew and Directors. Pendle Witch's was in fine condition on my visit.
Overall, despite being a slight walk out of the town centre, this pub is well worth a visit, especially as it can be combined with a visit to the Tavern and Porter's Ale House, a good crawl in Warrington's flourishing real ale scene.

27 Feb 2011 11:29

Griffin Inn, Swithland

Pleasant convivial pub in this small slate-built village, close to the preserved GCR steam railway. It's contemporary whilst retaining a good deal of character, with comfortable rooms primarily set up for dining away from the main bar room, which is more pubby and has a fine real fire. The food looked good although didn't try any, whilst the beer selection was reasonable- Everards Tiger and Original as well as Adnams. Tiger was in excellent form, as would be expected from a GBG regular.
It's not a must visit but if you're passing through there's every reason to drop in. Can be visited as part of the walks advertised on a leaflet issued by the railway.

27 Feb 2011 11:19

The Albion Inn, Loughborough

Surprised this one hasn't been reviewed for so long as it would appear to be a GBG regular. It's a traditional locals' boozer situated on the canal bank, with a small access road leading to a car park from the main road (Be careful driving on here!)
It doesn't look much like a pub from the outside, and if it weren't for the pub sign you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a house. Inside, it's rustic and basic, but cosy- pleasantly ungentrified. A small L-shaped bar room (with a welcome real fire) has oak-tree style tables and a brick-built bar. There's also an adjacent games room with darts, where most people seemed to be congregating on my visit- in contrast the bar room was very pleasant. There's also a jukebox in here.
The range of beer is pretty strong, with 6 available, a mixture of locally brewed beers and the nationals. I had a pint of the local stout, the name of which unfortunately escapes me, but it was very good.
It's quite quiet in comparision to the nearby Swan and Rushes, but is equally traditional, and pleasantly located. The beer range doesn't disappoint so I'd recommend a visit.

30 Jan 2011 13:00

The Garden Gate, Leeds

Splendid Edwardian drinking palace that now stands alone around drab 70s housing schemes. Apaprently it was due to be demolished in 1972 but was rescued, and a good job too.
Although a fine building, It was toiling along recently under Tetley's auspices doing nothing special until Leeds brewery came in last year and introduced real ale and refurbished the place.
The glazed tile exterior is a sight to behold in itself, and inside does not disappoint either. A central corridor leads to several rooms, a front and back bar room to the left, and a snug and games room to the right. All of these are tiled and furnished in an utterly traditional manner. The front bar room has a real fire and a splendid mosaic bar, as well as fine wall tiling. You can read more about this on the CAMRA National Inventory, on which this pub is justifiably featured.
Leeds Pale and Leeds Best available on my visit, 2 pints of Best were in good form. The pub also does food.
As noted, the only real drawback is the area the pub is located in, which is thoroughly uninspiring. As such, it's necessary to turn this into a destination pub in itself because there are precious few reasons to come here. I hope that this can be done. The pub is easily accessible by bus from the city centre.
In architectural terms, probably one of the best in Yorkshire if not the country. Not to be missed if in Leeds.

22 Jan 2011 10:48

The Pack Horse Inn, Culcheth

Local with a vilagey feel, pleasantly situated in the shadow of the parish church at the end of a cul-de-sac. Said to be the oldest pub in Culcheth,It's red brick on the outside but on the inside has been somewhat modernised, with a central bar serving various opened-out areas which meander round it at different levels. There's also a higher, separate area for darts.
Pleasant atmosphere throughout, reasonably busy on my visit.
3 beers available, 2 from the big brewers (I forget which) but I enjoyed a pint of Pendle Witches Brew, a pleasant dark beer. There seems to be a considerable food operation.
Nothing particularly wrong with this place but I had hoped for a bit more character.

22 Jan 2011 10:41

The Poste House, Liverpool

Tiny back street boozer in the he art of the city's financlal district, that was saved from demolition a few years ago and is now incongruous amongst the trendy flats that dwarf it.
IIt looks pleasantly traditional from the outside and inside we find one very small room with a small bar in the corner. The furnishings are traditional, with mostly wall-mounted seats forming half-booths around tables. There's also an upstairs, as it's so small downstairs it's often difficult to get a seat, although this provides an all-too-rare experience of a packed, busy pub, so this is a plus point in my view.
2 handpumps opearate, and these aren't always working, so it doesn't really compete with some of its neighbours on the beer front. On my visit Christmas specials from Robinsons and Marstons were avaialble, the latter decent if nothing special.
The pub has a reputation as a gay-friendly, rather than overtly gay, pub.
All in all worth a visit for the character, but not quite one of Liverpool's musts in my book.

8 Jan 2011 11:46

The Richmond, Liverpool

Proper locals' boozer in the pedestrianised area of the city centre, and with attitude to boot.
It occupies a street corner, and as noted is a strange blend of old and new styles. One small room is dominated by the bar, and whilst the furnishings are far from traditional- lots of leather couches, etc.- the upper part of the room features brewery mirrors and other pubby things which do give some character.
The atmosphere is very much that of a working-class locals place, and good-natured banter prevails. It always seems to be absolutely packed at the weekends, with people spilling outside, which had always deterred me from going in. A jukebox often dominates proceedings.
It's featured more prominently on the CAMRA radar in recent years, with frequent mentions in the local magazine and GBg places. 6 handpumps seems to be the maximum, although like others I found fewer to be in operation on my visit. Apparently, guest ales often feature but the big boys dominated on my visit, Bombardier was fine.
It's not a Liverpool must-visit by any means, and I doubt everyone would enjoy it, but I may just be returning here.

8 Jan 2011 11:39

Stamps Too, Liverpool

Contemporary, music-oriented bar across the road from Waterloo station, deep in suburban Liverpool.
As noted, it's dark and slightly dingy (unlike it's sister pub in Crosby) , although hardly disgusting. Personally, I prefer this to a completely whitewashed, character-free bar, and it does give it more of a 'pubby' feeling.
The one room stretches up to the bar, in the top left hand corner, and there is free Internet opposite this- a rarity!
Mostly popular with a younger crowd, but there was a mixed clientele on my visit.
Beer-wise, it's pretty strong, with plenty Locales from Southport, Liverpool Organic, Liverpool One etc. Golden Sands from Southport was good as ever.
It's an all-round decent place, not worth the trip out of the city centre on merit alone but if you're heading to the excellent Volunteer Canteen nearby, there's every reason to pop in here.

8 Jan 2011 11:31

The Unicorn, Manchester

Traditional street corner local in the city centre, increasingly incongruous in the Northern Quarter trendy area of bars and clubs. It retains quite a bit of character inside, with a central bar serving two long rooms and a snug type area at the back, although the distinction has been blurred due to some opening up. Traditional bar lamps and traditional furnishing add to the character.
Despite always serving Bass, Black Sheep and Copper Dragon, it never seems to feature on the radar of the GBG or other CAMRA publications; a shame as it's a worthy pub. one of the most traditional interiors in the city centre,if not the best beer range. I recommned a visit

20 Dec 2010 16:33

The Stockbridge Tap, Edinburgh

Would agree with previous posters that this is a contemporary feeling pub with a traditional enough interior. The whitewashed walls probably add to this, a few more features would definitely add character. Nevertheless, its a reasonable pub with two distinct areas around a central bar, and a degree of green tiling in the entrance and back bar to provide interest.
The beer range is pretty good, with a focus seemingly on Lancashire beers on my visit, with Bank Top and Allgates represented alongside the more usual Scottish microbreweries. I opted for the Trade Winds IPA which was excellent as ever.
Whilst this is a fine all-round pub, I do get the feeling that there's something missing, atmosphere-wise, and that it could be easily remedied. If that were to be done, this could progress to be being a great pub.

20 Dec 2010 15:59

The Diggers (Athletic Arms), Edinburgh

Renowned boozer close to Murryfield and Tynecastle that gets its nickname from the fact that it lies between two graveyards. It's on a street corner and is very traditional, retaining quite a degree of interesting original features (the pub features on the Scotland regional inventory) , although the Edinburgh Pub Walks guide tells us that some crass refurbishments were carried out in the mid 1980s upon the pub's acquistion by Scottish & Newcastle- surprise surprise.
Nevertheless, the main room is a traditional,L-shaped affair with the curious 'miniature tables', about 3 feet long and 1 foot deep, that one can also find in the Bow Bar. A rear room is also furnished similarly. The pub has the usual Edinburgh brewery mirrors adorning it, and sport features prominently here, with the pub very busy on Hearts matchdays.
The beer range was solid if not spectacular, with Stewart and Caledonian breweries featuring- much like any other pub in Edinburgh. Three wise men from Stewart was pleasant, a coppery pint.
It's a bit of a walk out but easily accessible by bus, if you're in the Haymarket area definitely worth a punt, although probably not now one of Edinburgh's best pubs as it apparently once was.

20 Dec 2010 15:55

The Potters Arms, Chorley

Traditional, unpretentious local on the edge of the town centre. It's cosy enough, with a housey feel, one traditionally furnished room meandering around a central bar, with a pool table at the rear. The front area has a pleasant wood-burning stove. Beers available on my visit included Three B's Doffocker, Black Sheep and Tetley Bitter, not the best selection in town but perfectly reasonable, the Doff Cocker was enjoyable, if the wrong choice for a freezing day!
All in all not a bad place at all, and underrated on this site in my view.Would definitely return.

20 Dec 2010 15:40

Little John Hotel, Hathersage

Traditional pub (especially needed in the village considering most of the nearby options are gastrified) that features in CAMRA's Peak District Pub Walks guide. It occupies a street corner position, and has interestingly leaded and stain glass windows, although the interior is rather more typical. There is a food operation, but this doesn't seem to be to the detriment of drinkers, which distinguishes it from its competitors.
It's roughly L-shaped around the bar with traditional furnishings and a pool table, and was pleasantly busy early on a Saturday evening, with a pelasant atmosphere throughout. The 4 beers mostly come from Sheffield microbreweries, with Pale Rider on top form as ever- a fine pint.
If on a walk in the area this is a more than reasonable pub to stop off in.

20 Dec 2010 15:34

The Crystal Palace, York

Large, Sam Smiths boozer on the A59 about 15 minutes' walk from the city centre.
Outside, it has a front garden and has the feel of a house, which isn't typical of their pubs, but inside it is- utter no-nonsense boozing in an ungentrified, upretentious environment.
. A central bar serves two large rooms, one of which has a pool table- which I suppose is unusual for a SS pub.
The usual reliable if slightly dull OBB bitter is available, although at the price it's at, who's complaining.
It's not worth the trek out in itself but is situated about halfway to the excellent Fox from town, and as such is worth a visit if around.

20 Dec 2010 15:28

The Fox, York

Remarkably traditional survivor, about a mile out of the city centre on the A59 and featuring on the York Historic Pub Guide,
A Tetley Heritage Inn, it offers Tetley bitter plus two guests (which weren't marked on the handpump on my visit, so don't be afraid to ask).
There hasn't been much opening out, with the entrance corridor leading to a stairway and the toilets. Various rooms are accessed from the corridor, with a vault to the front right, a lounge accessed to the left, and two snugs further back on the right- a peculiar and interesting layout. Each room has wood-panelling and green leather seating, enhancing the atmosphere of this excellent pub. A TV in the lounge shows sport, although I'm not sure if Sky is available. It was pretty busy on my Saturday afternoon visit- a good sign.
The name of the beer I had unfortunately escapes me, but suffice to say it was godo enough to return for another one.
All in all I would recommend the trek out here to sample this fine pub if you get chance- there are many busues, alternatively you could walk and stop at the Crystal Palace on the way. A real unspoilt place.

20 Dec 2010 15:25

Mathers, Edinburgh

CAMRA National Inventory boozer close to Charlotte Square that is featured in the recently published (and excellent) Edinburgh Pub Walks book.
It has an imposing pub sign that dominates the front of the sandstone building, and upon entry you find yourself in a large, ornate room with the usual array of pub mirrors and an impressive plastered ceiling. It's traditionally furnished, and sport features prominently. It's pretty traditional and ungentrified, but despite being on the Inventory, it doesn't quite match up to the likes of the Abbotsford or Bennets in my view.
The ales on range were reasonable, with many from Stewart Brewery, alongside the ubiquitous Deuchars and Black Sheep- a change from the last review then.
All in all not a bad pub and worth a visit, certainly worthy of more than it's current rating, although not an Edinburgh must-visit.

20 Dec 2010 15:17

Railway Hotel, Chorley

Traditional street-corner local, unsurprisingly located just behind the railway station. Badged as a Jennings' pub, although like all their empire it now belongs to Marston's. It's just won the local CAMRA award although it never seems to be featured in the GBG for some reason.
Inside, although opened out it retains quite a bit of character, with wood and green leather seating quite prominent. The area to the right of the entrance door was once quite clearly a snug, and retains waist-level separation. It also features a roaring real fire and as such is a popular area of the pub.
The rest of the pub is more open, with guitars on the wall providing a musical theme. There is also a pool table.
Beers from Marstons/Jennings/Ringwood etc. range as you'd expect, with 5 available on my visit. Ringwood 49er was in good nick, although one does wish this empire would allow some guests to coutner it's same-y beers.
That said, it's a fine all-round pub and is round the corner from the equally strong Malt and Hops, and is convenient for the station, so definitely worth a visit.

20 Dec 2010 14:31

The Rose and Crown, Chorley

Semi-traditional, typical pub in the town centre, just opposite the police station. it's opened out and is basically a L-shaped pub around the bar. Although traditionally furnished, there is little of architectural note, although the dim lighting does provide some atmosphere. On my pre-Christmas visit Xmas songs were being played from the computer system behind the bar, and a good atmosphere prevailed.
Although not a GBG regular, it's recently come to the attention of the local CAMRA after increasing its number of handpumps to three. Black Sheep, Bombardier and a local beer from Allgates were available. Bombardier was pretty good.
If you're on a crawl it's worth dropping in as there's nothing at all wrong with the place, but if in town with not much time I would prioritise others first.

20 Dec 2010 14:24

57 Thomas Street, Manchester

Small bar in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter, as noted owned by the Marble Brewery, easily Manchester's best micro if you ask me.
It has one room with a big long table and not much other seating, and as it gets rather busy you may well find yourself standing.
Unlike the well-known Marble Arch, it's thoroughly contemporary like most of the surrounding bars, and is clearly aiming for a younger clientele. However, the wallpaper is derived from the architecture of the Marble Arch thus providing something of interest.
The real ales are all Marble, and whilst the selection is not as great as that of the Arch it's pretty decent. They are served directly from the barrel, like at a beer festival.
All in all this place can't really match up to the excellent Arch, but is more central and is a worthy addition to the hit-and-miss bars of the Northern Quarter- definitely one to visit alongside Odd and Bar Fringe for example, for the quality of their beers. Definitely worth a try.

20 Dec 2010 14:19

The Corner Pin, Sheffield

Traditional, street corner local firmly planted in the industrial East End of Sheffield and dwarfed by hulking steelworks on all sides. It's recently been painted green, and whilst there would once have been many pubs in this area, there are precious few now.
It has two rooms and both are basic and utterly unpretentious, with traditional furnshings, the usual pubby memorabilia and a distinctly 70s feel- not a bad thing in the author's opinion!
Despite appearing in the GBG relatively recently, and despite the presence of 3 handpumps on the bar, none of them seemed to be in operation on my visit, leaving me to settle for keg. Surprisingly for a pub such as this, there seems to be a food operation, although not at the time of my visit.
It was reasonably busy with locals and only locals on my visit, but there was no feeling of an unfriendly vibe.
I appreciate proper, industrial pubs like this as there are precious few left, but in view of the current real ale situation many may not be persuaded to trek out to this rather bleak area. However, if they could remedy this, it could become something of a destination pub as a real unspoilt gem. I certainly hope so.

20 Dec 2010 14:14

The New Inn, Appletreewick

Genuinely traditional boozer in this pleasant village. As opposed to 'tired and shabby', I'd probably call it more rustic, with a separate entrance corridor leading to two rooms. the large bar to the right and a smaller lounge to the left. Both rooms have real fires and are traditionally furnished, with exposed brickwork in many of the places. It was packed full of regulars and the lack of any piped music made for a timeless feel, and a pleasant deviation from the usual upmarket country 'pub'.
Beers on my visit were all from the Daleside brewey, and all tried were in good form. Food was good and reasonably priced.
Would recommend a visit here and would return.

7 Dec 2010 21:04

The Salford Arms Hotel, Salford

As desribed below, was a has-been pub for many years, in the shadow of the Kings' Arms and going nowhere. It shut down and has been given a renovation, with a lick of red paint. Although the original layout has been retained, with a bar room and a lounge of sorts, the decor is now very modern- plush leather seating upstairs. The music is very loud and it seems very much a modern circuit pub-cum-bar now. The handpumps, however, remain and there is a strong possibility of ale in the future. Not really my kind of place at the moment, but at least it's open. Will return at some point to check on the situation.

7 Dec 2010 20:52

The Bull, Shocklach

Village dining pub with a good reputation for food and real ale. it's typical upmarket Cheshire dining territory, with whitewashed walls, reserved seating and little to attract the admirer of the traditional boozer, although some mosaic tiling on the floor near the bar is of note.
The beer range is pretty good, with a selection of 5-6 mostly from Cheshire microbreweries on most of the time. On my visit a beer festival was on, with the number of ales up to 20 and a Lake District theme. All I tried were excellent, as was the food.
So, if you like real ale and want something to eat, you can't go wrong here. If you're after a traditional pub experience it's not the best bet, although I would recommed a visit on the strength of the beer and food. Would return.

7 Dec 2010 20:49

The Wheatsheaf, Manchester

Locals' pub situated in a semi-modern housing development incongruously situated within the ring road and just a stone's throw from the busy, trendy Northern quarter- though it feels a world away. It's always been off the radar until I read that it had started to serve real ale and that it had a fine tiled interior, which led me through the residential maze to pay a visit. It's not one you'd find a circuit crowd in, very much a locals pub in the city centre. It's large and opened out, roughly an L-shape around a bar. Although the decor is reasonably traditional, the activities are very much modern with DJs, karaoke and the ilk. The regulars seemed to be enjoying it.
I couldn't find any sign of the tiled interior so not sure about the reliability of the source, but there was real ale on- Pedigree and Mansfield Bitter. Whilst not the most inspiring of selections, the Mansfield was a reasonable pint.
This isn't somewhere you're likely to stumble across,and in view of the number of fine establishments nearby, there's no real reason to try and find it. At least they now serve ale so it's an improvement.

7 Dec 2010 20:46

Original Farmers Arms, Eccleston

Large, rambling village pub with a split emphasis on eating and drinking. It's opened out and is roughly a horseshoe shape around a bar, but with different levels giving a feeling of separation. The southern end of the pub is more foody, although it's not been 'gentrified'- a pub atmosphere prevails. The northern side was more spartan and was reasonably busy with drinkers. The furnishings and decor are typical and pretty unremarkable- it's not soulless but just 'ordinary'. The home-cooked food was excellent and came in good portions. Beer-wise, it's pretty good, with Black Sheep, London Pride and 2 local beers- Prospect Nutty Slack and Thwaites available on my visit. . Pride was in good form, service friendly.
All in all not a bad place to drop by if in the area, would call in again.

7 Dec 2010 20:40

Castle Inn, Bradway

Stone-built pub in the leafy area of Bradway on Sheffield's southern extremity. It's regularly featured in the local CAMRA magazine and is a short walk from Dore station, so thought I'd pay a visit.
As stated, it's perched high up on a wooded embankment above the railway line, giving a pleasant sense of place.
Multi-roomed, it's very typical of a reasonably unspoilt pub, solid but unspectacular. As noted, a food operation is prominent, and the rear room is given overto this.
Good real ale selection, with Farmers Blonde, Barnsley Bitter and Landlord- Blonde was in fine form as ever.
It's a pleasant, solid pub and definitely worth popping in on a walk in the area, though with Sheffield's high standards of real ale provision it isn't necessarily worth going out of your way for.

16 Oct 2010 11:15

Fox & Newt, Leeds

Studenty pub just outside the city centre ring road on the way to Headingley.
As stated, it's definitely oriented towards a younger crowd, with gaming machines, jukebox, pool table and the works, and this seems natural as it's close to the University. It's pubby but there's little of architectural merit, being a standard, opened-out affair split over two levels. The top end has board games to play, and the pub shows sport.
The strength of this pub lies in the real ale range, and I was surprised to find that a pub such as this should have it's own microbrewery. 3 of their ales were avaialable, and I plumped for the Pale which was an excellent pint and very reasonable at 1.80 a pint.
The pub also stocks ales from other micros, Leeds Brewery featuring on my visit, as well as the big boys.
All in all my expectations were low, so I was pleasantly surprised with this place, and would be happy to return.

16 Oct 2010 11:10

The White Horse Churton, Churton

Typical modern food-led village pub, with a separate restuarant area to the rear. The front bar is more pubby and has traditional furnishings, with beer related literature and magazines, and the usual pubby knick-knacks.
Black Sheep, John smiths and a local guest are usually served, i had a Phoenix Hopsack on my visit and it was a good pint.
It's an unremarkable, typical pub, with nothing outstanding but nothing really wrong with it either. If you're walking in the area there's every reason to pop in.

16 Oct 2010 11:03

Bellingham Hotel, Wigan

Large, multi-purpose building opposite the infirmary on the A49 north of Wigan. It's primarily still a hotel and also has a restaurant attached, but the bar can be viewed as a pub and it is very much part of the Wigan Lane circuit. It's unremarkable as hotel bars tend to be, with typical, mixed level areas in one open-plan room. Sport is shown regularly. The tiling and mosiac in the doorway hint at past grandeur.
The beer garden at the front, however, is the best in Wigan- a vast, leafy area of land overlooking attractive houses.
It was always a keg house until recently, when Tetley Bitter and Bombardier appeared on handpump, not a mind-blowing selection but a vast improvement.
All in all in summer it's worth a visit for the garden, otherwise a pretty unremarkable pub that does seem to be improving.

16 Oct 2010 11:00

Hole in the Wall, Hebden Bridge

Former Vaux pub by the bridge in the town centre that is still badged as such, this is now a freehouse with a decidedly bohemian slant.
It retains a good deal of interior features, with fine tiled walls and a degree of separation kept between the original rooms- by looking at the tiled lobby you can easily see that the pub once had a classic West Riding layout. Two rooms emanate from this lobby, but the doorways have been considerably widened so that the rooms aren't as separate as they once were.
From the lobby there is a staircase which is also resplendent in green tiling.
There are a number of leaflets and flyers for events and the pub seems quite music-focused, with loud music emanating from the computer at the bar which kept being changed rather too often on my visit.
The furnishings are a mixture of traditional and modern, with stool seating as well as sofas and armchairs in which to 'lounge'.
Beer-wise, there were 4 beers all from local microbreweries, of which I tried the Saltaire Blonde- a very nice pint.
This is a modern style pub with traditional features rather than a traditional boozer, , and as such won't appeal to everybosy, however it's reasonably strong in all departments so in my book is worth a visit.

12 Sep 2010 14:34

The Volunteer Arms, Southport

Thwaites pub with a mid-20th century exterior- brick and leaded windows. Inside, it's opened out, with one large, unremarkable L-shaped room. There seems to be an emphasis on music, with a very loud jukebox and a large motnage of famous singers on one wall. There is also a pool table towards the rear of the pub.
I had a pint of Wainwright, Lancaster Bomber being the other beer available. It was in good nick.
It's an unremarkable, solid enough boozer if nothing special- there are other places in Southport that I would prioritise.

12 Sep 2010 14:28

Oast House, Southport

Back-street boozer up a small side street in the town centre. it's quite small, with one horseshoe bar with a room around it, and a raised area towards the front. It's recently converted to real ale, and has two handpumps, usually selling beers from the Moorhouses range. Unfortunately only Pendle Witch's Brew was available on my visit and it had just gone- although I prefer being told this rather than being given a bad pint. Had a Guinness instead which was fine.
It shows sports and seems to attract a local, older clientele.
Probably better pubs nearby but it's not too bad.

12 Sep 2010 14:24

The Central Hotel, Gateshead

Now reopened. A distinctive wedge-shaped pub at the Gateshead end of the High Level Bridge, a short walk from Newcastle and the Bridge pub.
It features on CAMRA's National Inventory of Pub Interiors but was always a dive, my only previous visit 6 years ago being memorable for the wrong reasons.
Now taken over by Head of Steam, it's looking up.
2 rooms are open and the flaky paint has been removed so the original sandstone exterior can be appreciated.
A bar room and a lounge are open at present, both at the thin end of the wedge, so to speak. The bar has an impressive dark wood and mirror back, and all furnishings are traditional. A few contemporary things have been added, such as chandeliers, and one wonders if the NI listing will be downgraded, although it still has a great deal of architectural note.
Still a work in progress (especially the toilets!), but the rest of the pub will be opening in December, and hopefully no traditional features will be lost.
Looking good beer-wise, with bottled beers and real cider featuring alongside Prince Bishop Sunny Daze, Wylam Gold Tankard, Hopback and Cumberland Ales' Corby Ale. All tried were excellent.
Looking up and good to see such a grand pub back on its feet. I heartily recommend a visit.

7 Sep 2010 15:13

The Water Witch, Lancaster

Gastropub by the canal, just south of the city centre. Despite the undeniable food emphasis, the pub also has a strong reputation for real ale and as such is worth a visit.
It's in a pleasant spot by a small marina, and benches adorn the towpath outside. Inside, it's pretty unremarakable, with one long room served by a bar. Most of the tables are given over to dining so I tend to sit outside whenever I visit- pleasant on a nice day but possibly quite prohibitive if it's raining.
The beer range is usually quite strong, on my last visit there was a 'War of the Roses' theme, although York Brewery and Thwaites seemed to dominate the pumps on my visit- not as varied a range as on previous visits. Had an excellent pint of Guzzler and enjoyed it outside.
The food is well renowned but is quite expensive, and can't really be described as pub grub. However, there are always lots of people eating so they must be doing something right.
It's not really a boozer and for the traditional experience there are better places to head in Lancaster. However, if you come on a nice day it can be a rewarding experience, especially considering the ale selection.

28 Aug 2010 11:19

The Three Mariners, Lancaster

Traditional pub, albeit with some opening out inside. It purports to be the oldest pub in Lancaster, and from looking at the stone-built exterior, this seems a plausible claim.
It's set back slightly from the road not far from the river, in a pleasant leafy alcove, with bench seating for a nice day.
On entering, you are met by a long, low-ceilinged room with oak beams, although there have been considerable alterations made, and the pub has a mostly contemporary feel, with smartish furnishings and games machines. The room has part-partitions to create distinct areas, at one end a TV shows sport, whilst the other end is more traditional, with an old inglenook fireplace.
The beer range is sound, with 6 handpumps dispensing beers from both local and national breweries. Unusually, the beer is gravtiy fed.
Lancaster, Bowland and Copper Dragon were all represented on my visit, but I went for the Young's Special, which was excellent.
All in all this is a fine locals' pub, with one of the best atmopsheres in Lancaster. One to head to.

28 Aug 2010 11:09

The Borough, Lancaster

Grand city centre pub conversion on the city's pleasant main square, the classical sandstone exterior of which (see above) gives an impression of what lies within.
As noted, it's stately home- like, with grand chandeliers, a staircase and old pictures on the walls. The one large area is partially separated into more intiamte-feeling parts, although the rear of the pub is given over to diners. Some of the walls are oak-panelled, and whilst the majority of the furnishings are traditional, there are also some comfy old leather seats to relax in.
The beer selection is strong, with local breweries such as Bowland, Thwaites, Lancaster and Hawskshead represented on my visit. Hawkshead Bitter was its usual excellent pint.
Busy on a Saturday night, with a mixed crowd making for a pleasant atmosphere. Definitely a must-visit if in Lancaster.

28 Aug 2010 10:35

The White Cross, Lancaster

Large converted warehouse by the canal just outside the city centre. As noted, it's difficult to put into one category. It definitely falls into the 'barn' style of pub architecture, with one very large area spread out over two levels, but it doesn't particularly feel chainy.
The lack of architectural interest is made up for by the excellent beer range- the pub won CAMRA Pub of the Year this time. 10 handpumps dispense national and local brews- I had two pints of the excellent Salopian Hop Twister. Also featuring were Copper Dragon, Bowland and Thwaites.
A food operation is run, and it falls into the category of good pub grub rather that anything particularly special- but it was very good and reasonably priced, all under 10.
There's also a pool table and newspapers to read should you feel so inclined.
All in all this is definitely worth a visit for it's very strong selection of beers, although aficianados of traditional pub architecture would find more to interest them in the city centre. Close to the Borough and Water Witch so can be included on a crawl.

28 Aug 2010 10:16

The Station, Oxenholme

Large, typical countryside pub a short walk from Oxenholme station, despite the name. It's pretty opened out although it has retained the feel of separate areas, these are traditionally furnished but are pretty spacious and not of particular architectural note. Also a more upmarket
Food plays a large role, with a menu served all day, but it's not a gastropub and you wouldn't feel out of place popping in for a pint.
Beer wise, Black Sheep, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Landlord and Theakston's XB were available on my visit- a solid selection of nothing spectacular. Landlord reliable as ever and much enjoyed on my visit.
All in all, a perfectly decent pub and definitely worth a punt if you're in the area, but nothing in particular to go out of your way for.

28 Aug 2010 10:06

The Victoria Hotel, Leeds

Characterful city centre pub behind the imposing Town Hall. It's certainly redolent of a London pub with it's dark wooden panelling, green leather seating and snob screens throughout the one large room, and this is accentuated by the standard Nicholson's food menu which is ubiquitous in London pubs.

Lamps add to the character of the place, and the beer range is strong, with 6 guests from the usual Nicholson's suppliers. I had a Morrissey Fox blonde, which was enjoyable but rather expensive at 3- or am I stuck in the past?
It's definitely one of the most characterful pubs in the city but for me that Nicholson's chain feeling is all-pervasive- it doesn't feel so much artificial as contrived.
All in all however, I'm nit picking- it's one of the finest pubs in the city architecturally and the beer range is sound, as such you should try to get here. Note the erratic Sunday opening hours- I found out the hard way when I first tried to visit.

21 Aug 2010 11:23

The Cross Inn, Heptonstall

Timmy Taylor pub at the centre of this timewarp, moorland village, and just what is required after the steep climb from Hebden Bridge.
Advertised as an Irish-Yorkshire pub due to the new landlord and lady, it's a large place with one, typical long room stretching to a games area at the rear of the pub, with a pool table. The front area retains some character, particularly in the bay windows overlooking the cobbled street. Traditionally furnished throughout.
Beer range is the full TT range- Golden Best, Landlord, Best and Ram Tam. Best was in good form, very quaffable. Friendly owners and welcome.
A nice, if typical, place in a lovely village, would return.

21 Aug 2010 11:18

The Brewery Tap, Leeds

Very modern bar, recently opened. A fine selection of Leeds' brewery beers on modern chrome handpumps, the very quaffable Leeds Pale in fine form on my visit. This is also complemented by a large selection of Continental brews.
The place hasn't yet shaken off the unmistakable 'new bar' feel and there is a distinct lack of character to the place for me, accentuated by the fact that my visit was at lunchtime and there were lots of suits in the spartan, whitewashed room. There are, however, interesting large photos of Leeds on the walls.
Give it time and I'm sure it'll pick up character, I won't be averse to visiting again as the beer was spot on. Worth a visit.

21 Aug 2010 11:13

The Dressers Arms, Wheelton

Large, pleasant pub on the edge of the village. It has a fine aspect, with an enviable front garden.
Inside, a good deal of character has been retained, with low ceilings throughout the myriad of largish rooms. A more modern area with pool, a jukebox and a TV can be found at the top of the pub, overlooking the garden.
Lower down, a main bar room has several smaller rooms leading off from it, all traditionally furnished.
A considerable food operation is in place, but not at the expense of drinkers, and the pub retains a vilalge local feel.
The beer range is impressive, with 8 pumps dispensing mostly local beers and a real cider. On my visit were Bank Top Bitter, Three B's bitter, Allgates California, the house beer Milk of Amnesia, Tetley bitter, Black Sheep and a couple more which escape me. All sampled were in good condition and quite reasonably priced. The pub has been in the GBg in recent years but isn't in this year's- not sure why.
All in all a fine pub and definitely worth a visit.

21 Aug 2010 11:05

Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

Classic unspoilt pub on CAMRA's National Inventory of pub interiors. it's adequately described below, and was my favourite pub of the day. Of particular note for me was the splendid wood panelled snug room behind the bar which has a centre circle from the old Baseball Ground. A low ceilinged corridor between this and other rooms is another of the many points of interest. A good beer range too makes this unmissable if in Derby. The one to head to in my book.

21 Aug 2010 11:00

Seven Stars, Derby

Relatively unspoilt boozer just outside the town centre. It has a sunken interior with low ceilings, one small horseshoe room around a bar which lends the place quite a bit of character. Traditionally furnished, although a jukebox, space invaders machine and games machine hint that the pub hopes to appeal to a younger crowd. A mixed crowd on my visit made for a pleasant atmosphere.
Pedigree and Black Sheep hardly the best choice in the city, but the latter was perfectly fine.
It's a characterful place and worth a pop, particualry as it is situated between the Flowerpot and Five Bells, but if you're short of time it can be overlooked in favour of some of the better-known pubs here.

21 Aug 2010 10:57

The Brewery Tap, Derby

Spacious contemporary pub in a traditional wedge-shaped building just outside of the town centre. It has two large rooms with a similar feel, modern furnishings such as sofas and polished wooden floors, as well as an upstairs area where food is served. TVs show sporting events, and there is a pleasant rooftop terrace.
Good selection of beers, with their own product plus quite a few guests, as detailed below. My pint of the house beer was in good nick.
Not the most characterful pub of the Derby crawl, but a perfectly decent place, and I did enjoy the rooftop terrace. Worth popping into on the way to the Exeter and Smithfield.

21 Aug 2010 10:53

The Exeter Arms, Derby

Traditional Marston's street-corner local just outside the town centre. Although not as renowned as Derby's more well-known real ale pubs, it's worth a visit just for the character of the place, which is relatively unspoilt with its multi-roomed interior.
It's quite rambling, with an extension off to your left as you enter (with a fine, semi-separate, snob-screened area complete with original fireplace) and the main bar area to your right. This comprises of three partially separated areas on two different levels; of particular note is the room furthest to your right which is packed full of pictures of old movie stars. The pub is traditionally furnished throughout and has some interesting panelling. The beer garden is also very pleasant and floral.
Beer-wise, it can't really compete with it's neighbours, with the usual Marston's range Old empire was in decent condition on my visit, if not my pint of the day. However, despite this shortcoming, any lover of traditional boozers should attempt to get here.

21 Aug 2010 10:50

The Wheatsheaf, Raby Mere

Thoroughly unspoilt village pub in archetypal Cheshire countryside. The thatched roof gives an idea of what is to come, and the inside doesn't disappoint.
It has a strong emphasis on food but this is sensibly operated separately in a more recent extension with a more modern feeling, thus preserving the character of the village local. The food was very good if not cheap, but you get what you pay for.
Onto the important stuff- the pub itself is packed with character. Multi-roomed with creaking wooden panels, it's redolent of another age. The t wo main areas are the bar room and a lounge to your right, both simply and traditionally furnished. Of particular note is the semi-snug in the bar area, that is separated by an oak partition to chest height and features one large wooden table around which is wall-mounted wooden seating, where a large group can sit. As you enter there is an old range with old bottles and posters about the area.
The beer range is strong, with a mixture of bigger names and locally brewed beers, totalling about 6-7 handpumps. Had two pints of Brimstage Trappers Hat which were in fine condition.
This is a real unspoilt gem and is certainly going out of your way for, particularly for the traditional pub enthusiast. Recommended!

21 Aug 2010 10:43

Harp Inn, Little Neston

Traditional boozer, tucked away at the bottom of town with an enviable view over the Dee Estuary to North Wales, for which it is well known.
The pub itself is pleasant, with an unspoilt feeling. Two small, simply furnished rooms are served by a central bar, and locals tend to congregate in the left hand room, as did a multitude of dogs on my visit. In summer however many congregate outside for the views.
Decent beer range, with a mixture of bigger names (Wadworth, Black Sheep, Landlord) and locally brewed beers from the likes of Brimstage. My Trapper's Hat was in good form.
Difficult to find, but one of the areas better pubs, you should try to get here if you can.

21 Aug 2010 10:36

The Steamboat, South Shields

Traditional character pub, a short walk from the ferry landing in the conservation area of town. It's deceptively long and large, with two main areas, a lower bar area and a higher area at the back with several different rooms. Both areas are packed with maritime memorabilia and a vast array of clocks, which gives a lot of character to the place, as does the dark wood panelling and traditional furnishings throughout.
Beer-wise it's excellent, with 6 handpumps providing microbrewed ales from near and far. On my visit a dark beers festival had just finished, and these featured heavily. All i tried were excellent.
This is the best pub in South Shields and one of the best on Tyneside, and as such you should try to get here.

21 Aug 2010 10:30

The Newcastle Arms, Newcastle

City centre boozer in the shadow of St. James' Park, a regular local CAMRA award winner and one to head to if in the city centre.
It's basic and unpretentious, with the bowed, leaded windows and marble exterior the extent of any opulence. A basic wooden-floored L-shaped bar is furnished traditionally, unfortunately gaming and gambling machines impinge on this a little.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere remains staunchly traditional and it tends to attract an older crowd. The beer range is excellent, with local microbreweries heavily represented, and a good selection of dark beers. Never had a bad beer in here yet.
It's definitely one to head to, and one of the few real ale pubs in the city centre that isn't owned by the (admittedlu excellent) Sir John Fitzgerald chain, so makes a bit of a change.

14 Aug 2010 11:04

The Cartford Arms, Little Eccleston

Renowned dining pub whose excellent beers also sees it regularly gaining a place in the GBG.
It's not somewhere you'd stumble across, being down a country lane at the edge of the village, by the River Wyre. An old 17th Century farmhouse, it's converted so the inside is smart and contemporary, with large rooms split over 2 levels for dining and a 'mushroom' theme.
The food is excellent and reasonably priced, justifying the hype, and the beer isn't bad either- a house beer is brewed, and guests on my visit were Hawkshead Lakeland Gold, Thwaites Best and Theakston's XB. Hawkshead was excellent as ever.
Not a boozer but if you're in the area and want tea then you should head here.

14 Aug 2010 10:59

Hartley's Emporium, Wigan

Unremarkable town centre pub that toiled along with no direction or reason to go in until last year's rebranding and fire. Now it's badged as Marston's and reopened, so had a go.
It's architecturally unremarkable, with the main interest the mosaic floor in the doorway which tells us that it used to be 'The White Horse'. This area once teemed with pubs, now this is the last one.
One large area has part-partitions creating a separate feeling, with two front areas (one of which has a library of ancient books) and the larger bar room at the back. 2 smallish TVs showing Sky sports Darts and a jukebox are available, as well as a cheap standard menu. Lights perhaps a little bright which detracts from the atmosphere, which is that of a typical circuit boozer.
It's never been a real ale stronghold, but since the takeover at least it features, although 3 of the 6 pumps were out of use on my visit. Jennings Lakeland Stunner, Banks' bitter and Pedigree were available, not a mind-blowing selection but better than many of Wigan's pubs. The Stunner was in pretty good form, a light citrussy pint.
Perfectly ordinary boozer- there's not much wrong with it, and it's certainly an improvement on what it was and I m ay be tempted to pop in again, but on the whole pretty unremarkable and not one to prioritise if in town.

14 Aug 2010 10:56

The Bodega, Newcastle

Sir John Fitzgerland pub on the edge of the city centre. It's large and open plan, but certainly not without character as there are a number of interesting features, in particular the large dome to the rear of the pub- pictured above. Also a lot of dark wood panelling, some floor tiling and cosy leather-seated booths in which to enjoy your pint.
Usually 5-6 real ales, mostly from local microbreweries, Mordue and Durham breweries usually featuring.
One of the better pubs in Newcastle and definitely to be included on a crawl.

7 Aug 2010 12:05

The Wheatsheaf, Gateshead

Fine traditional pub a short walk from Pelaw metro station. It occupies a corner, and has a tiled exterior with a cermamic pillar in front of the doorway leading down nto the mosaic entrance.
Inside, it's not quite as spectacular but is a good solid boozer, with two roos all traditionally furnished, the rear one with a fire and small TV.
A good beer range from North East Micros, including Durham, Wylam and Northumberland. Had a Northumberland beer, the name of which unfortunately escapes me, but it was excellent.
Mainly popular with locals and older customers, this is probably the best pub in what is an uninspring town for real ale. If you've done all the Newcastle boozers, you could do worse than to take the short Metro trip out to this place. Beware of the late opening though.

7 Aug 2010 12:00

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

Fine traditional pub beside the castle and high level bridge, overlooking the river valley in a very attractive part of Newcastle.
Part of the sir John Fitzgerald chain that owns most of the best pubs in the city centre, It's large and open plan but full of traditional character, from the brewery mirrors to the bar lamps and riot of carved wood and stained glass fittings. Also a fire (sadly not real).
It's particularly pleasant to sit out at the back overlooking the urbanised valley, as there's a surprising amount of greenery here as well.
The beer range is excellent, with an ever-changing range from North Eastern Micros plus Black Sheep usually. My pint of Northumberland was excellent.
This is one of the top 3 pubs in Newcastle and you should definitely try to visit.

7 Aug 2010 11:56

Millers, Ulverston

Now refurbished and renamed the Mill Hotel, this slate building has been taken over by Lancaster Brewery and is thoroughly modern inside.
It's large and airy, with two main rooms at the front and rear of the bar. Both have sofas and contemproary furnishings creating a modern feel, It's not without character though, as there are stone floors and a big mill wheel through a glass panel in the centre of the room to provide interest.
Beer wise, it's excellent- the 4 usual Lancaster brews were avaialable, Dark, Red, Blonde and Amber, plus guests including 2 from York Brewery- War of the Roses indeed. Newspapers are provided and food is served.
This is a good new venture in Ulverston and increases the range of beers available in the town by some way, and I would definitely recommend a visit alongside the Swan and Rose and Crown, two rather more traditional pubs .

7 Aug 2010 11:49

The Rose and Crown, Ulverston

Pleasant traditional pub in the town centre, serving the ubiquitous Robbies and Hartley's brews 4 beers in total. It's low-ceilinged and flagged throughout, with brasses and items of interest on the walls, creating a genuinely traditional atmosphere. The L-shaped bar was packed on my visit with folk signers and regulars, and a small snug room can be found in the corner. Food is also served. My pint of Cumbria Way was in good nick, although a tad expensive at 3.
Thoroughly enjoyed my visit- of Ulverston's many Robbies' pubs, this is probably the one you should head to for it's fine ambience and unspoilt interior, although the range of beer is much the same as most pubs in the town, bar the Swan. It's served well though so all in all definitely worth a visit.

7 Aug 2010 11:44

The Castle, Macclesfield

Now reopened.
As noted, this pub is on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors so I've been angling for a visit for a while and was pleased to find it open. It's status is justified, as this is a classic unspoilt multi-roomed pub, although unfortunately its future still seems to be in the balance. An entrance corridor leads to a smallish snug behind the bar where all the locals were congregating on my visit. Beyond this and up a small set of stairs is a larger room apparently reserved for diners although there was no sign of food on my visit. A window here opens out to a steepish rock face full of plants and garden gnomes, quite pleasant. Just to the right as you enter is a tiny vault which also has bar access.
Each room is packed with brasses, trophies, candlesticks and other memorabilia on the walls, old copper tables and wall-mounted seating. No piped music.
On the beer front, there were three handpumps, two covered and one without a clip, so I didn't expect real ale to be available. However, the unmarked one dispensed Ruddles, which was surprisingly good for a beer I usually find bland.
A fine traditional pub, not a rival to the Waters Green Tavern in beer terms but worth a visit in its own right for the interior. Not sure where this one is going, so I urge a visit while you can.

7 Aug 2010 11:39

The Fox and Barrel, Cotebrook

Food pub by the side of the busy A49. Not a drinker's pub but some fine real ales with it, it's large and spacious but not characterless- similar to the Brunning & Price pubs for anyone familiar with those. Maps and pictures adorn the walls in the many rooms, and the beer garden is large and most pleasant.
Food excellent ,and Weetwood ales dominated on my visit, with Cheshire Cat and Eastgate ale both in fine form, along with a guest from Holdens- also excellent.
Not quite a gastropub as it's unpretentious and reasonably traditional, but not really a drinkers place- the Alvanley Arms down the road is more traditional. That said, if you want good beer and good food, I recommend it here.

4 Jul 2010 18:34

The Boot Inn, Willington

Character pub in a fine location at the foot of a wooded-brow. it has a coaching house feel and has been carefully treated so that its undeniable focus on dining hasn't affected the character too much.
Long and narrow with low beams, flagged floors brasses, real fires and traditional furnishings, it's a fine place to come for your tea, and even for a drink- it's not yet a restuarant with beer, thankfully.
The ale comes from the local Weetwood brewery, with Cheshire Cat, Eastgate Ale and Best Bitter available- all very good and well-kept.
Didn't find any evidence of the overpriced food or snobby clientele- food isn't the cheapest but entirely reasonable, I thought.
A fine place, well-preserved and with excellent beer-it could be a lost worse. Recommended.

4 Jul 2010 18:31

The Lychgate Tavern, Standish

Large pub in the shadow of the impressive St. Wilfred's church. It was done up a few years ago and now has a modern feel with leather furnishings and a patterned stone floor. It was a bit run-down before, but at least served real ale and had some character. Now a solitary handpump lies unused.
The layout has remained the same, with one large area in a rough horseshoe shape around the bar, with a pool table in one corner. The beer garden is large and impressive.
Foody and smart, it doesn't appeal to me too much at the moment ,but there are worse places and if they could get the real ale back on I'd be more inclined to revisit.

4 Jul 2010 18:26

The Masons Arms, Wigan

Stone-built pub 10 mins away from the main village down a country lane. It's pleasantly traditional, with 1 smallish room with distinct areas. Rugby-ana covers the walls and it's traditionally furnished and unspoilt throughout.
The beer range is easily the best in the area, with the nationals complemented with local brewers such as George Wright and Brysons, with 6 beers usually on. My pint of Brysons was in top form. Heaving on a Saturday night-always good to see.
This is the best pub in the area and is worth the walk out from the village. Try to head here if in the area.

4 Jul 2010 18:20

The White Lion, Wrightington

Stone-built boozer in this semi-rural village north of Wigan. Despite the exterior, it's quite modern inside, with white leather seating in it's two main rooms, an upstairs in front of the bar and a lower rear section. Food features quite a bit in the operation, though it's not prohibitive to drinkers.
An excellent leafy beer garden is most pleasant, and for me is preferable to the rather sanitised interior.
The beer range mostly comes from the Marstons/Jennings stable, but with 8 beers there should be enough to please most palates. Banks' Bitter, Ringwood 49er, Cocker Hoop, Cumberland, Pedigree and Brakspear Oxford Gold plus 2 others available on my visit. Cocker Hoop in fine form.
Whilst this is a relatively nondescript place, the beer range is decent and is the best in the area, and the beer garden also helps to bring it up for me. Worth a visit.

4 Jul 2010 18:17

The Golden Eagle, Lincoln

Superbly traditional Tynemill pub at the bottom end of the High Street-quite a walk from the centre but worth it.
It's very unspoilt, with a central bar serving a completely separate front bar room and a rear lounge. Both rooms are wood-panelled and have traditional green pubby furnishings throughout, including some unusual fixed slatted-style seating in the centre of the lounge, not wall-mounted.
Tynemill's excellent guest policy is reflected here, with Castle Rock plus 6 guests. Tried the Pale and Leeds Best, both excellent.
This is another fine pub in Lincoln and one to head to.

4 Jul 2010 18:14

Treaty of Commerce, Lincoln

Long, narrow traditional pub on the 'wrong' side of the level crossing- not much history here, just drab shops-this pub aside. It has an attractive frontage with black and white timber giving a mock-tudor effect. The one narrow room stretches back to a dartboard area, with the bar on the right hand side in the centre. As noted, the seating is of particular note, well-carved and traditional throughout.
3 Batemans beers available on my visit, XB and XXXB both in good nick. The friendly owners and even friendler pub dog made for a memorable visit.
One to head to if in town, I enjoyed it here and would return.

4 Jul 2010 18:09

The Green Dragon, Lincoln

Ancient building overlooking the river and now realising its potential, with 12 beers on handpump- the best range of beers in Lincoln. Had a Tom Wood's which was very good. it's one small room really, flagged floors and a low beamed ceiling.
Despite this, something felt missing character-wise- perhaps the quiz machine that really shouldn't be in a room such as this, or the over-bright lighting.
That said, it was empty on my visit, which didn't help, and I'd be quite prepared to visit again and imagine I'll change my mind.
All in all definitely worth a visit, hopefully put my finger on it next time.

4 Jul 2010 18:06

Scotty's Bar, Lincoln

Traditional boozer on the edge of the city centre. I was expecting an airy modern bar given the name, but it has a mid-century feel, multi-roomed and carpeted, with a real local feel. The bar is central and the rooms work around this in a rough horseshoe, with the smallest, most characterful one around the back and with separate door access. Quiet on my visit but the punters there were pleasant enough and mostly watching TV.
Tetley Bitter, Hopback Crop Circle and Cottage Deltic were available on my visit, the latter two excellent. I gather it was once a brewpub but this seems to have ceased.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed it here, and although it seems to have fallen out of the GBG the ales here were good. Not bad at all.

4 Jul 2010 18:02

The Jolly Brewer, Lincoln

Eclectic music-led pub on the main thoroughfare on the edge of the City Centre. it's one basic, traditionally-furnished, opened out room but is brimming with character, from the corridor (mentioned below) and fire to the friendliness of the staff and locals. Table football is at the back, always fun.
A good beer choice- Landlord, Young's Bitter and 2 guests, Young's Bitter in good form. Excellent jukebox.
A great all-round place- you know the type, not specially traditional but the character makes up for that. One to return to.

4 Jul 2010 17:58

The Morning Star, Lincoln

Truly traditional, multi-roomed pub, with small front and rear lounges around a central bar, with a corridor linking them down the side of the bar. These lounges were very traditionally furnished and had that living room feel, in a good way. Tiled floor in parts and a real fire add to the charm. The beer range was mostly from the nationals- Bombardier, Black Sheep and one that passes me by- but Bombardier was very good. This is one to head to for the traditional pub fan, and indeed for anyone in the area. Close to the Cathedral and main tourist area.

4 Jul 2010 17:53

The Adam and Eve Tavern, Lincoln

Large pub on the hill on the main road leading North out of town, close to the Cathedral. It advertises itself as Lincoln's oldest pub but this isn't really reflected on the inside, with two large areas in an L-shaped around the bar. pleasant enough but unremarkable, and not escaping the inevitable chainy feeling. A pool room is also found at the back, which has an original fireplace which is sadly out of use.
The beers available were Black Sheep, Landlord and Exmoor Gold, tried them all and all were in good condition, and although it's not the most exciting choice in Lincoln, it's perfectly acceptable.
There are more traditional pubs and pubs with better beer choices in Lincoln, but I did warm to this place, enjoyed the atmosphere here and would gladly return.

4 Jul 2010 17:51

The Prince of Wales, Foxfield

Truly traditional boozer in the middle of nowhere, with so many CAMRA awards they find it difficult to fit them all on the wall. It's one main room full of railway and beer-ana, being opposite the station. Fine old maps of Lancashire also abound. Bar billiards and traditional games, and 11 handpumps dispensing their own beers plus guests- unfortunately I can't remember them all. A fine selection of Continental beers but absolutely no commerical lagers or keg-wonder of wonders. Good, home-cooked pub grub and an exceedingly friendly welcome, this really is an outstanding pub and you should get here by hook or by crook- or by train as people do from miles around. One of the few pubs that can really be labelled 'must-visit'.

4 Jul 2010 17:45

Old Kings Head, Broughton in Furness

Large pub at the bottom of the village, with the emphasis split between dining and boozing. It consists of one long room that isn't without character- brasses and beams are in evidence throughout. There are a lot of leaflets aimed at tourists but most of the trade on my visit seemed to be local. A pleasant beer garden had a World Cup tent on my visit.
Moorhouses Blonde witch and Copper Dragon IPA were available on my visit- a modest selection compared to the village's other pubs but Blonde Witch was in good form, and service was friendly, as were the locals.
It's a perfectly decent pub and is worth a visit, but if you're short of time you may like to prioritise the Manor Arms up the road.

4 Jul 2010 17:41

The Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills

Classic unspoilt Lakeland pub, one of the few in the area on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. Dating from the 18th century, it was an old farmhouse but has always been a hostelry of some kind.
It's located in the middle of nowhere down country lanes, but is justifiably popular as it serves good pub grub in a historic environment. It consists of 4 rooms, 2 flagged and low-beamed ranges accessed by a side corridor (with some positively ancient oak-beamed walls) which are used by diners, a simply furnished bar room in much the same style for drinkers, and a more unremarkable rear room. The bar room has a long table and the ranges too are traditionally furnished. A patio at the front next to the barn offers splendid views.
The beer range was limited to 2 on my visit, although 3 pumps were present. Jennings Cumberland and Ennerdale Copper. The Ennerdale was enjoyable and inexpensive for this area. The food too was excellent and whilst it plays an important part, this is far more than a restuarant with beer. You'd be advised to book in advance to eat here though as it is well-renowned.
A must for anyone in the area with an interest in heritage pubs, and it is close to the excellent pubs of Broughton-in-Furness.

4 Jul 2010 17:37

The Swan Inn, Ulverston

Local boozer on the edge of the town centre that was pretty nondescript until it became Hawkshead Brewery's first acquistion a few years ago and has gone from strength to strength since.
It's basic and pubby, nondescript almost, with comfortable wall-mounted seating for the most part in the open-plan single room, which has a part-partition in the lounge area. Two TVs are situated in each corner and are unobtrusive. A plethora of beer-related literature is at hand, as are newspapers.
The beer range is excellent, with 4 from Hawkshead, plus Yates, Coniston Bluebird, Leeds Pale and 2 other guests on my visit, all from Northern microbreweries. Tried 3 of the Hawkshead and all excellent.
This is a proper no-frills drinkers pub and has easily the best range in Ulverston, and as such should be made a priority if in the town.

4 Jul 2010 17:31

The Kings Arms, Cartmel

Unspoilt food-led pub overlooking the central square of this pleasant village. It overlooks the small river at the back, and has 2 main areas, a rambling, pubby front area with beams, brasses, posters etc, and a more restuaranty rear section that is reserved for diners and has the best aspect over the river. A large patio overlooks the square
The beers on offer were mostly from Hawkshead on my visit, with Bitter, Brodie's Prime, Lakeland gold and Moorhouses Blond witch. The Bitter was excellent. Tried the food and it too was good, and service excellent. Prices not so expensive for the Lakes, it seems to be the standard around here
This is food-led but not prohibitive to drinkers and it serves excellent beer, so is well worth a visit.

4 Jul 2010 17:27

The Hardwick Inn, Doe Lea

Attractive stone-built pub on the edge of the National Trust's Hardwick Hall estate. As a result of this it's geared up for dining but there's a decent selection of beers as well.
It has 2 cosy rooms, traditionally furnished, and filled with pictures and items relating to the nearby mediaeval Hall. At the back is a restuarant which is wisely kept separate.
The food was excellent and very good value for the portions given.
On the beer front, the nationals dominate, with Bombardier, Theakston's XB, Black Sheep and Bess O' Hardwick avaialble. The Bombardier and Bess were excellent.
On the whole, it's not somewhere you stumble across and it's not a drinkers' pub (although they're not made to feel unwelcome unlike in some establishments), but if you're visiting the Hall you should endeavour to get here if you can.

19 Jun 2010 12:06

The Farmer's Arms, Kelsall

Unremarkable-looking pub on the edge of the village. It has 3 separate areas, a long bar room, and on either side of this a small, traditionally furnished TV room and a Chinese restaurant(!) to the left as you enter. Not sure about the last one, enterprising perhaps, but at least the owners have had the sense to limit the operation to one end of the building and so keep the rest a real pub. The real ales on offer are from the local Weetwood brewery, with Cheshire Cat, Eastgate Ale and also Black Sheep as a guest. Cheshire cat was excellent.
It's not a must-visit and on the whole is unremarkable, but the beer was excellent and for this reason I'd be happy to return.

19 Jun 2010 11:57

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

Renowned brewpub close to Liverpool's tourist heartland, the Albert Dock, and increasingly surrounded by modern developments.
It's a classic, wedge-shaped building from the outside, and as can be seen from the picture is painted in pleasantly understated 'pubby' colours. Inside, it's not what you'd initially expect, being slightly airy and spartan, although with traditional furnishings. It has many leaflets and psoters and seems to be searching for a vaguely bohemian feel. A bar room and a side room interconnect at both ends so you can walk round the pub in a circle. There is also a downstairs seating area.
The pub now brews its own range of beers and all the handpumps on my visit were given over to them. Tried a couple which were both pretty good and reasonably priced.
This is one of Liverpool's best known pubs for real ale, and it isn't half bad, but it seems slightly lacking in atmosphere compared to the historic gems that can be found around the city, and as such it's definitely recommended but it wouldn't make the Liverpool top 5 for me.

19 Jun 2010 11:48

The Swinging Arm, Birkenhead

Idiosyncratic rocker's pub with an enviable view over the river to Liverpool. It's almost in the town centre but on a residential street so is not too easy to find. It' s one large, airy room, with a raised area where frequent gigs are held. A jukebox and pool table are focal points, and the walls are covered with Americana, posters, guitars etc, giving the place a roadhouse feel. On the beer front, Spitfire, Landlord and Bombardier were available on my visit- not the strongest selection, but of the 'big beers' these are my favourite so no real complaints. Landlord was first from the barrel but excellent. Food is limited to snacks and pies. A friendly feel, although not strictly traditional for reasons listed above. This is easily the second best pub in Birkenhead at the moment, and whilst you should head for the Stork first, it's well worth a visit.

17 Jun 2010 17:52

The Brown Cow Inn, Dalton in Furness

Classic, traditional boozer in the lower part of this pleasant town, down a winding street from the church and castle. It's small, with one opened out area with two distinct parts, a bar to the right as you enter and a larger area to your right. Both are quite characterful, with brasses, beams and real fires in both. A pleasant outdoor area is large and had most of the trade on a sunny day. Food is served but, while popular, it doesn't overshadow the boozer status- it's pub grub and the prefix 'gastro-' definitely doesn't fit here.
The beer is from a mixture of nationals and locals, with London Pride, coniston Bluebird, Theakston's XB, Hawkshead Windermere Pale and Black Sheep available. The Windermere was excellent.
This is the pub to head to if in the village, and for good reason.

1 Jun 2010 20:03

Cross Keys Hotel, Barrow in Furness

Town centre boozer, hidden away behind the shopping centres and car parks on a truncated street, which makes locating it rather difficult. It's large and open plan, with one large, sparsely-furnished room around a horseshoe bar, the front area being by far the largest with a pool table and not much seating which creates a somewhat cavernous atmosphere. It's popular as a rockers pub and the decor reflects this, careworn and lived-in without being scruffy or tatty.
The real ale choice is one of the best in the town centre, with 4 pumps usually in operation. On my visit Barngates Tag Lag, Theakston Best Bitter and Deuchars were available- not the finest selection in the land but not bad, particularly compared to its neighbours. Tag Lag was cheap and enjoyable. A quiet atmosphere prevailed on my Saturday afternoon visit, with most punters watching the TV golf.
This isn't a must visit pub but it isn't half bad, and in a town which isn't particularly strong for real ale is the one to head to.

27 May 2010 16:40

The Three Stags Heads, Wardlow Mires

Superbly traditional roadside pub in the middle of nowhere, part of what appears to be a farm but is actually a rural pottery. The two rooms (bar room and a lounge to the side) are as basic as can be, with flagged floors and walls with only two coal fires burning to warm them. The furnishings are also rustic and look as though they could be a century old. The pub features on the CAMRA National Inventory of pub interiors as a result, one of the few Peak District pubs to do so.
The character is maintained in the drinks department, with people asking for draught lager getting short shrift- and a sign to this effect on the wall. Avaiable however are 3 Abbeydale beers including the 8% Black Lurcher- named after a dog that used to live here and recommended in small doses.
Found the service to be very friendly and it's impossible not to get talking to somebody due to the tiny nature of the place. It's very dog friendly and you'll most likely be tripping over dogs on your visit.
On my visit punters were playing guitar and an excellent atmosphere prevailed, although one has to wonder where these people come from!
Only downside was having to return to the 21st century ,but I'll be back. One of the Peak District's most famous pubs, and rightly so. Note the very limited opening hours- weekends only.

13 May 2010 18:19

The Red Lion Inn, Litton

Archetypal English village pub overlooking the pleasant green. It's stone built and pleasantly traditional within, with an entrance corridor leading to two smallish, dark wood-panelled rooms clustered around the small bar. This creates a cosy atmosphere and you may find it difficult to get a seat- but the outside is just as enjoyable.
It's pretty foody in the evenings and most tables are reserved, but again a drink can be enjoyed overlooking the green.
The beer range on my visit mostly featured Sheffield area microbreweries, with Thornbridge Jaipur, Oakwell Barnsley bitter and Abbeydale Moonshine. The Oakwell was dark and tasty, and very well kept.
The pub may be rather foody but I would still consider it a classic village pub, just try to arrive at quieter times to appreciate it in full. Would return.

13 May 2010 18:06

The John O'Gaunt, Lancaster

City centre pub in the main shopping area, that seems to be back to its best. The one long narrow room has a central bar, and is traditionally furnished throughout with leather wall mounted seating and stools- the extent of any opulence is the impressive stained glass bow window at the front. Old pictures abound, with a clock showing 'Morecambe Standard Time'- 1951 etc.- a source of amusement Towards the rear, past the bar, a collection of old beermats mounted on the wall are interesting to peruse- to see how much has changed!
The pub seems to have become more music oriented- on my visit a band were playing and a good atmosphere prevailed.
The beer range has improved again lately, with Deuchars, Tetley's, Black Sheep plus Lancaster Blonde- the latter was in good form.
Always one of my favourites in Lancaster and good to see it doing well again.

13 May 2010 17:51

Eagle and Child Inn, Staveley

Character pub at the end of this pleasant village and near the river. It has a quirky layout, with the one long room hugging the bar but with various subsections, including a curious conservatory-type area.Pots and pans adorn the walls, alongside some rather fruity mock Victorian medicinal advertisements. The food here is well regarded but I didn't try any. A roaring fire added to the atmosphere.
The beer selection was very strong, featuring beers from many fine Lakeland Brewers- 2 Hawkshead beers plus Loweswater Gold, Coniston Bluebird and a couple of others. Had the Loweswater and the Coniston, both fine pints.
Really enjoyed it here, alongside the Hawkshead brewery hall- the antithesis in terms of atmosphere but both with their charms. Would certainly return.

13 May 2010 17:45

Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall, Staveley

Large airy German-style drinking den at the bottom of an industrial estate, but with great views overlooking the River Kent. It features the whole range of the excellent Hawkshead Brewery beers (as you would expect) plus various merchandise.. One side of the room also has windows overlooking the brewery itself. A food operation is also in place.
It's roomy in the extreme, spartan almost with a few spartan tables and couches in the vast hall, and little in the way of pubby artefacts- My Sunday afternoon visit was quiet, adding to the empty feeling, but I expect this changes depending on the day
The prices are refreshingly cheap for the Lakes, at circa 2.40 a pint, and the beer is excellent as you would expect.
Not a pub as such, but I emjoyed it- the quality and price of the beer means that this is well worth a visit alongside the Eagle and Child. Note the early closing time.

13 May 2010 17:40

The Bulls Head, Ashford in the Water

Robinson's pub close to the centre of this pleasant village.
Like a lot of their rural places, it's foody in the evening but retains a great deal of traditional character, the two separate rooms filled with old jugs, plates, traditional old pictures and wood panelling, as well as a beamed ceiling Red lamps add to the character. The tap room and lounge room are served by a central bar, serving Old Stockport, Dragon's Fire and Unicorn on my visit- not the best selection in the area, but then this is Robbies! All were well-kept, however, and the food was very good too. Various books on Peak district pubs and Robinson's Brewery are at the bar.
I enjoyed my visit here, found the service food and beer to be excellent, and would recommend it if you're in the area.

13 May 2010 17:35

The Railway Hotel, Parbold

Former Burtonwood pub that, as you would expect, is next to the station.
It's mostly opened out and generally appeals to the younger generation, with two pool tables and sky sports. However, an area towards the front of the pub retains two snug-like rooms that are filled with railwayana- maps, old station signs, and pictures and are quite traditional and pleasant.
The Burtonwood estate having passed into Marstons' hands, the beers available are Banks', Pedigree and Jennings Cumberland- not exactly inspiring but kept well enough.
Apart from the front rooms, which I like there's little reason to visit here as it's a standard circuit pub- certainly nothing special but there are much worse.

13 May 2010 17:30

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

CAMRA National Inventory pub and one of the best-known pubs in Manchester. From the outisde it's pretty unprepossessing with the Tetley signage but inside it's a unique gem. A separate front bar room with an interesting carved ceiling is good in itself, but the highlight is the separate, splendidly tiled corridor that runs up the right of the bar area before turning 90 degrees to pass directly behind it and leading to several more rooms at the back. This tiling has a depiction of the Peterloo Massacre, an important event in the city's industrial history. This corridor has hatch access to the bar but is otherwise separated by thick glass panels, behind which can be seen bottle upon bottle of the wide variety of whiskies avaiable here- the best in Manchester. The corridor ends at the toilets which have Wild-West style saloon doors and a water tap to clean footwear.
The 2 back rooms accessed from the corridor are always busy and both feature gas fires and wood panelling. One has dim red lighting which adds to the atmosphere.
The real ale selection is limited to Tetley's, Jennings Cumberland plus 2 guests, one of which was Moorhouses Black Cat- good on my visit. The beer is always well-kept here but it's generally more famous for its whiskies.
It's always packed and sometimes closes its doors as a result so you may need to knock, or arrive early to appreciate it in full.
This is one of Manchester's must visits and is only 200yds from another CAMRA NI pub, the Peveril of the Peak, so the two are best visited in tandem. A unique place.

13 May 2010 17:25

The Commercial Hotel, Castlefield

Traditional street-corner pub on the edge of the city centre, and opposite the world's first railway station (Now part of the Museum of Science and Industry, well worth a visit). Unlike many pubs still carrying the 'Hotel' tag, the pub still functions as a cheap hotel and this is reflected somewhat by the interior.
It's relatively unspoilt although there has been some opening out. Etched windows show that the pub belonged to the now-defunct Wilson's brewery, and the pub sign too still reflects this.
Two front rooms to your left and right as you enter are partly separated from the main bar, but the doorways have been widened and the doors removed. These rooms are pleasantly traditional, with rustic brown upholstered wall-mounted seating and mid-century wallpaper. Traditional furnishings throughout. Potted plants dotted about are a pleasant touch.
There are quite a few concessions to modernity however, with a jukebox and several games machines, which seem at odds with the decor here.
The only punters here were in the main bar area watching cricket on the small TV and the pub was on the whole quiet.
Holt's Bitter was the only real ale available- it was well kept but never been one of my favourites.
On the whole, an unremarkable visit- you could try this one if in this part of town to see the reasonably well-preserved interior but on the whole there are better pubs nearby.

13 May 2010 17:15

The Rising Sun, Nether Green

Roomy suburban boozer in this pleasant area which now features a very strong beer line up, meaning it rivals some of the well-known pubs in the city centre for choice.
It looks like an interwar building and consists of one large L-shaped room with a clean but not clinical feel- cosy but well-looked after. In it is a real fire and a library of beer-related literature. Pictures of old Sheffield (including an interesting map of bombed areas of the city during the war) adorn the walls.
The pub is owned by the local Abbeydale brewery and features 12 handpumps, 6 from them and 6 generally from guests, usually other local microbreweries, plus a couple of big names. The list of Continental bottled beers is also impressive. Went for a couple of the Abbeydale beers and the were in fine fettle.
In most cities, there would be be no question that the trip out would be worthwhile, but the excellent range of pubs in the centre means that you may not have time to do so. However, this is a pleasant area and if you do find yourself in this part of town then this is one to head to. Can be combined with a visit to the Ranmoor Inn up the road.

13 May 2010 17:07

Ranmoor Inn, Sheffield

Stone-built traditional pub in the leafy suburb of Fulwood, about 2 miles west of the city centre. It's an attractive pub and this is enhanced by the impressive Ranmoor Church which towers above it. Inside, it's relatively opened out but not without character, with the feel of separate drinking areas due to some remaining partition walls. As noted it is not difficult to imagine the original layout of the pub. It also has impressive original etched windows and a real fire at the front pictures of old Sheffield and the usually pubby stuff to add character.
It's a clean, well-looked after place without being clinical, and seems popular with all ages.
The beer selection was good, although it doesn't match that of the Rising Sun up the road. Nevertheless, like most Sheffield pubs local microbreweries are well represented, with Abbeydale and Bradfield plus Timothy Taylor's Landlord. The Bradfield Farmer's Blonde was a good pint as ever.
Not a must visit, but if you're in the area it's definitely worth popping in and combining with the Rising Sun up the road.

13 May 2010 17:01

The Spinners Arms, Adlington

Known locally as the 'Bottom Spinners', as it is down the hill from the 'Top Spinners', this is the best real ale pub in Adlington and has been for some time. It's pretty standard inside and opened out to a degree within, although the 1 largish bar room has separate drinking areas due to pillars etc, and what was a snug to the left also retains a separate feel. Furnishings are traditional and old fireplaces and pictures add character. There's also plenty of outdoor seating at the front. a limited pub-grub operation is also in place, but this remains primarily a boozer.
The beer selection is strong, with a mixture of nationals and local microbreweries. On my visit Landlord, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle, Coniston Blue Bird and Phoenix Spotland Gold were available. The latter was in fine form.
Not a must visit but not bad at all, and the best in Adlington. Handy for the canal.

6 May 2010 16:43

Henry's, Sheffield

Just as well it's still listed as being open, because it's now reopened and has had something of a real ale revolution.
I never expect much architecturally from places with names such as this, and sure enough it's a very modern, nondescript cavern of a place, with one rather large opened out area plus an upstairs.
Furnishings are high tables and comfy sofas, and whitewashed walls and a wooden floor give a distinctly circuity feel to the place. The bank of handpumps are chrome and the general feel is about as far from a pub as you can get.
However, this being Sheffield, real ale features strongly now, and 10 microbrewed ales (both local and from further afield) were available. I had a Salopian Hop Twister which was pretty darn good.
Although it's certainly not a pub, it's good t osee yet another addition to the real ale scene here, and let's face it, it could be a far worse.

24 Apr 2010 21:00

Champs, Sheffield

Committed modern sports bar in a studenty area of Sheffield, with an American feel and about 30 screens showing sport- not one for the traditionalists. The walls are covered with sporting memorabilia and sporting shirts, including old Sheffield United/Wednesday shirts and even a North Korea football shirt! There's several distinct areas but this theme doesn't vary throughout them. Food is also served.
Until recently this would have been like any run-of-the -mill soulless 'yoof' bar, but they've recently had a real ale revolution of sorts, and now the long bar sports 12 (steel) handpumps, with 4 beers from Thornbridge and 4 from Kelham Island microbreweries, plus Black Sheep and a real cider on my visit. Tried a pint from each, Jaipur and the house beer Champs brewed by Kelham Island, and they were both in excellent form.
It's a bold move for such a place and it seemed to be working, so hope it goes well.
This isn't normally my sort of place but in view of the beer selection now available I wouldn't be averse to visiting again to watch a game, although to be honest there are far more traditional venues that offer a similar selection in Sheffield. On the whole though not bad at all.

20 Apr 2010 17:23

The Washington, Sheffield

Basic music-oriented pub on the edge of the city centre, not far from West Street but far enough away to keep out the hordes. From the outside it looks like a slightly forbidding, unrefined old local, with Tetley signage and glazed windows meaning you can't see in. Once inside it's bouncing with a mixed crowd-students and musicians come for the varied jukebox, but there's also an element of local clientele. It's basic, with a central bar serving two unremarkable rooms with traditional furnishings and a wooden floor. Promotional posters and leaflets are around the walls. The real ale selection is limited to Tetley's and Abbeydale Moonshine, so it doesn't stand out in Sheffield- although the Moonshine went down well.
It's not strictly traditional but it's not bad at what it does, and I wouldn't be averse to returning.

20 Apr 2010 17:16

The Black Horse, Chorley

Never had a problem with the service or food here, both have always been very good. Had a good meal and a good pint of Abbeydale Moonshine on a recent visit. Another beer festival apparently soon- should be good.

7 Apr 2010 17:28

The Angel, Crewe

1970s basement pub built into a shopping centre- how many of these make the GBG? This one has, so I popped in to have a look.
Apparently built on the site of the old Angel, it looks decidedly uninviting and takes about 4 flights of stairs down to reach. It's pretty cavernous, with one large room full of seating on a few different levels- you know the type of place. No punters but a pool table so we made use of that.
The only beer-strangely- was Oakwell Barnsley Bitter, a pleasant and darkish beer that isn't usually found around here. At 1.60 it's a bargain- cheaper even than Wetherspoons- hence its inclusion in the Guide, no doubt.
You get the idea the place is struggling, and that's probably because such places are deeply unfashionable these days. In a way it's a shame because the beer is pretty good, if the atmosphere not exactly inspiring. If they could get a few more beers on they might attract more people in and could be onto something, but at the moment I'm not sure. Overall it wasn't a bad experience.

7 Apr 2010 16:48

The Crown, Crewe

Red-brick town centre Robbies' pub, large but with some character preserved.
It's one opened-out horseshoe around the central bar but the furnishings are pleasingly traditional, with green leather seating, dark wood and the remains of some etched glass divides.
The beer choice was better than some Robbies' pubs, with Unicorn, Old Stockport, Dragon Fire and Dizzy Blonde avaiable. The Blonde was well-kept.
It was busy on a Saturday afternoon and a boisterous, 'laddish' atmospjere prevailed to be honest, with football and testosterone in high quantities.
It was OK in here but not sure I'll return in a hurry.

7 Apr 2010 16:43

The Borough Arms, Crewe

Committed beer pub just outisde the town centre, by the bridge over the West Coast Main Line.
It's small and poky, with one small L-shaped room hugging the bar and another room a couple of steps down and through an archway. Extra seating is also avaiable downstairs.
It has a slight German feel as do many pubs which specialise in beer, with a bright airy atmosphere and light wood panelling as opposed to traditional Briitsh dark oak.
The beer range is impressive and easily the best in Crewe, with 8 handpumps dispensing microbrewed ales (many local such as Titanic, Salopian, Spitting Feathers) as well as a vast array of Continental ales.
I tried Salopian Prohibition, an American style pale ale that was unusual but enjoyable, also a Hornbeam Top Hop, both excellently kept.
This is the must-visit pub in Crewe and the highlight of a crawl. A very strong pub.

7 Apr 2010 16:40

Hops, Crewe

Former wine bar just outside the town centre that has thankfully seen the light and turned to beer. It's modern and airy, with polished wood and furniture giving a definite contintental cafe-bar feel, although it's pretty small and cosy and not without character. 3 handpumps dispense microbrewed ales, with Acorn Madness, Titanic Iceberg and a stout, the brewer of which unfortunately escapes me, available. The Iceberg was in good form. A wide selection of Continental beers are also available.
As is often the case for such places, it has a 'library' of beer related literature, a welcome sight. A pleasant beer garden is situated at the front and overlooks the partially demolished Christ Church. The bar has made the GBG 2010.
Although it's not traditonal as such, I enjoyed it here and it's good to see an addition to the modest Crewe real ale scene- it could yet rival the Borough Arms! Definitely worth a visit.

7 Apr 2010 16:33

The Olde England, St Helens

Recently reopened town-centre pub that has recently changed name from The Lamb (a name which still adorns the etched windows, and which I prefer, the new one seeming slightly contrived).
It has just converted to real ale which has brought it to the attention of CAMRA and it is advertised in the latest Merseyale.
It's reasonably traditional, with a games room and largish lounge both served by a central bar.
The furnishings are traditional and the interior is decorated in agreeable pub-green and cream. As noted above it retains etched windows, Both room are large and opened out, but the atmosphere is generally traditional. The games room features a pool table. Food is served in the daytime.
Real ales served have been from local microbreweries such as George Wright, although on my visit the solitary handpump was dispensing Robinsons Unicorn- unexciting but well-kept. These are served in traditional pint pots- always a plus in my book. Piped music is played, and the emphasis seems to be on rock rather than dance- thankfully.
I quite enjoyed it here and its good to see a new convert in the real ale desert that is St Helens-hopefully it can get a few more beers on in the future.

7 Apr 2010 16:24

The Royal Tavern, St Helens

Large, town centre boozer that made the GBG in 2009 but has since closed and reopened the new emphasis seems t be on bands and music. It occupies a street corner and has 2 enormous-feeling rooms, a games room and a lounge. These rooms are spartanly furnished with few tables, and slightly careworn, as one would expect from a music pub, which adds to the cavernous atmosphere.
The windows around the pub are impressive and feature some fine stained and leaded glass, which gives some character to the place. The games room has a pool table and both rooms have Sky Sports News. Visited in an afternoon so the place was pretty empty.
On the beer front, Deuchars and Brains Bitter were available for my visit, Brains being the better-kept of the two.
It's not a bad place and has a few noteworthy points but doesn't really rival the Turks' Head as the must-visit pub in this town.

7 Apr 2010 16:18

The Victoria Hotel, Great Harwood

Superbly traditional locals' boozer in archetypal Lancastrian suburban scenery. It's a pain to find, located at the bottom of several hilly terraced streets at the very edge of the town (known locally as 'Railway Bottoms'), and overlooking a farm. However, do persevere, as a gem awaits.
The pub is badged as a Hydes pub but appears to be a freehouse, with Salamander Springbok, Goose Eye No Eye Deer, Fuzzy Duck Feathers, Coach House Bitter, Hawkshead Bitter, Landlord and Deuchars making for a more than acceptable showing, not rivalled for miles around. Had two pints of the Hawkshead which was an excellent pint as ever.
The pub features on the CAMRA National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interiors for its classic unaltered Edwardian interior. The lobby as you enter has crea mand green Art-Nouveau tiles from top to bottom and forms a U-shape around the bar. This is itself is impressive, with the top part made up of etched glass windows in wooden frames. The ceiling of the lobby is also wood-panelled.
At the front the lobby opens up into a vault which forms one side of the bar, but the other four rooms accessed from the lobby are comletely separate, with their own door. These are two games rooms in the corners, a small snug in the middle, and a lounge at the back. Each room is highly individual and tastefully furnished with rustic furniture and wallpaper, giving a fine timeless feel. the games rooms (front for darts and rear for pool) have unusual slatted wall-mounted bench seating around the room, and one wonders how comfortable they must be!
Usually you'd expect such a locals place to be cliquey but a warm welcome is extended here.
It's a great unspoilt place and is worth the effort to reach, I for one look forward to returning.

7 Apr 2010 16:14

Black Cock Inn, Broughton-in-Furness

Traditional pub in this pleasant Lakeland village, a walk down the hill from the better-known Manor Arms.
It's rustic and relatively unspoilt, with low beams, traditional furnishings and a fine real fire in the front lounge. The layout is unusual, with a front lounge with a tiny,separate bar room within it, that is akin to a snug and is most characterful. At the other side of a bar up some steps is another, less remarkable bar area and room. A separate restaurant also functions, although pub grub is available in the pub itself and is very good value.
On my visit, a War of the Roses theme was ongoing as part of the Broughton Beer Festival. The front snug/bar room had Lancashire beers and the upper bar room Yorkshire beers- the Lancashire beers appeared to be winning. Tried a couple from Bazens and a Bank Top and a Lancashire Hot Pot, as well as a Leeds Best- all very well kept.
As the beer festival was on I'm not sure how many cask ales are regular here, but on this showing it can't be bad.
A very enjoyable experience and a pub I would recommend you visit alongside the Manor Arms.

1 Apr 2010 17:03

Britannia Inn, Llangollen

Styling itself as the 'Famous Britannia Inn', this hotel is located a couple of miles north of Llangollen, on the ascent up the mountain pass to northern Denbighshire.
Flags fly from the spacious and well-kept garden area, and the inside is pretty well looked after and geared up for dining, although it isn't characterless and drinkers are welcomed.
It's a long, one-roomed affair with a low ceiling and semi-distinct areas, a mixture of traditional and modern furnishings. The scenery is pretty good so a window seat can add to the experience.
Limited but sound range of cask ales- Theakstons XB and a Stonehouse guest. The latter was OK.
It's not a must visit and is more of a restaurant, but I didn't mind it here and would probably return.

1 Apr 2010 16:57

Chain Bridge Hotel, Berwyn

This hotel and bar is dramatically situated in the gorge of the river Dee, a couple of miles west of Llangollen. Here, the road, steam railway, canal and river all follow the same path through the narrow wooded valley, providing for some dramatic scenery.
The 'chain bridge' that gives its name to a hotel is a footbridge spanning the river, which is sadly closed at the moment due to disrepair.
The hotel itself doesn't really make the most of this spectacular location, with depressingly predictable tourist prices (3.20 a pint)and nitrofizz only on tap. It's not particularly welcoming for walkers either and has a strict dress code for entry, which is a shame.
However, if you can overlook the above faults you can enjoy sitting on the riverside terrace with its excellent views, a pint of keg can almost be enjoyed in such a location.
Certainly nothing special here aside from the location, and you get the feel they're missing a trick.

1 Apr 2010 16:53

Masons Arms, Southport

Back-street Robinsons boozer, one of the few genuinely traditional pubs left in Southport town centre.
It's located just behind the main Lord Street thoroughfare and close to the station, and is easy to miss as the entrance is up a very quiet street.
It's tiny inside, with one main room and a curious snug accessed from one corner of the room rather than from the door. It's wood-panelled throughout, and this provides for a cosy, unspoilt atmosphere- the pub is very often busy with locals. It appears to be an Everton-supporting pub.
The snug is unusual with a glass cabinet displaying trophies and a collection of logs in the corner. Newspapers are provided to read.
The beer range is the usual Robinsons fayre-certainly not the best in town, with the two pumps usually dispensing Unicorn and a seasonal. Unfortunately, the Dizzy Blonde was off on my visit so had to make do with Unicorn, in fine form but rather insipid.
The pub is on the way to the Guest House, and although it can't match the beer range of that pub, it's bound to please the fan of traditional pubs, and as such I always try to visit here.

31 Mar 2010 18:17

The Running Horses, Orrell

Large suburban locals' boozer, with a main bar serving one main room in a roughly horseshoe shape. A pool table is in one corner and a large screen in another, sport being a prominent draw here. The furnishings are traditional and the place is cosy enough, if a little too airy.
Beer range comes from the Marstons stable, although a guest is usually available, in the ladt case Youngs Gold, not often seen in these parts and very quaffable.
It's pretty unremarkable but usually makes the GBG and is a solid boozer, worth a visit if here for any reason.

31 Mar 2010 18:10

The Angel, Manchester

Paid another visit to the Angel and it's fair to say it's back to its best as it was when the Beer House. The gastropub pretensions have been dropped and the pub is just generally far more laid-back. A fine real fire and piano add to the atmosphere, but what stands out is the selection of microbrewed real ales, mostly from the local area. Tried a Liverpool Organic Pale Ale and a Southport Golden Sands on a recent visit, both very good and reasonably priced at 2.30. Much improved and definitely back on my hitlist. Will be visiting more often, rating improved.

31 Mar 2010 18:08

Red Herring, Coppull

Converted outbuilding beside the town's imposing former cotton mill.
It was once the mill's offices, but has been transformed into Coppull's only real outlet for proper beer.
It's a 1 roomed place with a modern feel, wth lots of TVs showing sport, loud music, gambling machines and a youngish crowd. A raised area has a pool table.
The 3 real ales are locally sourced from microbreweries such as Prospect and Moorhouses. I had a Moorhouses Pride of Pendle on my visit, which was OK.
It's a decent place and as an oasis for real ale in this keg town, but has more of the feel of a circuit pub with real ale than a dedicated boozer. That said, it's better than nothing and I may return.

31 Mar 2010 17:56

The Beacon Hotel, Dudley

One of several well-known Black Country brewpubs, this unspoilt Victorian gem lies about half a mile west of the town centre.
It's highly unusual layout- 4 completely separate rooms, served by hatches from a 'pod'-like bar in the middle- must be unique, and has earned the pub a place on the CAMRA National Inventory. The only way to see bar staff is from the door at the side corridor or to duck at the hatches- a throwback to days when privacy was paramount.
The two snugs at the front of the pub are the cosiest, with fires and an intimate atmosphere- but are also very busy. The smoke room at the rear is larger, and an extension area creates more space, but you still may struggle to get a seat.
In the toilet corridor is an unusual collection of tropical-looking plants.
The beer here is excellent aside from the famous (and deceptively strong) Ruby Mild there is the excellent Pale Amber beer and Surprise Bitter, all served in traditional pint pots- another bonus.
You should make every effort to get here, there are frequent buses but note the limited opening hours of the pub, especially at weekends. One of my favourites.

31 Mar 2010 17:52

, Digbeth

Birmingham CAMRA stalwart , a fine, sturdy bric kand-terracotta corner pub like quite a few in the city, particularly in Digbeth (although sadly a few are closed at the time of writing). No such problems here, as it is as popular as ever for good reason.
The unusual, multi-roomed layout around the central bar has earned the pub a place in the CAMRA National Inventory of pub interiors, described in detail in the previous posting. It can take quite some time to reach one part of the pub from another. The main bar room has a pool table and darts, both usually pretty busy.
The real ale range here is well known, with anything up to 12 microbrewed ales plus cider. Be sure to check both the main room and the 'snug' area behind the screen, for the pumps are different in both.
Never had a bad pint in here, although I believe it can happen.
The pub is 5 minutes walk from the Bull Ring in a rather run-down area (although I believe that adds to its charm somewhat). It's a must-visit, and can be combined with the Lamp and White Swan for a most rewarding traditional crawl. Deserves its plaudits.

31 Mar 2010 17:43

The Last Drop Inn, York

York Brewery place with a modern, Continental feel, like most of their pubs. A front room and a raised back area with the bar in a pretty open-plan environment, although various beer-related things on the walls are of interest.
Furnishings are traditional, also the beer barrels for groups to stand around
A good real ale range as ever, with 4 York beers and guests. Busy on my visit and beer n good condition.
It's an OK place, but is somehow lacking in atmosphere as noted. Still worth a visit though for the fine beer.

31 Mar 2010 17:35

The Bottle and Glass, Dudley

Timewarp pub- literally, being housed where it is! It's 1910 in here, and asking for a 'Coke' will not go down well, although dandelion and burdock, sarsparilla etc. are available.
Two rooms, a rear room with a piano, and a front bar roon, are both bare-boards as you'd expect, and have roaring fires.
Sawdust on the floors and staff in period dress mean it's twee, but it also serves the excellent Bathams Bitter and Mild on handpump, plus more of their beers in bottles- so that can't be bad. As noted museum prices at 3 for either.
Apparently every day people come in and ask for Carling, Fosters or similar- why does that not surprise me?
The Museum itself is a great day out and a visit here when you are there shoud be a priority.

31 Mar 2010 17:33

The Crooked House, Gornal Wood

Destination pub that has made the most of the mining substinence that has left it in its current leaning position- it attracted some press attention recently.
The pub is about half a mile down a narrow lane off the main Dudley-Wombourne road, so not the easiest to reach. Once you get there, you'll be spending a minute or two looking at the frontage and the doorway, and the buttresses holding up the pub on the southern side of the building.
Inside, the lobby has two doors leading into the lower bar room and the upper lounge- and these doors will play with your sense of perception! The bar is beyond this and serves each room at different levels (of course). The bar room is pleasantly traditional for such a touristy place, with green leather wall mounted seating and traditional furnishings. A tilting grandfather clock makes the most of the room's predicament and is a quirky addition.
The lounge room is more foody and has a fire, whilst a restaurant room solely reserved for dining is behind this.
It's not bad beer wise, although as noted has never made the GBG. Wychwood Hobgoblin, Wychwood Dirty Tackle, Banks Bitter and Mild and a real cider avaiable at the bar. Hobgoblin was considerably better here than its bottled form usually is.
Inevitably it's touristy (there is even a leaflet), and therefore foody, but it seems to have resisted selling out completely, and is worth a visit for the curious, or even if just in the area. Quite enjoyed it here.

31 Mar 2010 17:28

The Three Legged Mare, York

York Brewery's flagship pub in the city. It's just beneath the Minster in a prime tourist location, and makes the most of it. Inside, the one long room is split into two main areas, the bar at the front and a rear area. It's pretty modern, open-plan with mood lighting and a mixture of seating- somewhere inbetween a bar and a pub. Always packed with a mixed crowd for good reason, as the real ale selection is excellent- 4 York Brewery beers plus a strong showing from Titanic microbrewery on my last visit-all in good form.
It's not overly traditional but is worth visitng for the beer range- then you can pop over the road to the highly traditional Sam Smiths pub The York Arms. Will be returning.

31 Mar 2010 17:19

Jacaranda, Liverpool

Famed music bar near Concert Square- the trendy bar area of the city.
It's a former haunt of the Beatles and you won't be surprised that they let you know it, with pictures of them and other bands almost covering the walls in what is otherwise a bare-boards kind of place- not dolled up too much.
No real ale, but keg Banks Bitter at only 1 almost tastes OK- almost.
Busy during the day which is a rare pleasure these days.
Not one for the beer drinker, but if you like your music bars or the Beatles this place is far less tacky and more unspoilt than the Mathew Street tourist magnets.

31 Mar 2010 17:15

The Vine Inn, Manchester

Small city-centre pub, the last of 3 neighbouring pubs in a block on Kennedy Street. The exterior is probably the finest of the 3, with an impressive mosaic with the pub's name at the front.
It's cosy enough on the inside, with two small rooms- lower level, with the bar, and higher level. Mostly traditional furnishings but also some sofas, gambling machines and a jukebox to appeal to the circuit crowd.
Hobgoblin and Landlord always seem to occupy the 2 handpumps- the Landlord I had recently was excellent.
Mixed crowd, but never as busy as its neighbours- It suffers due to its location, not really competing on the real ale front with the City Arms and Wetherspoons, but it has more character than the latter and i don't mind popping in now and again.

31 Mar 2010 17:12

The Old Fox, Birmingham

Large pub just outisde the city centre, opposite the National Trust-owned Back to Backs properties- an interesting snaphot into Birmingham in times past. Apparently the Fox was the local for these houses, so it's worth combining a visit.
The pub is quite attractive from the outside, with the impressive stained glas around the doorway and windows visible from outside and within.
It's pretty open-plan, with two large rooms served by a central bar.
Would agree with previous postings that this is a circuit pub with real ale rather than a dedicated real ale pub, what with the pretty loud music and proximity to the theatre.
The ale that is avaialble is reasonably varied and in good quality though- 4 beers, mostly from microbreweries. I enjoyed one from the local Back Yard brewery.
Not a must visit but it's OK. Wouldn't be averse to another visit.

31 Mar 2010 17:07

Olde Boars Head, Middleton

Genuinely historic mediaeval building on the road north out of Middleton town centre, thought to date back to 1587. The handsome, leaning Tudor exterior gives way to a very long and rambling interior, although it has been considerably altered down the years. As you enter, the bar goes off to your right with a labyrinth of low-ceilinged rooms to your left. Corridors down either side of the bar give way to various semi-separate rooms, one with a fire. At the top is the maginificent 'Sessions Room' which wouldn't look out of place in a National Trust property- a huge room, hall-like almost, with wood panelling, a grand stone fireplace and chests of furniture. Apparently this once acted as a court for the town.
Lees bitter the only real ale, although it was in good form on my visit.
The pub has been altered, and carries an unfortunate feel of chainy corporate branding- the same drinks promotion posters, TVs and gambling machines found in all Lees pubs- which does detract from the atmosphere a little.
However, it retains enough character to be worth making a trip- not something which can be said for most pubs in these parts. Worth a visit.

31 Mar 2010 17:01

The Rose of Lancaster, Chadderton

Large, unremarkable Lees pub in a canalside location close to Mills Hill railway station. A central bar serves two rooms, a large dining area to your left as you enter and a slightly smaller but more pubby tap room to your right. This has Sky Sports and newspapers to look through, and old pictures on the walls.
Food plays a large part of the operation and looks reasonably priced. Usual Lees' Biter and Brewers Dark avaialble- the former was in good condition and ok, if unremarkable. On the whole then, unremarkable-nothing wrong with it but nothing that particularly stands out.

31 Mar 2010 16:48

The Tandle Hill Tavern, Middleton

Isolated Lees' pub on a country track inbetween Rochdale, Oldham and Middleton, close to the Tandle Hill Country Park and next to a farm.
Hard to see what trade it must get up here, but it was a welcome sight and so was the roaring fire in the main bar room. Another room, a snug, was closed on my visit.
The walls are adorned with old maps and pictures and the pub is traditionally furnished with a cosy atmopshere. It seems to be under a period of transition, with reduced openning times and no food-which I gather is usually a staple of the trade done here.
Friendly welcome and Lees' Bitter, Brewer's Dark and the house bitter, Bumply Lane available. The latter was pretty good.
I enjoyed it here and hope the transition goes well- this one is worth combining with a walk in the nearby Country Park but a pain to get to otherwise!

31 Mar 2010 16:45

The Queens Arms, Manchester

Back-street boozer in an area of derelict warehouses about half a mile north of Victoria Station. Formerly a CAMRA stalwart, it was run down and then closed last year. Owing to its location, few expected it to reopen but it has, and is serving real ale.
The pub is half-tiled outside with green and maroon, giving an atmosphere of faded grandeur. Inside, it's hardly changed- a central bar serves a roughly horseshoe room, with a a large TV as you enter and a pinball machine and gambling machine on the other side.
It was very quiet on Friday afternoon visit- hopefully more people will hear it has reopened to rectify this.
Pumps from Acorn, Prospect and Phoenix microbreweries shown on my visit, but only the Phoenix was available as the other two had run out- Hopsack, and it was very good indeed.
Not sure it's back to its best yet, but it's good to see it reopened and it's worth popping along to give it a go.

31 Mar 2010 16:41

Tiviot, Stockport

Town-centre Robinsons pub with a deserved repuation for being a timewarp. The exterior is quite striking-bright blue and cream plasterwork. Inside, the atmosphere is straight out of the 1950s, with a slightly musty smell (pleasant, though- like your Grandma's) and mature clientele. It also used to get very smoky, but no longer of course. The high-ceilinged, long bar extends up the left of the entrance corridor, with a separate vault behind this. To the right is a front snug and a rear lounge room, both traditionally furnished with upholstered wall seating and wooden tables. The lounge has peculiar bannister-style spindles separating it from the entrance corridor. The pub has been opened out to an extent but the atmosphere is still very much one of a traditional multi-roomed pub.
Drinks-wise, the pub is much the same as all the other town-centre Robbies outlets, with the ubiquitous Unicorn plus another Robbies beer and a seasonal. Always in good form on my visits though. No food served other than lunchtime sandwiches.
Considering Stockport's strengths as a traditional boozer town, this isn't a must visit pub, but if you like a pint in a traditional environment this will be just up your street. It makes a nice traditional crawl combined with the Swan With Two Necks around the corner, and might not be here forever.

30 Mar 2010 18:46

The Inn Beer Shop, Southport

Recently-opened beer emporium on the northern edge of Southport's main thoroughfare, Lord Street, and 200yds from the Guest House.
It's certainly a shop, not a pub, although it's licensed for consumption on the premesis and as such there is a small seating area at the rear of the one narrow room with a library of beer-related literature for you to sit in and enjoy your drink with.
It has hundreds of British and worldwide bottled beers- surely the best in Southport (incuding the award-winning Golden Sands, a local beer which is unfortunately rare in Southport due to the insane pub-tie system) and now also has a couple of handpumps I believe.
This won't be to everyone's tastes as it doesn't even pretend to be a pub- bright lights, cakes for sale etc.- but for the exotic beer fan it's something of a must. Definitely worth at least a try on the way to the Guest House.

24 Mar 2010 16:37

The Buck I'th Vine, Ormskirk

Historic town-centre pub, the only one worth going out of your way for in Ormskirk. Formerly a Walkers house, it's now owned by Tetley and is one of their Heritage inns, but original Walkers signage remains, including the impressive Art Deco Walker's sign attached to the front of the building, and the original lamp above the doorway. The pub is L-shaped from the outside and has unusual diagonal supporting buttresses. Once inside the pub is still characterful, having retained most of its separate areas. The long entrance corridor has the bar on its right and a separate vault on the other side of this.
A medium-sized snug is to your left, with a doorway that has disappointingly been opened out a little but not enough to destroy the separateness of the room. At the end of the entrance corridor is a large lounge. The bar and the rooms are packed with bric-a-brac, adding to the cosy feel, and there are a couple of fires. Also, there is a lot of exposed brickwork.
There are a few concessions to modernity such as TV sports, gambling machines and piped music, but these cannot detract from the overall rustic feel of the pub.
Beer-wise, it's not great, with only Tetley Bitter and Bombardier available on my visit- Ormskirk isn't know for its real ales. That said, these are generally well-kept and it's better than some of its neighbours.
Definitely worth a visit for the interior, would be improved if the real ale selection could increase. Would recommend this as the pub to visit if in Ormskirk.

19 Mar 2010 18:44

The Swan, York

Historic street-corner boozer just outside the city walls, and on CAMRA's National Inventory. The pub has a 'West Riding' layout, with a large lobby with two rooms to the front left and the rear left, and a bar to the central left which can only be accessed from the lobby. Standing room only in the lobby. The rear room is the lounge and is the more plush of the two rooms, with red furnishings, a real fire and plenty beer-related literature. The front room, the tap room, is more spartan and traditional, but still characterful.
The beer range has improved here, with fewer big names and more locally microbrewed beers, usually about 6 regularly changing guests, always well kept. A dog was roaming on my visit, always pleasant.
Definitely one to head to in York for the discerning drinker.

14 Mar 2010 15:50

Dun Cow, Knutsford

Robinsons house in this well-heeled village a mile or so out of Knutsford on the Macclesfield road. Formerly a Greenall-Whitley pub, it's had a refurbishment and is contemporary and cosy, with 1 L-shaped room hugging the bar. Off to the left as you enter is a restaurant area. Modern furnishings, including sofas, part-carpeting and white walls, but a cosy feel is added by the presence of 2 splendid real fires in the bar front. Beer range OK- Unicorn, Hatters Mild and the new seasonal, Dragon's Fire- a ruby red beer that was pretty good. A selection of newspapers to peruse with your pint. Modern but not without character, I quite enjoyed it here.

14 Mar 2010 15:25

The Maltings, York

York CAMRA stalwart with an idiosyncratic nature-although the 'no nonsense' approach is countered somewhat by the off-the-wall interior, including a toilet bowl as a seat and doors on the ceiling in the small single room-interesting enough, I suppose. It stands inbetween the railway station and the city centre and as such is perennially popular, always packed, which is good for these times. Locale status is justified-York, Leeds & North Yorks microbreweries dominate the handpumps, Black Sheep always being available. Beer quality always excellent on my visits. Food is also served. Not sure about the new completely black exterior paintwork- it almost looks trendy! A must visit when in York though.

12 Mar 2010 16:02

The Crown and Anchor, Manchester

Disappointingly, a very modern interior (indeed, unusally so for a Holts' pub) hides behind the pleasant exterior of this city centre pub, with its hanging baskets- two levels around a central bar, with sofas, polished floors, banging music and the works. Holt Bitter and Mild available, which I can take or leave. I did enjoy the bitter in here on my last visit though. It's not a bad pub, but it's just a modern circuit pub really, and is porbably the poorest of the 3 pubs around the Hanging Ditch area.

12 Mar 2010 15:55

Mr Thomas' Chop House, Manchester

City-centre architectural gem that seems to cling to the side of a rather more nondescript office building. It's gothic brick and terracotta exterior are matched on the narrow, completely unspoilt interior by fine green tilework throughout, including two arches, and period lamps add further to the character.
As noted, however, this isn't a boozer- more a restaurant serving real ale. The front 25% of the pub, where the bar is, is actually reserved for standing drinkers but it is the least interesting part of the building. The rear part seats diners and the food is indeed very good, though expensive- not pub grub. Real ales are limited to Black Sheep, Flowers IPA and a guest- Robinsons last time. These are usually kept well however.
It's definitely worth at least one visit for the fine building but it's stretch to call it a pub these days, I'm afraid.

12 Mar 2010 15:51

Sportsman, Lodge Moor

Stone-built semi-rural pub on the very western edge of suburban Sheffield, in some fine walking country. It's 1 basic L-shaped room with traditional furnishings and a cosy, if unremarkable, interior. Popular with diners, the only real ales available are Tetleys and Landlord, although Landlord was very well kept. Food represented very good value and served with a smile. Not a destination pub but a worthy place that I wouldn't mind visiting again.

12 Mar 2010 15:45

The York Arms, York

Typically traditional Sam Smiths' pub in the shadow of York Minster. It escaped crass refurbishment in the 1970s and conisists of two main rooms, a large lounge and a small bar room, accessed separately but served from a central bar. A corridor also has hatch access to the bar on the bar room side of the pub. All traditionally furnished in typical Smiths style. Sam Smiths OBB as ever the only real ale on, cheap as chips.
Can't compete with the ale selection of nearby pubs, but the value for money and unspoilt nature of this pub makes it worth a visit in my book.

10 Mar 2010 18:41

The Red Lion, York

Genuinely traditional building that seems to cater mostly for tourists- the interior is composed of several rooms that ramble around a central bar, and the walls are stone with plenty pubby touches. Two fires in the two large rooms-both gas-powered, unfortunately.
Beer range not the best in York- Deuchars, Black Sheep and Tetley Bitter. Deuchars was OK but there are better pints nearby.
I quite like the place bu wouldn't prioritise it if visiting York. I wouldn't be averse to another visit though.

10 Mar 2010 18:36

Pivo Cafe Bar, York

Continental-style bar occupying an historic Tudor building in the centre of York. It's split across three levels and has quite a bit of character, from the beams to the wonky flooring, although there is more than a nod to the contemporary in the name and the atmosphere.
An impressive array of foreign beers plus Thornbridge avaialble (the bar is owned by the same oweners of Sheffield's Tap.) The pumps were being cleaned on my visit so no handpumped beer- not a great pity considering what else was available, though some might mark them down for this. Very busy but also very expensive, it's not a pub as such but I enjoyed it and would return.

10 Mar 2010 18:32

The Grapes, Sheffield

Traditional pub-turned-music venue, which has been successfully done without compromising the pub's internal character. A splendid tiled corridor with marble-effect floor hides behind the workaday exterior, with bar access on the left. Behind the bar is a separate vault, and two largish rooms are accessed from the right of the corridor-a front lounge and a rear games room with pool table. Upstairs bands play and a lot of the pub's trade relies on this.
The atmosphere is pretty bouncing, with a mainly younger alternative crowd filling the place up at weekends. A strong jukebox selection helps explain this- the music may be a tad loud for some tastes, although it is a music-oriented pub.
Beer-wise, the pub is not dissimilar to the Dog & Partridge down the road, with Tetley Bitter plus two Abbeydale beers making up a decent selection- nothing amazing for Sheffield, although better than most pubs of this kind.
This is a pub that should appeal to everybody, due to its unspoilt nature, good atmosphere and good beer, and it's definitely worth a visit, probably earlier on if you wish to admire the pubs's interior fully.

10 Mar 2010 18:28

Trippets, Sheffield

Formerly Trippets' Wine & Champagne Bar, this venue opposite The Grapes has thankfully dropped this moniker and is now just Trippets. It consists of one large room and some smaller areas close to the door. It's not without character, with wall-mounted cabinets displaying old bottles, but is in the most part modern. A band was playing on my Saturday night visit and the atmosphere was pretty good.
It is a recent real ale convert , and Farmers Blonde, Thorbridge Jaipur and Wentworth WPA help it to keep pace with Sheffield's excellent real ale scene. Farmers was in good nick.
Fairly standard modern venue, worth a visit alongside The Grapes and Dog & Partridge on the same streets, but doesn't particularly stand out.

10 Mar 2010 18:21

The Masons Arms, York

Well-preserved 1930s mock Tudor pub just outside the city centre, and with a good reputation for food. The exterior has leaded windows and some fine Art Deco fittings. Superbly traditional- oak panelled throughout, it has one main bar room plus a side room to the right- the bar room has been slightly opened out. Real fires burn in each room, and ceramics cover all parts of the walls above the panelling.
The beer range has improved of late, with Hancocks Hb, York Yorkshire Terrier, Theakstons Best and Milestone Lion's Pride.
The food is indeed excellent, competitively priced, tasty and in large portions.
One minor niggle would be the piped music which is not in keeping with the atmosphere of this fine pub, however it is definitely worth a visit for any fan of the traditional boozer. Features in the York Historic Pub Guide.

10 Mar 2010 18:17

The Slip Inn, York

Back street residential boozer just outside the city centre, 100yds from the swan and from the River Ouse. It has just been taken over by the Swan team and is on the up. A traditional although altered interior has a front bar room and a small rear lounge, the front bar room showing TV sports. Etched windows remain, adding character. Te pub is in the midst of refurbishment at the moment and has a spartan feel, but the team hope to run a food operation before long so this will most probably change.
Beer wise, it's definitely improved since the last review- a selection of Leeds Best, Copper Dragon Challenger, Wold Top Falling Stone and Rudgate Ruby Mild. Leeds best was very quaffable and in top form.
A pub on the up, why not support it along with a visit to the Swan.

10 Mar 2010 18:09

The Deansgate, Deansgate

Slightly upmarket pub that manages to appeal to the circuit crowd whilst also retaining plenty of interest for the traditional pub fan. Formerly the Grapes (as it still says above the door, why change it?), it stands at the bottom of Deansgate by the railway viaduct. A front bar plus two rear lounges are in the main part preserved intact, and most of these rooms have real fires. Some splendid woodwork and unusually narrow carved seats can be found in the rear, as well as a marble-effect floor. The bar room shows sport and is often busy.
A decent enough real ale selection, although it doesn't challenge the nearby Knott Bar- Moorhouses Blonde Witch Robinsons Unicorn and Dizzy Blonde, and Coach House Honey Pot. Moorhouses in good form.
A few niggles such as pretty loud piped music and rather expensive beer don't fully put me off this pub, I enjoy my visits and it's definitely worth adding to a crawl of this area.

10 Mar 2010 18:05

The Ox, Castlefield

Formerly the Oxnoble, this street-corner pub directly opposite the Museum of Science and Industry reinvented itself as a 'gastropub' a few years ago. That would normally be enough to put me off, but it's not as bad as many places of its ilk. One large L-shaped room hugs a bar, with 2 real fires and a lot of exposed brickwork (including central pillars) adding character and creating a more intimate setting. The corner of the L is reserved for dininng but the rest is primarily for drinkers, although you can drink here as well. Both traditional seating and sofas avaialble, and old pictures on the walls. Black Sheep, the lesser-sighted (these days) Boddingtons Cask, Copper Dragon Black Gold and Landlord avaialable. Black Gold was good, a smooth mild which goes down well.
Not a Manchester must but a decent enough pub, despite its off-putting moniker.

10 Mar 2010 18:00

The Castle Arms, Edinburgh

Semi-traditional pub in tourist central, a stone's throw from Edinburgh castle.
It's bright and airy, with whitewashed walls and a mixture of traditional seating and sofas. One long bar room spills out onto a terrace at the rear with fine views of the Grassmarket. As well as this room there is a snug immediately to the left as you enter with a cosy fire. Food plays a substantial role in the operation. Beer wise, there's the ubiquitous Deuchars and also Theakston's XB- not a great choice compared to its neighbours, however the Deuchars was pretty good.
Aimed at tourists but possibly less so than some of the pubs further down the Royal Mile. Quite enjoyed it but may give it a miss next time, if only due to the number of excellent pubs nearby.

10 Mar 2010 17:55

The Plough, Ormskirk

Downmarket town centre boozer with one large room, plus a games room to the left with a pool table and a smaller room in the back. This back room retains some character as it is traditionally furnished and a tiled entrance lobby leads to this, giving some idea as to the former layout of the pub. However, there's no real ale and a general rough feel to the place, not helped by pictures on the wall of various strip events that have taken place at the pub.
Not much for the discerning drinker here.

7 Mar 2010 11:12

The Mark Addy, Salford

Riverside pub/restaurant on the Salford side of the Irwell off Bridge Street, that is accessed by descending stairs by the river.
Popular in the 1980s, it had brief flirtations with unadventurous real ales from time to time but was never one to head to for the real ale fan, especially in latter years.
However, it's been reopened as a foody place after a period of closure and I was pleasantly surprised to find it it offers 4 changing cask ales, on my visit Ossett Big Red, Everards Tiger, Landlord and Boggart Brewery Rum Porter- a decent showing from smaller breweries.
It's a converted old warehouse, with brick arches and pillars in the one long room. It has some private booths and some riverside seating (although all you can see across the river is flats). It's definitely geared up for dining, with candles and cutlery on the tables- this is no boozer. However, drinkers aren't unwelcome and there are a few places you can relax with a pint includign the outdoor riverside terrace.
Don't know if this will work its way into the Salford ale crawl due to what I perceive to be too much of an emphasis on food, but it's an improvement, a shock even, to see this place back in the real ale fold. Worth at least a visit.

3 Mar 2010 17:12

Sheffield Tap, Sheffield

Former Victorian station buffet that was neglected for decades until being resurrected just before Christmas, and what a fine job has been done.
Accessed from Platform 1, the main bar room retains most of its original features, including dark wooden bar back, splendid tiled walls and fireplaces, not in use at the moment. A fine sensitive resoration, rare these days.
A further room at the back, giving access to the street, is smaller and less remarkable.
Brewery mirrors on the walls are the extent of further opulence and at the moment are spartan, but I expect the place to develop gradually.
8 Thornbridge beers are available on handpump, catering for most tastes, although I believe some guests have started to creep in- a welcome sign. There is also an impressive array of European beers available.
Always packed and a cracking atmopshere throughout.
Sheffield continues to go from strength to strength in terms of its pubs, and compared to most dreary station outlets this is excellent. Another one to visit if in Sheffield.

25 Feb 2010 13:08

The Crown and Kettle, Ancoats

This long-closed pub on an arterial route on the edge of the city centre reopened as a real ale pub a few years ago and has been going from strength to strength since.
3 rooms, bar, snug, and vault are served by a central bar. Although the layout and decor are traditional (fine dark wooden panelling around the bar and walls) the place has a clean, airy feel.
The most striking point as mentioned is the ornate plasterwork ceiling, most of which was badly damaged by fire in the 1980s. The celiing in the main bar remains so, as a curious historical piece. In the vault the ceiling has been restored to its full glory. Nets hang beneath it to prevent falling masonry!
The pub has a strong record of selling ales from local microbrewries and also has a good range of European beers. On my visit Greenfield Autumn Ale (The house brew), Dunham Masey Milk Stout and an Allgates beer were available. The Greenfield was excellent.
This a pub that is strong on all fronts and as such is one of Manchester's best, you should try to get here if possible.

25 Feb 2010 13:01

The City, Manchester

Not to be confused with the better-known City Arms across town, this formerly downmarket boozer is in the Northern Quarter, a stone's throw from the Crown and Kettle and also close to Bar Fringe and The Castle.
It's been one to avoid as long as I remember, a keg-only zone with little to appeal to the discerning drinker. However, the landlord has recently installed some pumps and hoped to make real ale a big seller here, so I popped in.
It's a long, basic 1 roomer with traditional furnishings and a pool table at the bottom. Mature, exclusively local clientele and sport shown, and a careworn feel.
Surprised to see Hawkshead Lakeland Gold alongside the two Acorn beers (Gorlovka stout and City Pride which has the Manchester coat of arms and looks like a house beer). Tried the Hawkshead and pleased to say it was excellent.
According to the local CAMRA rag, the landlord believes it'll take a while to get real ale to take off here, and I can see why, this still isn't the usual sort of pub the ale drinker would go to. However, it's good to see an effort being made and I urge people to try it at least once as part of a Northern Quarter crawl.

25 Feb 2010 12:56

Star Inn, Salford

This unspoilt suburban boozer hit the regional headlines recently when it became the first urban co-operative pub - the former owners, Robinson's Brewery. were about to sell up and the locals clubbed together and bought the pub. You can read more about this on the pub's website.
It's situated in the pleasant Cliff Conservation Area (presumably so-called because it is high above the River Irwell) in Higher Broughton, about 2 miles north of Manchester city centre, an archetypal Salford area of Victorian housing and cobbled streets. Accessed from a back alley, the pub is currently de-signed as the Robinson's stuff is being replaced, making it even more difficult to find.
Very much a locals' pub (in more than name now),it's a basic, unpretentious place with a small bar room as you enter and a separate large lounge to your left, through a door. There are some interesting original features, such as a swing door, and handpumps that are side-mounted at the bar, not on the bar front. The lounge has rustic green leather mounted seating and stools to match, and unvarnished tables. 'Star Inn Bitter' brewery mirrors are the extent of any further opulence. TVs and occasional piped music.
Robbies' rather dull brews have been discarded in favour of Salford microbrewer Bazens', and the brewery now brews the house 'Star Inn Ale', a malty hoppy beer that was very quaffable. The other pump dispensed Bazens' Black Pig Mild, although the growing number of pump clips around the bar suggest that other microbreweries often feature.
The pub is obviously going through a period of transition and there's a refurbishment-y feel to the place that will hopefully soon pass.
Apparently, this is the last of several pubs in this area and its great to see it continue in such a way. The landlord will happily talk to you about it.
The pub is about 30mins walk from central Manchester but as it's through a rather uninspiring area you may prefer to get a bus. Probably not one for everyone due to its ultra-basic and traditional nature and as it's quite a way out you might not make time, but I urge everyone who can get along to support this venture.

25 Feb 2010 12:49

The Rams Head, Denshaw

Dining pub high on the moors which I doubt attracts much drinking trade.
It's contemporary with a rustic feel, with period wallpaper and two pleasant real fires in two of the three rooms. Apart from that it's upmarket and cosy, with piled carpets etc.
Food was good and at 3 courses for 12.99 represents good value. Had no problem with the service whatsoever.
Beer was limited to Landlord and Black Sheep, Landlord very well kept however.
Not a boozer but altogether a good experience.

22 Feb 2010 17:47

The Clarence, New Brighton

Large suburban boozer with a rustic feel about it. Two rooms, a large lounge on spit levels and a vault/games room served by an island bar. The games room had handsome wood panelling around the pool table and is the more characterful of the rooms as the lounge is a bit barn-like. Youngs bitter, Peerless triple blonde and Weetwood Eastgate Ale made up the selection on my visit, a couple more pumps were turned round- a modest selection, but locally sourced.
Local crowd like most pubs in the area.
Close to New Brighton railway station so easy to reach and a good starting point for a real ale crawl.

22 Feb 2010 17:43

The Telegraph Inn, Wallasey

Historic pub that does seem to have had a renovation relatively recently, as the large lounge to the left as you enter is highly unremarkable. However, the vault type room on the other side of the island bar has more character and a cosy atmosphere, full of locals and with low beams and rustic pictures and maps onthe wall. Small TVS are unobtrusive and had SSN on on my recent visit. Strong beer selection, with Bombardier, Shropshire Stout, Ossett Big Red, Coastal 'Angelina' and Youngs Bitter making a varied selection. Enjoyed a pint of the Coastal, well kept.
Mixed local crowd and a good atmosphere throughout.
Not a must visit but a decent enough bet if in Wallasey.

22 Feb 2010 17:40

Stanleys Cask, Wallasey

Suburban locals' boozer not far from New Brighton.
It's opened out into a single large room, although one can picture how the pub was before this by studying the wooden/carpet floor, which gives a clear picture of a snug and games room at the front for those blessed with an imagination for such things. The bar back retains some interesting woodwork and mirrors, however.
A strong emphasis on sport with about 5 large screens situated in positions which mean its possible to see one everywhere. This doesn't bother me too much but it won't be to everyone's tastes.
John Smiths Cask, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle, St Austell Proper Job, Holt 1849 and Caledonian 80 Shilling made up an above-average beer range on my visit, although they're chiefly from the bigger brewers. St Austell was well kept.
Not a bad pub at all but probably not a must visit. If you want to catch a game though this is the pub to head to.

22 Feb 2010 17:35

The Magazine Hotel, Wallasey

Unspoilt suburban gem overlooking the river, 10 minutes from the fort and front at New Brighton.
The pub has an unusual layout that is in the main part intact, although doors have been removed. The long bar room has 3 medium-sized rooms leading off from it, a back room with a small TV, a side room and a room at the front left hand side of the pub as you enter. None of these is small enough to be called a snug, however the front room has a cosy atmosphere and is the most intact, and also affords a fine view over the river to Bootle docks.
The main bar room has most features, with a splendid fireplace and real fire surrounded by numerous brasses and mirrors. Dim lighting and red shading throughout add to the atmosphere. No piped music but unfortunately the odd quiz machine. As noted the pub has bowling green to the rear.
The pub was a Bass pub and this is still evident with the sign, etched door and internal mirrors. Beer selection is Bass itself, Landlord, Thwaites Original plus two guests from the local Spitting Feathers brewery, Thirst Quencher and Special Ale.
This is a fine old pub that is worth a visit in it's own right, and you should make a beeline here if in the Wallasey area for any reason. For the lover of traditional pubs I would also consider it to be worth the trip across from Liverpool as it is a pleasant 15 minute riverside walk from New Brighton station.

22 Feb 2010 17:30

The Golden Ball, York

Paid another visit to this, one of York's finest historic gems, and good to see nothing has changed and bar billiards still in operation.
Was also pleased to see the excellent York Guzzler on offer alongside the bigger names that are usually on offer-hopefully more to come?
A must visit for any pub lover visiting York.

10 Feb 2010 16:14

The Yorkshire Terrier Inn, York

York brewery's most recent pub is on the bustling, historic Stonegate in the centre of the city. At the front a shop displays the brewery's wares, whilst the pub is accessed via a side corridor. It's opened out and unremarkable, save for the conservatory roof (must be fine in summer) and wood-burning stove at the rear. Traditionally furnished throughout and unpretentious, it offers a very strong range of ales- all the York brewery ones, as you'd expect, plus guests from Tring and Tirril microbreweries making up the 10 or so handpumps.
There is also an unpretentious, basic food operation, which is thoroughly on the backburner as beer is the main draw here.
My pint of Guzzler was in fien form and very quaffable.
This pub has a great range of beers and is less tourist-oriented than its near-neighbours on Stonegate, and is definitely worth a visit on an York trip.

10 Feb 2010 16:10

Lamb and Lion, York

Newly opened pub on a spot where one once stood for centuries until recent decades. It has an envable spot by Bootham Bar in the shadow of the Minster, and the beer garden is bordered by the wall and affords great views- would like to visit in summer.
Inside, the interior is quite similar to that of sister pub The Guy Fawkes in terms of ambience, with candles and dim lighting mixed with traditional furnishings creating a balance between historic and contemporary- either way the result is pleasant enough. The layout is more complicated though, with 'rear snugs' and a lounge accessed by several corridors as well as the front bar room giving it a labyrinthine feel. The lounge has a real fire but all tables were reserved on my visit so settled for the bar.
Piped music played and an emphasis on dining, although not to the total detriment of drinkers- a decent range of ales included- Golden Mane IPA, Black Sheep, Leprechaun Stout and Summer Wine Dambusters Dark Mild meaning the balance edged towards dark beers for a winter's evening. Nevertheless, plumped for Golden Mane which was a fine beer in good form.
This pub adds to the 4 already on the short Petergate, and I would say positively- it has a better beer range than The York and the Hole and is more atmosphereic than the Mare. Can see myself returning, and would recommend a visit.

10 Feb 2010 16:05

The Guy Fawkes Hotel, York

Atmospheric, dimly lit pub in the shadow of the Minster that was closed for several years but has now reopened. I would describe it as contemporary rather than historic, although the atmosphere is a good one.
It retains a bar room, a lounge to the left and a rear area that seems to be reserved for dining. Candles light the tables in the front two rooms, definitely a modish touch in York at the minute. The lounge also has a real fire that wasn't burning on my last visit. The window seats afford fine views of the Minster. No piped music made for a peaceful atmopshere.
A fine range of ales on my visit included Leeds Best, Saltaire Ruby Red, Hambleton Stud, Great Heck Stout, Black Sheep and Rudgate Jorvik blonde- all from local microbreweries save the Sheep. Tried the first two of these and enjoyed them both.
Would have to agree with the previous posting that somewhat directly states that there was an unpleasant smell in the pub, although this was confined to the bar on my visit, the lounge was OK- I expect this to be a temporary problem and it shouldn't put you off visiting, for this is a fine all-round pub

10 Feb 2010 15:58

The Blue Bell, York

Hidden gem of a pub, on the CAMRA National Inventory and in the York Historic Pub Guide. The modest red tiled exterior and Pubmaster sign don't exactly draw you in, but a treat awaits- a side lobby has two etched doors accessing two rooms, a tiny front bar room and a rear 'smoke room'- now akin to a snug, so narrow is it. This room and the lobby both have hatch access to the bar.
The rooms are wood-panelled and traditionally furnished throughout, with the bar room only having enough room for 3 or 4 tables. Traditional pub games are available in this room.
It is apparently York's last surviving intact Edwardian interior.
The Pubmaster sign is a bad portender because these pubs were bought by Punch Taverns, scourge of drinkers everywhere, but happily this pub is now allowed to take part in the Locale scheme which has seen it's previously solid but unchanging beer range improve. Osset Silver King and Golden Salamander complemented the usual Landlord, Black Sheep and Deuchars on my visit.
Salamander in fine form.
This pub has always been a must visit when in York for me and now the beer range means it's even better- not to be missed.

10 Feb 2010 15:52

The Black Swan, York

Genuinely historic mediaeveal timbered building just outiside the city centre. Last refurbished by Bass in the 1970s, it's a character pub and features in the Historic Pubs of York guidebook.
The flagged entrance lobby leads to an impressive 17th-C staircase, and three large rooms are accessed from here. The 'oak' room is on the front to the left, and has access to the bar. It's completely wood-panelled and traditionally furnished, and has a real fire. Several people were eating here on my visit. To the right as you enter the lobby a restaurant-y room was empty on my visit, but also had a real fire.
The large bar or 'ingle' room is located to the left at the bottom of the lobby, and is the crowning glory. A large inglenook houses a cradle on which a roaring real fire is situated, and the room also has decorative wood panelling. Traditionally furnished throughout with copper-top tables, small chairs and lots of antiques, its a charming room and was reasonably busy on my visit.
Beer-wise, the pub isn't as strong as some of York's well-known pubs, but is sound, with Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Deuchars, Abbot Ale and Hobgoblin.
There are a couple of minor, easily resolved irritants, namely the gambling machine in the lobby and the pretty loud piped music in the bar, neither of which are in keeping with a pubas characterful and historic as this one. It wouldn't take much to banish these, but in the meantime the pub is well worth a visit for the lover of traditional pubs. 5 minutes from York city centre.

10 Feb 2010 15:27

The Cobden View, Crookes

Attractive stone-built pub high in the West end of Sheffield, an area popular with students.
The pub is quite small and retains a degree of separation between its front bar room, rear games room and side lounge, although the three now all interconnect. Comfortable furnishings throughout and the games room features a pool table. Also Sky sports shown, accounting for a busy period on my visit.
As noted, the range of real ales is solid if not spectacular, with Bradfield beers a welcome addition to the big names-Farmer's Blonde in fine form on my visit.
The pub also had a free curry buffet which was also most welcome.
Not a must visit in Sheffield but a sound pub and worth a visit if on a crawl in the area-Hallamshire House and Closed Shop are nearby.

10 Feb 2010 15:15

Brigantes Bar and Brasserie, York

Cask ale oasis on the Micklegate vomit-trail.
Must admit I was initially a little put off by the 'brasserie' moniker, fearing a Continental-style place, but the place is pubby enough, if not remarkably so.
However, this is made up for by the excellent rage of ales, with TT Golden best, Saltaire Raspberry Blonde, Tring Mansion, Tring Sidepocket, York Guzzler, Black Sheep Riggwelter, Leeds Yorkshire Gold and Hambleton Bitter. Also a wide range of Continental beers available. Guzzler excellent as ever, tried the Saltaire which I usually like but this one was a bit floral for me.
The pub is one room on split levels, unremarkable but pleasant, with the rear area probably more characterful, with its side-mounted lamps, booths, and rustic old brewery posters.
Food is also served and has a fine reputation, and I can vouch that it's deserved.
Really enjoyed it here and look forward to returning.

10 Feb 2010 14:56

The Spread Eagle, York

Ordinary locals' boozer a walk out of the city centre. It's real ales come from the Marstons/Jennings range, and Pedigree and the seasonal Jennings Cross Buttock available. the latter was OK if not excellent, but Jennings rarely are these days.
Opened out with an L-shaped bar at the front and a pool table area at the back. Some wood panelling remains towards the front of the pub but there is little else of architectural merit. Loud piped music also.
It's generally sound and serves its purpose, but not a York must.

10 Feb 2010 14:50

The Phoenix, York

This pub is located just inside the City Walls at Fishergate Bar in an area of mainly drab housing but also close to the main arterial route South. The fact that it's inside the walls still gives it an edge-of-city-centre type feel.
It's an unspoilt place that merits a place in the York Historic Pub Guide and I was pleased to see it reopen after a long period of closure.
The layout is unaltered, with a side lobby giving access to a front bar room and a rear lounge. The pub is mostly flag-floored and a lovely real fire roars in the bar. The lounge has been altered slightly but is still comfortable and hosts Jazz nights. The lobby has a servery hatch to the bar with seating around it, an unusual touch. Fine etched windows have the name and show that this was once a Magnet pub.
It's more upmarket that it was, with candles on the tables giving dim light and a very clean feel, but this has in no way adversely affected the character of the pub.
The real ale range was once dominated by the bigger names, but on my visit Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. Moorhouse Broomstick, Landlord and Wold Top Bitter made up a decent range. Copper Dragon was excellent.
The pub is a bit of a way out but easily accessed from the city walls, and is worth a visit if you fancy a pint on the way round. Can also be combined with the Rook & Gaskill and Waggon and Horses on a crawl. Really good to see it open again.

10 Feb 2010 14:42

The Waggon and Horses, York

Reopened after a long period of closure and going from strength to strength. A Bateman's pub, it features their range plus guests, which on my visit were York Nordic Fury, Titanic Lifeboat, Rooster Yankee and Rudgate Ruby Mild. Had a Bateman's GHA which was excellent.
The pub retains four separate drinking areas including a front bar room, games room and a snug lounge at the back which is the most characterful with a library of books in glass cases on the wall. The front bar shows Sky Sports on an unobtrusive TV.
This pub has just won York CAMRA's pub of the season as a reflection of its success, and can now be combined with the Phoenix and Rook and Gaskill for a rewarding crawl. Definitely worth a visit.

10 Feb 2010 14:33

The Rook and Gaskill, York

One of York's best ranges of real ale, which is saying something- 12 handpumps including a real cider line the bar.
The pub is located just outside the city walls on the and as such avoids falling into the tourist trap category. One basic, long room is split-level and has an attractive tiled floor. There is also a conservatory area at the back. Traditional games such as chess and cards are offered and bands sometimes play on the raised area at the back.
The pub is the northernmost Castle Rock outlet, and as such features their range of ales including the excellent Harvest Pale.
This is a must visit pub for the York real ale enthusiast and can now be combined with the nearby Waggon and Horses and Phoenix for a rewarding crawl of pubs around the Eastern city walls.

10 Feb 2010 14:29

The Wellington, York

Locals' pub half a mile or so south of the city centre, splendidly located as part of a Victorian terrace in an attractive suburban street, and far away enough to completely avoid the tourist hordes. I
It's the usual highly traditional Sam Smiths' boozer, with a central tiled corridor as you enter giving access to 3 rooms- the bar to your left, games room to your right (both rooms stone flagged) and a pleasant snug room at the back, with carpeting and traditional furnishings. The corridor also has access to the bar via a servery. All rooms have the glow of a real fire.
The games room has a pool table which is unusual for a Smiths' pub- it is also very difficult to use given the size of the room!
OBB as usual the only bitter, it seemed to taste better than usual here and went down extremely well.
A great secret that I'm loath to reveal, but any lover of traditional pubs should head here if spending any decent amount of time in York. The terrace on which the pub is located is a pleasant 15 minute stroll down the river from the centre and close enough to include as part of a crawl along with the Seahorse and Lighthorseman, two other traditional pubs that feature in the York Historic Pub Guide- a good read.

10 Feb 2010 14:21

The Seahorse Hotel, York

Locals' pub just outside the city walls on the A19 main route south.
Sam Smith's acquired the place relatively recently and have done their usual grand job of turning a fine building into a worthy, ultra-traditional boozer.
The entrance lobby leads to 4 main rooms, the bar room to your right, parlour to your left, snug to the rear of the bar on your right and a restaurant room at the back. The lobby also has hatch access to the bar. Each room is accessed through a door so full separation is maintained.
All rooms are wood-panelled and traditionally furnished in usual Smiths style. The 'snug' isn't particularly snug-like as it's rather big, but the parlour has a splendid real fire and traditional games, and is the most characterful room of the pub.
OBB as usual the only handpump, so your enjoyment of the place may rest on your liking of this beer-many pubs in York have a far better selection. However, if you are into traditional pubs at all you should make some effort to get here at some point.

10 Feb 2010 14:11

The Ship Inn, Sheffield

Paid another visit to the Ship at the weekend, and am even more impressed by this fine pub. the Tiled frontage must really rank amongst the finest in the country, with its gleaming tiles and a fine ship model above the front door. Beyond, things aren't quite as impressive in the L-shaped room but the upholstery and ethos are that of a truly unspoilt pub.
The pub doesn't trade on it's wide range of ales like its neighbours, remaining a proper locals' pub (unfortunately this is also reflected in the presence of karaoke on some evenings and the slightly loud piped music), but the ale range has improved, with two Abbeydale beers plus Greene King on my visit- a good sign.
Despite its faults, you should try to get here if you've done all the Don Valley pubs or if you're a traditional pub fan.

4 Feb 2010 12:50

Dog and Partridge, Sheffield

Irish pub in a city centre back street- but none of your faux nonsense, leprechauns or shamrocks here, this is a good boozer that is a pub with an Irish tint rather than a childish theme pub.
The fine green tiled frontage indicates that this was a Gilmour's pub. Beyond is a large network of cosy rooms, including a rear 'Kennedy room', the largest of the rooms, a front lounge and 2 pleasant snugs, both with gas fires. The front snug has an unobtrusive TV. The rooms are cosy and traditionally furnished throughout.
The pub isn't strong on real ale (for Sheffield at least), but Tetley bitter was fine on my visit. An Abbeydale pump was turned round, so at least it's not a keg zone.
Not a Sheffield must due to the sheer number of fine pubs nearby, but if you're a fan of traditional pubs you should try to head here at least once.

4 Feb 2010 12:46

The Victoria Hotel, Beeston

Occasionally you find a pub with everything, and this is one. The splendid red-brick Victorian frontage and etched windows give way to 3 linear rooms alongside a bar that is stocked with many handpumps of locally-sourced microbrewed ales. A further room houses a restaraunt, sensibly kept separate to avoid compromising the superbly pubby atmosphere of this gem. Pub grub however can still be ordered here- always good to find a place that appreciates the distinction.
Rustic signage and pictures fill the walls of the well-appointed rooms, and the impressive staircase and stained-glass window at the top are worth seeing in their own right.
A coal fire burns in the lounge adding to an already great atmosphere.
The pub doesn't seem to be on CAMRA's NI- quite surprising giving its unspoilt nature.
tried a Blue Monkey Bitter which was superb. On my visit a beer festival was taking place out the back in a tent, increasing the amount of beers avaiable on my visit to 25- impressive.
Apologies for the hyperbole here folks, but it's worth it.
The pub is adjacent to Beeston railway station which is a 5-minute ride on the frequent trains from Nottingham, and less than 2.
You should seek to prioritise this pub which must be one of the finest in the Midlands.

3 Feb 2010 13:29

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

Pleasantly ungentrified pub a stone's throw from Nottingham station, that fully deserves its 'boozer' status.
One L-shaped room hugs a bar with an impressive array of handpumps- this being the de facto Castle Rock Brewery Tap.
It's bare-boards with traditional furnishings and pictures of old Nottingham on the walls, from railways to pubs- always absorbing for me.
A pub cat roams freely and may jump onto your table!
Harvest Pale was excellent, also tried a couple of the (non Castle-Rock) guests, the names of which unfortunately escape me- all good too.
Would consider this pub a must visit in Notts.

3 Feb 2010 13:21

Canal House, Nottingham

Large converted warehouse by the canal with a wharf actually entering into the one large room that constitutes the pub. A bridge crosses this as you enter- a nice touch, possibly unique?
The place is barn-like and has the feel of a circuit pub with dim lighting and a mainly young crowd. Also piped music.
Castle Rock Harvest Pale and a couple of microbrewery stouts on offer on my visit, with a few pumps turned round-Harvest Pale excellent.
I agee with other comments that I didn't dislike the place but it didn't feel overly pubby- probably worth the visit for the novelty, and superior to most circuit pubs, but I probably won't be making it a priority in future.

3 Feb 2010 13:18

The Newshouse, Nottingham

Ungentrified city-centrre boozer that doesn't particularly appeal with it's blue tiled exterior- rather redolent of an estate pub. However, do persevere as you will find one of the friendlier, more traditional pubs in town, with an excellent choice of beers. This pub isn't as well known as Nottingham's more tourist-trap pubs or trendy canalside outlets.
As noted the pub has two large rooms served by a central bar. Can't comment on The Saloon as only saw i briefly before going to play bar-billiards in the public bar. This large, bare-boards room has a pleasantly traditional and friendly feel. On a Saturday afternoon many were busy watching the football on the big screen, whilst we busied ourselves with the bar billiards- cheap at 50p a game.
Excellent range of beers including Castle Rock's age and guests- about 7 pumps in total. Harvest Pale went down a treat as ever-one of my favourites at the moment. Friendly service and a proper atmosphere. Along with the Vat and Fiddle this felt like one of the most 'proper' Nottingham pubs in terms of locals and ambience- I suggest you make it a priority if this is your thing.

3 Feb 2010 13:14

The Cock and Hoop, Nottingham

Small but contemporary place in the pleasant Lace Market part of town that stretches the definition of a pub. It definitely looks like one from outside, but as noted the atmopshere is more akin to a hotel bar, which is what it also functions as. However, it gets good reviews, so went in undeterred. The tiny bar room is plush and modern, with piled carpets, a large gas fire and minimalist decor. At first I though that was the extent of the pub, but then realised a flight of stairs leads down to a large cellar bar, partly flagged and with comfortable, modern furnishings.
Beer range OK but not as good as many of its neighbours- Pride, Landlord and Jennings on my visit. Apparently also has a house ale brewed by Nottingham brewery but didn't see it. It's usually in the Guide though so beer quality can be relied upon.
I did find the bar room cosy with the fire, but not very pub-like- more like a posh house. I didn't mind the place and would return but not as a priority- not really one for the traditionalists.

3 Feb 2010 13:05

The Bulls Head, Manchester

City-centre pub that is the nearest to Piccadilly (excluding the dreary station bars). On the corner of two busy thoroughfares and roughly wedge-shaped, It has the old Burtonwood signage and leaded windows signifying 'Smoke room', 'bar room' etc- a nice touch, however they are relevant no longer as the pub is opened up- one room , with a few raised areas but nothing more.
The range of real ales has been steadily increasing, 4-5 pumps now dispense a range from the Jennings/Marstons/Banks' stable. Pumpclips above the bar imply that an occasional microbrewery guest is available but that wasn't the case on my visit. Cocker Hoop was pretty good on my visit.
As noted, the clientele is transient which can detract from the atmosphere, and the pub never really seems busy.
Would agree with most comments- I don't mind this place, It's a decent bet for a pint as its infinitely superior to the bars in the station and the real ale is more than passable. However for atmosphere, you may wish to head for the Jolly Angler in the opposite direction.
Not really a Manchester must.

3 Feb 2010 12:58

Hallamshire House, Sheffield

Looks like this pub has improved since the last review. Would agree that the beer selection outlined there would be distinctly average in Sheffield, but on my recent visit Farmer's Blonde, Sheffield Crucible Best Bitter and Kelham Island Best Bitter were avaiable, all local microbrewery ales. Crucible Best went down well, a coppery beer despite its name.
The pub itself is an attractive stone-built suburban boozer whose frontage is deceptively small. Hanging baskets on the outside add to the charm. The pub is directly opposite The Closed Shop, good to see them both doing well.
Inside it retains an original layout despite a degree of opening up, with a snug, lounge and two games rooms (front and back). The lounge and back games room, which houses a full-size snooker table, are pretty big and the pub is very 'deep'. The front games room and snug are more manageable, the games room with a pool table and the snug a particularly pleasant room, with wall-mounted seats forming a narrow U-shape.
Despite the pub being popular with students it was mostly busy with locals on my visit, and football was being shown on TV- not Sky though.
Enjoyed it here and it looks like a much improved pub. It's definitely worth a visit with the Closed Shop and Cobden View on a West Sheffield crawl-if you can manage the hill!

2 Feb 2010 13:11

The Knott Bar, Deansgate

Renowned CAMRA award-winning bar nestled in a railway arch near Deansgate station and in rustic Lancashire scenery- canals, arches and cobbled streets in abundance. It's open plan and slightly bohemian, with the haphazard posters redolent of a student pub. The front has glazed windows all the way and affords good views. It used to have a bar billiards table but no longer, sadly.
2-3 Marble Beers are always on sale here, and the Ginger I tried was top notch as ever. Also 3 guests, i tried the Hawkshead Red which was also excellent. The pub is renowned for its pub grub and gets very busy at the weekend.
Not much more to add that hasn't already been said other than that this is easily the best pub in the area, and the one to go to if waiting for a train at Deansgate.

25 Jan 2010 12:26

The Commercial Hotel, Chester

Now reopened after what seems like a long period of closure. It's about as central as can be but still difficult to find, nestling in a yard behind the handsome St. Peter's church that overlooks the crossing point of Chester's 15th century shopping streets. The yard is accessed by 2 narrow alleys that go either side of the church.
The pub is thoroughly refurbished and can be desribed as stylish and contemporary. a lobby leads you to 2 front rooms and 2 back rooms, although this distinction is blurred as it's pretty open plan. The bar is to the right and has access from the front and back right hand rooms of the pub. Polished floors, whitewashed walls and leather sofas abound, although period wallpaper and a handsome central staircase (presumably part of the hotel) add a rustic touch.
Ostensibly it seems to be a Stonehouse brewery place, with their beermats on every table. However the Stonehouse Bitter was complemented by Weetwood Cheshire Cat and Bomabardier, the latter served behind a curious metallic font that I can only assume is trying to attract 'yoof' over from their nitrofizz. Cheshire Cat was excellent, and at 2.60 seemed reasonable- you expect to pay more in these kind of places.
Two real fires burned in the front rooms which was a major plus point for me and brought character to what may otherwise have been a stark environment.
It's not usually my kind of place but I found it strangely enjoyable, and it's certainly an improvement considering the lenghth of closure. Not a must but the beer is good and if you've done the rest it's definitely worth a visit.

25 Jan 2010 12:21

The Bear and Billet, Chester

Renowned pub in the city centre, just next to the city walls and in an area of improving pubs. It's handsome tudor exterior hides an interior that is rather more modern and nondescript. Nevertheless there are various points of interest, including the beamed ceilings which look original.The pub has an upstairs and downstairs, the downstairs is basically open plan but seperated into two areas, front and back. The back was busier on my visit, with TV screens showing football. The front has a roaring and impressive real fire and comfy seating.
It's popular with tourists for good reason, serving very good home cooked food at reasonable prices- a cut above the usual tourist tat too.
The pub comes into its own on the beer front, with 5 guests and a real cider, Cheddar Valley. The beers were Cottage Gold Rush, Okell's Bitter, Harviestoun Lager Beer, Phoenix Pale Moonlight and Holden's Golden Glow. Tried the Cottage which was OK but Holden's was superb.
Although tourist-oriented the Bear has lots of character and a great beer range, and is one of my favourite Chester pubs. You should endeavour to visit alongside the nearby Brewery Tap and Albion. Just off the city wall so easily reached on a pleasant wlak.

25 Jan 2010 12:13

The Boltmakers Arms, Keighley

Classic one-roomed town pub close to Keighley railway station. It's one, narrow room is split into two levels (lower at the front and up a step to the back) to give the feel of two separate areas. Wood panelling and period lampshades in the windows add to the cosiness and charm, though not to the extent that the homely real fire at the bottom level does. Walls are filled with pictures and memorabilia of 60s pop stars and other trinkets. The rear room contains various local CAMRA leaflets that are worth picking up. Busy on my visit, unsurprisingly.
The pub is sometimes considered to be the Timothy Taylor brewery tap, featuring all their beers and supposedly the best you'll get. Ram Tam went down well on a winter's day, and golden best ('The last true Pennine light mild) was also enjoyable.
2 guests were Davenport's IPA and Fuller's London Porter, so even if you're not a TT fan you should endeavour to visit here. Also a real cider. A proper town pub.

18 Jan 2010 13:37

Haworth Old Hall, Haworth

Large, upmarket dining pub at the bottom of Haworth's famous Main Street. It's a classic old hall building, wih a half-timbered exterior and some fine examples of exposed original stonework within, notably the doorways and the huge fireplaces, one of which has a truly impressive real fire which warms the whole room. Other than that, it's a standard, large eating pub with 2 large rooms and a bar area.
The full range of Jennings beers are available, plus Banks' Bitter and Pedigree, should there should be soemthing to cater for all palates, even if the range could be considered unadventurous. Cumberland (2.70) was in good form.
All in all it's worth a visit for a drink, despite being very food oriented it's a safe place for one and although I didn't try the food the portions looked quite impressive.

18 Jan 2010 13:32

The Sawyers Arms, Deansgate

As with many pubs these days, the attractive curve of the tiled exterior and bowed windows give way to standard modernity and modern embellishments such as Sky Sports, sofas and 2 for 1 menus.
That said, it's smart enough and is more of a pub in atmosphere than a bar. It's basically 1 L-shaped room, with a raised area with sofas and a giant TV screen. Other TV screens are dotted about the pub- it's a good place to come to watch any football. The rest of the furnishing is more traditional and is amde out of modern dark wood. A pleasant wooden staircase accesses an upstairs level. Food looks like standard 2 for 1 pub grub, nothing special but cheap. Didn't try it. Beer wise it's OK actually, not brilliant. Copper Dragon Black Gold (a stout) and Greene King IPA featured. The former was pretty good. Have seen microbrewery ales from the likes of Anglo-Dutch in the past and a small collection of pump clips is growing on the wall. Nevertheless, I doubt real ale is a major player here, although it's presence is obviously a plus.
All in all a completely ordinary pub, not one to prioritise but not one to avoid either.

14 Jan 2010 12:58

Scarisbrick Arms, Downholland

Now reopened. Large, imposing red-brick building that stands alone where the main road crosses over the canal, a couple of miles north of Maghull. A large, opened out bar area is at the front, with another moderately-sized room off to the side. To the rear is another large room that is not yet open.
It's been thoroughly refurbished inside, and seems to be going for the Continental compromise between pub and cafe that is increasingly popular these days. Whitewashed walls, contemporary modern black and white furnishings and cutlery laid out ready on the table give the impression of a cafe bar, but some important pubby elements are retained, such as the stained glass windows (with Lancashire red rose), a tiled floor area near the bar, and best of all, a roaring real fire (a blessing on a very cold day!). There is also a small TV showing football in the side room at the front.
Food plays a major part in the operation, and it is good value and unpretentious, and served all day.
Happily, the pub has retained real ales from local microbreweries, with Southport Golden Sands and Sandgrounder on my visit. A blackboard promised Bombardier and micros from the George Wright Brewery would be making appearances soon.

All in all I enjoyed it here. Possibly a little modern for my tastes but a short trip down the road to the Scotch Piper will appease traditionalists such as myself. It's good to see it open again, and the beer situation is good. Definitely worth a visit if passing or on a walk in the area.

10 Jan 2010 15:43

Swan with Two Necks, Chorley

Large, award-winning red-brick pub at the bottom of a hill in one of Chorley's most attractive areas on the edge of the town centre. It lies down a flight of steps below the parish church, with handsome streets and period lamps. The main road north is at the side up a steep hill, whilst the very pleasant Astley Park and Hall are a stone's throw up the hill, so a good place to visit alongside this pub.
It's a large place that meanders around a central bar, with several distinct drinking areas on different levels. On my visit only the top bar was open. Considering the surroundings and exterior, the interior was initially a bit of a disappointment, with a decidedly modern feel -polished wooden floor, minimalist decor, slightly garish purple seating and usual electronic gambling machines and jukebox. Also slightly loud piped music.
After a while I warmed to it more- there is a snug to the left as you enter with a roaring real fire and a real pleasant atmosphere- full of locals. Also the main room in the top bar has various alcoves around a stove and some interesting sculptures. The bare brick walls in almost every area of the pub also add character. The pub also prides itself on its extensive and pleasant beer gardens both at the front and back of the pub.
Onto the beer- the pub has a LocALE policy and a good selection of Lancashire microbrews were available on my visit. 3 Moorhouses beers-Pride of Pendle, Blond Witch and Black Cat- were complemented by Bank Top Flat Cap Bitter and Prosepct Silver Tally. Blond Witch was in fine form and a great pint even on a cold night.
The pub does feature karaoke some nights and is renowned as a local entertainment venue, so if you're after a traditional pub and a quiet pint it probably won't be to your tastes (try the Prince of Wales). However all in all I enjoyed my visit here. It's a strong pub for beer and deserves its CAMRA awards. Would recommend.

6 Jan 2010 13:06

The Old Nag's Head, Manchester

Back street pub with entrances from both ends onto different streets. It's ostensibly reasonably traditional, with one long L-shaped room hugging the bar. Drinking booths and split levels feature along the side of the long part of the L, whilst the corner has a stove fire but is really pretty spartan. The pub has a pleasant amount of dark mahogany panelling and green leather seating that give it a good traditional feel, and it is relatively unspoilt. . Sky sports is shown.

Only Theakstons's Old Peculiar and Old Speckled Hen on my last visit, I've also seen Black Sheep in here. Hen was good but very expensive for oop north at 3.
It's usually quite busy and it features such blandishments as karaoke and games machines that make me feel it belongs more in the category of circuit pub than back street boozer- a feeling reinforced by the limited beer range. That said, I do like the place and find myself returning. Not one of Manchester's must visit pubs by any stretch but you could do worse than find yourself in here.

30 Dec 2009 14:56

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

One of Manchester's must-visit pubs, this Tetley Heritage Inn features on CAMRA's National Inventory and is beleived to be the smallest city-centre pub in the UK (The Grey Horse 2 doors down gives it a run for its money). As you enter the tiny corridor is where the bar, which can only be about 2 feet long, is, and the 2 small rooms are off to the right. They are each about 10ft square yet manage to have about 3 tables in each, along with wall-mounted seating. Each room has a pleasant gas fire and the walls of the entire pub are filled with pictures and photographs of Man City, Man United, Coronation Street and almost every other Manchester-related person you can think of. The rear room also has Sky Sports on a small TV. Impossible not to get talking to the friendly regulars in such a small environment, and you'll be glad. Peanuts and crisps are often provided free of charge by friendly staff.
Possibly the only downside is that Tetley Bitter is the only real ale here, but it is invariably well-kept and I alway seem to enjoy it more than I expect.
You'll probably want to visit at a quiet time to fully appreciate the pub, unfortunately there aren't many of those in here. Weekday afternoons are the best bet. Well worth a visit.

30 Dec 2009 14:38

Bar Fringe, Manchester

Slightly bohemian bar on a run down thoroughfare on the edge of the city centre, and within spitting distance of the Smithfield and the Crown & Kettle. One narrow room is dimly lit and has the usual items adorning the walls, from saucy postcards to road signs etc. A high-ceilinged part at the front has an interesting collection of bottles and vehicles if you look above. Not many seats and apart from the walls decor quite spartan.
The pub's real strong point is the beer, with a vast array of Continental beers complemented by 5 handpumps serving microbrewery ales. Kelham Island, Allgates and Salopian often feature alongside the more local Phoenix and Bazen's. Had a Salopian Oracle which was brilliant on a previous visit, this time Allgates went down well.
Nothing of great note for the pub architecture fan here, but I recommend anyone to visit as part of the Northern Quarter ale trail.

30 Dec 2009 14:17

Fifteens of Swinley, Wigan

Now taken over by the Yesteryear pub company and renamed Fifteen's. It's been done up and now has a distinctly 'red' feel, with attractive shaded lamps and wallpaper creating this. One big L-shaped room really with different levels. Almost every inch of wall space is covered by pictures of differing sizes, ranging from old Victorian advertisements to pictures of famous Hollywood actors. A mixture of traditional furnishings and cosy armchairs and sofas in the bay windows. Generally a cosy and interesting decor, although not emphatically traditional. Sky sports is shown here on several small, unobtrusivs screens. Other concessions include the inevitable gambling machine.
The beer front is much improved, with 2 beers from the local Allgates microbrewery plus Tetley Bitter and a guest- usually also from Tetley, Christmas Cracker on my last visit. The California from Allgates was kept well, a light hoppy ale that went down well.
It's just outside the town centre and is a circuit pub really, always packed with a mixed clientele heading into town. However it's much improved, with the interesting decor and wider beer range mean it's well worth popping into on the way to the nearby Royal Oak.

30 Dec 2009 14:13

The Gardeners Rest, Sheffield

Had been looking forward to the reopening and not disappointed. Clearly just refurbished, it's bright and airy whilst retaining the atmosphere of a proper traditional boozer. Two rooms, the large bar room and a smaller room to the left as you enter. Also a conservatory area and riverside patio at the back. Impressive abstract paintings of Sheffield cover the walls, and these are for sale. Pleased to report that the bar billiards table is alive and well and sits proudly in the bar room. No piped music or any distractions which gives the place a timeless feel.
3 beers from the Sheffield brewery (brewed here), Crucible Best, Paradise Pale and Sheffield Porter, plus 4 from other microbreweries around the country. Quiet on my visit but I bet it gets bustling. Well worth the walk from the centre and an integral part of the Valley of Beer trail. Not to be missed.

30 Dec 2009 13:00

The Howard, Sheffield

Standard circuit pub with a mock tudor exterior and little else of architectural merit. It's large and opened up inside, with a mixture of traditional furnishings and sofas, a pool table and lots of Sky Sports screens. I imagine most custom comes from students at the nearby Hallam University. Also will attract custom from the station as it was the closest pub to it until last month with the arrival of the excellent Sheffield Tap in the station itself (not on BITE and not likely to be the way things are at the minute). It closed last year and reopened recently, and is actually slightly improved in that 2 real ales are usually available from the Marstons/Banks/Jennings stable- Banks' Bitter and Old Empire on my visit. Banks' was surprisingly good and cheap at 2. In a city like Sheffield this pub doesn't stand out at all, and there's no reason to go out of your way to visit. That said, it's improved and I might just be popping in again. Far worse pubs and far better pubs in Sheffield.

30 Dec 2009 12:55

The Swan Inn, Liverpool

Famous rockers pub in a backstreet just off the main shopping area and surprisingly close to the trendy bars of Concert Square. It's fine stained glass window is the extent of any opulence, and features a large Swan amongst the colours. Inside it's a typical rock pub, bare boards, loud and busy. Many come for the jukebox which has the best selection of alternative tracks in the city, but beer isn't on the backburner here, and 6 pumps dispense a good selection from microbreweries, Phoenix of Heywood always featuring (just keep off the Wobbly Bob at 8%!) Old Rosie's real cider is also served here. It's the best beer selection I know for a rock pub, most have maybe 1 or 2 national beers at the most. Old tables and pews are the furnishings, nobody comes here for comfort. It's a cracking proper boozer with a great beer range that is always worth a visit if you're not faint-hearted. If you're only in Liverpool for a short period, however, you may wish to prioritise the city's more opulent boozers, as the pub itself is standard rock-pub material, not that I wish to detract from it in any way.

23 Dec 2009 18:09

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

Famous Liverpool boozer that should be a priority on any beer trip here. The vintage Bass sign and the attractive half-tiled exterior are a good sign. Once in, the layout is peculiar, with an L-shaped corridor leading into a large, open space around a corner. Off the corridor are several splendid snugs, one with its own access to the bar. These have always been occupied on my visits but I hope to visit them soon. The large opened out room has a curious mural of a battle scene from Georgian times I imagine. Lot of knick knacks and pub-ana to look at, but the decor is generally bare-baords with lots of wood. Always a good atmosphere and a cracking jukebox to top it off.
Onto the beer, never had a bad pint, and microbreweries feature strongly across the 5 handpumps. On my last visit I eschewed Copper Dragon to try the Rudolph's Razz, a pleasant copper beer. Always worth a visit and one to prioritise in Liverpool. In an area full of great pubs so ideal for a crawl.

23 Dec 2009 18:02

The Abbotsford, Edinburgh

One of Edinburgh's classics which now seems out of place around the chain stores and bars that surround it. Classic sandstoen building with rustic sign and half-frosted windows (see picture). Inside, an excellent gantried mahogany island bar serves 1 large room which is full of brewery mirrors in typical Edinburgh style. Leather seating and traditional chairs, and a large gas fire at the back of the pub create an unspoilt, timeless feel. Real ale is served through traditional Scottish fonts and is predominantly from Scottish microbreweries, had one from the Ayrshire brewery which was spot on. Wit h the exception of the Kenilworth, this is the only place to head to amongst the ordinary bars of Rose Street. Two minutes from Cafe Royal and Guildford makes it easy to get to.

23 Dec 2009 13:18

The Stag, Orrell

Large modern circuit pub at the main crossroads. It's half timbered but has almost nothing of architectural note inside, being opened-out, airy and a bit soulless. Lots of sky sports screens, 2 pool tables and a lack of any real ale, or indeed handpumps, indicate the clientele expected here. Had a Guinness (only extra cold available) for 3. It's popular with revellers heading to Wigan town centre's bars in a taxi. Nothing here for the discerning drinker.

23 Dec 2009 13:14

The Worlds End, Edinburgh

Would agree with previous posters that too much room is given over to eating in this deceptively small pub, leaving very little room for drinkers. It's cosy, flagstoned with a real fire and has a pubby feel due to its decor, but it's hard to see it as a proper boozer a the minute with so much emphasis on attracting tourists (like me) to eat there. Deuchars, 80 Shilling and Theakstons Old Peculiar on pump, but not cheap. Very much a mixed bag. All in all I do like the place and with a little more proportion with both priorities and pricing I'd be happy to call in again.

23 Dec 2009 13:06

Plough Inn, Euxton

Typical contemporary country pub with (like many in the area) an emphasis on dining. It's long, pleasant and cosy, with low beams, hops hanging from the ceiling, lots of brasses and distinct areas, despite being essentially one room. The best of these is the snug at the bottom of the pub, the entrance to which has been opened up a little but which retains its cosy atmosphere and fire. Rare to see a snug at the back of a pub, made me wonder if the entrance was once here. Mixed clientele, some locals and some dining trade.
Beer from the Marstons portfolio, Pedigree, Cameron's Strongarm and Ashes Ale available on my visit a few months ago. Strongarm was pretty good (it's not too common in the area), Ashes ale pretty bland-not blaming the pub, it always is. It's a pleasant, characterful place and I'd call in again to eat or drink, although the beer selection doesn't match that of the nearby Traveller's Rest.

23 Dec 2009 13:03

Ring O'Bells, Lathom

Large, typical canalside pub that has two areas, a back dining area and a front area that is primarily for drinkers. It's L-shaped but with a degree of separation retained, the best room probably being the snug on the left as you enter with a fine fireplace and gas stove. A pool table also occupies the corner of the L by the bar. Lots of pubby stuff on the walls. and welcoming staff. Good beer range with Camerons Fireside, Black Sheep, Pusser Spearfish and Robinsons Scrooge- mostly darker beers. Fireside went down well on a cold day. I imagine dining constitutes a lot of the trade but this is still a pub and is worth visiting. It's 15 minutes down the canal from the Ship Inn and 10 minutes on the road from the Railway at Hoscar, and a walk can take in all three of these pubs. Definitely worth a visit.

22 Dec 2009 18:07

The Hop Vine, Burscough

Comprehensively done up last month and reopened as the Hop Vine. It's large and contemporary with several distinct drinking areas, although i's really just one large L-shaped room and a raised lounge. It's smartly done out and was heaving on my visit, a range of traditional seating and modern furniture, and barrels to stand around. A good range of beers from mostly Lancashire breweries- Pendle Witch's Brew, Landlord, Phoenix Humbug, Thwaites Good Elf and the house beer Hop Vine (produced by Prospect of Standish). The House beer was light and quaffable, and a snip at 1.75. It's not particularly traditional but is now the best pub in Burscough centre for beer by some way. Hope to pop in again.

22 Dec 2009 18:03

The Grapes, Liverpool

Back street city-centre pub that has recently increased its selection of real ales. It's a basic, L-shaped place around a bar, modern but with some pleasing original features, including the outside signage and brewery mirrors. It has a gas fire and is generally pretty smart, although one couch is in dire repair and is severely ripped, which is incongruous and you wonder if its a deliberate style statement? Beers now include Deuchars, Everards Tiger plus a range from the Liverpool Organic Brewery. I tried the IPA from here which was pretty good. Moderately busy on my visit, a pleasant atmosphere prevailed. With so many outstanding neighbours for pubs I have often overlooked this place, but it's improving and I'll probably be popping in again.

22 Dec 2009 17:58

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Smart converted bakery in an area which is a hotbed of fine pubs. the old signage and curved windows are pretty splendid, whilst inside the large isngle room has an airy, smart but traditional feel, with its tiled floor and large bulbous bar lamps above the bar. Lots of wood panelling and small alcoves off the bar add to the pleasant atmosphere. Sky sports is shown silently on small TVs.
The pub really stands out for its beer range, with two Okells beers plus guests from microbreweries and an impressive range of Continental beers. Had a Salopian Hop Twister which was excellent, my pint of the day. A must visit in a city of fine pubs.

22 Dec 2009 17:54

Cheshire Lines Inn, Southport

Backstreet local's pub with a decidedly mature feel, as has the town in general. It's pleasant enough inside but unremarkable (although the art-deco front sign looks original and is nice), with a small front room and larger back room. Busy on my visit with karaoke on- not my favourite. Tetley Bitter was the only real ale available on my visit- it was kept pretty well but dull. It's an OK pub, probably not worth the walk out of town but if you're passing worth a punt.

22 Dec 2009 17:51

The Bow Bar, Edinburgh

Famous traditional Old Town boozer close to (but a million miles from in spirit) the crowded and touristy pubs of the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket. It's one room is basic but packed with character as the pub boasts some of the best brewery mirrors in the city, and they, along with old railway maps, cover almost every part of the wall, and come from all over the UK. The furnishing is reassuringly traditional with small narrow wooden tables that can barely accommodate 4 glasses. The real aler here is dispensed through the traditional Scottish font system which can cause alarm to some who haven't encountered this before-they look like keg dispensers initially but fear not! Be sure to ask the bar staff about this interesting method of dispensing real ale. 6 beers are on offer, always Deuchars and Trade Winds plus guests from Scottish microbreweries and further afield. Also one of the best selections of malt whiskeys in the city. This is one of the must visit pubs in Edinburgh and a visit is highly recommended.

14 Dec 2009 16:28

The Cheshire Cheese, Wallasey

Large suburban boozer in the oldest part of Wallasey, on the main road. It's got two main areas, a bar and a lounge (accessed separately), both similar in size and also a large snug accessed from the bar room with its own hatch giving access to the bar, which is central and serves both areas. Pretty unremarkable, opened out rooms but brewery mirrors and other pubby items add a cosy touch. Sky sports on TV. Good beer selection, with Copper Dragon Best Bitter, Deuchars, Theakston Old Peculiar plus guests from Anglo-Dutch microbrewery and another I can't remember- it was Christmas themed. Friendly staff and punters and a real local atmosphere. Serves pub grub until early evening but predominantly a drinker's pub. I enjoyed it and would return- a good bet if in the area.

13 Dec 2009 15:42

Central Commercial Hotel, Liverpool

City centre pub just opposite the entrance to the Central station complex- so the station is still opposite but it's now a drab underground affair. Along with the Midland next door, it provided a handsome row of pubs on this predominantly shopping street. It's clearly an old Walker's house like many in Liverpool, with a fine frontage pointing this out. Inside, it's large and opened out (although there is a semi-separate raised section by the window) but the glass and mahogany woodwork are magnificent, with etched mirrors everywhere you look-similar to the Red Lion in St. James', London, but on a larger scale. Some of these have original green Walker's Warrington Ales logos- very attractive. The cupola again bears the name of the brewery and a fine clock tops off some more mahogany work just above the door.
The good news is that the pub has started to feature real ale (and is advertising this) in the shape of Thwaites Original and Wainwright- hardly the best choice in Liverpool but an improvement. The bad news is that these were turned round on my Saturday afternoon visit, so had to settle for keg John Smiths. It's a step in the right direction however and I'll return to check availabiity.
It was absolutely bustling with a mainly friendly, more mature crowd and a small TV showed sports. Good to see a pub so full early on, but a great pity about the banging music that does this wonderful building a disservice.

For me, this pub falls into the same bracket as next-door neighbour The Midland, The Vines and Ma Egerton's as being splendid pubs that aren't currently realising their full potential, having fine interiors but at best variable real ale and too many circuit-pub style features, e.g. loud music and karaoke. It won't stop me visiting but it might some. Hopefully the introduction of real ale here will prove a success and it can take it's place as one of the many brilliant pubs of this city.

13 Dec 2009 15:36

The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh

Famous for being the haunt of Ian Rankin's detective Rebus (and Rankin himself apparently), this is a backstreet New Town no-frills boozer that is in CAMRA's National Inventory. Nothing spectacular here, just the feel that it hasn't altered in 60 years- a good thing! Two basic, small rooms, a bar room and a higher room with a gas fire, both with very traditional fixtures. The higher room has fitted bench seating and also chairs that look very rustic indeed but are also ver comfortable- all in understated brown! Bleak Rankin book covers are the only pictures in here, and fit in quite well. The bar room is usually busier wih locals and an after-work crowd. It has a library of beer-related books and a large window sill to sit on. Beer range was Deuchars, Trade Winds and Stewart Copper Cascade on my visit- the latter was excellent, possibly my pint of the day. Served with a smile as you'd expect. Very much a proper boozer and one to head for.

9 Dec 2009 17:04

Cloisters Bar, Edinburgh

Modern pub in the Tolcross area of the city, with whitewashed walls and a mixture of traditional and sofa-style seating. It's basically one room that has various alcoves, so not too dull. A large gas fire burns in one corner by the sofas and creates a cosy feel. Interesting spiral staircase down to the toilets! Beer range is very good, with 6 handpumps dispensing microbrewed beers on my visit, from both nearby and further afield. Had a Acorn Lubelski from Barnsley , a hoppy IPA that goes down easier than its 5% strength would suggest- be warned! A variety of traditional board games such as Scrabble and Chess are avaialbe from the bar. I like it here, it's not much architecturally but a great beer range and atmosphere make it one to head to if you're in this area.

9 Dec 2009 16:58

Bennet's Bar, Edinburgh

One-roomed traditional boozer in the Tolcross area of the city. It features on CAMRAs National Inventory due to it's ornate bar, etched windows and fine mirrors that line the wall opposite the bar. All of these features are complemented by attractive dark woodwork to give the feel of a proper unspoilt pub. A gas fire resides at the top end of the bar. The tables all have maps of varying scales of Edinburgh and Scotland- a nice touch. Real ale wise, it's not brilliant in terms of choice and can't compete with the nearby Blue Blazer or Cloisters in this respect- just 80/- and Deuchars, which can be bought in most pubs in the city. However, these are kept well and you usually can't go wrong with Deuchars anyway so it's not a major setback as far as I'm concerned. The traditional pub lover should make an effort to get here ,and it makes for a good crawl if combined with the aforementioned pubs.

9 Dec 2009 16:53

Leslies Bar, Edinburgh

CAMRA National Inventory gem about 2 miles south of the city centre in the suburb of Newington. There are feasts for the eye almost everywhere, from the etched windows (John Leslie, any relation?)It features two superbly traditional long rooms along a central island bar, with doors connecting the two at the front and back. The left room has snob screens near the window which creates a separate, snug feel, with its own access to the bar- as noted this is a hatch at waist level and you have to duck if you wish to see the staff! I recommend you do as they are friendly and welcoming to the outsider.
The bar itself is made from carved dark wood and features a clock at the top end. There is a similar clock outside the front door. Above the screens and bar is a handsome plastered Victorian ceiling, similar to the one in the Abbotsford. Real ale was Deuchars, Landlord and guests from Scottish microbreweries such as Stewart of Edinburgh and Hebridean- a good selection. I had a Hebridean Gold which was in good form and served with a smile.
Funnily enough, the pub this reminded me of most is the Princess Louise in Holborn, although without the tiling or mirrors. It's equally resplendent though, and is worth any bus trip from the centre. Not to be missed if you're a traditional pub lover.

9 Dec 2009 16:48

The Smithfield Hotel, Manchester

Just a Lancashire beer festival actually, to celebrate Lancashire Day (November 27th), featuring beers from around the Palatine and some from further afield. This was the busiest I've ever seen the pub, added to the post-match Man City crowd it made for a good atmosphere and not a seat to be had. ^ handpumps of Lancashire beers on my visit. Tried the house brew Smithfield Bitter, a snip at 1.90 a pint, plus Bazens' Lancashire Hop Pot. Both in great condition and served with a smile. One of the best and widest-ranging beer ranges in the city centre. It's a basic one roomer in a run-down part of town that some might call shabby, with a a pool table and warehouse style pillars. The open kitchen that faces out on to the room is indeed an oddity, but I've never seen it in action. It's a proper Mancunian pub in a city that seems desperate to eschew its heritage in frenzied pursuit of modernity, so don't be put off by the careworn exterior. It's completely different from the surrounding pubs in the Northern Quarter and complements a crawl of the area well.

3 Dec 2009 12:43

The Cask Bar, Castlefield

Small trendy bar in the Castlefield area of town, practically opposite the Museum of Science and Industry and in the long shadow of the Hilton Tower. It's one big, unremarkable room with two slightly separate styles, the front area where the bar is has traditional furnishings, whilst the rear has sofas and other 'comfortable' furnshings, albeit ones that are becoming slightly careworn. Slightly bohemian feel, but nothing compared to, say, the Odd bar. Usually quiet on my weekday visits, there is an emphasis on Continental beers with a wide selection from Belgium and Germany etc, plus two handpumps which have always been dispensing microbrewery ales. Only one in operation last night- Pictish Alchemist Ale, which was excellent. Usually a local CAMRA rag plus newspapers to peruse so I quite enjoy coming here whilst waiting for a train from the nearby Deansgate station. Not usually my cup of tea as it's hardly a traditional pub environment, but the beer is always spot on and it's relaxing. If you've only time for one pint in this area you'll probably want to get to the Knott or the Briton's Protection but for a change this place is certainly worth a visit .

24 Nov 2009 12:12

The Red Lion, Hockley,jewellry quarter

Posted on the wrong entry, so here is my review copied;

'Taken over by Urban Art Bars, but don't let the name put you off, this remains mostly a traditional boozer and is very pleasant. Two rooms served by a central bar, and dim lighting, tiled floor and mirrors to add character. Some modern additions include chandeliers (quite nice) and pop art (not so sure!) Quiet when I visited on Saturday night, most people watching football. Good choice of beers from Midlands brewers including Purity, but I couldn't keep off the Wye Valley Butty Bach, irrestistible! One of the Jewellery Quarter's best.'

23 Nov 2009 14:10

The Lord Clifden, Birmingham

Trendy UAB place that is nevertheless still a pub and does good ale. A bar room and a long, opened out rear lounge (accessed by a side corridor) are served by a central bar, which I presume was always the pub's layout. However the ambience is very modern, with lots of modern art, plasma screens (it's good for sport) and other kitsch stuff thrown in, particulary in the back. The bar has the same but to a lesser degree and is more pubby. Good to see a place busy on a Saturday afternoon though, and there did seem to be regulars as opposed to this being a circuit place. Wye Valley HPA was good on my visit and at 2.25 was cheap for this kind of place. The two other ales available were UAB's own brews which looked rather garish so I didn't try. Batham's must've run out again!
It's not bad at all really but a bit modern for my tastes, and I prefer it's sister pub the Red Lion around the corner, which has a more traditional ambience. i'd definitely call in again though.

23 Nov 2009 14:08

The Tap and Spile, Wolverhampton

Basic ungentrified city-centre boozer, which was pretty busy on my visit with all kinds- boisterous but not unpleasant. I completely concur with Archivist about the clientele! It's a bar room and two small snugs, but some opening out makes it feel more like one L-shaped room around the bar. An abundance of TV screens show football in most areas of the pub. On my visit Wye Valley Butty Bach and Summer Lightning were available. Tried the former which I somehow knew wasn't going to be in great condition, and it wasn't, but was drinkable. I wouldn't take a lady in but enjoyed it as a proper pub experience, but the ale quality means I might skip it next time. Perhaps it was an off day. All in all worth a pop.

23 Nov 2009 13:59

The Posada, Wolverhampton

Small well-preserved traditional pub in the city centre. There's plenty of architectural note, with the curved front windows and riot of dark wood panelling and green seats, creating a properly pubby atmopshere, although it has been opened out a bit (in 1983 according to the GBG). Two main rooms, the bar room and a back room, with traditional furnishings throughout. The back room has a (gas) fire and several small intimate alcoves leading off from it, a nice touch. Small TVs show sport. Clientele a mixture of older folk and couples on my Saturday visit, generally a mature environment.
Beer-wise, mostly dark beers, with St Austell tribute, Fireside Warmer and Doom Bar (I think!). My Fireside was well kept and enjoyable. Not a bad choice of beers but doesn't match the Great Western.
All in all though I think this is a great traditonal pub, definitely one of the city centre's finest and second only to the legendary GW. 5 mins walk from the station. Not open Sundays, as I found out the hard way!

23 Nov 2009 13:54

The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Famous bank conversion pub by Birmingham's small cathedral. If you've been to any of Fuller's bank conversion pubs in London then you'll know exactly what to expect- grand airy opulence, with traditional wooden fittings and a lack of any real atmosphere. That said, it's my only gripe, as the Fullers range of 6 beers is invariably well-kept if expensive, and the food is very good and not really expensive-often have the Old Joint Stock Balti Pie in here which is excellent. Staff are courteous enough in my experience, but not overly friendly (they rarely are in such places, nor do I expect them to be). Definitely worth a visit at least once but there are more authentic 'proper' pubs in Birmingham.

23 Nov 2009 13:48

Waggon and Horses, Oldbury

Classic Black Country boozer that features on CAMRA's NI. Situated practically in the town centre, it's a 5-10 minute walk from Sandwell & Dudley station. Inside there's a bar room and a back lounge which wasn't being used on my visit, but the real attraction is the tiling in the bar room and the corridor that leads to the back. An interesting ceiling and well placed lamps add to the ambience. Had a pint of Shropshire Oracle which was excellent, although the Gold was turned round- pity, my favourite! One more guest beer was on but the presence of other pumps suggested I visited on an off-day. A small TV shows sport and a few locals were watching on my visit. Cheap pub grub is served at lunchtimes. An excellent, properly traditional pub which is worth seeking out.

23 Nov 2009 13:44

The Port n' Ale, Tipton

Large suburban boozer a short walk from Dudley Port station. It's very much a locals place' as not many tourists round here, and serves an impressive range of real ales and ciders, mostly from microbreweries but some larger names such as London Pride are in there. Had a pint of Cottage Mini Cooper which was very well kept. Re price- at 2.45 it's not really bad at all by national standards, although possibly slightly above the average for these parts. The pub itself is a bit barn-like, with a central bar serving one large room with traditional furnishings. it was busy on my visit with many people eating. Enjoyed my beer but found it a bit lacking in character, a bit Wetherspoons-like. I'd return though, and would say it's definitely worth a visit.

23 Nov 2009 13:40

The Turks Head, St Helens

Award winning, suburban boozer just north of the town centre, located amongst terraced streets. It's a big pub with two different areas, the exterior looks interwar and has an impressive turret. The multitude of leaded and stained glass windows look original and are of interest. Inside, a lounge area and a bar room are served by a central bar, with access around the side of this that has a semi-separate pool room. The lounge area has comfy seating and an impressive glass cabinet of whiskey miniatures. The bar is at a lower level, more basic but with a real fire, and was busier on my visit. The pool room is spacious and has beer trays from the 70s and 80s to peruse as well as photographs. There's lots of wood panelling and green leather seating, which gives the place a very pubby feeling which I rate.
The pub nearly always wins St. Helens CAMRA's award and has gone on to do well in regional and national competitons, largely due to the quality of the beer. On my visit Ruddles, Youngs Winter Warmer, Moorhouses Black Cat and Premier Bitter and Holden's Black Country Special were on sale. Tried the Holden's which was superb. The pub has lots of beer-related literature and shows sport on refreshingly small TV sets, and has a mixed clientele.
In a town so short of decent boozers like this, any visitor should make a bee-line here, you won't be disappointed. Worth a trip out from Liverpool or Wigan if you're there. One of the North West's best in my view.

23 Nov 2009 13:36

Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale

Remote pub in Langdale, the last watering hole before the often-treacherous Wrynose and Hardknott passes that take you over the hills to Eskdale. A great rural spot and handy for walkers (indeed, there are few 'locals' here), it takes it's name from the three real (or 'historic') counties that meet on the pass, Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire- as depicted in pictures inside the pub. The pub is just inside Westmorland, and is a basic one-roomed Lakeland inn with a slate floor and traditional furnishings. A different room caters solely for diners but was closed on my visit. It's quite unremarkable and with a limited beer range- Black Sheep, Cumberland Ale and Hawkshead Bitter, Not to worry as the Hawkshead Bitter is superb as always, and will leave you wanting more. As with most Lake District pubs, food plays an important part in the operation. Definitely worth popping in if walking in the area, probably not worth going out of your way for though.

16 Nov 2009 12:34

The Eagle and Child, Bispham Green

Country pub in this small village. Well renowned for high-quality food and wide beer range, and always popular with visitors from the surrounding towns. It's long in the coaching-house mould, very cosy, with flagstone floors, low beams, and hops hanging from the ceiling. A snug on your left has pictures of rural scenes and old maps of Lancashire and Wigan hold the interest. A bowling green is situated at the rear of the pub. The food is a bit pricy for me and I tend not to bother_ I prefer simple pub grub,, but does look very good if you're into that thing. Drinkers don't feel out of place thankfully, nor should they wit h the excellent range put on here. Moorhouses Black Cat, Pendle Witch and Blonde Witch, Lancaster Blonde, Phoenix Flash Flood, Cottage Triumph Stag and Thwaites' Original made up the mostly local selection on my last visit. All excellent, had to return for two more pints of the Stag, a copper beer that was outstanding. This area has many rural pubs, but this is probably the one to head to. Excellent.

16 Nov 2009 12:25

The Manor Arms, Broughton in Furness

Proper boozer in a great location on the handsome square of this small town (more like a village). an L-shaped bar serves one room that has part-walls extending to about waist height to give the place more intimacy, and this works well- the original layout of the pub is easy to visualise. A real fire is found in one pleasant corner, whilst a pool table is further back. The pub is renowened for it's real ale selection at any time, but I visited during the Broughton Beer Festival when this and other pubs in town serve 16 microbrewery beers each- excellent. Being short of time only tried the Yates' Autumn Fever, a copper-coloured beer that was very tasty. A mixed crowd on my visit, younger regualrs and some CAMRA branches who had made the trip from Wigan and Liverpool creating a good atmosphere. One of the best pubs in Furness and a frequent CAMRA award winner, you should endeavour to visit.

16 Nov 2009 12:18

The Tower Bank Arms, Sawrey

Pleasant village pub that trades off it's fame as part of the Jemima Puddleduck story, being located 100yds from Beatrix Potter's house. The interior is cosy, with a real fire burning in the bar room and a mixture of flagged and carpeted floors. A more formal restaurant room is behind the bar. Potter-ana abounds, with Peter Rabbits and Puddleducks and pictures from the book around the main bar room. The clock above the outside entrance (see picture)is interesting and a nice touch. Lots of tourists but not the regular sterile food-oriented Lakeland pub with boring beers- a great local selection included Loweswater Gold, Barngates Cracker & Pride of Westmorland, and Hawkshead Bitter and IPA. Resisted temptation of yet another Hawkshead Bitter to try the Loweswater Gold, a light beers that was excellent and very quaffable. Food was being served and played a role that didn't overshadow the drinks operation- a good balance. Had a bowl of soup too, very nice and warming on a rotten day. Service friendly and professional. Really liked it here, would return.

16 Nov 2009 12:14

The Golden Rule, Ambleside

Characterful Robinsons pub hidden away from Ambleside's main drag, yet still highly popular as it features in the GBG and GPG. It's a rambling place with a cosy main room at the bar with a great real fire, low beams and a lshelf of beer-related literature. Beyond this are other less remarkable rooms, one of which has a TV. Beer range good, aside from the usual Robinsons range there was the seasonal Dizzy Blonde (out of season I may add) and Hartley's XB and Cumbria Way. Both in good form. Many were sheltering from the weather on my visit and a friendly atmosphere prevailed. Landlord is a bit of an old-stlye one- no nonsense tolerated, a good thing. Was telling how he is the last original Hartley's of Ulverston tenant left since the 1983 takeover by Robinsons. All in all a good boozer, attracts tourists but not aimed at them, probably Ambleside's best.

16 Nov 2009 12:07

The Harrington Arms, Gawsworth

One of rural Cheshire's few CAMRA National Inventory pubs, the Harrington is truly unspoilt and evocative. An old farmhouse in a hamlet just south of Macclesfield, it has resisted going down the all-too-common foody route (although food has started to be served at limited times recently) and retains a classic multi roomed interior. Two side rooms, one with a piano, are accessed from the left hand side of the quarry- tiled corridor, whilst the bar is to the right. Two snugs are beyond this, where locals can be found playing traditional games. The beer range is limited to Robinson's, which many can take or leave, but dimpled pint pots are provided, which I'm a fan of. This is a pub worth going out of your way for even if you're not a Robinson's fan.

3 Nov 2009 17:34

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Enough has been writtean about this legendary pub already, suffice to say it's worth the short walk from town to sample it and its neighbours. Saltaire Blackcurrant Cascade, a light hoppy beer, was my beer of the day and the Sunday lunches are a bargain at 4.95. One of the country's best pubs, a must.

3 Nov 2009 17:29

The Frog and Parrot, Sheffield

Understand this pub has changed considerably since it was a GBG regular, but seeing as I never visited in this time I can take it as face value. Situated on trendy Division Street, it's very much a night-time circuit joint that is more of a bar than a pub, with dark lighting, couches, split levels and the rest. It was heaving on my visit and loud music was playing. Black Sheep Bitter was the only beer available and to be fair it was pretty good, but it took ages to get served. I imagine a daytime visit may be different but I won't be going out of my way to visit here- it's not bad for the type of place it is, but it's just not my type of place.

3 Nov 2009 17:27

The Closed Shop, Sheffield

Suburban boozer high up in the west of Sheffield- a steep climb from the centre, be warned!- in an area of traditional housing popular with students. The pub stands directly opposite the Hallamshire House and it's good to see 2 pubs open in this fashion- the landlords help each other out. It's one opened out L-shaped room around a bar with a raised area at the back with a pool table. Unusual bay window seats offer great views downhill to the city centre. Students and locals seem to intermingle happily here. Real ale was Landlord, Black Sheep and Kelham Island Easy Rider- only the insane pub-tie system prevents there from being more at the moment. Tried the Landlord and Easy Rider which were in great form. The pub gets its unique name from a shop which once stood on the site until the owner realised with his beer sales that a pub would bring far more money in- good call! Had a great time in here chatting with landlord and friendly locals and I hope to return. It's a climb from the centre but for me it's definitely worth it-reward yourself with a pint! if you're in this area I would definitely suggest a visit.

30 Oct 2009 12:57

The Brown Bear, Sheffield

Archetypal Sam Smiths pub right in the centre of town, near the Winter Gardens and Crucible Theatre- the only traditional pub in this area. Simply but traditionally furnished with two main rooms off a central bar. Real fireplace but nothing lit on my visit. OBB as ever the only real ale, not bad but uninpsiring- not that I'm arguing at 1.39. Heaving with a mixed crowd, theatre visitors and old fellows and a few young uns. A decent pub but nothing remarkable.

30 Oct 2009 12:50

Shakespeare Hotel, Sheffield

Sparsely-furnished pub that stands alone in an area of dereliction and renewal to the north of the City Centre. It's quite close to the Fat Cat and KIT but doesn't usually warrant a mention in the 'valley of beer' ale trail. The stained-glass windows are the extent of any opulence in the pub's current incarnation, as inside it's bare-boards and I would say student oriented, with leaflets, flyers and couches in the back. Still retains a traditional layout with a bar room, games room (with pool table) and back room leading off a central lobby area. Gigs are staged upstairs, one was free on my visit but I didn't indulge. The atmosphere was pretty good and staff friendly, and the beer range, whilst not brilliant, was OK- Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Black Sheep and Deuchars. CD was on form as ever. I enjoyed it here, not a must visit if you're here for the Valley of Beer, but if you've visited the others you could do worse than visit.

30 Oct 2009 12:47

The Riverside Cafe Bar, Sheffield

Wasn't sure about this place with the 'Cafe Bar' moniker but there was no evidence of this on my visit- maybe it's been dropped? However, was pleasantly surprised. it's still a pub, albeit a modern and airy one, and was once owned by Wards' as the leaded windows testify. One large room with part partitions including a near snug with a TV that shows all live football, plus an outside terrace overlooking the river and the student flats opposite. Mixture of traditional and modern furnishings. Busy on my visit with mostly younger patrons watching Liverpool vs United and also a private function on. Very good on the real ale front however on my Saturday visit- Milestone Home Wrecker, Acorn Lubelski, Vale Edgar's Golden, Slaker Pale Ale and White Rose 'Whiter Shade of Ale' plus 2 other microbrewey beers that I unfortunately omitted to record- in other words, an impressive selection ,if predominantly geared towards lighter hoppy beers. White Rose and Milestone were in cracking from and very quaffable. Whilst normally a fan of more traditional pubs, I enjoyed it here and would return, it deserves its inclusion in the Valley of Beer crawl and you should endeavour to visit.

30 Oct 2009 12:42

Dove And Rainbow, Sheffield

Archetypal Rockers' pub hidden away behind the Bankers Draft that can hardly be described as a quiet place to go for a drink. One long room along the bar with dim lighting and loud music. Pool table up at the top on a stage where live bands sometiems play. Was pretty packed on a Saturday night. It's better than most pubs of its kind on the real ale front, Black Sheep, London Pride and Kelham Island Easy Rider on my last visit. The latter was very quaffable and all in all it's a friendly pub as these often are. Not a must visit and not one for a quiet pint but it's worth popping in for a change, even if it's not your type of pub.

30 Oct 2009 12:36

Odd Bar, Manchester

Trendy bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter, home to crumbling warehouses, greasy spoons, sex shops and an increasingly bohemian image. The bar panders well to this, with the usual modern art, mood lighting, sofas and new age paraphernalia. THere's a good jukebox and newspapers to peruse. It's got two levels, the main bar upstairs and a cosy basement room where films are sometimes screened. Always busy with trendy young things and the odd CAMRA type. Only one handpump but it has a reasonable turnover of guest ales, mostly from Manchester microbreweries, sometimes a little further afield. Last night I had Hornbeam Amber Sunset, which was OK and kept quite well. Expensive though at 3. Some Continental beers too which were more popular than the handpump. Staff a bit miserable though, but I think I would be working here. I quite like it here against all my usual tastes, of all the new bars springing up in this area it's definitely the best. Beer wise I wouldn't go out of my way for it but it's quirky and worth popping in.

22 Oct 2009 12:59

The Navigation Inn, Dobcross

Beers mostly from local breweries in this upmarket, modern-feeling pub. Hydes, Lees and Timothy Taylor all featured. Small unobtrusive TV with SSN and an emphasis on dining. It's open plan, with one long bar room with mixed furnishings. Generally a pleasant atmopshere all round, would return.

20 Oct 2009 12:59

Swan Inn, Dobcross

Stone-built village pub, excellently located on the square of this highly attractive Saddleworth village, with views across to the moors and in excellent walking country. It's one of the few focal points, the other being the village shop, and on the patio isa good old K6 red telephone box. Inside, it's unspoilt, with a central bar in the lobby where drinkers congregate, it was getting quite busy on my visit. 3 smart and characterful rooms are accessed from this lobby, although they were more popular with diners on my Saturday evening visit- i imagine this isn't always the case. Each room has brasses, pictures and a real fire which are well attended to and afford views across the moors. The ales were from the Marstons/Jennings range, with Cock-a-Hoop, Cumberland, and Pedigree if my memory serves me well. It's quite upmarket and a a little foody so doesn't quite fall into the 'boozer' category, but it's unspoilt with good beers and you certainly don't feel out of place drinking there. A great village pub.

20 Oct 2009 12:52

The Plough Inn, Eaton

Food-led village pub by the side of the main Macclesfield-Congleton road in this small village. It's an attractive former farmhouse that has been converted for various uses, a large restaurant occupies the rear of the building and there is also accommodation. However the front remains first and formost a pub, albeit a foody one. Not to worry as the beer is excellent, with Bearskinful from the local Beartown brewery my pint of the night. A guest from Storm brewery from nearby Bollington also featured as well as Bombardier and Hydes Original- a good selection and well-kept. The food ranges from decent reasonably priced pub grub to expensive stuff ,and service is very good. Had a burger which for 8.95 was well worth the price-good portions. The pub was packed on my visit and is on the whole cosy, a roughly horseshoe room around a bar. Fire and low ceilings add to the ambience, although there's nothing massively out of the ordinary. For good food and good beer it's a safe bet, well worth a trip, but you could do worse than just to stick your head in for a pint.

12 Oct 2009 15:26

Crown Hotel, Wigan

Main road locals' boozer on the outskirts of Wigan. It closed down recently and reopened selling real ale for the first time in a long while, from the local Prospect microbrewery. 3 pumps, 2 of which were operational on my visit. Tried Blinding Light Bitter, a light hoppy ale which went down well. Landlord also offered us a taste of the Pickaxe Porter, which went down remarkably easy for a porter and was quite tasty. Good beer quality for both. It's standard and open plan with one long bar room split into separate sections. Pool table and a real fire, which I didn't expect. Pretty empty on a weekday night, with a few locals at the bar and that's about it. It's quite close to the canal bridge and Haigh Country Park so worth popping in if you're on a walk or visiting the excellent Colliers Arms over the bridge. Good to see a new pub in Wigan selling real ale and hope it does well.

9 Oct 2009 12:50

The Black Lion Hotel, Salford

Like other BITERs I had been anticipating the reopening of this pub for some time. The New Oxford up the road has been a great success so signs were good. I managed to pop in last night, so here goes. It's a large imposing crescent-shaped brick building that occupies a whole corner on Chapel Street, Salford's main thoroughfare. This area has suffered numerous pub closures and despite token attempts at yuppie flats spilling across the river it's still a pretty uninspiring area (although to be honest I find yuppie areas the least inspiring of the lot.) Despite this, it's only 100yds from the boundary with Manchester and 5 minutes walk from Manchester city centre. Always a mediocre pub for as long as I can remember, it's good to see new life. It's been comprehensivley done out and has that clinical 'new pub' smell which will hopefully soon fade. One large, long room centred on the bar with a sort of room off to your left, but it's all opened out really. Not many original features, although the gantried bar is quite attractive, with dark wood and back mirrors. Quite spartan and minimalist with a few old pictures and small brewery mirrors on whitewashed walls, and lights a tad bright- a bit of a let down considering the grand exterior. That said, is often the case with newly-opened pubs. Seems to be quite an emphasis on food (isn't there always these days) but it'd be a stretch to call it a gastropub- it isn't, thankfully. Good selection of ales as was always likely, with two from the local Hornbeam microbrewey (Dark Temptation and Seduction) and 2 from Northumberland- Summer Gold and Les Ferdinand. Also Dazzler from Northern Brewery. Something to suit every palate I think, and all from microbreweries. 2 disused pumps suggest more good things to come. Good selection of continental beers in bottles also. My 'seduction' was nice ,a hoppy session beer that went down well. A few people were in, but it wasn't mad busy. Service polite and friendly.
To be honest I found it a bit clinical, but it's opening week and I imagine character will be added over time. It's certainly better than it used to be and should prove to be a good addition to the burgeoning Chapel Street crawl. Not yet a must visit- has the potential- but definitely worth a try.

8 Oct 2009 12:37

The Great Western, Wolverhampton

Famous Wolverhampton boozer that is opposite the old Low Level Station and underneath the current station. My favourite aspect must be walking down to the pub from the station, the twisted hilly cobbled street under the railway viaduct and old warehouses make it positively Dickensian, and you're met with the warm glow of a proper pub at the bottom. Great range of Midland microbrewer ales served, I had a Black Country Bitter which was eminently quaffable, only wish I could've stopped longer. It's a large pub with a dining area at the back, but it's not chintzy and the bar area remains that of a boozer, not a gastropub. Railwayana all around which is always a bonus, and friendly service.It's always packed with good reason. One of the Black Country's finest, indeed one of the UK's finest.

7 Oct 2009 12:35

The Baum, Rochdale

This was always meant to be te focal point of a trip to Rochdale for me and it didn't disappoint. Located on a cobbled street just inside the ring road it's a real find. Leaded windows, flowers and window lamps make for a great first impression, looking like a Dickensian curiosity shop or a tuck shop from an Enid Blyton novel. Once inside the roughly horseshoe-shaped bar serves rooms with part-partitions on different levels. Mid-century enamel advertising boards and rustic wallpaper create an atmosphere not unlike a preserved railway pub, which for me is always good. Food served late which was good for me as was getting really hungry. The food consists of Spanish style tapas as well as cheap and cheerful English pub grub. Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and Best Bitter, Taylor Landlord and Golden Best plus Skinner's St. Pirans from Cornwall was the beer range, and another guest had the pump turned round. Tried Golden Pippin and St Pirans, both excellent. This pub is worth a visit to Rochdale in itself and some other good boozers prop it up. If in the area you should consider a visit.

5 Oct 2009 12:16

Flying Horse, Rochdale

Large stone pub overlooking the square and town hall, which is like a smaller version of Manchester's. . Lovely part of town and a good pub to complement it. It's opened out and large, with a big front room with the bar and a games room at the back with a pool table and sofas. Nice traditional lamps in the windows add to atmosphere as well as the wood panelling. Had a Blonde Witch from Moorhouses which was good, other beers were as listed by Rob, a very good selection. Food served it seems but not on a Saturday afternoon. Was busy with football fans and a good atmosphere prevailed. A cracker really, not to be missed if in town.

5 Oct 2009 12:09

Cask and Feather, Rochdale

Modernised boozer in an uninspiring part of town near the station. It doesn't look much like a pub with the sand stone exterior, and as noted the interior is at odds with this. Nice Greenalls lamps at the front though, a blast from the past. Has all the ingredients of a circuit pub, loads of flat screen TVs with Sky Sports, pool table, mixture of sofas and more traditional furnishing, and was beign used by a mixed clientele on my visit. Phoenix Navvy, Green Mill gold and one other guest on my visit, the Green Mill was very good. Quite enjoyed it here but not one for the traditionalists.

5 Oct 2009 12:06

The Old Windmill, Coventry

Authentically traditional pub in this historic mediaeval street on the edge of the city centre. The small beamed snugs off the central corridor as you enter are a delight, some with only space for a maximum of 3 people. These afford views onto the street outside. Further back in the bar area the pub is more opened out and caters for a mixed clientele. I can imagine the pub caters for a circuit crowd later on but a good atmosphere prevailed on my visit, with singlaongs &c. Good to see a pub so busy on a Saturday afternoon. Good range of ales as documented and my Sunchaser was very refreshing on a hot day. A classic in my book, a must when in Cov. I hope to return.

1 Oct 2009 12:33

The Town Wall Tavern, Coventry

Deceptively large pub that now stands alone as a traditional boozer in an area of modern developments. As it's name suggests this was once an historical area but no trace remains of any walls here. However this modern encroachment disappears as soon as you're through the door. It's very unspoilt, with a bar room, snug and a large lounge area at the back that seems to have been extended, as there is a bay window complete with seating seemingly in the middle of the room! Bar room is probably the most characterful room, with its mirrors, Tv and regulars on the stools. Good choice of real ale including microbreweries but I plumped for good old reliable Deuchars which was as good as ever. Really enjoyed my Saturday afternoon visit here, it wasn't very busy but not dead. This area contains most of Coventry's best pubs and I suggest you don't miss this one.

1 Oct 2009 12:29

Farmers Arms, Heskin Green

Classic country pub in this semi-rural area. It's always busy for its food, which seems to be well renowned, although I haven't tried. Low beams, brasses and well-placed internal plants plus a real fire combine to make a great, cosy atmosphere in the 2 main rambling rooms which are primarily meant for dining. A room catering for drinkers can be found at the other side of the bar, my only gripe would be that this is quite spartan compared to the rest of the pub- it's still pleasant, but almost seems an afterthough. Real ale on my visit included Black Sheep, Landlord and a house beer (Farmers Bitter?), i was intrigued but went for Landlord, which was excellent. I would return for its a great unspoilt place with a traditional atmosphere and good beer, but get the feeling I would enjoy it more if dining. Definitely worth a pop in any case though.

29 Sep 2009 13:14

Fox and Hounds, Barnston

Lovely unspoilt village pub with a great atmosphere. The pub grub at lunchtimes is renowned and deservedly so, for it is cheap and excellent quality. The pub doesn't rely on this though, for the rest of the time it is a drinkers pub. The 6 real ales include Websters Bitter, Theakstons Bitter and Mild and 3 guests, often from local brewers. I can't quite remember the light beer I had (Silverwood?) which is a pity for it was one of the best beers I've had for some time. tHe beers are always well kept on my visits. The pub has a large lounge which is istself full of character, but the highlight must be the snug and bar room area, accessed seperately and served by the same central bar. The number of very well-polished brasses, (flying ducks, horse brasses etc.) helmets and other bric-a-brac, along with the wood panelling and real fire makes for a wonderfully cosy atmosphere. Particularly of note in the snug is the grand wooden fireplace with its clock, and the map of Cheshire on the wall. Out of the way but rivals the Stork for the Wirral's best pub, though is very different. A must if in the area.

28 Sep 2009 13:27

Ye Olde Boot Hotel, Whittington

Large pub on the corner of a busy junction in this very pleasant village. It's a food-led Robbie's place so expectations weren't sky-high, although a decent pint is usually guaranteed. Was quite impressed however, it's very smartly kept whilst being traditional. A number of rooms all fitted with brasses, jugs and wood panelling give it an authentic traditional feel. An interesting fireplace and the pubs name carved into the woodwork makes for the most interesting corner. Dim lighting adds to the appeal. Pleased to see many locals popping in for a drink meaning that it doesn't rely solely on the dining trade. Also pleased to see Dizzy Blonde on handpump as I find it far better than Robbie's other reliable but rather bland beers. It was great. Had no problem with service, off-day perhaps? I recommend this one, it's better than its rating suggests.

28 Sep 2009 13:19

Grouse Inn, Carrog

Can only concur with previous review. Not the biggest fan of Lees' generally and was quite surprised to find one stuck out here. However, they did let us in five minutes early after we tried the door which was a nice touch. There's little to do in Carrog once you've travelled the excellent Llangollen Railway so it relies upon this for a lot of trade. Steered clear of the Lees Bitter but the Coronation Street Bitter was quite quaffable, as I find with their guest ales. Cracking window view over the River Dee and 17th century bridge which is a bigger draw than the pub itself, which is fairly standard and food-led. It's not a bad pub at all.

28 Sep 2009 13:14

Swan With Two Necks, Stockport

Cracking traditional pub, all wood panelling up the corridor and in the snugs. It's a strange layout, with 3 sepearete rooms all on the same side off the corridor. It's really unspoilt and out of place amongst the chain stores of this shopping street. Robbie's yet again, which is Ok but I suppose you get fed up of it in nearly every pub in Stockport! It is kept as well as can be though. Another Stockport classic- it's full of them.

26 Sep 2009 15:41

The Cross Keys, Selattyn

What a pub. Village pubs usually ceased to be like this years ago, but not this one, in this tiny village close to the Welsh border. A small wood panelled corridor leads you in, with wooden doors on latches the only clue that anything else remains- snug, games room and bar room. These are completely independent of one another and it's easy to imagine the others aren't there- a true multi-roomed pub. The bar room is tiny and full of hand clips, on my visit Stonehouse Station Bitter and Cambrian Gold were avaiable. Friendly locals and barman as always in these sorts of pub- if only they were all like this. The pub can get packed for it's live music nights as we found out. Rightly on CAMRA's NI of pub interiors. Not the easiest to find up country lanes but do go for a taste of the past, you won't regret it.

26 Sep 2009 15:36

Corn Mill, Llangollen

Another Brunning & Price classic, they really know what constitutes a good eating pub- for it is that. You can go for just a drink though, so it is a pub. Converted mill on 3 floors with as many original features as possible, including Waterwheel and many oak beams. the decking outside overlooking the River Dee and steam railway is a real draw. Food excellent and reasonably priced. 6 handpumps including Cottage Deltic Diesel, Phoenix Monkey, their house beer and Cambrian Gold from Stonehouse. Always in tip top condition. It's a must to go once but not one you'd include on a crawl I suspect. Still in this day and age it's what I'd call brilliant.

26 Sep 2009 15:31

Sun Inn, Rhewl

Think you may be right about that. was looknig forward to a visit this Thursday night and it was closed, not a sign of life which led to us driving straight past initially. I was very disappointed as it sounds like it was a cracker. Here's hoping things improve and I get to visit.

26 Sep 2009 15:27

The Sun Inn, Llangollen

Llangollen's must visit pub for the ale drinker. 6 handpumps. If you can tear yourself away from the sublime Shropshire Gold there is always Thwaites Bitter, plus 3 guests and a real cider. Betwixt featured heavily on my visit and Sunlight was excellent. Large bar room with a slate floor, excellent roaring real fire and traditional furnishings. Up the top there's a games room with a pinball machine, pool table and table football. This turns into a stage for the pub's frequent music nights- I can assure that they are crowded! Also a snug behind the bar with a wood burner that opens out into a large covered smokers area. The jukebox is fantastic incidentally, and newspapers are provided. There are also pub dogs that are also boisterous! It seems the pub has been in trouble with the council over noise, although local residents have rallied round. See how that goes. In the meantime, visit, it's brilliant!

26 Sep 2009 15:25

The Prince of Wales, LLangollen

Locals pub in a tourist town, just down from the excellent Sun Inn. It's two roomed with a boisterous bar room and a large games room with pool table at the back, down a few steps. Some original features such as the fireplace in the back remain, but generally it's a modern pub. It does still feel cosy though and the service and atmosphere are fine. Black Sheep bitter and Stonehouse Station Bitter avaiable. The latter was pretty good. Worth popping in if you want to experience a 'proper' Llangollen pub, albeit nothing out of the ordinary. Not bad.

26 Sep 2009 15:20

The Groes Inn, Conwy

Oldest licenced pub in Wales- 1573. It's two miles south of Conwy and worth the trip. It looks deceptively tiny and the walls are covered with ivy, a nice touch. I wouldn't agree that it was a gastro pub as that always suggests a modern ambience to me, and it is possible to just come in for a drink. Having said that, it is food-led as many country pubs now are. The ambience is certainly old-fashioned and is fantastic. Real fires, low beams, stone walls and a low ceiling as well as lots of brasses, mugs and items from the pub's history adorn the walls. Awards aren't for nothing, the food is fantastic and reasonably priced for the portions. Beer now comes from the family brewery across the river- Groes Ale and Orme Best. They were both very quaffable, but London prices at 3.20. I can pay that for good beer in a great environment, but it's borderline outrageous. The service is very friendly. Not to be missed if you want good food and good beer in a fantastic historic setting.

26 Sep 2009 15:16

The Albion Vaults, Conwy

Wandered in not knowing this was a CAMRA NI pub- a rare treat for me as those are the ones i always research in order to visit! Seems I'm spared giving an in-depth analysis of the interior by Mr. Bonser's posting just a few days prior to this. Suffice to say I enjoyed the multiple rooms (games room, bar room and back 'family room' served by a hatch), unspoilt ambience and original fittings of this place. They are tempered a little by games machines and bandits, but I've never been averse to pool tables. Service polite and friendly and real fires in every room, although only the bar room one was lit. Nice tiling in the corridor too. The (definitely) uninspiring concrete garden at the back now has table football so anyone who likes that might find a bit of inspiration. Only Brains SA on my visit, it was OK though. I agree that real ale isn't a priority here. I too was confused by the name- only the 'Albion' in it remains consistent. The pub has lots of Wales-ana and declares itself 'Proudly Welsh'- perhaps to temper the perfidious name of the pub? I enjoyed this pub. It's slightly geared towards the circuit crowd and not a real-ale pub per se but fantastic architecturall, a definite mid-century feel. Pub-lovers visiting Conwy might want to prioritise it.

26 Sep 2009 15:11

The Liverpool Arms, Conwy

Small harbourside pub with one room that isn't without character- dark wood panelling and maritime themed, with various artefacts to add to this. Was surprised, givien the name, to see an Everton pint glass behind the bar! Seems to be a locals' pub despite being in a prime spot for tourists. Bass and Brains SA avaialble on handpump. Bass was OK if nothing outstanding. The real draw here is the outside seating with the views of the castle and harbour, as the pub and beer are pleasant enough but a bit sticky and unremarkable. Worth a pop.

26 Sep 2009 15:04

The Cross Keys, Walsden

Canalside pub with split emphasis on booze and food. the back room and garden are pretty foody but the TV room with a pool table isn't. Quite full of football followers on my visit. 4 Handpumps but only Landlord on, which I didn't try. Unremarkable pub bu worth a pop in if on a canal walk.

16 Sep 2009 16:57

The Masons Arms, Todmorden

Small Copper Dragon boozer nestling under the imposing railway viaduct and 100yds from the Rochdale Canal towpath in typical rustic Pennine scenery. It's opened out with two main areas either side of the door, one with a small TV and one with a very cheap pool table- 30p! Three Copper Dragon brews plus a guest available. My Golden Pippin was excellent as ever. Staff friendly but pub very quiet for a Saturday afternoon. Nice unspoilt pub and worth the small detour on a canal walk.

16 Sep 2009 16:55

The Cheshire Ring, Hyde

Unassuming urban gem near the canal and railway station. Very attractive tiled corridor with an L-shaped bar room off to your left, and a worn-in lounge and games room with pool off to your left. 4 Beartown beers plus guests from around the UK. Had Tom Woods' Summer Days and it went down a treat. Just the ticket after a walk from Marple. Worth the trip out from Manchester if you've done all the pubs there.

10 Sep 2009 12:58

Lake Road Inn, Keswick

Traditional Robinsons pub in the shadow of the always packed (but excellent) Dog and Gun. This works in its favour as it's far less packed and you've a far better chance of getting food here, which is very good and reasonably priced. Usual Robinsons range but cosy atmosphere and friendly staff means that this is a very good pub. aAlways worth a visit alongside its more prolific neighbour.

8 Sep 2009 17:16

The Ribchester Arms, Ribchester

Large foody pub on the main road just outside this pleasant riverside village. Food is pretty good quality and prices reasonable at circa 10. It was pretty busy with diners and also drinkers, it retains its pubby atmosphere thankfully. Real ale limited to Robinson's Unicorn and Hartley's XB, well kept but unremarkable. Good service and a pleasant atmosphere. Worth a pop in for food as the beer is good but not real ale drinkers' heaven.

8 Sep 2009 13:16

Kirklees Hall Inn, Wigan

Canalside pub in a quiet part of town. Recently closed down and refurbished, and now attracts mainly regulars and diners on Sunday for the cheap lunches. Two unremarkable, pretty spartan rooms served by a central bar. The back one has a pool table. Real ale limited to Jennings Bitter which is usually kept well. Can be pleasant to sit at the front of the pub by the lock. Not bad but out of the way, only worth popping in if passing on the canal.

8 Sep 2009 13:13

The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham

Modern but smart and characterful barn-boozer, similar to the city's many bank-conversion pubs, with one of Brum's best real ale choices. 8 Beers from across the UK from Cornwall to Scotland. Purity was pretty good on my visit. Dimpled jugs on request- always a bonus! Menu looked decent and staff friendly. Not the cheapest but you never expect that in city centres these days. One of central Brum's best.

8 Sep 2009 13:09

The Stanley Arms, Macclesfield Forest

Smart stone-built Marstons pub in the middle of nowhere just off the A537 Buxton-Macclesfield road. It's very foody and upmarket, not really a walkers pub although they aren't unwelcome. Jennings, Burton Bitter and Pedigree on sale, Pedigree was it's usual reliable if unremarkable self. Food looked good but not cheap. 1 bar room and 2 other rooms reserved for dining. Good atmosphere and friendly staff. Not a bad pub but not one for the drinkers.

8 Sep 2009 13:05

Baron's Bar, Southport

De jure hotel bar but really it's a pub, and quite a pub at that. Lots of dark wood panelling, old bric-a-brac and leather armchairs mean the place oozes character, and it sports one of the best ranges of real ale in Southport, certainly only rivalled by the Guest House. They do their own house brew, quite palatable, and- ridiculously- this is one of only 2 pubs in Southport where you can currently get the award-winning local Southport Brewery Golden Sands, thanks to the current pubco model. It's worth it as it's a great pint. Other beers come from around the UK, Lancashire beers a speciality but others such as Youngs which is rare in the area. Usually a mild on sale too. Always packed with a mixed clientele for good reason. A must for the real ale fan in Southport.

8 Sep 2009 13:03

Red Lion, Hockley

Taken over by Urban Art Bars, but don't let the name put you off, this remains mostly a traditional boozer and is very pleasant. Two rooms served by a central bar, and dim lighting, tiled floor and mirrors to add character. Some modern additions include chandeliers (quite nice) and pop art (not so sure!) Quiet when I visited on Saturday night, most people watching football. Good choice of beers from Midlands brewers including Purity, but I couldn't keep off the Wye Valley Butty Bach, irrestistible! One of the Jewellery Quarter's best.

2 Sep 2009 13:17

The Hanging Gate, Sutton

Lovely roadside setting high up on the Gritstone Trail which gives panoramic views over Cheshire. It's a hydes pub with Original, their seasonal and Speckled Hen when I visited, these are always in good condition. Tiny bar area and lounge with a side room full of brass plates, games and a fire to add character, only in the Circus in Manchester have I seen a smaller bar. The pub leads down to a dining area with splendid views and the food has a very good reputation locally, altough I haven't tried it. Outside at the back are more brilliant views and a rabbit hutch. Not the easiest to find, but if in the area you should definitely try to get here.

2 Sep 2009 13:13

Stocks Tavern, Parbold

Reopened now and muc hthe same as before. Central bar serves two main rooms. It's modern and airy with whitewashed rooms and modern furnishings such as sofas mixed with traditional tables but the low ceilings mean it retains a cosy feel, and there are nooks and crannies which add atmosphere. 3 guest ales, Prospect Silver Tally and two from Allgates, all in good nick. All in all good to see it reopen, a solid pub if nothing spectacular,

2 Sep 2009 13:03

The Sutton Hall, Sutton

Spectacular old sandstone and timber baronial hall south of Macclesfield and by the canal. It's huge and rambling with buckets of character, from the huge fireplaces (with real fires) to the log beams and myriad of rooms, including a library. Old maps and guns adorn the walls and the gents is full of enamel mid 20th Century advertisements- very pleasant. As noted it's very much an eating place and not one to include on a pub crawl, but this isn't to the detriment of the beer (it frequently wins Macc CAMRA awards, including pub of the year 2008). Cheshire Cat, Salopian Darwin's Origin and Stone Cutter plus 2 others and a cider available on my visit. Tried the first two, Cheshire Cat fine but Darwin's irresistable. Wide ranging menu not bargain basement but certainly not expensive, and the quality is reflected in the popularity. That said, it's so huge there's little need to book. There's nothing to stop you popping by for just a drink though. Newspapers and games (Scrabble, chess) provided, and staff friendly and helpful. As noted no modern 'entertainment'. Beer wise it's great and for a place to eat it's hard to beat. A must visit.

2 Sep 2009 12:54

The Jolly Crispin, Upper Gornal

Traditional suburban local, with low ceilings and a central bar serving distinct areas that create a pleasant, cosy feel, with bar rooms at the front and a more comfy lounge at the rear. The beer choice is the real draw, with all the beers socurced from local microbreweries. Tried the ginger ale which was very pleasant, along with the bar staff. Good smell of food but I didn't try any. The 558 Dudley-Wolverhampton bus passes here and many other good pubs and this is defintely worth a visit on any visit to the Black Country.

27 Aug 2009 13:02

The Courthouse, Dudley

Looks unpromising from the exterior but inside its a beer drinker's heaven. Recently done up from what was apparently an uninspiring boozer by Black Country Ales. All the Black Country ales plus guests from microbreweries from far and wide and 3 real ciders fill the 16 handpumps. The only TV is one that describes the beers and gives information. There is one large room and a snug, both recently refurbished and pleasant enough, if unremarkable. Good views of Dudley Castle from the back window. It's 5 minutes from the bus station and is the must visit pub in Dudley centre, although the environs contain many more. A great job done!

27 Aug 2009 12:59

Old Dog Inn, Skelmersdale

Multi-roomed classic that is hidden on a back lane behind the main road in Upholland. Its low ceilings, myriad cosy rooms and convivial atmosphere make it Upholland's finest in my book. The bar is to your right as you enter, and there is a snug ahead of you and a lounge to your left. Another room is ahead, up a step, and a games room with a pool table is hidden at the end of a corridor and is completely shut off from the rest of the pub. The service and punters are friendly even though this is very much a local boozer. Usually a good range of beers, from Adnams and Jennings on my last visit- very well kept. Like a trip back in time in the best possible sense.

17 Aug 2009 14:14

The Cholmondeley Arms, Malpas

Former school-house that retains this feel, which means plenty of atmopshere even though it's almost barn-like with the high ceilings and large rooms. There's a good beer selection from the locals, such as Weetwood and Salopian. These were very well-kept, if expensive. In the middle of nowhere so a lot of the trade is diners, although I didn't eat here the food seems to be well-regarded. Pleasant beer garden at the front and a small library of books. Enjoyed it here and would happily return. Handy for the nearby Cholmondeley castle gardens.

17 Aug 2009 13:45

The Black Horse, Chorley

Very attractive stone pub in this hamlet just south of Chorley. It's modernised inside but still retains part-partitions to give the feel of different drinking areas. A pool table and quiet TV are situated unobtrusively at the back. There's a lot of emphasis on food, but this isn't a gastropub, it's cheap and cheerful pub grub and you don't feel at all out of place popping in for a drink like you can in some places. Always different beers on, from both microbreweries and the big boys. Recently there have been beers from Tirril, Holt, Copper Dragon, Fullers and Black Sheep, invariably well kept. At the back there is a riverside setting with good potential, although this has yet to be realised. I understand a beer festival will soon be taking place here. Handily located near to Rivington for walks and always worth a visit.

17 Aug 2009 13:41

The Black Lion, Nantwich

I hadn't visited previously so can't comment on whether this pub has declined. If true about the dogs it's a shame. However, i really enjoyed my visit here, it's beautiful and creaking with history both inside and out, with a genuine tudor feel. The Cheshire Cat was very well kept and service very polite and generally excellent, I wouldn't hesitate to return.

17 Aug 2009 13:36

The Thatch Inn, Faddiley

Lovely-looking building on the Nantwich-Wrexham main road. The thatch is spectacular and the interior retains character despite modernisation, in the form of beams and the works. One long room stretches back and there is a beer garden. Primarily a dining pub, the food is very good and service excellent, maybe they have new staff? The two beers that were on offer, Cheshire Cat and Landlord, were very well kept. Wouldn't hesiate to recommend to anybody looking for a good meal and good beer.

17 Aug 2009 13:32

The Boulevard, Wigan

Town centre cellar bar that went through various mediocre guises before arriving at one that should please most beer fans, with 8 hand pumps including a real cider it now boasts one of the widest ranges in Wigan. They're usually from Lancashire microbreweries such as Allgates and Bank Top but a few big names are in there as well. There's a pool table and live music is often played in a back room that is shut at other times. It has a very late licence at the weekend so is a good place to head for real beer after hours. Only problem for me is that its a little soulless as cellar bars often are, despite the exposed brickwork. Beer is usually, but not always, spot on. Definitely worth a visit if in Wigan.

17 Aug 2009 13:30

The Adelphi, Leeds

Agree with previous comments, this is an imposing multi-roomed classic that is deserving of it's place on CAMRA's NI, but it's geared towards the trendy circuit crowd more than anything (described in detail below)- whether or not that's a good thing is a matter of opinion. Even if this puts you off you should consider a visit as the beer and atmosphere are good. Tried a Tetley's as we were so near the brewery which was unexciting as ever but fine. As you'd expect in this yuppie area, it's not cheap. Food served which is somewhere inbetween pub grub and gastro food. Personally, I think I'd prefer it more traditional, but all in all a decent attempt to modernise a classic without tearing the heart out of the pub.

17 Aug 2009 13:26

The Admiral Benbow, Shrewsbury

Have to agree with the other reviews. A proepr ale-drinkers' pub, don't be put off by the under 30s rule, it seems that as long as you're clearly not an idiot you'll be fine. Traditional setting but quite opened out, main bar serves two distincet areas. Lots of local beers to try and friendly staff. Along with the Coach and Horses next door, it's another Shrewsbury must.

4 Aug 2009 17:16

The Coach and Horses, Shrewsbury

Really enjoyed it here, very cosy and intimate. Although the left of the pub is given over to diners, the right-hand bar area and the strangely-shaped small snug retain a classic atmosphere which is snug and intimate, with plenty wood panelling. 3-4 beers from local breweries, Shropshire Gold on form as ever. Always worth a visit, this is one of Shrewsbury's best.

4 Aug 2009 17:15

The Bhurtpore Inn, Aston

Renowned village boozer that deserves its reputation as one of Cheshire's finest. It's always busy despite its village location, as people come from miles to sample the 12 guest ales and food. Didn't try the latter but I shall certainly return to. Still very much a drinkers pub though- several areas, including the pool room, are reserved for drinkers. It's quite rambling now and obviously has been extended. A central bar serves the rooms, which are nicely furnished with ornamental elephants and old village pictures. Some guest beers I'd never heard of, to cater for every palate. Lots of dark beers on my visit. Friendly staff and pleasant locals and atmosphere. Just wish I lived nearer!

4 Aug 2009 17:11

The Eagle Inn, Salford

Very traditional back street boozer in an area of old warehouses that is slowly being invaded by the yuppie hordes. It retains its original layout and must be unchanged in years, with a lounge, bar room and darts room all accessible from the central corridor. it's dark but not unwelcoming- just what a pub should be, really. Small TV shows a variety of things. Old Lowry prints and Sunlight Soap adverts adorn the walls and give character. Service and locals very friendly. As noted, I just hope it can survive as it is a classic. Holt Bitter and Mild available, never my favourites but well kept in here, and very cheap. About 10-15 minutes from Manchester Victoria station, I urge you to visit , this kind of place ought to be preserved.

4 Aug 2009 13:19

The Ashton Arms, Oldham

As noted, the must-visit pub in Oldham town centre. It's split level and opened out but with some exposed brickwork and amusing things on the wall to give it character. Mixture of traditional seating and modern sofas- I can imagine this'd be a great place to while away a Sunday afternoon. Also a Boddingtons table football set in front of the impressive real fireplace- shame its summer! Had A Barnsley IPA which was top class, even though an IPA. $ other microbrewed mostly local ales and 2 real ciders too. The service is friendly and the punters warm and welcoming. A commitment to sport means most events are shown on 1 unobtrusive TV. This is a great pub to which I hope to return soon.

4 Aug 2009 13:15

Railway Inn, Shrewsbury

Two roomed country pub that is unchanged in decades and hasn't gone down the foody route. It could easily be 50 years ago in here, with the place usually bustling with locals and 6 local beers and a real cider on handpump. Friendly service and a great atmopshere add to the charm. try to take the train out to Yorton if you can but the pub isn't always open so be sure to check- not much else to do round here nd the trains are quite infrequent!

28 Jul 2009 16:48

Boat House, Shrewsbury

Yes, a few more beers available on my visit, and local ones, not the usual suspects. Shropshire Lad was a good pint. Standard enough interior but the main draw is the riverside beer garden anyway- you might not get a seat at busier times. Lovely place to sit with a good pint. Another pub in Shrewsbury you should try to visit.

28 Jul 2009 16:46

Salopian Bar, Shrewsbury

Agree with the other comments, modern ambience not usually my cup of tea but this is tempered by the excellent selection of local real ales and relaxed atmosphere. Lots of papers to read and comfy seating. Even if you're a traditionalist you should try to get in here if you've time.

28 Jul 2009 16:43

The Nag's Head, Shrewsbury

Geniunely traditional two-roomed local on the Wyle Cop. It's got plenty of character with wooden flooring and old advertisements etc on the walls, as well as old beams inside and out. Mostly locals but not prohibitive. The leafy beer garden is a particular draw, with an old tudor appendage to the pub to look at and lots of trees. Beer range is from the top end of the nationals, Deuchars, Bombardier, Landlord and Hobsons Bitter available on my visit, the latter was fine. Proper pub, will definitely be back.

28 Jul 2009 16:41

The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury

Large hotel situated on the Wyle Cop, so not really a pub but I recommend you visit anyway. as its open to non residents. The downstairs is split between a restaurant and a bar area composing of several large rooms. They're very impressive too, all wood panelling and engraved furniture. One of the rooms also features a magnificent stone fireplace which I imagine is brilliant in winter. It's very upmarket and as such is very smart and clean but far from sterile for reasons explained above. Service very friendly. Only 2 real ales available but the ywere from local microbreweries (Salopian darwin's Origin and Wye Valley Butty Bach) and both perfectly kept. Also ate here, food was very good and reasonably priced (in the bar anyway). As hotel bars go, it must be up there with the best, and is well deserving of your time even if you only like pubs.

28 Jul 2009 16:39

Market Hotel, Ellesmere

High Street pub with a central bar that serves two rooms, plus a games area at the back with pool and darts. Black Sheep and Old Speckled Hen available on my visit, tried the former which was drinkable. Clientele mostly locals and friendly scallies playign school. Loud music playing but there is a jukebox so at least you can choose. It's Ok, not sure I'd return.

21 Jul 2009 19:47

The Black Gate, Oswestry

Refurbished and now the Bull Ring. Good and bad news- good news is that its structurally unaltered inside, it still has a central bar and wood panelled walls, beams etc. Also serves real ale- Black Sheep was fine on my visit. Bad news is it doesnt know if it wants to be a pub or a bar. It's pretty smart (or soulless) and has some modern furnishings, and quiz machines, bandit and worst of all loud thumping music, a real turn-off for me. So it hasn't been completely ruined, which is good, but not sure if I'd want to return.

21 Jul 2009 19:45

The Fox Inn, Oswestry

Town centre pub with an authentic historic feel, both on the tudor exterior and within. 3 main rooms including a tiny bar room and 2 larger ones with church pews and more traditional pub furnishings. Jennings Cumberland and Cocker Hoop, Banks and Brakspear Bitter available, along with bottled beers that are next to the pumps. I tried Cocker Hoop which was good.
Historic, unspoilt ambience throughout- The bar room is the best, with dimpled copper tables, a leather armchair and lots of pump clips on the roof. The other rooms are still fascinating, with posters and other things to keep your attention. The pub does home-cooked food and the service is friendly. Probably Oswestry's best, definitely worth a visit.

21 Jul 2009 19:40

Bell Inn, Oswestry

Large place on Church Street, just up from the Oak. It has 2 opened out rooms and a bit of a barn feel. Pub was quite empty which added to this. Marstons's Ashes beer and Deuchars available, Black Sheep was turned round. Tried the first which was OK, which is all it ever is really. Pub seemed a bit run down but the few punters friendly enough. It's OK and probably worth including on a crawl but nothing special, and as noted, seems to be struggling.

21 Jul 2009 19:35

The Oak Inn, Oswestry

Large 2-roomed boozer opposite the attractive church on Church Street. It looks traditional enough from outside and has an entry running up the side. The central bar serves two rooms, the front room has wooden flooring and is quite modern. The large rear lounge is more traditional but pretty open plan. Both rooms have large TVs and there seems to be an emphasis on horse-racing, though this is unobtrusive. As well as Bass, Stonehouse Station Bitter and Cambrian Gold available from a local brewery. Tried the latter which was great. Service friendly but pub was pretty quiet on a weekday afternoon. A decent pub that is definitely worth a call if you're in town.

21 Jul 2009 19:32

The Woodman, Shrewsbury

Attractive half-timbered pub at the top of Coton Hill, a 10 minute walk from the town centre, less from the station. It has a large tap room and an equally large lounge, in which swearing is prohibited. Sat in here for a couple and really enjoyed it, it was quiet but its an attractive room, full of wood panelling and a fireplace with attractive tables that have chess sets painted into them. The beer selection is great, with 6-7 to choose from, mostly local. Also a real cider available. Had a reasonably priced Shropshire Gold and a guest from the Saltaire Brewery, Sublime. Both were excellent and service was good. This pub is well worth the walk from the centre and I hope to return soon.

19 Jul 2009 16:59

The Dog and Pheasant, Shrewsbury

Locals' pub in a pleasant suburb of Shrewsbury behind the station and near the river and jail, quite leafy and with attractive terraced houses. Its easy to miss but i recommend you don't, as it's a proper little boozer and the beer is excellent. Jennings cocker Hoop, Cumberland and Marstons Empire available on my visit, the cocker hoop was in good fettle. The basic tap room is where everybody was on my visit- not unfriendly or intimidating at all. It has a wooden floor and traditional furnishings. Also an electric fire and unobtrusive TV. The Lounge can only be reached by going into the yard where the toilets are and in again, and its a bit more spruced up but nobody was in on a Saturday afternoon. Good pub, worth the 5 minute walk out of town

18 Jul 2009 21:15

The Royal Oak, Wigan

This brewpub has been transformed into one of Wigan's premier real ale outlets in the last few years. It's just outside the town centre but is worth the extra 5 minute walk- usually a selection of 6 real ales, including Tetley, Deuchars, the house Mayflower beer (very good) and guests, usually from Northern microbreweries. Also real cider and lots of bottled and draught European beers. It's pretty standard and modern inside, with 2 main rooms, one of which features comfy seating and a dartboard. The bar room has a small library with GBGs. A large, leafy beer garden is very pleasant in summer and the pub frequently hosts live local bands and beer festivals with pies and other bar snacks. A late licence if you fancy a late pint. One of the few must visit pubs in Wigan.

16 Jul 2009 13:03

The Rising Sun, Manchester

Small and basic city centre boozer. It consists of one long room with a bar at the far end from the entrance. Half of the pub has a wooden floor, the front half is carpeted.A few tables dotted about andsome informantion about old Manchester on the walls. The beer range has definitely improved since my last visit however, with Black Sheep, Abbott, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and Moorhouses Blond Witch available. Tried the latter which was in decent nick, but 2.90 is a lot. That's typical for central Manchester now, as bad as London. it's a decent place to pop in for a good pint but is pretty unremarkable as a pub, and along with its neighbours I consider it to be pretty expensive.

16 Jul 2009 12:57

The Travellers Rest, Euxton

Country pub that received the dreaded refurbishment after closure last year. I'm glad to say the pub hasn't been ruined, indeed it's a great place to drop by. As with many country pubs these days, food plays a mjor role in the operation, but not to the detriment of drinkers. It's a long, narrow pub with 2 rooms, the main room is now very smart but with no loss of character. This is the main place for dining, although you can just as easily enjoy a drink here. There are comfy sofas as well as traditional furnishings, all under a low-beamed roof with exposed brickwork and lots of trinkets to keep one interested. A small, seperate room at the end is called 'the Library' and is surrounded by bookshelves with old books, creating a very pleasant and rustic effect. The tap room is primarily retained for drinknig and games, with pool and darts. the real ale situation is very good, with Youngs Bitter and Special (rare in the area) , Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Tetley Bitter and Mild, and also Black Sheep. Tries both Youngs and Copper Dragon, all excellent. Friendly chatty new owners and service The food looks extremely reasonably priced considering the smartness of the pub, (7-8 for most dishes) and I intend to return to sample it. Really enjoyed my visit- glad to see this place reopened, even gladder to see it in this guise; long may it continue.

15 Jul 2009 13:12

The Prince Of Wales, Chorley

Fine real ale mecca in the middle of a stone terrace just out of the town centre. the pub retains its original layout, with a vault, snug to your right, games room (pool & darts) and large lounge at the back. A central bar serves the vault and lounge. Lack of doors make it feel more opened out but generally its really unspoilt. Wonderful cosy atmosphere in each room, with real fires, pump clips, saucy seaside posters and hundreds of vintage beermats adorning the walls. Jazz is often played which is a million times better than your usual piped music. Beer range is great, with 2 Jennings beers, Banks Bitter, Marstons Ashes Ale and the excellent Boondoggle from Ringwood, of which I couldn't get enough. Friendly service and pretty much everything a pub should be. Not to be missed if in Chorley.

13 Jul 2009 12:25

The Bowling Green Hotel, Wigan

Yes there is a small discount on cask ales at the moment (2.40, still not the cheapest in town), as the pub unfortunately seems to be struggling apart from at weekends. A real shame, as along with the Swan and Railway it is the only historic and unspoilt pub interior in Wigan really, with the gantried bar, real fire and intact vault and lounge, with a pool room out of the way at the back. Lots of panelling and leather seating too. Tetleys and Deuchars are always on sale, and Landlord and a Wychwood beer were the guests. Always in good form too, and when the pub is busy the atmosphere is bustling. If in Wigan take the short walk out and give it a go as you won't be disappointed.

11 Jul 2009 11:28

The Honeysuckle Inn, Wigan

One-roomed suburban locals' pub near Wigan Pier and the new developments. It has a very attractive brick-built exterior but is pretty standard inside, with a large horseshoe room served by a central bar. Pictures of Wigan Rugby and Wigan Athletic adorn the walls, and there is pool and darts. No real ale, just standard big name lagers and smoothflow that you'd expect in a nondescript suburban pub. I imagine it used to be jam packed at the end of a day in one of the many old mills nearby, now it just attracts a regular local trade. Nothing really to recommend it, but does its job as a community local.

11 Jul 2009 11:16

The Willeymoor Lock Tavern, Tushingham

Canalside boozer in a great location that is handy for walkers (it's on the Sandstone Trail rote) and has a range of real ales. Theakston's Best Bitter, Lancaster bomber plus local guests from Cheshire and Shropshire provide a good range. Tried Cruckbeam and Beartown beers which were good. Pleasant interior with lots of porcelian trinkets and an emphasis on food. Leafy beer gardens on 3 sides (including by the canal lock) and a large childrens playground. Had no problems with service as encountered below, must've been a bad time. Would return,

6 Jul 2009 13:14

Blue Bell Inn, Tushingham

Possibly about as good as a pub can be. This wonderful old rickety building, with leaning walls and half-timbered exterior, dates from the 16th century. It's just off the A41 Whitchurch-Chester road just inside Cheshire. Inside you are first greeted by an unusual spiral staircase, with the main bar room on your right. Wonderfully cosy interior and furnishings, with beams, brass fittings, and cosy sitting-room furniture as well as tables. Two other rooms further back are reserved for diners, and I recommend you eat here, for the pub offers restaurant-quality food for pub food prices- most dishes are about 8.95 but this is no ordinary pub grub. On the real ale front Shropshire Gold, Oakham JHB and another guest were available. Service fantastic, and I consider this pub a must for anyone in the area. A gem.

6 Jul 2009 13:11

Fountain Inn, Tipton

Basic, locals boozer on the high street that feels like it's still the 70s inside. central bar serves a large horseshoe room with rustic carpet and wallpaper to match. Seemingly popular and friendly, but I can't imagine they receive many visitors from outside the area. Banks' pub like many in the area. No real ale and oversized glasses. Pretty unremarkable, but a proper boozer. Nothing to go out of your way for.

2 Jul 2009 17:17

The Bulls Head, Burslem

Described by the guides as 'the Jewel in Burslem's crown', it's hard to argue. The Titanic brewery tap outlet is here, so there's a wide range of their beers to suit every palate, plus local guests. it's a proper ale-oriented pub and possibly the best in Stoke, certainly up there with the Coachmakers. A central bar serves two basic, narrow rooms, one of which has a bar billiards table. A library of beer-related books is in the other. It's worth making the trip to Burslem to visit this place, and the Leopard and Post Office Vaults nearby are also worth a visit. Brilliant pub.

2 Jul 2009 17:10

The Shakespeare Inn, Birmingham

Popped in when waiting for a train and found what I expected, a decent city centre boozer with a standard choice of ales- Black Sheep, Deuchars and bottled Brains and Brakspear- the latter only 2, which is pretty decent. Tried a few which were fine. Standard cheap-as-chips pub grub- 2 for a fiver- which was pretty darn good considering the price, although hardly restaurant standard-obviously. Some points of interest such as the bar back and stiarcase (as mentioned) put pretty open-plan and nondescript inside. Sky sports shown. Not bad, worth a visit if you've done Birmingham's 'must' pubs.

2 Jul 2009 13:05

The Leopard, Burslem

Large pub with character, as the furnishings are quite eclectic. It's leaning towards bohemian whilst retaining a traditional feel. Two main rooms, front and back, plus a snug to explore. Once a hotel where Brindley and Wedgwood met to plan the canals that brought trade to the city, this is now an integral pub in what is becoming a good town for real ale. 6 real ales from local breweries avaiable on my visit, enjoyed what i had (i forget!) Also a mild if i remember correctly. There are cheap bar snacks such as pork pies that are a welcome sight to the weary traveller. Couldn't be more different than the Post Office Vaults but i recommend you try them both if in the area.

2 Jul 2009 12:56

The Old Thatch Tavern, Stratford Upon Avon

Lovely thatched building but quite modern and open plan inside, with comfy sofas as well as more standard furnishings. Good range of beer though, with Purity and other local guests. Kept very well. Plus dimpled glasses on request. Can't be bad! Not a bad pub at all but nothing of great note for traditionalists.

2 Jul 2009 12:51

The Garrick Inn, Stratford Upon Avon

Touristy pub that nevertheless retains character. the tudor exterior is great, the pub inside has an original layout with a front and back bar but pretty standard modern fittings. Greene King range was acceptable, with IPA, Abbott & guests. All kept well that I tried. Not bad but nothing amazing.

2 Jul 2009 12:48

The Dirty Duck, Stratford Upon Avon

Riverside pub with an inevitable thespian theme. Apparently American GIs christened it the Dirty Duck during the war, hence its double name today. It's got two rooms, the left one with pictures of all the actors who've been the more interesting. The tiny beer garden at the front is brilliant, with a tree in the middle dominating and providing shade, and also good views of the river. Beer range not great but OK- Greene King so you know what to expect. I had Dallaglios' which was fine. Food looked reasonable and good value. Strictly for the tourists but not plasticky. Would return

2 Jul 2009 12:46

The Old Bell Tavern, Harrogate

Great beers and a pleasant relaxed atmosphere on my visit to this pub. Nice to sit and read the papers provided. It did feel a bit like a continental cafe bar which was a disappointment after seeing the fine exterior of the pub. It's still brilliant, but maybe after visiting Hale's Bar my views were skewed. Woul definitely pop in again but Hale's has to pip this place for architecture.

1 Jul 2009 13:00

The Trocadero, Birmingham

Always noticed the impresive frontage to this place, in particular the beautiful mosaic with the pubs name on. Never tempted to stray in until thhis weekend when my suspicions were confirmed, it's very standard and nondescript behind. Loud music and lager drinkers mostly, although Tim Taylor's was available on my visit, and drinkable. It's not bad but not worth going out of your way for.

1 Jul 2009 12:55

The Shakespeare, Birmingham

Like the imposing exterior but it's mostly masked by the nearby ring road. Inside it's retained some seperate rooms and some identity, but has a modern chainy feeling. Landlord not great according to my friend, but tried London Pride which was good. Have to agree again- nothing makes it stand out and there's nothing bad about it either. Beer garden quite nice though.

1 Jul 2009 12:52

The Queens Arms, Birmingham

Agree with the rest of the comments. Beer range and quality pretty good but just lacking in atmosphere inside with its modern ambience and turning into someting of a circuit pub. Not a bad place mind.

1 Jul 2009 12:50

The Lost and Found, Birmingham

Impressive building that gives way to bank-conversion grandeur within. It's a bit too airy for some, but not without character- huge artwork on the walls! Marstons/Wychwood range of beers, Hobgoblin was in fine form. Quite quiet on a Monday so atmosphere lacking a bit, although this probably changes at the weekend. Not bad but not a must, particularly with the Wellington across the road.

1 Jul 2009 12:47

The Canalside Cafe, Birmingham

Visited this great place again and still rate it as one of my favourite places for a pint in Brum- rare for me as I generally prefer my pubs traditional. It does have elements of that in that it's very poky and intimate, which helps make it unique. Fine to sit by the canal in summer and watch the world (i.e. boats, ducks and geese) go by. The beer has certianly improved sicne my last visit. but as noted is still a tad too warm, apart from that fine. Also a good selection from local microbreweries, enjoyed the Pride of Aston and purity. Food is cheap and cheerful and worth the 5 for the average meal, with a lot of vegetarian options. More atmosphere than Pennyblacks round the corner, would recommend to anybody.

1 Jul 2009 12:44

Yard Of Ale, Birmingham

Visited at the weekend after hearing that this pub was on the up.Normally a basement bar on the main shopping street of a major city would be enough in itself to repel me, but thought I'd give it a go. Full of fake olde-worldiness and as described below, but it does seem to be making more of an effort- the 3 handpumps have indeed been increased to 6, although nothing out of the ordinary- all out of the Marstons/Jennings range. My Cumberland was fine and to be honest I didn't find it particularly grotty and the other customers seemed OK. It's not a must visit and probably never will be but it's an improving pub and if you've done the others in the area is a decent place whilst waiting for a train. Achieved infamy after the IRA bombing of 1974.

1 Jul 2009 12:40

The City Tavern, Birmingham

Classic red brick pub on the edge of the city centre. It's had a chequered recent past but seems to be firmly on the up again. Inside it retains a traditional feel with the front bar room and rear lounge reached by a side corridor. Lots of green seating and a classic staircase add to the charm. Very friendly staff and a great range of local real ales- all the Davenport beers plus Wye valley and Purity beers. Good to see the pub in its righteous place again as one of Brum's best. Only problem is the proximity of the vomit trail that is Broad Street, but a visit can be combined with a trip to the nearby. Canalside Cafe and Pennyblacks, both of which are also well worth a visit. Great pub.

30 Jun 2009 18:12

Rose and Crown Hotel, Turton

Smart, opened out stone-built village pub with a restaurant extension to the left. Taylors landlord, Deuchars and a guest available- Landlord as reliable as ever. Seems to be quite an emphasis on food although you can easily pop in for a drink- it still feels like a pub. A lorry demolished the front last year- newspaper cuttings on the wall detail this! Service friendly and good atmosphere throughout. Might return for food. Decent pub .

30 Jun 2009 18:08

The Villa Tavern, Birmingham

CAMRA National-Inventory listed pub just up from Aston railway station. It's a locals corner boozer, and is opposite the grand Nechells public baths. Although not greatly impressive from the outside, the interior retains its several rooms which gives it a somewhat fading grandeur. A central tiled and mosaic floor corridor leads to a main bar room on the right, a smoke room at the back with bar access (perhaps the most interesting room) and a large, opened out games room to the left. There are lots of high ceilngs, glazed windows and old pictures which give the place a lot of characer. Pub has been extended into the yard where the toilets are, the original exterior walls are still easy to make out. Despite feauturing in the GBG a few years ago it's not a must for the real ale fan- Ansells Bitter and Mild and John Smiths Cask are available. The JS was fine but its not an inspiring range for many.
It's very much a locals pub and pulling in new trade doesn't seem to be a priority- that's not to say it's unfriendly because it isn't. Probably only one for the admirer of traditional pubs as its out of the way, but if you're in the area its worth a look.

30 Jun 2009 18:06

The Old Swan, Netherton

Renowned Black Country brewpub that features on CAMRA's National Inventory of historic pub interiors. A welcome sight after a dingy walk through the Netherton tunnel, it's pleasantly rustic rather than spectacular, although the original stoves in both the cosy front room and the rear snug (on a different level) are well worth seeing. The beer is home brewed and is displayed on a blackboard rather than pump clips. It's excellent and very good value, I tried Bumble Hole and it went down a treat. Out of the way but worth the trip from Dudley.

23 Jun 2009 13:09

Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Splendid old boozer right in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter by the clock. From the red brick exterior to the tiling, everything about the building is impressive. It's redolent of a London pub in ways, with a mahogany island bar complete with gantries and clock serving distinct rooms around it. These rooms are beautifully tiled around the walls, many with pictures depicted on these tiles. There are also stained glass windows and beautful shiny pattered tables which complement this, particularly in the back room by the toilets. The main bar room is large with darts and a pool table at the bottom end. Contrary to previous reports I found the place to be very clean and the toilets OK. Service also fine.
Which brings us to the beer situation- the pub obviously doesn't put a strong emphasis on real ale, with the one pump clip (Bombardier) turned around early on a Saturday afternoon. Now I don't mind drinking keg in a place like this (Vines in Liverpool comes to mind) but many would and this would deter them. A better real ale policy would transform this pub from a lovely building to another Birmingham must-visit, though if you are a lover of traditional pubs you should go anyway. I know I will again.

23 Jun 2009 12:53

The Cornmarket, Liverpool

Large drinking barn of a pub that nevertheless has some interesting features that give it character. The dark mahogany walls in the left hand corner as you enter are carved into all sorts of shapes and are quite a feast for the eye. The furniture is mixed with both traditional tables and modern sofa-style seating. At the back there is a smaller, more intimate room which feels far more pub-like than the rest, with a back door out onto the street. Two real ales on offer on my visit, Deuchars IPA and Jennings Cumberland. The former was in great nick and the place was buzzing on a Friday after work creating a good atmosphere, but I imagine the place could look spartan at quieter times. Not bad at all, but probably easy to overlook due t there being so many other good pub options in the vicinity.

23 Jun 2009 12:45

The Railway, Stafford

Beat me to it! Agreed, very decent boozer which is a short walk from the railway station. Few good ales on fromthe big boys, including Abbot, Bass and Bombardier. the latter was in great form on my visit. Local boozer but friendly with it. A few different drinking areas including a sparsely-furnished snug and a back roomm. Sky sports shown. and friendly service. Nothing spectacular but definitely worth popping in if waiting for a train.

22 Jun 2009 09:00

The Black Bull, Turton

Stone built village pub in a pleasant spot near the Wayoh reservoir- very handy for walkers. It remains its traditional layout, with a small, simple bar room to your right and a games room with pool and darts to your left. There's a seperate lounge room at the back which is substantially larger. The two rooms feature original fireplaces and are pretty cosy. By the lounge room there is an extension into a restaurant which overlooks the garden outside. Theakstons best and Bombardier available, and also a guest from Wychwood. Tried this and it was very nice. Had no problem with service whatsoever although I visited in the afternoon when the pub was quiet. Nice boozer and handy for walkers, would return again.

18 Jun 2009 13:05

The Holly Bush Inn, Bollington

Classic 1930s Robinsons pub on the main road through the town, with an unspoilt interior that is on CAMRA's National Inventory. It keeps its original layout, with a snug on the left as you enter, a bar room on the right and a lounge in front of you. What's really impressive is the amount of wood panelling and green seating in the place. It makes it very atmospheric and traditional, you could easily imagine being here 50 years ago. The snug is particularly impressive, being timbered around the interior of the room. good beer choice providing you like Robinsons ales (although even if you don't the pub is worth a visit), with Original, Unicorn and the excellent Dizzy Blonde.

Unfortuntely the owners left and the website is not representative of the pub at the moment. It was deathly quiet and seemed to be run by folk who the brewery had got in, who were nevertheless very nice the pub can pick up and more people return. this pub will appeal to any lover of traditional boozers and is definitely worth a visit on a tour of Bollington, a town with many decent pubs.

15 Jun 2009 17:41

Poachers Inn, Bollington

Brilliant pub that is out of the way but worth the effort. Bollington has a few great pubs and this could be the jewel. It's on a minor road out of the village and is deservedly very popular. It's really cosy, full of low beams, brass fittings, horseshoes and pictures, and a real fire by the doorway. there are two main rooms, the long bar room and a dining area at the back, although you can just as easily eat in the bar room. A really extensive, reasonably priced menu and good food mean that you'd best reserve a seat if you're thinking of eating here. The beer range is great too- Landlord, Doom bar and local guests from Storm, Weetwood and Brewers Gold. All sampled and all in great nick. Service friendly and atmosphere bustling. Brilliant place, i look forward to returning.

15 Jun 2009 17:35

The Rising Sun, Rainow

Traditional pub on the main road with low beams, rustic furniture and a good cosy atmosphere. The pub has 2 main areas to drink in, with an unobtrusive TV There's a slightly shabby (compared to the rest of the pub anyway) games room at the back that offers pool and darts and a conservatory, both of which offer great views over the valley behind. 3 real ales on offer on my visit, Ruddles County, Hydes Original and a beer from the local Storm microbrewery, which was excellent. Emphasis on food in the evening- it looked pretty good but didn't have any. Yeah good pub, would return.

15 Jun 2009 17:32

Moorgate Inn, Aspull

Architecturally unremarkable but decent suburban local with a pleasant atmosphere and spacious beer garden. There was a jukebox playing 60s classics on my visit. 2 opened out rooms served from a central bar, with food served which looked pretty good. Jennings Cumberland and Ringwood 49er (not often seen in these parts) on handpump on my visit. Tried the latter which was pretty darn good. One of the better pubs in Aspull, would definitely pop in again

15 Jun 2009 12:30

The Victoria, Aspull

Two-roomed traditional local that has enjoyed a new lease of life since it was taken over by the burgeoning local Allgates brewery. It now boasts easily the best range of beers in Aspull, with a selection from the Allgates range and guest beers from Lancashire and national breweries, currently Lytham Gold and Brewers Gold, both very tasty. There is also a growing stock of European beers. Formerly rather shabby, it has been spruced up without changing layout orlosing character- the main lounge is on the right with a smaller games room to the left where darts is played, both served by a central bar. Food is served during the daytime. Usually a bustling local cientele. Handy for walks in Haigh Country Park, this is one worth finding,

15 Jun 2009 12:26

The Old Post Office, Shrewsbury

Can honestly say I never even noticed this 'Loft' on my visit! It must be some distance from the rooms as I had no problem with noise whatsoever. It's quite a rambling place upstairs which my explain this.

12 Jun 2009 17:21

Lord Nelson, Sheffield

The epitome of a back street boozer, this pub nestles in otherwise run-down, deserted streets of old warehouses and factories just south of the city centre. It's quite impressive however, especially outside, with some attractive original tiling. It was busier than I expected on my visit, with Sheffield United fans all meeting after the game. The pub is a shrine to the club, with pictures and old mirrors etc all around its rooms. Friendly staff offered to help us choose a beer, there were about 3 real ales on, not all from the nationals either. It retains some partitions, with a pool table at the back and 2 other rooms towards the front, but has been opened out to a degree. Not a bad place but quite far out from the city centre. If you're walking back from the Sheaf View or Bramall Lane however you could do worse than to pop in

9 Jun 2009 17:49

Canal Tavern, Stoke on Trent

Overshadowed by its more prolific neighbour the Blue Bell, this pub can boast a pleasant location but unfortunately does not make the most of it. It's across the lock system from the Blue Bell, which involves crossing two channels, and canal enthusiasts will like the outside seat which gives you a view of the workings. Inside, 2 unremarkable, large rooms are served by a central island bar, and one has a pool table. The only real ale available on my visit was Abbot Ale, which I didn't try as wasn't too sure. The service was fine but what really lets this pub down is the clientele. A group of drunken youths were busy outside abusing anyone who dared to pass by or enter the pub, which is hardly endearing. Inside more scallies were playing pool but they seemed OK. This is a pub with potential but I can't say I'd relish a return visit at the moment. Might have been a one off but I don't know. Generally a decent pub let down by the people in it.

9 Jun 2009 17:43

The Kings Arms, Salford

Traditional pub with a good real ale selection and mixed crowd, just 2 minutes walk from Salford Central station, but it's the 'wrong way' in that it leads back into Salford instead of being on the short route into Manchester where most people go. It has an unspoilt interior with a tiled entrance corridor, a small room witha piano off to the left and the main bar room off to the right. The 5-6 beers are mostly from Lancashire/Cheshire microbreweries, and my Blakemere was in good form. Landlord also available, very nice. Manchester prices creeping outwards though- 2.80 is steep. It regularly hosts cultural events such as bands and is a keen promoter of such stuff. Mixture of young uns from the nearby yuppie flats and real ale fans. In short, it's well worth a visit combined with the New Oxford , Eagle and Crescent if in Salford- all of these pubs are worthy of a visit but are each very different.

8 Jun 2009 15:12

Globe, Liverpool

Tiny pub that is easily the best aong this row of 3 in a very short space. It feels a bit out of place in the shopping district as it's completely unspoilt and traditional within, in direct contrast to many of its surroundings. The big names dominate the real ale range and Cains is there of course, but generally a good pint- more than you get in its neighbours. There's very often no room to sit in the tiny bar room, but there's another equally small room at the back that's usually quieter. Some fascinating Liverpool-ana on the walls and a friendly crowd create a briliant atmosphere. Another Liverpool classic.

8 Jun 2009 14:53

Horse Shoe, Radcliffe

Thwaites pub in Ringley that has the feel of a village local even though it's in something of an urban sprawl. In fact the whole village has a cut-off feel which works in its favour. It's certainly a stretch to call it Manchester-it's closer to Bolton- but the Royal Mail have never been very good at these kind of things. It's well located in front of the historic packhorse bridge over the River Irwell and next to the clock tower, an interesting folly. Inside there's separate drinking areas and a restaurant room at the back. Nice atmosphere inside, with brass fittings and old fittings etc, and the food looked good and reasonably priced Thwaites bitter and Blonde and Lancaster Bomber available, very nice. It's out of the way and easy to miss, but handy for walks in Clifton Country Park. Not a bad pub at all.

8 Jun 2009 13:51

The Red Lion, Lower Withington

Countryside Robinson's pub with an emphasis on food and a very modern interior. It has two seperate parts served by a central bar. All whitewashed walls, leather seating 'booths' and wooden floors here in the part of the pub geared towards eating, but to be fair the food is very good and reasonably priced. An extension in a conservatory provides extra dining space. On the other side of the pub is another room that caters for drinkers, and which was bustling on my visit. It also has a pool table in this room. Robinsons Unicorn was the only real ale available on my visit. It's a decent place to eat and a decent pint, and I enjoyed my visit, but traditional pub fans won't find much of interest here.

8 Jun 2009 13:36

Carnarvon Castle, Liverpool

Cosy 'local in the city' that is out of place in the concrete jungle of Liverpool's main shopping area- it's similar to the Globe in this respect. It's recently been refurbished, and I can't say I like the outside too much now although the inside has remianed basically the same, apart from a bit of sprucing up in the front room with a new wooden floor etc. The back room is the real draw, net curtains and very small and convivial, you can't help but get talking to somebody. The 6 real ales are from the usual suspects- Theakstons, Directors, Bombardier etc,. but Theakston's Mild is available. This isn't one of Liverpool's must visit pubs but it isn't half bad either.

8 Jun 2009 13:28

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

This former GBG regular shut its doors in 2004 and looked to be lost forever but happily reopened earlier this year to complement the already impressive Dale Street real ale scene. It's a basic corner boozer with two rooms, a large, opened-out bar room at the front and a cosier room at the back. These are separated by a corridor with some original tiling on the walls. The bar room is unusual because of it's uneven floor and warehouse-style pillars that prop up the ceiling. 6 real ales available, most from local microbreweries such as Betwixt and Liverpool and several from further afield. Tried the local ones which were decent. Really glad it's reopened and custom seemed to be picking up. Well worth a visit if you've done the rest, or just on any visit to Dale Street.

8 Jun 2009 13:22

Royal Oak Hotel, Eccles

Another imposing Edwardian gem from Holts in Eccles. The Royal Oak is a corner pub situated behind the library and is completely unspoilt. All rooms lead off the beautifully tiled corridor, including a large bar room to the right (with a hatch to the corridor) a pool room and another large lounge. All in all, it's a massive, compartmentalised place and was built for an age when far more pub-goers existed- it often feels empty even when quite a few people are in the pub. As such it has an atmosphere of faded grandeur, although it's still smartly maintained. Sky Sports is shown here. As with most Holt's pubs, not a great beer range- Holt's bitter and mild, which I can take or leave, but it's worth a visit just for the building.

4 Jun 2009 13:02

The Halfway House, Edinburgh

Love this place; it's one of the cosiest pubs I know of in a fantastic location halfway up the Fleshmarket Close steps from Waverely station. I like the old railway pictures and Edinburgh pub crawl poster. It's easy, nay, obligatory to get talking to people within the confines of this tiny place. A wide range of real ales featuring Scottish microbreweries. Surprisingly for its size, the pub also does food, which is pretty decent too. An Edinburgh must visit.

4 Jun 2009 12:54

The Kenilworth, Edinburgh

One of Rose Street's few pubs that are really worth seeking out. The Kenilworth is an opulent place on the CAMRA National Inventory, largely thanks to the huge front room with its high ceilings and massive square island bar. The tiling and ceiling in here are something else, and it's a fantastically grand place to enjoy a pint from Caledonian or a Scottish microbrewery, as the pub serves a variety of these- in handled pint pots if requested, which I usually do. There's some rather less remarkable rooms through the back which are commonly used by diners. The food here is reasonably priced and served all day, and it's a better bet than many nearby eateries. Always try to visit when in Edinburgh.

4 Jun 2009 12:52

Crown Posada, Newcastle

Newcastle's unmissable gem on the quayside is like a trip back 50 years in time, from the tiny snug on the right with its stain glass windows to the gramophone records that are played from the bar. The Plasterwork on the ceiling is also rather impressive. Snug aside, there is one long room that can't be more than 8ft wide, furnished with green leather and with lots of dark panelling. Ales come from local breweries such as Northumberland and Mordue, and the place is invariably packed so arrive early. Not to be missed.

3 Jun 2009 15:51

The King and Castle, Kidderminster

This place is slightly different from your usual heritage railway station pub as it actually seeks to recreate the exact atmosphere of a 1930s station refreshment bar. Therefore there's less of the railwayana that you usually find in such places, just a few maps and posters. Apart from that it's very spacious and airy, basic even, but in a truly rustic fashion- not stark in any way. No 'entertainment', just good old fashined local real ales and chat. Worth going out of your way for, and a must if spending a day on the SVR.

3 Jun 2009 15:11

Nags Head, Sheffield

Traditional, stone built pub on the main road into Sheffield in the Loxley valley, which like many in the area offers the excellent local Bradfield range of real ales. It has two rooms, the small bar room with an L-shaped bar and a games room with a medium sized snooker table-very rare in a country pub. On a Sunday visit dinners were being served that looked good and seemed good value. 10 mins drive 0r 45 mins walk from Malinbridge tram stop, or can be combined with a walk with the pubs in Bradfield- as such it features in CAMRA's Peak District Pub Walks, and rightly so.

3 Jun 2009 13:09

The Pheasant Inn, Tattenhall

Very secluded and hard to reach. but worth the effort. It's an old farmhouse and as such is very large and spacious with plenty of rooms, whilst still being traditional with stone floors and beams etc. Food as noted is not cheap but not extortionate and you certainly get what you pay for. Great view over the Cheshire plain towards Chester and the Mersey. Local brews from Weetwood will keep most real ale fans happy- Cheshire Cat, yum. Great place.

3 Jun 2009 13:04

The Holts Arms, Wigan

Dating from 1712 as can be seen on the outside, this timbered old place is definitely the most historical pub in the area. Also referred to as 'T'foot' as it stands at the bottom of Billinge Hill, it's charm extends to the inside which has a low ceilnig, is beamed and full of brass fittings and a piano (although unfortnately a TV is now on top of this!) Interior is cosy wit h a mixture of traditional and modern furnishings, such as leather couches, but this doesn't detract from the atmosphere. One long bar serves distinct areas at the front. To the rear is a restaurant room, and although there is an emphasis on food (as with many such pubs these days) it is still also very much a drinkers pub. The pub also sports a bowling green, not something many pubs in the area can boast. The real ales are from the Marstons/Jennings range and are generally pretty well kept. Definitely worth a visit if in the area.

3 Jun 2009 12:56

The Masons Arms, Atherton

Roadside pub on the Wigan road that doesn't seem quite sure what it wants to be. It's nice and traditional with an L-shaped bar serving a few rooms, one with a pool table to the left of the pub. To the right as you walk in there is a small, smart area reserved for diners that doesn't really seem in fitting with the rest of the pub- usually I'd identify this with country pubs but it seems out of place round here. Cask ales were advertised but were unfortunately the two pumps were turned around on my visit, although I doubt there's a great call for cask here. It's a pleasant, traditional place and with a bit of work could be a good boozer.

3 Jun 2009 12:42

The Parr Arms, Warrington

Of Grappenhall's two pubs this is the more intimate and traditional. Situated in a fine spot on the cobbled main street next to the classic village church and near the canal, it has tables at the front that offer a great view in summer. Inside it's quite unspoilt, with a central bar serving a front and back room, the front room has a fire. Plenty of little pokey alcoves to explore and bric-a-brac. Deuchars and Black Sheep were available on my visit and were very quaffable. It offers good Sunday lunches and other food but is less geared towards this than the neighbouring Ram's Head. Popular with locals and passers by, this is a classic English counry pub.

3 Jun 2009 12:37

The Rams Head Inn, Grappenhall

Large airy pub in this picturesque village that is quite impressive with it's sandstone frontage and pillars. Inside it's spacious and food-oriented and therefore popular with diners. Food is decent pub grub and reasonably priced The large bar at the rear is set out akin to a restaurant, although there's still an attempt at creating a rustic, pubby feel. The front is more catered towards drinkers with an unobtrusive TV screen and various seating arrangements. Drinks wise, there's usually 5 real ales available from the usual suspects, and these are generally from the larger brewers but usually in good condition. Large car park at the rear. Not a bad pub but not a must.

3 Jun 2009 12:33

The Basset Hound, Thingwall

True enough about the limited beer range, but limited is better than none. My Old Speckled Hen was in good nick anyway. It's a Vintage Inn place I think, and I would rate it slightly above most food chain pubs. It genuinely feels historic, unlike most similar pubs. with wood panelling etc, although it's open plan. No pictures of basset hounds funnily enough, just old pictures of the Wirral. The standard of food is pretty good for the price too. For a classic pub you'd want to head down the road to the Fox and Hounds, but in view of the latter's limited food serving hours, you could do worse than to visit here too.

2 Jun 2009 12:58

Royal Oak Appleby, Appleby-in-Westmorland

Not sure about the comment below-this is the only listing for this pub that I can find!

Anyway, this is a fine-looking old stone-built coaching house on the road into Appleby, it's very long and part of the pub is given over to accommodation. Inside the pub is smart (nice carpet, leather furniture etc.) and food-oriented, although its character hasn't been compromised- still lots of partitions and low beams. Food is moderately priced but worth it-very good. The brilliant Hawkshead Bitter was on sale on my visit- and I enjoyed it. also Black Sheep available. Service friendly and polite. A good bet for something to eat in Appleby.

1 Jun 2009 12:56

The Swan Inn, Cockermouth

Pleasantly traditional pub that I rate as my favourite in town.Several rooms, low beams, real fires and a friendly welcome, and although the beer selection can't touch that of the Bitter End down the road, the ubiquitous Jennings is a fine pint here. Definitely worth a visit if in Cockermouth.

1 Jun 2009 12:50

Tan Hill Inn, Keld

Famously remote moorland boozer that resists the urge to go all touristy, despite its status as the highest pub in England. Classic location is complemented by flagged floor, low beams and real fire. Signs warn of 'altitude sickness' causing the staff to be prone to bouts of insanity- this seemed to be the case on my visit! All good-natured though. Black Sheep always available but i tried the house ale, which was very good indeed. Worth the trip even if you're cautious about tourist trap pubs.

1 Jun 2009 12:48

The Bridge Inn, Adlington

Traditional canalside boozer that attracts a lot of trade from the marina over the bridge, as well as passers-by. It's generally an open-plan layout, with friendly staff and locals. also a gas fire, sky sports and a pool table. Nice beer garden at the back overlooking the canal. Jennings Cumberland and Robinsons Unicorn available, the first was in good nick. Also some well-received bar snacks on the bar, such as sandwiches and sausage rolls. A decent boozer, worth a visit if in these parts.

1 Jun 2009 12:45

White Bear, Adlington

Large, airy pub on the main road with an emphasis on cheap pub grub and a large beer garden. There is one long L-shaped bar to your right and a more traditional room to the left with some points of interest such as a Victorian fireplace. There is another room at the back with a pool table. It's quite smart without being clinical- definitely feels like a pub- and there's a good atmosphere throughout. 4 good (if unadventurous) real ales- Bombardier, Directors, Speckled He nand Greene King. Not a bad pub to include if visiting the pubs of the town.

1 Jun 2009 12:42

The Old Post Office, Shrewsbury

Classic timbered building like so many in Shrewsbury. It's fairly open plan inside but has a nice courtyard-style beer garden. On my visit two Jennings beers were available, less than some of its neighbours but Cocker Hoop was in good nick. It also offers reasonably priced B&B in cosy little rooms. Service polite and friendly. Can't ask for much more. Spoilt for choice for pubs in Shrewsbury!

27 May 2009 13:15

The Old Castle, Bridgnorth

Yet another great Bridgnorth boozer. Fewer real ales than many pubs in Bridgnorth but still a good pub, and my Everards was in good nick. the front bar has cosy furnishings and a television, whilst a rear room- which is actually a conservatory but doesn't feel as such- has a pool table. A side room has a restaurant in it. Friendly service, good beer, nice pub-worth a visit.

27 May 2009 13:07

Kings Head, Bridgnorth

Lots of locally sourced beers make this a GBG regular in the town. Beautiful timbered building, to the extent that makes the interior seem quite modern, although it's still got plenty of interesting features, beamed ceilings and flagged floors, but rather open plan, and some leather sofas etc. give it a stlyish ambience. Mixed clientele, a young crowd predominantly on my visit. Not far from the Bell & Talbot, Golden Lion and Friars Inn. Another Bridgnorth classic.

27 May 2009 13:04

Friars Inn, Bridgnorth

Decent place which is cosy, with a low ceiling and lots of bric-a-brac, yet has modern furnishings such as the leather sofas. It's a long, narrow pub with part-partitions which add to the intimacy. 4 local real ales available, served with a smile. Seems to attract a younger crowd and has quite loud piped music, didn't particularly put me off but it might some. Also a huge dog! Not a bad place at all.

27 May 2009 12:59

Bell And Talbot, Bridgnorth

In a town of fine pubs, this is unmissable. 5 real ales on my visit, including Batham's, Hobson's Town Crier and Vortex. Every one I tried was great. Love the interior, low ceilings covered with instruments and a real fire. Small room to the left and larger back room are served from a central bar. It's a hub for live music and as such had a bouncing atmosphere on my visit, with 2 decent singers. Conservatory out the back still feels like a beer garden- the exterior brick wall and overhanging trees are still extant, but now have a glass roof to keep you warm. Lots of plants and plastic insects to stare at! This place has a late licence so you could finish a tour of Bridgnorth pubs here- I recommend you do.

27 May 2009 12:56

Unicorn Inn, Hampton Loade

Unremarkable Banks' pub that overlooks a campsite near Hampton Loade railway station, thus making it handy for the SVR and also the ferry. The interior is very basic, just one long room set out with tables to cater for the dining trade, which seemed to be doing quite well on my visit. Also a beer garden at the front. Banks' bitter was it's usual reliable self- decent but nothing special. Which could describe the pub too- not a bad place.

27 May 2009 12:52

The Golden Lion Inn, Bridgnorth

6 well-kept real ales, (mostly from local breweries) and very good accommodation at a reasonable make this a must if you're staying here. Basic, comfortable layout with 3 rooms, 2 front rooms (one with an unobtrusive HD Sky Sports screen), and a back room reserved for conversation. Service very friendly. Another must in a town of great pubs.

26 May 2009 17:58

The Little Pack Horse, Bewdley

Lovely, small. pub, very traditional feel but smart and well-kept. Certainly not 'spit and sawdust' any more. All low beams and wood panels. It has a very good reputation for food and as such booking is advised (see below). Was only able to get a table outside on the decking- not a bad thing on a lovely summer's day, considering the plesant rooftop view. Lasagne was excellent, and the large portion represented great value. A good selection of ales to complement this, Black Sheep and 2-3 guests sourced from local breweries- all in top form. Service excellent. It's out of the way of the town centre- maybe a good thing. Featured in the Good Pub Guide and no surprise, this pub is well worth going out of your way for.

26 May 2009 17:53

The Fox Inn, Bridgnorth

Looks like this pub has just had a refurb- a very modern, open-plan feel, with large open rooms, plasma screens and leather sofas. Starting food service in a couple of weeks. No real ale as yet but it's advertised and there are plenty handpumps so it may well come soon. Pool table in the rear room. OK as it stands, could be worth a look in a few weeks for a better idea.

26 May 2009 17:47

The George and Dragon, Much Wenlock

Fantastic traditional pub in a picturesque village that's well worth going out of your way to visit. It's very cosy and full of low beams, tankards, Victorian fireplaces and other bric-a-brac in the front bar which is the main drinking area. On the ale front there's Wadworth's 6X, Abbot Ale and 3 guests. All the beer i tried was very well kept. To the rear are restaurant rooms that are similarly traditional and unspoilt, with the wall panels featuring old crests and coats of arms. The food is priced at a level you'd think was simple pub grub but it wouldn't be out of place in a top restaurant- one of the best pub meals I've had. All served with a smile. A classic English country pub that I hope to return to.

26 May 2009 17:45

The Kings Arms, Downholland

At one point this vilage had no pubs open, but happily its back to 2 with this pub recently reopening along with the Ship Inn up the road. A basic locals' boozer with some pleasant and traditional interior fittings including a fireplace on the lounge to your right. the lounge to the left seems to be designed to appeal to a younger crowd, with jukebox, quiz machine etc, but it was quite quiet on my visit. Deuchars and Theakstons availalble on my visit, and Black Sheep had run out. The Deuchars was fine. Always good to see a pub reopened and this place is a decent alternative to the food-oriented, though equally good, Ship Inn up the road.

26 May 2009 17:41

The Ship Inn, Haskayne

After a period of decline and subsequent closure this canalside pub is back and things are looking up. It's out of the way but worth a visit if not only for the leafy canalside beer garden, perfect for a summers day. On the real ale front there's two Southport brewery beers, including the excellent Golden Sands, and Tetley's. The pub specialises in good value no-nonsense pub grub and was busy with diners on my visit. There are two real fires and several drinking areas, although the pub is generally open plan. Great to see it back open and doing well- definitely a pub on the up.

26 May 2009 17:37

The Cat and Lion, Stretton

Standard two-for-one pub on the main road out of Warrington and close to the motorway junction. You know what to expect at these places, and it doesn't disappoint. Perfectly good meals for a tenner-good stuff- and unadventurous, if well kept, real ales. Spitfire and Theakstons on here, the former was fine. Unremarkable interior, if you fancy a real pub after your food go to the Ring O'Bells on the other side of the motorway junction. You could do worse than eat here if you're hungry mind.

18 May 2009 11:59

The Bay Horse, Heath Charnock

Country pub that manages to combine a traditional layout and atmosphere with smart modern features, to good effect. Two front rooms and a larger back room, both with access to the bar, which appears to be a mock-traditional stonework job. At the rear there is a restaurant which I would think is an extension. The pub has a good reputation for food which I did not try, though it looked good. Modern fittings including a piled carpet and the bar counter help to make it a smart, contemporary place. A lot of the passing trade was diners, but the front rooms seemed to be mainly made up of locals. 2 Adnams beers and Cumberland available on my visit. Adnams is rare in the area so i had a pint of bitter, which was fine. Close to the Rivington/Anglezarke area which makes for good walking. A good all round pub.

11 May 2009 13:35

Sam's Bar, Wigan

...or the Colliers Arms, as I insist on calling it. Yet another North West pub that has been robbed of it's proper name by this plasticky pub chain. The thing is, it's very much to its detriment as inside it's still very much a traditional pub, with green leather fittings, and rooms off a corridor in typical Northern style. I say 'rooms', as althoguh the pub has been opened out to a degre,, the original layout is easy to imagine. The bar is on the right with a large barrel as a table in the middle of the room. To the left are what would once have been two rooms, now knocked into one but with evidence of previous partition. At the end of the corridors are stairs leading up, which are quite rare and a nice touch. It's fairly busy with mostly local trade and all live sport is shown. No real ale- didn't expect there to be- but prices are well below the national average, at 1.60 for a pint of drinkable Boddingtons. Certainly nothing to go out of your way for, but there are worse pubs around, and despite the crap name it retains the ambience of a traditional boozer.

11 May 2009 13:30

The Dog and Gun Inn, Aughton

Not sure what people find to dislike about it here. True, not one for the party animal but that's what appeals to me- a traditional style local. Never had a problem with the beer- Marston's was fine, although it does smell-nothing new there! or the service, and have had chats with friendly locals. Bad time maybe? I can think of many worse pubs around Ormskirk. Also look out for the parrot!

6 May 2009 15:41

The Bluebell, Smallwood

Pleasant and cosy village locals' pub, unspoilt in typical Cheshire style, although just 10 minutes from Stoke. Four low-beamed and characterful rooms, three of which have access to the back bar. The fourth is a 'family room' quite bare, but with a library full of books (including an interesting compendium of all the pubs to have existed in the Congleton area- well worth a skim). Bombardier (excellent) and Theakston's on offer, as well as Iceberg from the local(ish) Titanic Brewery- also very good. this has earned the pub a well-deserved place in the 2009 GBG. Food on offer is good value and unpretentious pub grub- all under 10. Despite cutting it fine with arrival time we were served in a friendly and professional manner. A good bet if in the area.

5 May 2009 13:53

Lakeside Inn, Southport

Strange place on the main front road that is definitely worth a visit at least once. As noted, it's tiny, pretty ramshackle and run down from the outside, and looks like anything but a pub. but has a cosy, traditional atmosphere within, despite being a little run down. No matter to me- the place is full of character and was pleasantly bustling on a Saturday afternoon. Not a strong emphasis on real ale- as noted only London Pride available (which is something of an anomaly in these parts), so I wondered whether I was wise to order it but I'm pleased to report that my pint was in great condition. Females in our party weren't too keen however- it's rather 'ungentrified', shall we say- and preferred to stay on the back terrace (about twice as big as the pub!) , from whence the views over the Marine Lake are excellent. Not one for the massive real ale fan, but to me worth a visit for the experience. Just 100yds or so from the Windmill. Try it, you might like it.

5 May 2009 13:46

The Rutland Arms, Sheffield

This is a traditional street corner pub that has become somewhat incongruous amongst the modern buildings in an increasingly studenty area near Sheffield Hallam and not far from the station. Note the fine tiling on the exterior. Inside its open plan and always seems very quiet on my visits, even on weekends. Still trading and still dealing in good beer- Landlord was on form and Deuchars also available on my visit. Service nice and friendly. It does need to be rejuvenated in some way, but i dread to think what this might entail in a student area- the inevetable 'refurb' may not be a good thing, so visit while you can.

30 Apr 2009 13:01

Plough, Sheffield

Stone-built village pub in the Peak District village of Low Bradfield. It serves a range of the excellent Bradfield ales from the local brewery. Inside there are two seperate areas. The most interesting- the bar room-is mainly given over to diners- the food here is very popular. It features a very attractive large fireplace and the fire was roaring on my winter visit, only wish I coould have got a seat nearby. The other room is a snooker room with a medium-sized snooker table and is generally more basic. A great Peak District pub that features in CAMRA's Peak District Pub Walks yet is within easy reach of Sheffield. The pub can be reached and combined with the Nags Head at Stacey Bank and the Old Horns in High Bradfield on a walk from Malinbridge- the final stop on the North-Western Supertram branch- which I recommend you do!

30 Apr 2009 12:54

Head of Steam, Liverpool

Massive station pub that has never really fulfilled its potential. The interior is grand and imposing, as you'd expect from a former station hotel. The long bar in the massive main room features 11 handpumps, but never more than 2 or 3 ales are available. The range of guests has improved recently and the beer is generally ok- at one point only Black Sheep was available. Other rooms are very stark and basic, including a pool room next door. There is a daft system whereby you need a code from the bar staff to use the toilet. A plus point is the brilliant view of neo-classic St. Geroge's Hall across the road. Usually quiet in the week and busy at weekends. It's not a bad place really- I'd say it deserved more than its current rating- but as noted its too variable- too many better pubs nearby. Better than Coopers in the station though. OK if waiting for a train.

29 Apr 2009 18:18

Colliers Arms, Kings Moss

Stone-built pub in this small ex-mining village (see the lovely row of cottages opposite) in the middle of the countryside between Wigan and St. Helens, and close to the pleasant walking area of Billinge Hill and Beacon. The pub promises a warm Lancashire welcome and doesn't disappoint. There has been a small degree of opening out towards the rear but the pub still retains its 4 separate rooms, each accessed from a central corridor where the the main bar is. The front left room also has access to the bar and has a great homely fire. sIn this corridor is a library of books to peruse. 3 beers were available on my visit, mostly from the larger breweries- my Black Sheep was excellent. Food is served and the place is renowned locally for the quality, range and value- most main dishes are under 10 and excellent. Some concessions to modernity such as gaming machine and small sky sports TV but these are generally unobtrusive. A great pub.

29 Apr 2009 18:09

Belvedere, Liverpool

Still the same after the refurb, this two-room classic is worthy of any Liverpool visit. Situated in the pleasant Georgian area of the town, with cobbled streets, old fashioned lamps and great architecture, the pub fits in very well. The small, high-ceilinged, but basic rooms are very intimate and the place always bustling. The curved bar and etched glass are good survivors, and the real ales- usually Decuchars plus guests- always on form. The real fire in the lounge room is a classic in winter. Just round the corner from the Philharmonic. A proper Liverpool pub.

27 Apr 2009 14:04

White Lion, Sheffield

An unspoilt gem- pity more people don't know about this pub. GBG listed and only a 5 minute walk from the equally excellent Sheaf View in the south of the city. The interior really stands out- surprised that this pub isn't on CAMRA's National Inventory with it's many rooms and striking features. The beautifully tiled corridor and small bar room to the left of it as you enter is reminiscent of the threatened Coachmakers Arms in Hanley. Off this corridors are other small and character-filled rooms, one of which has a large interior window through which you can see the back of the pub- very unusual. At the back it is more open plan with a jukebox and a pool table, and this is where most people congregate. Beers on offer include Black Sheep and Landlord and a couple of local guests. One of Sheffield's classic survivors along with the Bath- it's out of the way but definitely worth the trip.

27 Apr 2009 13:57

The Sheaf View, Heeley

A little out of the way but believe me it's worth it. 8 beers available, mostly from local microbreweries, as well as range of continental lagers- definitely the best in this part of Sheffield. Tried a couple of golden ales, both in fine form. The pub is pleasant and airy, generally open-plan but with some mock traditional lights fittings and original brewey mirrors etc. on the wall. There is a sepearte conservatory room at the back and an excellent beer garden. The pub was bustling on my visit with football fans but a friendly atmosphere prevails. These days, you cannot actually see the River Sheaf from the pub,despite the name. 10mins on the bus from the centre, or half an hour's walk.

27 Apr 2009 13:51

The British Protection, Stalybridge

Traditional suburban pub that is nevertheless very close to the town centre. As noted Banks/Jennings beers on offer- very good if my memory serves me well. There are two distinct parts to the pub, served by a central bar- a lounge with a jukebox that is generally quieter, and the tap room where the locals generally congregate. When I visited sport was on and there was quite an atmosphere- wasn't sure with being an out of towner but the service was very friendly. Nothing mind-blowing here, but if you've done all of the town centre pubs and fancy another pint you could do much worse. A decent boozer.

23 Apr 2009 13:00

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

Well, popped into the new Castle and I'm pleased to report that the important stuff is generally the same- same beer range, all Robbie's range and Hartley's Cumbria Way- I tried the latter and it was excellent. The layout has not been meddled with- small front bar, and cosy traditional parlour room behind it with dimpled copper tables. Same etched glass on the doors and tiled frontage- all good. The games room at the end of the corridor at the back is still shut but a sign promises that it will reopen.

There is a different feeling though, a definite attempt to 'gentrify'- although to be fair this has generally been done unobtrusively-candles and flowers on the tables, slightly loud piped music- but not bad music mind. The staff and clientele- well, the 2 other punters in when I was- were young and it didn't feel like a regulars haunt anymore. Then again this is a weekday afternoon, so that could change.

Generally still an excellent pub and it's great that its reopened, but I would advise caution with the creeping modernisation- it just isn't 'Castle'!

23 Apr 2009 12:47

The Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield

Agree generally with the comment below. For real ale fans this is a must, as the amount of microbrewed beers available means that the pub can proudly take its place in the Don Valley 'ale trail'- indeed, many may wish to start here, by taking the tram to Langsett Road station, practically outside the pub. However, it does lack atmosphere- it is bare boards and there seems to be very little to look at while you sup your pint, apart from the Sky Sports News screen. This may well be different in summer with the conservatory at the rear- I visited when it was cold and dark and this added to the feeling of starkness. Pub architecture fans will prefer the less well-known Ship down the road, but for the man (or woman) who loves his (her) beer this is a gem.

22 Apr 2009 13:37

The Blind Beggar, Whitechapel

Anyone who comes here expecting to find a bloodstained gangland boozer is likely to be naive and very disappointed. That said, it's not a bad boozer considering the nearby options. Large and open plan with a mixture of mock-traditional and modern fittings- such as couches to lounge on- it's pretty nondescript but the London Pride was in good form. 2 other ales on offer, although I forget which. One large room alongside the long bar, with a large (not real) fire the rear end of the room, and there is a pool room situated at the back behind the bar. Not worth going out of your way for, but not one to avoid either.

22 Apr 2009 12:48

The Swettenham Arms, Swettenham Village

Attractive, rambling pub in the secluded (and hard to reach) village of Swettenham. With the church, it dominates the village, and it is worth the effort to visit. It's a classic country pub, with several low beamed rooms spread out on slightly different levels lengthways in quite a narrow building. Spotlessly clean, including the toilets. Plenty of brass fittings, pictures etc. add to the atmosphere. There is also a very pleasant beer garden surrounded by trees. 5 beers- Black Sheep, Landlord and 3 guests, 2 from microbreweries- tried these and they were in fine form. Service friendly and polite. It's very much a destination for food and gets very busy in the evening, and though it looked very good it was rather out of my price range- circa 16 for the average main course. Still, if you've got the money I'm sure it's excellent. It's handy for walkers and can be considered a classic Cheshire village inn- definitely worth a visit.

22 Apr 2009 12:43

The Centurion, Newcastle

Agree that this is superior to the usual dreary station buffets. The splendour of the tiling is tempered by the modern ambience- one large drinking area, mostly catering for the circuit crowd with leather sofas, plasma TVs, bouncers in the evening etc. As a result it is best appreciated in the daytime. There is a smaller room to the rear of the bar, with the same impressive opulence. Usually 2-3 predicatable real ales availalable , generally kept to a high standard but expensive. Not a must-visit but you can certainly do worse whilst waiting for your train.

15 Apr 2009 18:08

Volunteer Canteen, Waterloo

Classic unspoilt backstreet local in the leafy suburb of Waterloo. It is well described below but I can add that it is worth the trip up from Liverpool if you've the time and inclination.- a 5 minute walk from Waterloo railway station. Welcome very friendly and 4-5 real ales available, mostly from the larger breweries. Attractive green seating and an interesting trophy cabinet as well. Definitely worth going out of your way for.

14 Apr 2009 18:20

The Oxford, Liverpool

Timewarp of a pub that is all the more remarkable a survivor when you consider it's location in the University area of town, close the the University Library. It is very much a locals' pub, but not to a degree that is unfriendly. It looks as though it was once part of a terrace but now stands alone. The bar is small and L-shaped, with a small TV and electric fire in the corner. Old prints of Liverpool and period wallpaper adorn the walls. Two handpumps, each adorned with a Liver bird, are on the bar but unfortunately seem to be out of use-no real ale available here. The parlour room at the back can only be reached through two seperate doors via a corridor, and is served rom the bar by a hatch. It really has the feeling of somebody's living room, with wallpaper furniture to boot. A fascinating survivor that will appeal to the fan of traditional pubs, if not the die-hard real ale fan.

14 Apr 2009 18:14

The Ship Inn, Sandside

Roadside pub on the road between Arnside and Milnthorpe. The pub is typical of a rural tourist-oriented Lakeland pub in that there is an emphasis on food and a limited choice of real ales- Black Sheep and Theakston's Bitter on my visit. I tried the former which was in excellent condition. The pub itself is pretty unremarkable- narrow and with many tables reserved for dining. However, the views from the front over the Kent Estuary and the mountains beyond are brilliant- best enjoyed with a Black Sheep! Didn't try any food but it looked good. Not a bad pub in all.

14 Apr 2009 18:10

Ye Olde Kings Head, Chester

Very attractive pub with a classic tudor exterior in the city centre. the interior is heavily beamed and retains some original features, such as a fireplace and te windows, as noted. Concessions have been made to modernity, such as the small television and the leather sofa-style seating ,but these are the exception and are unobtrusive- they do not spoil the pleasant atmosphere. Popped in this week on an early evening for some food, which represented good value at about 6-8 for most main dishes and went down quite well. Unadventurous/Safe range of ales- Black Sheep, Bombardier and Theakstons'. Tried the first two and they were very well kept. Service friendly and prompt, although the staff had very little to do- the pub was very quiet when I entered, although more people began to trickle in during my stay. I get the impression that this place is suffering from the downtown as it is a fine all-round pub, but nothing in particular stands out in a place such as Chester- perhaps a wider range of beers? I would certianly return again however and would recommend it if you're in Chester.

9 Apr 2009 12:55

The Brewery Tap, Chester

A brilliant addition to the Chester real ale scene, and one that is bound to win plaudits if it continues in this current style. It's rare for a new ale pub to open these days, even rarer for it to be in a fantastic location like this one. The great hall of a Jacobean building is used as the main bar and drinking area, complete with high ceiling, original features, tapestries, candles on the tables etc. that combine to create a brilliant atmosphere. Very evocative. A smaller room with an emphasis on food can be found to the right. A library of beer-related books can be perused near the doorway. There are 8 real ales to choose from, as mentioned 4 from Spitting Feathers and some guests., and my beer was in top form. The place is about 100yds up the hill from the Bear and Billet, also worth a visit. I look forward to my next visit.

9 Apr 2009 12:48

Ma Egertons, Liverpool

Traditional back street boozer a stone's throw from Lime Street station and the Empire Theatre.
It is included in the Liverpool Historic Pub Guide due to its unspoilt nature. The small, simply furnished bar room is on the left as you enter and is often quite busy. To the right is a larger opened out room with some original fixtures and bench seating all around its periphary as well as stools. In here are the multitude of pictures relating to the pubs characterful history as the neighbour of the theatre next door. Sky sports is shown in here on an unobtrusive TV.
This is a pub that will appeal to the traditional boozer lover, however as noted it suffers due to its lack of real ale-if that were rectified it could become one of Liverpool's many classics. As it stands it is definitely worth popping into if waiting for a train if you have done the Crown, Dr. Duncans etc. to death- but real ale fans will undoubtedly flock to those pubs.

7 Apr 2009 18:05

The Railway Hotel, Greenfield

Unspoilt stone-built gem opposite Greenfield railway station, as noted a regular in the GBG. The interior retains distinct areas, all served from a centreal bar. The ale range is varied enough, unfortunately I don't recall what I had but it was more than one ale and all were in good form. What stands out however are the views over the valleys and moors of Saddleworth, which are nothing less than spectacular, particularly from the rear of the pub. Best enjoyed when combined with a trip to the Britannia opposite Mossley station and Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar or even the platform pubs at Huddersfield- this makes for an excellent rail ale trail.

7 Apr 2009 13:05

The Britannia Inn, Mossley

Bustling, friendly place across the road from Mossley railway station. It is fairly open plan and has a pool table, however the atmosphere great and locals very friendly. 4-5 ales on offer, including porters and light beers. I went for Jennings which was on fine form. A very enjoyable experience, I recommend getting a train out there if you're in the area.

6 Apr 2009 12:33

The Q Bar, Stalybridge

Supposedly the pub with the shortest name in the country, and has a plaque testifying to this. Not too sure if this is without the 'The' and 'bar' prefix/suffix. Inside it's fairly open plan and modern, although the exposed red-brick walls are of some interest. Hydes bitter and the house beer, 'Q-ale' both very acceptable. Sky sports is shown and a decent atmosphere prevails. Just beneath the railway station so if you can tear yourself away from the Buffet Bar you could do worse than come here.

6 Apr 2009 12:25

The Ducie Bridge, Manchester

Heavily modernised street corner pub close to Manchester Victoria railway station. It has a small TV and a pool table, jukebox, quiz machine and very loud piped music- all the ingredients of a dreary 21st century bar but still with the name of a pub. No real ale of course and little to recommend it.

6 Apr 2009 12:22

The Ship Inn, Styal

Think the previous reviews are a little harsh judging by my experience. Called in on a Saturday night after visiting Quarry Bank Mill and the village (both recommended). I can understand why many would say the pub feels chainy as all Spirit Group pubs do. Unfortunately it just seems to be the trend these days, and a pub is better than no pub. Bombardier was first class, and was available along with Theakston's. The food was typical pub grub, and the perfectly friendly gave away a 5 for two meals voucher- which represented excellent value considering the choice. Food was fine, hardly restaurant standard but then that's not expected. The pub itself is multi-roomed, and features a few original features from it's history as an alehouse for the purpose-built industrial village of Styal, now a very pretty place. It is heavily modernised, but I would still recommend it for the beer quality and excellent value food.

30 Mar 2009 14:58

The Watermans Arms, Richmond

Very friendly welcome in this cosy, traditionally furnished pub on the way down to the river. Has resisted the tide of 'gentrification' and sports a great fire and a golden retriever, a great topic of conversation in the bar! Youngs beers on good form and Deuchars was available also on my visit. Appears to be a mixture of locals and people who just drop in. Really enjoyed the atmosphere and hope to return.

28 Mar 2009 11:01

The Swan With Two Nicks, Little Bollington

Food-pub in pleasant village which is well-situated for walks and trips to Dunham Massey. The place is long and narrow, with semi-traditional furnishings and a bar room at the front. A good range of beer from nearby Dunham Massey brewery, as well as a very good house beer. Food is moderately priced but has been excellent on both my visits. Doesn't feel like a chain bar to me, just a pub that has shifted its emphasis to food to survive whilst retaining excellent beer. Heartily recommended.

28 Mar 2009 10:52

The Triple Crown Inn, Richmond

More traditional and atmospheric pub than many in Richmond, possibly because the tides of 'gentrification' have been kept at bay. Went just before closing time and it was quiet but not prohibitively so. One long bar and a traditionally furnished room, mostly in red, giving a warm and cosy feel The beer on offer was very good, i plumped for ever-relaible Pride. Not far from the station and a safe bet for a traditional experience and good pint.

28 Mar 2009 10:49

The Grey Horse Inn, Manchester

Not as illustrious as it's equally tiny neighbour the Circus, but this works in its favour as it is less packed whilst being no less worthy of a visit. Only 1 room in here and a longer bar than the Circus, but it's still tiny. 3 Hydes beers available, all in excellent condition and served with a smile. Mostly a locals place but still extremely friendly. There are plenty tings on the walls to keep your interest, and sport is shown on an unobtrusive and small TV above the door. If visiting the Circus, definitely consider this unspoilt pub too.

28 Mar 2009 10:42

The Coachmakers Arms, Hanley

Hope the plans never come to fruition as this is a classic place, described in the guides as a dying breed of Potteries pub. There is a wonderfully tiled central corridor with four rooms leading off it, as well as a hatch giving access to the bar. The bar room to the front left displays the impressive amount of real ales on offer- at least 8, many from local Staffordshire and Cheshire breweries. The room to the front right is cosy and simply furnished and provides for excellent conversation. At the back things are (slightly) more sophisticated with a leather couch and games such as chess, but this does not spoil the atmosphere in any way. Toilets out the back of course! If you visit be sure to sign the petition. A crying shame if the philistines at the council get their way. Indeed, Piloti of Nooks and Corners in Private Eye has written an article about the place.

28 Mar 2009 10:18

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Unassuming exterior in an unassuming location hides a traditonal gem. It is larger than you would think, with a long bar that stretches back to a higher level up some steps. Plenty seating provides for the mix of customers that keep the place busy, especially in the early evening. A great range of beers from London Pride to microbreweries I'd never heard of. The evening food was generous and superb- biggest bowl of soup I've ever seen! Service friendly and prompt. I look forward to returning when next in London.

28 Mar 2009 10:10

Travellers Rest, Alpraham

Definitely like a trip back in time. Most country pubs stopped beng like this long ago and put an emphasis on food, but not here. this is definitely a drinkers pub. 3 real ales available frm local breweries, Cheshire Cat was as good as ever. The myriad of rooms, with two completely separate parts of the pub and decor can't have changed in 50 years, and the clientele is mostly local and male, yet a friendly atmosphere prevails. The toilets are a must! Darts and other games are played. Deservedly on CAMRA's National Inventory of pub interiors, it is a must for those who seek a true traditional pub experience.

28 Mar 2009 10:06

The Alvanley Arms Inn, Cotebrook

Attracive and traditional looking pub in a pleasant spot by the A49. Covered in ivy at the front, and behind it is a large lake with all sorts of birdlife. Inside the pub does not disappoint, with a traditional multi-roomed layout, fire (fake, unfortunately) and low beams, as well as plenty knick-knacks, many relating to horses.There's a strong emphasis on food as with many traditional country pubs these days. The service was friendly and efficient and the food was superb, representing great value for money. Ale fine, as long as you like Robinson's- Unicorn and Double Hop both on form. I would recommend it to anyone in the area seeking a traditional atmosphere and good food.

28 Mar 2009 10:02

The Post Office Vaults, Burslem

Tiny one-roomed pub opposite the impressive Ceramica museum. There are 7 real ales to choose from, many from local breweries, and the place is mostly frequented by locals. Nevetheless, the atmosphere is friendly and there are newspapers to read with your pint if you don't want to join in. Definitely worth a visit in a town that is becoming a destination for ale lovers.

19 Mar 2009 13:07

The New Oxford, Salford

Committed ale pub with a modern ambience, which rose from the ashes of the old Oxford. It is located in a pleasant square just off Chapel Street, Salford's main thoroughfare. It is 10 minutes walk from Manchester city centre and 5 from Salford Central railway station. Handy for combining a visit with the nearby Crescent and King's Arms also. The decor is very modern- leather sofas, polished floors, etc, and as such it isn't a must visit for he traditional pub enthusiast. However, the range of beers from local breweries and also European lagers is outstanding, and it is well worth a trip in this respect. Always busy due to its quality, and in summer it's nice to sit outside on the square. Recommended.

12 Mar 2009 16:59

The Ferry Tavern, Penketh

Classic pub in an unlikely spot near Fiddlers Ferry power station which is visible from much of Cheshire and South Lancashire- the power station not the pub! It is best reached by the canal towpath, situated as it is between the Sankey Canal (unnavigable) and the River Mersey, just on the Lancashire side. As such, it's great for walkers and cyclists doing the trans-pennine trail, and can be incorpoated in a walk from Warrington to Widnes. However, it can be reached from Penketh over the level crossing and canal bridge. The pub has reputedly been here for centuries, and gets its name from a ferry service that operated for people to cross the river. The inside is highly traditional, with a long bar and several rooms leading off to each side, each filled with plenty of interesting memorabilia. There appeared to be an upstairs area which was closed, and also a large beer garden affording picturesque views over the Mersey, which must get busy in summer. Sunday afternoon trade was bustling on my visit, good to see. Great choice of ales, at least 4 which I hadn't encountered before and friendly service, i plumped for a blonde one which I forget the name of, but it was in fine form. I recommend that you seek out this pub if in the area, you will not be disappointed.

11 Mar 2009 14:10

Crown, Liverpool

Excellent value beer at this majestic pub right next to Lime Street station. 1.20 a pint is amazing these days, and the environment and atmosphere here ensure that this is no Wetherspoons-type experience. Be sure to check out the plasterwork on the ceiling and the sumptuous exterior with it's original brewery signs. Although the pub has been opened out, it still retains separate drinking areas, including a back rom with a similarly impressive ceiling. Upstairs there is a separate (and less remarkable) restaurant area, although food can still be consumed downstairs. 4-5 ales to choose from, including Cains and Tetley Bitter which are as cheap as chips. The food too is very cheap and served all day, and although it's nothing special still represents excellent value for money. A few concessions to modernity- quiz machines etc.- don't detract too much from the ambience. Unsurprisingly, it's always busy with a mixed crowd. Well worth a visit.

10 Mar 2009 17:33

Blackburne Arms Hotel, Liverpool

This pub has struggled a bit recently and I understand it has had to shed its 'gastro-pub' reputation. This may be a good thing, who can tell, but I know it seemed to have picked up again on my visit on Saturday. It's a pleasant place in a lovely area of town, full of old-fashioned lamps, cobbled streets and, of course, briliant boozers. Inside there is one large drinking area with pleasant upmarket features such as chandeliers, etc. It has a modern feel without any loss of character, which is a rarity as far as I'm concerned. A (very good) band was playing and the place was buzzing. About 4-5 ales on and mine was excellent, I forgot which I had! Good to see it pick up again and I hope this state of affairs continues

10 Mar 2009 17:27

The Olde Vic, Stockport

I think the pub should keep the exterior it has as then it remains more of a secret, albeit a somewhat open one! Good to see a street corner local this bustling on a Saturday night, this place is packed with character and has an excellent ambience. Be prepared for an interesting welcome from the landlord. No swearing!

2 Mar 2009 14:16

Palace, Leeds

A reliable place to come to eat if in Leeds. The varied menu sells a variety of British classics all day at very reasonable prices. There is a good selection of beer too, one of the best ranges in the city centre, with several guests available. Layout is generally open plan but with a traditional, friendly feel. Located by the church on the edge of the city centre, just down the road from the Duck and Drake and 10 minutes walk from the station.

27 Feb 2009 12:49

The Old 13th Cheshire Rifleman Corps Inn, Stalybridge

Famous for being the longest pub name in the UK, but this place looks like it's seen better days. Up on a hill in a residential part of town, the service was friendly enough but no real ale and the place looked to be in need of a tidy up. Very quiet on a Saturday afternoon. Pool table and Sky Sports.

26 Feb 2009 12:55

Stamford Arms, Stalybridge

Late review from Sept 08. Just up the hill from the bus station. Popped in in the daytime and it was quiet but the landlord was very friendly and talkative and more than happy to change the channel when asked. 3 main rooms with a central bar, the back room has great views over the town. Judging by the decor and posters etc. it looks like it turns into more of a rockers' bar later on in the evening.Old Speckled Hen on draught when I visited, but a couple more handpumps were turned round. Worth a pop.

26 Feb 2009 12:53

Gathurst Station Inn, Shevington

Station bar in this semi-rural spot on the outskirts of Wigan. It's usually pretty quiet as it's a bit out of the way, but easily accessible by train. Nearly all the stations on the Wigan-Southport line have a pub either next to or on the station, and a crawl can be made along the line. Pleasant enough interior with pool table and real fire in a seperate room off to your right, but a brief flirtation with real ale seems to be over. If they brought it back it could have a lot of potential.

26 Feb 2009 12:42

The Two Tubs Inn, Bury

Historic old inn in a pleasant area of the town centre that has some distinguished buildings and is 100 yards away from the steam trains at the East Lancashire Railway station. It is a Thwaites house and sells their range, Lancaster Bomber was OK on my visit but not excellent. The interior is multi-roomed with low beams and the works and makes for a pleasant wander, but the open-plan area at the back looks like an extension to me. This is where the food is served and very good it is too- traditional hearty pub grub at excellent value. A few deadbeats in the daytime but easy enough to escape that due to the multi-roomed nature of the place. Worth a visit if in the town.

26 Feb 2009 12:34

Barton Arms, Stablefold

Ember inns place offering very good food at great value. It's located on a new housing estate just by the centre of this picturesque, historic village and accessible from the Bridgwater canal. 3 ales available, all in fine form- 2 'safe' or 'unadventurous' ales, depending on your opinion (Black Sheep and Landlord and a guest from a microbrewery. It was very busy on a Saturday night but the atmosphere was good.
Not one for the architecture connoiseur with its modern interior and furnishings, but all in all a good experience.

23 Feb 2009 13:10

Brickmakers Arms, Wigan

Tardis-like Thwaites pub where it feels like it could be 40 years ago once you step through the door. The bar on the right is mainly populated by older locals and there are two seperate rooms off to the left, one with a pool table. It gets very busy on match days, being 15 minutes walk from the JJB stadium, just over the canal. There is an array of Wigan Athletic memorabilia on the walls. Usually only Thwaites Original real ale available but it's normally in great nick. A proper traditional Wigan boozer and worth popping into if you're supporting a visiting team as the atmosphere is very friendly

23 Feb 2009 13:05

Robin Hood, Orrell

Very cosy place round the corner from Orrell station, rather incongrous in this residential area. There are two main rooms, each with low ceilings and fires which creates a pleasant, cosy atmosphere. Usually a couple of ales to choose from- usually Black Sheep and a guest (many rare in the area, such as Fullers).The good value food is renowned locally. Gets busy in the evenings.

17 Feb 2009 18:19

The Scotch Piper Inn, Lydiate

The oldest pub in Lancashire (The real Lancashire that is, not the council area that masquerades under the same name and covers approximately half the area), this place is unmissable. The thatched roof, heavy oak door and tiny windows give you an idea of what is inside. To the left is the tiny bar counter, more like a hatch, with usually 2-3 real ales. Brains was in good form on my visit. The floor here is flagged and a real fire burns in the corner in winter. To your right is a corridor leading to two more heavily beamed rooms, the far one also with a real fire, and furnished very tastefully in mid-20th century style. All of this helps give the pub its deserved place in CAMRA's National Inventory of pub interiors. The atmosphere here is always tremendous, and it gets quite busy later on at weekends. It really is worth going out of your way for. About 10 miles north of Liverpool just off the A59, and accessible by bus. Go!

16 Feb 2009 13:29

The Blue Bell, Ormskirk

Not really in Ormskirk, this is located on the Maghull-Southport road to the west of the town. The area has many good pubs and all seem to be suffering from the downturn at the moment. Called in early on a Saturday evening and the place was very quiet apart from a few locals around the bar. It's a pleasant old country inn with lots of bric-a-brac and a lovely, warming old coal fire. It's mostly open-plan with an L-shaped bar. Small gripe wou Good value, no-nonsense grub is prepared and served by the cheerful staff. GBG 2009 listed, Moorhouses 'Pride of Pendle' was avaialable on my visit and was very acceptable. Definitely worth a visit if in the area, but as noted most people are likely to be driving by, unless you combine it in a walking trip to the soon-to-be-reopened Ship at Haskayne.

16 Feb 2009 13:23

The Sweet Green Tavern, Bolton

Traditional boozer just across the road from the station in an area of retail park anonymity. The selection of ales is very wide, probably the best in town, and contrary to previous reports I haven't had a bad pint in here, although I don't doubt it can happen. It's a rambling place with a pleasant interior- green leather seating and several distinct areas, including a secluded room tucked away behind the bar area. There's a fire that is nice in winter and a pool table- whether that's good or bad is a matter of opinion. One to head to if waiting for a train.

4 Feb 2009 13:19

The Man and Scythe Inn, Bolton

Probably the 'must-visit' pub in Bolton, this pub dates from the Middle Ages and feels like it. There are several distinct rooms and a flagstone floor, and the pub is full of historical items. Always busy, there are usually 3 or 4 real ales to choose from, including Black Sheep (quite rare on this side o't'Pennines!) and I've never had a bad pint. Look out for the Thatcher's cider that everybody in here drinks, it looks like orange juice and quite patently isn't! Only problem is that this pub is slap in the middle of the weekend 'circuit' and the journey to and from it can be less than pleasant.

4 Feb 2009 13:13

The Barony Bar, Edinburgh

Good looking New Town pub adorned with large mirrors from old breweries and a nice tiled wall, although open-plan. The atmosphere was pleasant and the fire is a nice touch in winter. Several ales to choose from, in fine form on my visit Didn't try the food but it looked good. One of the better pubs in the area.

4 Feb 2009 13:05

The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield

Great selection of beers that should cater for every palate. Absolutely packed with all kinds of clientele, as it is well located in the trendy part of the city. It's not one to come to for atmosphere though, as it's a bit barn-like and, as noted, slightly redolent of an upmarket Wetherspoons, without the deadbeats. But all in all a safe bet for a good pint.

4 Feb 2009 13:03

The Old Horns Inn, High Bradfield

This is the only pub in the picturesque village of High Bradfield, although there are others nearby which I intend to add once pubs are being added again. It features in CAMRA's 'Peak District Pub Walks' and rightly so. It is a rare Thwaites outlet in the area, and serves a range of their beers, including the excellent Wainwright, Bomber and Original. On Sunday we popped in during a walk and had a magnificent carvery. The service was friendly and the atmosphere very pleasant, but what stood out for me was the view over the Grade 1 listed parish church and the valley below from the back windows. Can't fault a thing from my visit.

4 Feb 2009 12:58

The Grand, Bishop Auckland

Easily the best pub for real ale in Bish and the one to visit. It's slightly out of town and up a hill but worth the trek! A great choice of real ales and friendly atmosphere in a classic old building, although the interior of the pub is now open plan. Recommended.

29 Jan 2009 12:44

The Tap and Spile, Darlington

Not been in for a couple of years but this was always the place to end up in town on a Saturday night due to its late licence and availability of decent real ale. There was always a decent atmosphere and plenty young people in. Occasional gigs and music nights upstairs too. Hope it's not gone downhill too much since then.

29 Jan 2009 12:40

The Cluny, Ouseburn

Large, rambling place in a converted warehouse in Newcastle's trendy Ouseburn area. The place is a cultural hub used for many things, including live gigs, art events etc, although these take place in seperate rooms that are open at certain times so don't interfere with drinkers. The bar room itself is quite large and furnished in a modern style, and definitely always busy at the weekends, usually (but not exclusively) a younger crowd. There is a great selection of real ales from across the UK and a high turnover. They also do good food. In summer it can be pleasant to sit outside on the grass under the railway viaduct, and there are many other real ale boozers nearby. An essential part of the burgeoning Byker pub scene

29 Jan 2009 12:33

The Marlborough Arms, Chester

Pleasantly understated little pub just off Chester's main drag. Nothing remarkable, but that works in its favour as it definitely has more (mature) locals in than tourists, but the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Just the one small, narrow room with a bar, and a couple of real ales were available on my visit. Not the best in the city but certainly not the worst.

29 Jan 2009 12:25

Bailie Bar, Stockbridge

New town boozer that lies just below street level. It's quite large but very cosy- the large bar takes up quite a section of the pub. Nice roaring fire too and a great atmosphere. 3-4 real ales on tap and a few papers to peruse- perfect for a lazy afternoon. A very pleasant experience.

26 Jan 2009 18:08

The Hazel Pear Inn, Acton Bridge

Village local with several rooms including a seperate (rather spartan) eating area off to the side. The food is freshly prepared and very good value, whilst there is a decent selection of 3-4 real ales. The back room has a pool table but this doesn't infringe on the rest of the pub. Right next to Acton Bridge railway station (certainly not 1.4 miles away!)

26 Jan 2009 18:05

The Britannia Inn, Darlington

Lovely traditional boozer that is very cosy and welcoming. It is just outside the town centre ring-road so away from the late-night booze circuit. On a weekend night it is busy but not overwhelmingly so. Usually a few good ales on and feels like it hasn't changed in decades. If you're after for a proper pub in Darlo, make it here.

26 Jan 2009 18:02

The Quaker Coffee House, Darlington

Hidden place up a back alley away from the main square. It has the best selection of ales in Darlington, but lacks that proper pubby feel-as the name suggests you might say. Also I get the unmistakable feel that it's rather cliquey. That said, it's not a bad place and is a safe bet for a good pint in decent surroundings. Unmissable for ale fans in the town, but for a more traditonal experience head to the Britannia.

26 Jan 2009 17:59

Tiles Cafe Bar, Edinburgh

Lovely sumptuous tiled interior but more of a continental-style cafe bar than a pub, i.e. restauranty in the day and a circuit place at night. No real ale. Having said that, on my visit the Italian food was fantastic and very good portions. If they could put a couple of real ales on they could be onto a winner here.

26 Jan 2009 17:56

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

A wider selection of ales than its more illustrious neighbour help to make this place equally worthy of a visit. There are beers available from all over the UK and a great range. On my visit, beer from Cornwall was available, very rare in Scotland. As you can see, it's also a very handsome place. The ornate plasterwork on the ceiling is a particular draw. The pub has one large room centred around the L-shaped bar, with a seperate restaurant area upstairs. Revolving door is an interesting feature though! Edinburgh has many unmissable pubs for the ale drinker and this is one of them.

26 Jan 2009 17:54

Fitzgeralds Newcastle, Newcastle

Very nice interior, a rarity with new bars but the Fitzgeralds chain usually know what they're doing. Decent selection of local and national ales, usually 3 0r 4 to choose from, and the location on impressive Grey Street is hard to beat. One of the better city centre boozers.

26 Jan 2009 12:33

The Old Queens Head, Sheffield

Oldest pub in Sheffield, but the interior is pretty standard and modern. Usual Thwaites beers in decent nick, sport, food served in the day. Was reasonably busy on my visit on a Saturday. Not a bad place to wait for a train but nothing to go out of your way for, despite the heritage.

26 Jan 2009 12:28

The Greyhound, Darlington

Truly traditional pub about 100yds from Darlington's impressive Victorian station. There is a bar and a lounge, and you get the feel the place hasn't been altered in decades, not a bad thing. The availability of real ale has been variable on my visits but there is usually at least one on. On the whole I would recommend this place above any of its neghbours.

26 Jan 2009 12:26

The Black Bull, Haltwhistle

I just hope the brilliant atmosphere of this pub hasn't been ruined by the takeover. The low beams, bric-a-brac open fire, small library and all round friendliness of the place was amazing, as was the wide variety of ales and excellent food. At last orders it was possible to take jugs of beers home with you. It was easily my favourite pub in these parts. I shall revist and post again.

26 Jan 2009 12:22

The Rat Inn, Anick

When I visited the food was fine, we had a nice sunday lunch. Feels very much like somebody's living room, newspapers etc., and very cosy. Some good real ales available. A proper country pub.

26 Jan 2009 12:19

The Dipton Mill Inn, Hexham

Proper pub perfection, brilliant during a stroll due to its secluded location. It can be hard to find but it is definitely worth doing so. Great local real ales and food is apparently brilliant, although i didn't try it. One of the best pubs in the North East

26 Jan 2009 12:18

Kay's Bar, Edinburgh

Hidden gemand one of my favourites in the new town, if not the city. Tucked away down a residential street, it doesn't share the same high profile as, say, the Cumberland or the Oxford bars and is all the better for it. A great selection of ales, many from Scottish microbreweries, is complemented by a great atmopshere and friendly welcome. The interior is cosy and traditional, with a small fire and a quiet 'library' room at the back, with a bookshelf full of interesting tomes to peruse. Absoultely great in the winter to relax with a fine pint and have a warm.

24 Jan 2009 12:09

Lounge, Sheffield

Small, trendy late bar on a trendy street full of students and other trendy people. But unlike most trendy places, this place isn't too busy, has a reasonable atmosphere and a couple of real ales in good form were available on my last visit. Wouldn't rate it as a must visit, but it's a good bet for a late drink after the pubs have shut. Expensive though.

24 Jan 2009 12:06

Doctor Duncans, Liverpool

Full range of Cains available at this flagship pub just across the road from Lime Street station. But the real reason to visit has to be the awesome room off to the right of the bar with its marble tiling and pillars. Although not in CAMRA's NI, this is one of many architecurally superb pubs in Liverpool, and always worth a visit.

19 Jan 2009 15:01

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

Liverpool Beer Mecca. Astounding array of beers from around the globe, and probably the best choice in a city that styles itself (with some justification) the Real Ale Capital of Britain. Doesn't look much of a pub from the outside but don't be fooled. The interior has been pleasantly refurbished with seperate drinking areas around the island bar and plenty of wood, but a modern feel. Try the Scuse of an evening -top stuff.

19 Jan 2009 14:59

Memphis Belle, Westbrook

Better than it's rating suggests. I dont hold out much hope when entering retail park pubs so this was a pleasant surprise. It's primarily an eating place, but the food was freshly prepared and varied, including an all-you-can eat carvery. Decor was modern but pleasant inside and the usual 'plastic' ambience of pubs in these types of locations was absent. 3 real ales too- including ones that are scarce in these parts, such as Young's bitter. All in all a pleasant experience.

19 Jan 2009 14:52

Mother Macs, Manchester

Cosy place that isn't as rough as its location down a dingy back alley would suggest. It wasn't too busy on a Friday night-just right, I'd say. Varied clientele here. Only one small L-shaped room around the bar, plenty seating and a good atmosphere. Only gripe for me is that the real ale was off, but all in all a good experience.

19 Jan 2009 14:49

The Colpitts Hotel, Durham

The better of the two Sam Smith pubs in the town, although trickier to find. Usual bargain beer in a comfy, traditional environment. Multi-roomed pub with a main bar, a snug off to the left and a pool room at the back. Generally attracts a more mature crowd. One of Durham's best.

14 Jan 2009 13:20

Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham

Traditional, mulit-roomed boozer at the top of the hill that generally attracts a more mature crowd rather than students. Just opposite the Angel, and nothing like it! Some nice interior fittings and interesting bric-a-brac inside, as well as real ales in good condition. Sky sports available on the TV. Worth the climb up from town,

14 Jan 2009 13:16

The Woodman, Birmingham

Must say I was underwhelmed on my visit, for a pub that is on CAMRAs National Inventory and a constant in Beer Guides it fell a little flat. Beer was OK but it was a bit empty and rather Royston-Vasey like for a Birmingham pub. Think a few aborted attempts to modernise have been made where they shouldn't, i.e. wine-bar style couches in back room. Not terrible, but nothing out of the ordinary.

14 Jan 2009 13:14

The White Star, Liverpool

Best pub on Mathew Street, possibly the only real traditional boozer left there, with the rest trying as hard as possible to appeal to the tourist hordes. Fine interior with a mosaic floor, attractive bar and several distinct drinking areas including a large back room. Usually 4 or 5 real ales to choose from, many from microbreweries. Can get very very busy at the weekend. Unfortunately the large Bass mirror on the wall was smashed and has been replaced with old prints of Liverpool! Not sure about scallies but never felt a particularly bad atmosphere here.

13 Jan 2009 18:40

The Tap and Spile, North Shields

Good to hear that this place is still doing well. Whilst always a great boozer with a very wide selection of ales, it seemed to be getting rather run-down. Hope the redecoration hasn't compromised the place's character.

13 Jan 2009 18:33

The Tynemouth Lodge Hotel, North Shields

Great traditional boozer on the main road between North Shields and Tynemouth town centres. The building stands alone next to the park, and has an attractive tiled exterior and two seperate drinking areas. Usually a good selection of local ales to choose from, all in top form on my visits. Probably best accessed from Tynemouth metro station but can be reached from Shields as part of a crawl up the road.
N.B.This pub is in North Shields, not South Shields. Confusing address!

13 Jan 2009 18:31

The Hotspur, Newcastle

Great selection of real ale, about 7 or 8 to choose from, which is the best around Haymarket, but somehow lacking in atmosphere. Don't know if that's because it's been opened out so much, or if it's the abundance of widescreen TVs or what. Not bad at all, but feels like it should be better.

13 Jan 2009 18:28

The Black Bull, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Basic boozer on Barrack Road just across the road from St. James' Park. A bit rough and ready and no real ale, however it does get packed on matchdays. At least it hasn't been 'gentrified' like the Strawberry.

13 Jan 2009 18:24

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

A must-visit pub for reasons that are well-documented, but you do have to wonder if they're getting complacent- the toilets are very smelly and the beer range is often very limited. That said, if these minor gripes can be resolved this will resume its place as one of the finest pubs in the country. Service efficient, food good and reasonably priced and quality of beer good. Go!

8 Jan 2009 13:09

The Black Bull, Mawdesley

Brilliant. Wonderfully cosy and traditional, there is a choice of 4 ales and reasonably-priced fod throughout the day. The side room off to the right with its real fire and low beams is particularly worth visiting, but the rest of the pub is excellent in its own right. Dates from the Middle Ages

8 Jan 2009 13:06

The Brewery Tap, Liverpool

Formerly the Grapes (one of many pubs in the city to have borne this name at some point) and beneath the impressive Cains' Brewery, this isn't a place to come if you don't like the brew- only Cains' availble. That said, there's a decent enough selection to keep most palates happy. It's often quiet, with a pleasant, traditional interior that has been opened out a little. A bit out of the way from other Liverpool gems, but worth a visit if you're visiting the Cathedral as it is only a 5 minute walk from there, and about 10 minutes up to the Baltic Fleet.

8 Jan 2009 13:00

The Sheeps Heid Inn, Duddingston

The rating still doesn't do this wonderful place justice. Went in before Christmas and the atmosphere and service were superb. Extremely comfortable by the big leather armchair by the fire and I didn't want to leave. 'Sheep Heid Ale' was fantastic and so was the food. The Christmas tree and decorations went perfectly with the bric-a-brac and nooks and crannies to create one of the cosiest pubs I've ever been to. Well-documented in guidebooks but still out of the way enough to be considered a find. An absolute must if climbing Arthur's seat.

6 Jan 2009 18:15

The Grapes, Mathew St, Liverpool

A decent late pub to go to- open til 3am, always packed, friendly, good music and sells real ale unlike most bars on Mathew Street.

30 Dec 2008 18:04

The Bartons Arms, Aston

Edwardian drinking palace surrounded by a forbidding high rise estate. This is worth the walk or bus ride from the city centre, don't be put off. The building dates from 1902 and the tiled interior is spectacular. Oakham ales and also some guests, my light beer was in top form. The pub also functions as a Thai restaurant with a seperate eating room. This does not affect the pub's ambience at all, testified to by the deserved place in CAMRA's National Inventory of historic pub interiors so don't be put off by that either. The previous incarnation has only been going since 2003 after a long period of closure but seems to be very popular despite its geographical drawbacks. A must.

30 Dec 2008 17:55

Dog and Gun, Keswick

No surprise to see this place up at the top. Full of character in a lovely town, low beams, flagstone floor, and always packed to the rafters with walkers and tourists, so you'd definitely need to book if you waned a table. A wide range of fine local ales on offer- the Lakeland microbreweries are amongst the country's best-and served in a proper beer jug! Plenty good pubs in Keswick but make this one a priority.

30 Dec 2008 17:46

The Dog and Gun Inn, Aughton

Very friendly locals pub in this affluent area to the south of Ormskirk. the pub is of interwar stock and is largely unspoilt, with two seperate drinking areas, a real fire and a good choice of ales-4 or 5 to choose from. The front of the pub can be noted for its excellent floral displays. Within walking distance of Aughton Park railway station and easily accessed from Ormskirk and Liverpool- and well worth it.

17 Dec 2008 14:05

Fagan's, Sheffield

Excellent traditional survivor on a busy thoroughfare on the edge of the city centre. It looks somewhat dingy but the atmosphere and welcome are very friendly. There is one traditional, comfy main bar room and a back room where music is often played. As you enter the pub there is a door to the right giving access to a splendid little snug. I went for the Moonshine ale which was on top form. Not a million miles from Kelham Island and worth going out of your way for.

17 Dec 2008 13:57

The Craven Arms, Birmingham

Agreed, lovely place with great exterior and pleasant interior. But it was almost dead and the quality of the ale was poor on my visit. Then again it was a weekday early evening. Hope it can survive and turn around a bit.

21 Nov 2008 01:15

The Pendle Witch, Atherton

Friendly one-roomed pub that used to be two cottages. Long regarded as the best boozer in Atherton and for good reason-stocks the whole Moorhouses range, always on top form. Pool table and a mixed clientele, and extremely friendly staff. Hidden away down a ginnel off the main drag, but hardly a secret. Recommended.

21 Nov 2008 01:12

Old Isaacs, Atherton

Large, 3-roomed pub on Atherton's main drag. Recently renamed (used to be the Wheatsheaf) and done up -very tastefully I might add, a rarity these days. The bar area is mostly open plan but two moderately sized side rooms as you enter are the highlight. These rooms are furnished very nicely-all dark wood panelling, snob screens around the tables and a pool table in the room to your right. Usually 2 or 3 cask beers on offer, always been on good form when I've visited. Not tried the food but it looks good. Friendly staff and clientele, good atmosphere. A badly-needed decent, civilised pub in Atherton, and one to give the Pendle Witch a run for its money. Well done.

21 Nov 2008 01:09

The White Hart Inn, Ellesmere

Lovely, truly traditional pub in the heart of Ellesmere, a true hub of the community and also popular with canal boat visitors. No piped music or distractions, just good conversation. Landlord (who was temporary anyway during my visits to the pub) holds some dubious views but each to their own. Recommended.

20 Nov 2008 02:00

The White Hart Inn, Ellesmere

Lovely, truly traditional pub in the heart of Ellesmere, a true hub of the community and also popular with canal boat visitors. No piped music or distractions, just good conversation. Landlord (who was temporary anyway during my visits to the pub) holds some dubious views but each to their own. Recommended.

20 Nov 2008 02:00

The White Hart Inn, Ellesmere

Lovely, truly traditional pub in the heart of Ellesmere, a true hub of the community and also popular with canal boat visitors. No piped music or distractions, just good conversation. Landlord (who was temporary anyway during my visits to the pub) holds some dubious views but each to their own. Recommended.

20 Nov 2008 02:00

The White Hart Inn, Ellesmere

Lovely, truly traditional pub in the heart of Ellesmere, a true hub of the community and also popular with canal boat visitors. No piped music or distractions, just good conversation. Landlord (who was temporary anyway during my visits to the pub) holds some dubious views but each to their own. Recommended.

20 Nov 2008 02:00

Bob Trollops, Newcastle

One of my favourites during my student days, the myriad of atmospheric rooms and passageways sets it apart from the cloned rubbish that constitutes the Quayside. Good food on offer at reasonable prices, and a good jukebox.

Downside? Only one real ale on- Ruddles County, at least until last year- and it's not cheap either.

20 Nov 2008 01:49

The Bank, Manchester

Bank conversion with the usual impressive splendour of an interior- marble, pllars, etc. This place has the inevitable feel of a chain (M & B) about it, but despite this it's not bad at all. The interior is complemeted by a good selection of real ales- 6 handpumps on my last visit- and pub grub at a reasonable price. Nice neo-classical fronatge too. Nothing amazing, but all an all a good experience.

20 Nov 2008 01:43

The Athenaeum, Manchester

Lovely building, crap beer. No real ale on, looks like one of the bank conversions fashionable some years ago. But doesn't really compare to the likes of Old Joint Stock in Birmingham, Counting House at Bank etc. A missed opportunity really. Still, better than All Bar One around the corner.

20 Nov 2008 01:40

The Waterhouse, Manchester

As has been stated, probably the best of the numerous Wetherspoons in Manchester, not that that's saying too much. Multi-roomed and a decent selection of beers, but that can't help shake that chain bar feeling. Not one to avoid, unless you hate Wetherspoons, but pub connoisseurs would be happier in the City Arms or Vine even, just next door.

20 Nov 2008 01:37

The Seven Oaks, Manchester

Semi-traditional, semi- 'locals'' boozer in Manchester's Chinatown. Decent real ales on offer, but loud music a bit off-putting. Not a bad place, but equally not worth going out of your way for.

20 Nov 2008 01:33

The Egerton Arms, Salford

Traditional Northern boozer right by Salford Central railway station. Central bar serves two distinct rooms, one with a pool table. Holt's house so the usual cheap, reliable real ale. A rarity when one looks at the sad state of Chapel Street , with its multitude of closed boozers.

20 Nov 2008 01:29

The Crescent, Salford

Thank God it's survived. This fabled emporium of Marx & Engles is now a haven in this underwhelming area near Salford University. Popular with students and real ale fans, it looks grim from the outside, but give it a go. you won't be disappinted. In terms of the decor and layout it's best described as 'eclectic', and I hate that word. Several rooms though. About 6-8 ales to choose from, many from microbreweries. Only a 15 minute walk from Manchester city centre.

20 Nov 2008 01:26

The Duke (of York), Holborn

Clearly not much of an emphasis on ale as both handpumps were off on my visit on a Saturday afternoon. The back of the place was reserved for diners, although the pub was very quiet. The food did look very good, but expensive. Not a bad atmosphere, but the main reason to come here would be the 1930s Art Deco interior, complete with original flooring and chairs- one of the few such pubs surviving in central London apparently. Worth popping in.

16 Nov 2008 20:39

The Blue Blazer, Edinburgh

Great traditional place with a fine selection of ales and interesting layout. Comfortable atmosphere too. Only problem when I went was that the toilets were a bit smelly but I'll see that as a one-off. Looking forward to returning

16 Nov 2008 20:32

The Union Rooms, Newcastle

I generally tend to avoid Wetherspoons but this place is the exception. Lovely, multi-roomed interior including a grand sweeping staircase and some brilliant views over the grade 1 listed railway station if you're dining upstairs. Usual average Wetherspoon's fayre, but a decent selection of beers from local breweries. Cheap and always packed. One to head to if waiting for a train.

10 Nov 2008 17:58

The Light Horseman, York

Traditional, multi-roomed pub with some classic original fittings-note the ornate back bar wall-but despite this the place manages to combine this with modern furnishings to give it a feeling not unlike a hotel bar. The beer is decent though-Thwaites-and there is a pool table in the back. A decent pub, but not a must-visit when in York.

10 Nov 2008 17:53

The Marble Arch, Manchester

With up to 12 handpumps this street corner gem of a brewpub offers the best range of ales in the city-something to suit all tastes, including novelty choices such as 'Ginger Marble'-very different, but nice. The tiled walls and floor are wonderful to look at, giving the pub a deserved place in CAMRA's National Inventory of pub interiors and the ambience is fantastic-always busy. Excellent food is served at reasonable prices- again, up there with the best the city has to offer. A bit of a walk from the city centre but it's a must if you're in Manchester, and there are other good pubs nearby so you can make a decet crawl. Only problem is, the place is now surrounded by soulless yuppie flats-but you don't notice when inside. Go there now!

9 Nov 2008 19:13

The Angel, Manchester

Very different from its previous incarnation as the Beer House, but at least it's still here. The ales were a decent selection and were up to standard. Possibly trying a bit too hard- candles on tables and food looked a bit pretentious-but like I say it's a decent enough place to pop into for a pint. Glad it's reopened.

9 Nov 2008 19:07

The Crown and Cushion, Manchester

Old-fashioned street corner local with pleasant enough interior. It's on the edge of the city centre, just 2 minutes from Manchester Victoria and probably a better bet than the nearby Ducie Bridge. A mixture of regulars and students/yuppies from the new flats across the way. Pool table and big screen. Holt's bitter cheap and acceptable enough. Nothing to go out of your way for, but not a bad pub at all.

9 Nov 2008 19:04

The New Bridge, Newcastle

One of my favourites in Newcastle. Owned by the Sir John Fitzgerald chain of pubs, so you generally know what you're getting. Open-plan, but refurbished very nicely recently in traditional style- dark wood and green leather seating, etc. Always a selection of decent local ales and often free bar snacks. As noted it can get busy butnever overwhelmingly so. It is a good place to watch sport or to pop into after work if you're heading this way.

1 Nov 2008 14:42

The Globe, Newcastle

Yes, the pub is still down to earth, traditional and has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere-unless anything drastic has happened in the last 12 months. It has refused the temptation to modernise unlike other pubs in the area- The Ship at the Ouseburn springs to mind, yet it isn't as terrifying a prospect as the Shields Road pubs. The ale quality was pretty variable though, if I recall correctly. If they can sort that out it could become a classic.

1 Nov 2008 14:31

Uisge Beatha, Glasgow

When I visited last year I found this pub to be up there, certainly in my top three of pubs in the city- and we got through a lot! Very cosy and fascinating interior, rambling through several areas. A number of real ales although this is primarily a bar noted for its whiskies. There is plenty of interest within, it was quite busy and seemed to attract a mixed clientele. A general good all-round atmosphere, and much better than this rating suggests- perhaps it has improved considerably lately?

1 Nov 2008 13:57

The Golden Ball, York

Possibly my favourite pub in York. It feels more like somebody's house than a pub, and a bonny one at that. The interior is interwar, with a snug, vault, and 3 seperate, differently decorated rooms (all splendidly traditional) on different sides of the building, as well as a traditional outdoor toilet and very pleasant, enclosed beer garden. For this it is deservedly on CAMRA's National Inventory of unspoilt pub interiors.

Not too many tourists in here as it is off the tourist trail, but still only a 2 minute walk from the famous City Walls-well worth walking in their own right. Pickled onions available at the bar as well as a choice of 4-5 ales. Eternally fascinating bar billiards available for 50p a go- but to address the previous comment, it isn't the only table in Yorkshire as there is one in the Marton arms near Ingleton. Note that the pub is not always open during the daytime.

Not too far from The Swan and the Ackhorne, two other gems in this city of excellent pubs.

31 Oct 2008 19:46

The White Swan, Digbeth

A few yards down from the Anchor, this traditional place is also on the CAMRA National Inventory due to it's interesting layout- central bar with a small back room reached by a side corridor- and tiled interior. The place is very friendly, and the ales here are more than acceptable. I was starving and didn't expect any food to be on offer, but I was wrong- nice cheap pies! This is one of the best areas in Birmingham for pubs and the White Swan helps make it so.

27 Oct 2008 14:27

The Tyne, Newcastle

A great boozer, worth taking the detour out of the city centre for, as it is located in the Ouseburn Valley, which is flourishing into a Mecca for real ale lovers. Indeed, the choice here is more varied than the city centre. The pub is located where the Ouseburn flows into the River Tyne. It takes about 10 minutes to get to this place from the Quayside. The jukebox is excellent if I remember correctly, and the beer selection great. The beer garden is superbly located under a viaduct carrying the road across the valley-no getting wet here then! Very loud and busy when live music is on, but a great atmosphere with it.

27 Oct 2008 14:17

Vale Inn, Bollington

A fine pub in a nice location of terraced houses on the road north out of Bollington. As noted it is handy for the canal and also the Middlewood Way walking trail from Marple to Macclesfield. The beer garden is detached from the pub, about 50yds up the road beneath some trees. As noted there is a good selection of ales, and the menu looked good too although i didn't eat anything. The place itself is cosy, with low ceilings etc, although the layout is open-plan and modern. Newspapers and magazines to peruse with your pint.

27 Oct 2008 14:12

The Canalside Cafe, Birmingham

This is a great, quirky little place in a fantastic location. A pub, cafe and restaurant all at the same time As noted, the vegetable soup is brilliant- and huge-, and there are also a couple of ales to try, although my one gripe would be that they were both in poor condition on my last visit. Still, I will consider that a one off. Newspapers, and nice fire that is pleasant in the winter. Lovely!

20 Oct 2008 21:29

The Shakespeare Hotel, Middlesbrough

Although the frontage remains, this has been a shop for a long time.

20 Oct 2008 21:07

The Cumberland Inn, Carlisle

This is a traditional pub on CAMRA's National Inventory, chiefly because it is the only remaining example of the Carlisle State Management scheme which saw all pubs in Carlisle nationalised from the First World War up until 1972 or thereabouts. That said, although the interior is pleasant it is rather underwhelming by NI standards, and, as previously noted, real ale does not seem to be a priority. That said, the Deuchars that is normally on offer is usually up to standard, and this is by no means a bad place- especially considering the surrounding options. This is a nice pub to come to if waiting for a train, being about 100yds from Carlisle's impressive railway station, although passing the alcopop drag of Botchergate can be off-putting.

20 Oct 2008 20:58

The Lamp Tavern, Birmingham

A proper boozer. What I like is the atmospheric environment in which the pub can be found, in the industrial warehouses of Digbeth, 10 minutes walk from the City Centre. This area is unspoilt, sorry, unaffected by 'progress' and the wine bars, yuppies and cheap fizz that comes with it. No lager louts or posers in here. I visited on a cold foggy evening and what a pleasure it was to receive the warm welcome and excellent beer that I did. A small place that is a bit off the beaten track and none the worse for it. Worth taking the detour if visiting the Anchor or White Swan.

20 Oct 2008 20:36

The Crown, Manchester

Not a pub, more of a bar, with late licence, banging music and the works. There are real ales though, albeit nothing out of the ordinary.

20 Oct 2008 16:15

Corbieres Wine Cavern, Manchester

Bit of a misnomer-there's nothing pretentious about this hidden gem, nor is there a focus on wine. Whilst feeling more like a bar than a pub, it is not devoid of character. It doesn't attract the usual alcopop-sipping posers, rather people who like their music and beer. Great jukebox and 3-4 ales to choose from. Decent food served throughout the day too. More somewhere to go in the evening though if i'm honest, when it starts to get more of an atmosphere. Go there-if you can find it!

20 Oct 2008 16:10

The Berkeley, Wigan

Large pub on the corner of King Street and Wallgate that tries to be everything to everbody. In fairness, it largely succeeds, as despite being a circuit pub later on, it is certainly in a different class to most of the surrounding bars. It has one of the best beer ranges in Wigan with many beers from outside the region which are rarely seen round here. Most major sporting events are shown, there is food in the day and it gets very busy later on. Worth a pop if waiting for a train in the daytime, or if doing a crawl in the evening- if the inevitable mass drunkenness outside doesn't faze you.

20 Oct 2008 13:42

The Last Orders, Wigan

A slightly less traumatic experience than Harry's bar down the road. Which means avoid.

20 Oct 2008 13:38

Harry's Bar, Wigan

Truly dire pub at the top of the King Street vomit trail. Filled with the workshy and whimsical at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon drunkenly belting out karaoke classics. Reportedly accepts 'beer tokens' given to alcoholics as well as Sterling. A shame because it is a nice building, and gains national recogntion each year for hosting the Wigan Pie-eating Championships, which isn't in itself a bad idea. Walk straight past this place.

20 Oct 2008 13:37

Harlequin, Sheffield

Can't understand the last comment, this pub was very busy on a Saturday night when I visited with people of all ages. Great selection of ales and boardgames to occupy yourself with if you are so inclined-why not? Not particularly poorly located as it is about 5mins walk from the centre and handy for starting a pub crawl up the Don valley.

20 Oct 2008 13:27

The Ship Inn, Sheffield

Only one ale on- Hardy & Hansons- but was very nice. Nice old building, particularly the beautiful tiled exterior, and quite busy. Had no problem with the service whatsoever. Pool table located out of the way at the back. Worth including on an ale-trail crawl inbetween Kelham Island Tavern and Wellington.

20 Oct 2008 13:25

The Wellington, Sheffield

Great place, lots of ales, good atmosphere. Can't add much more that hasn't already been said other than it's a good place to pop into for a pint on your own as it has a range of Private Eye and Viz magazines to chuckle away to.

20 Oct 2008 13:21

George IV, Sheffield

Large pub wih two big rooms around a central bar, located slap-bang in the middle of the 'ale-trail'. There were three beers on offer when I went on a Saturday night. The Bombardier was vinegar so we were happily given advice on other drinks to choose, which were much better. Strangely empty, nay dead, at 10.45pm on a Saturday compared to the surrounding pubs. Pool table in the back room.

20 Oct 2008 13:19

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

One of my favourites in Liverpool, this highly traditional multi-roomed is always busy, and with good reason. It is just off Hardman Strret in a part of town that has superb pubs on almost every street. Friendly welcome, unspolit surroundings and excellent beer. There is also unpretentious pub grub on offer at times. It has appeared in every edition of the GBG. Arrive early to get a seat!

20 Oct 2008 13:16

Baroque, Sunderland

This is a nice looking establishment, very different with plenty nooks and crannies, but more a bar than a pub. Selection of beer quite poor- no real ale- but I remember the food beign decent. You can do worse in Sunderland, but ale lovers should head to Fitzgeralds up the road.

14 Oct 2008 23:27

The Borough, Sunderland

I came in here several years ago, and remember that it stood out from the rest of the surrounding establishments on the dreary alcopop drag. Sunderland's best pubs aren't in the centre, but judging by the more recent comments this is one of the best. A few ales to try, which in itself isn't too common in the centre.

14 Oct 2008 23:24

The Bridge Hotel, Buttermere

Nice place with a lovely stream running by into the lake outside, and stunning views right from the doorstep. Lots of walks available that could finish here. Good selection of beers and the food looked very good, didn't try it myself. Ale served in proper pint pot- great! Expensive though, even for the Lakes.

13 Oct 2008 18:24

The Kings Arms, Hawkshead

Civilised pub that looks over the main square of this beautiful Lakeland village. The beer here is top-notch, even by the area's high standards-Hawkshead Brewery produce a fine pint. The food is not cheap but excellent- delicious, large portions. You certainly get what you pay for. Service good too- although the tables were fully booked, you are allowed to eat outside with its great views. Real ale, a real fire and real barstaff in a real English picture-postcard place.

13 Oct 2008 16:46

The Silverwell, Wigan

Handsome, unspoilt street-corner boozer in typical Holts' style- very large, airy and spacious, with high ceilings and several rooms to drink in, rather redolent of the brewery's Manchester and Salford outlets. The pub is about 10 minutes walk from Wigan town centre in an area that is not noted for its pubs. But this one is the exception, the service and the beer (Holt's bitter) is always good. Pool table in the back room and piped music.

13 Oct 2008 16:42

The Kings Head Inn, Carlisle

One of my favourties in the city, a great place to sit and wind down with a good pint. Always a decent selection of real ale, a friendly welcome and a great location in the historic heart- this is one of the best pubs in the City centre.

1 Oct 2008 01:06

The Sun Hotel and Bar, Lancaster

Great place. It's not particularly rustic or charming, but it retains all the essential elements of what a pub should be about, i.e. a civilised place to consume great real ale and food. It is in an attractive area of Lancaster near the castle, and has a modern feel. Beer range comes from local sources and was on top form on my visit. Beer served in a pint pot-always a plus in my book! If in Lancaster, make it a priority.

1 Oct 2008 00:53

Colliers Arms, Wigan

I forgot to add, the pub has been in every edition of the Guide, certainly the only pub in the area that can boast this.

29 Sep 2008 23:09

Colliers Arms, Wigan

As unspoilt as pubs get, this plain white building is on the main road out of town towards Aspull and was built in c.1700. It can hardly have changed since. There are two bars to either side when one enters, both filled with bric-a-brac and traditional photographs of Wigan. The beams are low, giving the place a extremely cosy feel, probably best in winter although I haven't visited then- I look forward to it. and I have found the locals to be unfailingly friendly. The service too is excellent, a proper landlord. The only gripe that some might have is that there is usually only 1 or 2 handpumps in operation at any time-although as the ale is invariably excellent this cannot be seen as too much of a drawback. Unfortunately this gem is just a little too far out of town to be included on a crawl of any sort (or perhaps that's a blessing), but the casual visitor will not be disappointed. As good as it gets in Wigan.

29 Sep 2008 23:08

The Black Lion, Ellesmere

This is the most upmarket of Ellesmere's pubs, and specialises in food that is both tasty and good value ,considering the size of the portions. The interior is cosy and inviting, and there are 3 or 4 ales to choose from, all of which were in good form on my visit.

29 Sep 2008 17:56

The Loggerheads, Shrewsbury

A proper pub for proper people. Deservedly on CAMRA's National Inventory of Pub Interiors, it can't have changed in decades. Several rooms with ancient wood panelling, rustic old seating and narrow corridors, topped off by a good selection of real ales. In a area of good pubs, this stands out.

29 Sep 2008 17:48

The Yorkshire House, Shrewsbury

Excellent, every town should have a place like this to go to after 11pm. Good selection of ales, good music and friendly, 'alternative' clientele combine to create an excellent atmosphere in a cosy pub which is in a picturesque spot by one of Shrewsbury's many churches. Just a shame you can't drink outside, as it does get stuffy, but that's probably a sensible precaution to be honest. Plastic glasses maybe? Shrewsbury has many great pubs and you could do worse than to ensure you add this place onto the end of your crawl, as it is still in its prime well past midnight.

29 Sep 2008 17:46

The Barn Owl Inn, Lymm

Had a pleasant meal on a Sunday afternoon here. Beer was fine- the local Cheshire IPA from Dunham Massey. There were a few others to choose from. Food was decent and wasn't a bad portion either, and the views are fantastic, it was great to sit beneath the willow by the canal watching the narrowboats and wildlife. Didn't see any of the undesirables that the last review mentioned, perhaps they visited at a bad time?
Most tables seemed to be reserved, so they must be doing something right. Only gripe wold be that the service wasn't lightning-fast but it was quite busy. Would certainly return.

29 Sep 2008 15:58

The Cumberland Arms, Tynemouth

The interior is rather run-of-the mill after having seen the beautifully-preserved frontage- open plan and rather disappointing, with a chainy feel to it. Still, this is a decent pub with a good variety of local ales. The food is standard pub fodder but they do serve most of the time so you can do worse than to pop in here.

29 Sep 2008 12:58

Cradlewell, Newcastle

Poor relation to the Punch Bowl next door, this place is usually quite quiet. There are a few locals but the pub is too dominated by quiz machines and students to feel like a true pub. Usually a couple of ales on but there are better places to go in Jesmond.

29 Sep 2008 12:53

The Minster Inn, York

One of my favourite York pubs, and God knows there are many to choose from. This is slightly off the tourist route and is none the worse for it, never too busy but never dead either. Superbly unspoilt, there are three traditional rooms and a vault, all attached to a central corridor where the bar is. A good selection of ales and traditional pub games feature. The gents are outside-always a welcome touch, though come December I may change my mind! It is just behind the walls and handy for the park.

25 Sep 2008 21:46

The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester

This is a good place to eat in a city that is underwhleming in terms of pub food options. It is housed in the Shambles area of two pubs-as mentioned countless times before in these reviews. The beer is expensive but high quality, the food however is good value with large portions given, and I found the service to be fine. The upper rooms are reserved for eating and are full of character, with low beams (some exceptionally low-about 5ft!)and great views of Exchange Square if you get a seat. It is handy for the shopping area, Victoria station and the MEN arena. This isn't a must-visit pub if in Manchester but you can certainly do worse, and the proximity of Sinclair's makes it worth including on a crawl.

18 Sep 2008 20:49

The Raven Hotel, Wigan

The sister pub to the Bowling Green on Wigan Lane- they were built at the same time by the same architect, but there the similarities end. This is a circuit pub, offering karaoke, the works. Usually one unadventurous ale to try. There are some nice interior fittings, but the frequently blasting music and close proximity of far better pubs means this place is pretty missable.

12 Sep 2008 18:58

The Bulls Head, Wigan

The best pub on this side of Wigan, it is located on the A49 main road about a mile south of the centre and half a mile south of the JJB stadium. It's a local pub but friendly with it. Good atmosphere and quite busy on a Sunday afternoon with newspapers for punters and football on the telly. 3-4 real ales available, Copper Dragon was in fine form as ever, and an excellent 'pie and a pint' deal on any draught bitter for 3. Pie was good too- they'd never get away with serving poor pies in Wigan!

12 Sep 2008 18:54

The Station Sports Bar, Appley Bridge

Awful plastic name, why can't they just call it 'The Station'? But it's not too bad a place, open plan and, as the name suggests, on the Wigan-bound platform of Appley Bridge station, so handy if you've a wait. Plenty sports screens of course, and usually a real ale on, from the local Prospect brewery when I visited. Was a bit dead on a Saturday afternoon.

12 Sep 2008 18:49

Lord Crewe Arms Hotel, Blanchland

Popped in here a couple of years ago after a long walk to this picturesque village. The beer was good and the service incredibly friendly and excellent- I only had enough money for half a pint but was cheerfully poured a full pint! My friend was given a glass of coke for free! Wonderful service and a very nice atmosphere. You can sit inside and admire the olde-worlde charm or sit outside in the beautiful village. Can't fault it.

7 Sep 2008 19:20

The Ring O' Bells, Overton

Fantastic place just up the hill from Frodsham town centre and on the Sandstone Trail so handy for walkers. The interior is wonderfully cosy and the seperate drinking areas are full of character, with bric-a-brac, low ceilings, original fittings etc. 3 or 4 ales to choose from and Black Sheep was on top form. Well worth the 10-minute walk up from Frodsham, and the Bull's Head next door is also highly recommended.

7 Sep 2008 13:52

The Grapes Hotel, Eccles

Massive place, not too far from Patricroft railway station. Superb interior and many rooms, as stated similar to the Lamb and also the Royal Oak, these three being remarkable survivors from Holts' Edwardian pub-building heyday, which makes Eccles a must-visit place for admirers of traditional pub architecture.

7 Sep 2008 13:40

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

Well I for one certainly can't complain about the service. I was served immediately and also paid 3 for sausage and mash (bargain). When I realised that I couldn't wait any longer for it as I would miss my train I told the barmaid to give it to somebody else, but I was immediately refunded, which I wouldn't have expected. Pub was rammed as ever but I had no problem getting served, and beer was on top form. Maybe some other visitors just had the misfortune to visit on an 'off day', but this is as brilliant as ever in my book.

7 Sep 2008 13:33

The Stanley Arms, Eccles

Cosy and welcoming with a splendid interior and good beer. Eccles isn't short of pubs liek these and is well worth a visit (providing you like Holts'!)

1 Sep 2008 00:11

The Hare and Hounds, Crowton

Popped into ths place whilst desperately looking for somewhere to eat late on. They'd finished serving but still managed to get an excellent pie and mushy peas together at a very cheap price. The beer was good and the atmosphere very cosy and convivial. I would recommend this place to anyone in the area.

20 Aug 2008 13:16

Station, Orrell

Constantly opening and shutting. A nice enough place and with stability it could have the potential to be a good local. In the meantime, if in the area go to the excellent Robin Hood around the corner.

20 Aug 2008 13:06

The Crown and Anchor, Manchester

My preferred Crown and Anchor in Manchester. Nice interior and mixed clientele, but off the beaten track so not too packed or full of posers. Pool table and 3-4 decent- if unadventurous- real ales. Frequently had buffts giving away free sandwiches and pies- yum!

19 Aug 2008 22:43

The Pineapple, Stockport

Old-fashioned, no-nonsense boozer, as is the style in Stockport. Just up the road from the Crown so worth including on a crawl that includes Heaton Lane.

19 Aug 2008 21:25

Crooke Hall Inn, Standish Lower Ground

This well-located pub by the canal has recently been taken over by local brewer Allgates (who run the excellent Anvil in Wigan town centre) after years of mediocrity. The inside has been renovated and there are 4 or 5 Allgates beers on handpump. Jukebox and pool table. Handy for walks on the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

19 Aug 2008 20:52

Bulls Head, Overton

I really enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon reading the papers in this place with it's great location up on the hill from Frodsham just before the wooded ridge. The Copper Dragon was brilliant as ever and the ambience fantastic. The food must be good too as it was fully booked.

19 Aug 2008 18:52

The Dog Inn, Over Peover

Famous eating pub in this pleasant rambling village. The beer (Copper Dragon) was on top form on my visit and the food was excellent and varied, with generous portions. It is spacious and cosy at the same time. The Peovers are blessed with many fine pubs and this is one of them.

19 Aug 2008 18:45

Ring o' Bells, Lower Stretton

Great place on the Warrington-Northwich road just south of M56 junction. No jukebox, games machines etc, just good beer and chat in a rural location. The two side rooms off the bar are beautifully kept and very cosy. A proper pub.

19 Aug 2008 17:40

Boars Head Inn, Standish

This is reputedly the oldest inn in Lancashire and 2nd oldest in the country, and its cellars were once used for convicts on their way to the gallows at Lancaster prison. These days, it's rather less morbid, and is teeming with character inside- exposed beams, fire, tankards and bric-a-brac. Always a few ales including Jennings but is generally quieter than would be expected most of the time. Still, always worth a venture if you're in the area.

19 Aug 2008 17:30

Cherry Gardens Hotel, Wigan

Large, popular, recently renovated pub at the roundabout on the A49 into Wigan (Wigan Lane). The food and beer are usually to a high standard. The pub gets very busy when sporting events are on and at weekends.

19 Aug 2008 17:27

Cherry Gardens Hotel, Wigan

Large, popular, recently renovated pub at the roundabout on the A49 into Wigan (Wigan Lane). The food and beer are usually to a high standard. The pub gets very busy when sporting events are on and at weekends.

19 Aug 2008 17:27

Fox and Goose, Wigan

Busy two-roomed boozer with a slightly rougher edge than the rest of the popular 'Wigan Lane' circuit. Good for football and rugby and usually two ales on at any one time. Karaoke (argh!) some days of the week

19 Aug 2008 17:25

The Bowling Green Hotel, Wigan

Friendly multi-roomed local on the 'Wigan Lane' circuit with seperate vault, pool table, log fire in winter and a beer garden. Changing range of guest ales too makes this amongst the best pubs in Wigan.

19 Aug 2008 17:22

Railway Tavern, Hoscar

Traditional rural location next to the railway station makes this an easy one to get to. Warm cosy atmosphere, pleasant surroundings and cheap pies makes this worth the trip from Wigan or Southport. At least 3 ales on on my visit, Black Sheep in top form.

19 Aug 2008 17:20

Millstone Hotel, Wigan

Small traditional local with Continental beers and Thwaites' on handpump. There are often bar snacks or free pies to be had. It gets busy when Wigan rugby/football are playing.

19 Aug 2008 17:17

Bel Air Hotel, Wigan

The bar here (known as Wilf's bar) is good value and in a very pleasant location surrounded by trees and fields. No real ale but the Guinness is good.

19 Aug 2008 17:16

Fifteens of Swinley, Wigan

Whilst a shadow of it's former self in it's 90s heyday, the pub that is still known to everybody as Gems isn't a bad place. It it usually quiet enough to watch the football or rugby and has recently expanded. Usually a couple of handpumps operational at any one time.

19 Aug 2008 17:11

Charles Dickens Hotel, Wigan

Watch the tumbleweed float past as you enter the bar. In serious need of renovation, there are far better pubs nearby.

19 Aug 2008 17:09

John Bull Chophouse, Wigan

Of Wigan's two 'alternative' bars, this one is more geared towards the older crowd. Popular with bikers, the jukebox is the stuff of legend- don't bother trying to get anything on it when the pub is packed! It is a ramshackle place on two levels with parts dating back to the 1600s. Once upon a time it was jam-packed on a Saturday night, but now the crowds generally assemble in front of the pub in order to smoke, leaving more breathing space inside. There are a variety of Continental lagers and two Thwaites' handpumps. One of the best pubs in Wigan and one of the few places in town on a Saturday night that doesn't destroy your faith in humanity.

19 Aug 2008 17:07

Tudor House Hotel, Wigan

Busy, busy late bar, a stalwart of the younger 'alternative' crowd. A million miles away from the flesh market that is King Street, it is a friendly place near the bus station. A little dark and dingy, but this adds to its charm, as does the range of eclectic furnishings. It stocks a variety of Continental lagers as well as 2 or 3 real ales. The jukebox is connected to a server in London and has over a million songs-there's not much you can't get on here, but at 1 a pop its expensive! There are large beer gardens for smokers. Frequently hosts live acts, poetry evenings etc. One of the best places for a late beer in Wigan, and the place to come to experience Wigan nightlife that isn't likely to end you up in the infirmary.

19 Aug 2008 17:03

Old Pear Tree, Wigan

This was once a CAMRA regular noted for its fine ales and good food. However, it let its standards slip somewhat during the last five years, resulting in a period of closure. The good news is that it is up and running again and looking good. It has been refurbished whilst maintaining its cosy atmosphere under the low roof, with the main bar and a vault There are currently 3 or 4 ales to choose from. Hope this place can return to its glory days soon.

19 Aug 2008 16:53

Mount Vernon Hotel, Liverpool

A nice interior, no real ale, bit of a rough-edged feel to the place. Not necessarily a bad thing. The Guinness was up to scratch on a Saturday afternoon.

19 Aug 2008 01:29

Dyvel's, Corbridge

Food and beer excellent on my visit a few years ago. Handy for the station too.

19 Aug 2008 01:28

The Victoria Hotel, Durham

A wonderful place in a beautiful city. I don't really see how anyone could find fault with this place.

19 Aug 2008 01:21

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

As good as the hype suggests. Try to go in the week when the labyrinthine downstairs is open.

19 Aug 2008 01:11

The Dover Lock, Abram

Nice pub with a couple of ales and large beer garden, but as previously noted, it's on the edge of a rough estate so don't expect a 'real ale' crowd.

19 Aug 2008 00:30

The Red Robin, Wigan

Typical soulless retail park drudgery.

19 Aug 2008 00:27

The Mount, Orrell

This is hotel that is more restaurant than pub. It is however excellent value for money- 2 meals for 10 when I went. It is spacious and comfortable and there are always 4 or 5 ales to choose from.

19 Aug 2008 00:26

Swan and Railway, Wigan

This is a nice pub with a classic unspoilt interior- mosaic floor, several rooms etc. But in terms of its beer it's on the slide, there are about 8 handpumps but only 2 ever seem to be working. Also seems to be attracting dubious types from the grotty pubs up the road. Food used to be good and truly excellent value- about 3 for sausage and mash. I haven't tried it for a while, so not sure if this is still the case. It's definitely worth a visit, but I hope it can pick up again soon.

19 Aug 2008 00:16

Anvil, Wigan

Has just been done up in rather dubious lurid colours for some reason (purple walls!?) but still the business regarding beer, sport and atmosphere. A must if in Wigan.

19 Aug 2008 00:12

The Millstone, Manchester

Smelly place full of deadbeats when I visited last year. True, it's traditional enough, which I like, but in bad need of some TLC.

19 Aug 2008 00:05

The Ship Inn, Lathom

Now a Cains' pub, so no longer a place for a variety of ales. Whilst this is by no means a bad pub in a great location, the general consensus is that it's on the slide a bit. Hope this can be reversed soon.

18 Aug 2008 23:47

The River View, Birkenhead

Went in here upon finding that the Dispensary next door was closed-as is often the case these days. Average pint of Cains in what is a nice pub, full of bric-a-brac with fantastic views over the Mersey to the Liverpool skyline. The service was good too- we asked for the channel to be changed on the TV to watch football and this was promptly done. The only gripe- and it's a biggie- was the sheer volume of the cheesy dance music that was being played in what was a practically empty pub on a Saturday afternoon. With a few changes this could be magnificent.

18 Aug 2008 23:36

The Milecastle Inn, Haltwhistle

Surprised at the previous review. I found this to be a welcoming place in a very remote spot. It's a very cosy place and worth seeking out if staying nearby. Mind you it was very quiet when I visited so can't really comment on the service.

18 Aug 2008 23:23

The Free Trade Inn, Byker

This pub has one of the finest views in Newcastle, and some of the most interesting/disgusting toilets, depending on your point of view (graffiti literally covers the walls). It is intentionally scruffy, and perhaps less self-conscious than some of the other pubs on the now-trendy Ouseburn circuit. The only drawback, as previously mentioned, is the eyesore of a tower block that has been erected next door and is completely out of kilter with its surroundings. how i hate this 'gentrification' and town planners, who are attracted to water like flies to proverbial. But this shouldn't spoil your visit.

18 Aug 2008 22:18

The Cumberland Arms, Ouseburn

This is a fine old-bare boards place with a brilliant view and good selection of beer. There is a small 'library' of books in the corner and live music is hosted regularly. The clientele ranges from older regulars to wannabe-Bohemian posers, inevitable given the 'gentrification' of the Ouseburn i suppose.

18 Aug 2008 22:12

The Stork Hotel, Birkenhead

Certainly the finest pub on the Wirral, and worth the trip across from Liverpool if you're a beer tourist. The interior and exterior are sumptuous- for an idea, think of the Lion at Moorfields. Very different place though. Cumberland was on decent form on my visit. Just a few minutes' walk from either Hamilton Square or Conway Park railway stations.

18 Aug 2008 22:06

Lochside, Newcastle

Solid enough post-war estate pub. Doesn't look particularly attractive from outside A couple of real ales and decent atmosphere in this large place.

18 Aug 2008 22:02

The Albion Inn, Chester

This is a superb pub. It isn't difficult to conform to the standards expected by the management here. Indeed, this pub harks back to the days when we were rather more civilised, and such behaviour is expected here. If this is beyond you, then don't bother. The decor, service, food and drink are all exemplary. Well done.

17 Aug 2008 22:24

The Spread Eagle Hotel, Lymm

This is a large, rambling pub in the centre of this pleasant village. The food is good value and high quality. I visited on Sunday afternoon and there was a decent range of Lees' beers available. I would recommend this pub.

17 Aug 2008 22:16

Chetwode Arms, Lower Whitley

I would agree with both of the previous comments here. This is a beautiful pub and is well worth a visit, certainly better than its current rating. The interior and cosy little rooms and nooks are soemthing else, and the ales are high quality. However, the food prices are astronomical- 15 for an average main meal and around 25 for a steak. Come here for a drink only, you won't be disappointed.

17 Aug 2008 22:13

The George and Dragon, Great Budworth

Lovely place and lovely beer in a lovely setting. Worth seeking out.

7 Aug 2008 20:40

The Legh Arms, Adlington

It now sells real ale. A large place, if a bit soulless- more restaurant than pub. But it can be pleasant to sit outside on a warm summer's evening.

7 Aug 2008 20:35

The Cock and Pheasant, Bollington

This a wonderful place, the food is excellent and portions huge. The beer is also on top form, with several ales to choose from. The atmosphere is pleasant and friendly, and the interior traditional and impressive. A top pub.

7 Aug 2008 20:22

The Railway, Liverpool

Yes, this place is definitely worth a visit now, it used to be distinctly average and i would always overlook it in favour of the superb Lion next door. But it has been done up very nicely and seems to attract a varied clientele. Only complaint is that the music is a bit loud and off-putting.

22 Jun 2008 13:16

Crown, Birkenhead

Paid a first visit yesterday but definitely seems to be a place on the slide. About a dozen handpumps, none of which were in operation on a Saturday afternoon. Also seems shabby, despite some ornate fittings. Not too many punters and those who were there didn't seem to be the most salubrious. Hope it can pick up again soon.

22 Jun 2008 12:51

The Seven Stars, Chancery Lane

Small and full of character, the only let-down being the prices. But this is central London.

18 Jun 2008 00:24

The Bull, Birmingham

This is a brilliant pub that seems like an authentic coutnry pub in what is actually an equally authentic, industrial part of town. No posers or plastic furnishings/food here, just a friendly welcome, wonderful ambience (the pictures and tankards etc. add to this without being too twee, great beer and good, cheap food. An absolute must for pub lovers travelling to Brum.

18 Jun 2008 00:10

The Guest House, Southport

Brilliant drinker's pub. Huge selection of ales- the best in Southport- and plenty interesting nooks and crannies.

17 Jun 2008 23:55

The Windmill Inn, Southport

Great beer and great value, tasty food in a friendly, spacious environment. Will be returning.

17 Jun 2008 23:54

The Bells of Peover, Lower Peover

Sat outside beneath all the wisteria and ate on a lovely summer's evening. I don't understand all the bad reviews for this pub, OK so it may be part of a small chain, but the food is delicious- hardly microwaved Wetherspoons or Brewers Fayre tat. The setting is wonderful and the beer range, whilst not adventurous, was decent. Found the service to be fine as well. A wonderful place.

17 Jun 2008 23:14

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

Think the front bar, which is more atmospheric, should be open again now. Excellent food place, serves delicious food all day from a decent and varied menu, with good service too. Easily the best pub for food on this side of town.

17 Jun 2008 23:10

The Dog and Partridge, Standish

Big fire recently has shut this pub until February. Hope it's as good when it reopens.

10 Jan 2008 20:21

The Pilot Inn, Berwick upon Tweed

Very friendly and full of character- bric-a-brac and foreign notes adorn the bar, never fails to pique my interest. Listening to the locals, you wouldn't think you were in England. Interesting multi-roomed layout and a good selection of beers too, only 3-4 minutes walk from station. If you only have one pint in Berwick, try to make it in here.

23 Dec 2007 23:18

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

Definitely the most 'authentic' pub in city centre Cambridge, being somewhat less of a tourist trap than the 'RAF' pub. Good beer, varied clientele and a cosy, traditional interior.

3 Nov 2007 10:40

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Wonderful traditional pub that refuses to be tacky despite the amount of tourists that must pour through the door considering the location. The Victorian interior is highly ornate and really is something special- worthy of its place in the CAMRA National Inventory. The beer is well-kept and reasonably priced, and the food very good indeed. The service was of a high standard despite the pub being very busy and the owner was very friendly, particularly for a central London pub. Highly recommended.

27 Oct 2007 16:59

The Union Vaults, Chester

Traditional pub in the back streets inbetween the Shropshire Union Canal and the railway station. Friendly locals helped us get the hang of the bagatelle table, which took a while when you're more used to bar billiards. Decent beer too. Recommended, especially if you've a while to wait for a train.

18 Aug 2007 14:49

Queens Hotel, Carmarthen

Well-located pub serving real ale with very friendly staff. Decent food at a decent price, and a very attractive ivy-clad beer garden in the shadow of the castle. P.S isn't Carmarthen in, well, Carmarthenshire?

18 Aug 2007 14:40

The Lower Angel, Warrington

Closed and boarded, a surprise considering how recent the last comment is!

2 Aug 2007 22:36

Yates's, Warrington

Somewhat expensive, dreary chain bar.

2 Aug 2007 22:35

The Cheshire Cheese, Manchester

Closed and boarded. At last.

2 Aug 2007 22:32

The Crown Inn, Stockport

Great place- location, beers and interior all very nice.

2 Aug 2007 22:31

The Queens Head, Stockport

Fantastic pub- lovely interior in an interesting location, belting cheap ale and good bar snacks- sandwiches and the like. Like many pubs in Stockport, a must.

2 Aug 2007 22:30

The Prince Of Wales, North Shields

Sam Smith's pub, rare in the area, so very cheap high quality beer. Nice interior, cracking atmosphere and good old-fashioned pub food from the bar. Highly recommended.

14 Jun 2007 12:28

The Scarborough Arms, Scarborough

Decent food and beer. Service pretty good too.

6 Jun 2007 19:43

The Railway, Stockport

Pub's life has been prolonged another few years,again, which is great news. Astounding choice of ales, and an all-round belting pub.

5 Jun 2007 14:23

The Cheshire Cheese, Manchester

I'm amazed it's still here. Half of it isn't! The roof caved in last year. So with Manchester's famous climate, half the pub is now mush. Unfortunately it hasn't got long, as the dreary march of 'contemporary living space' is heading up Oldham Road. But it wouldn't have had long anyway. It's an experience, put it that way.

5 Jun 2007 14:20

The Tunnel End Inn, Marsden

Food & beer excellent, and great views. Close to the Tunnel museum. Highly recommended.

5 Jun 2007 14:16

The Sportsman Inn, Carlisle

Often in the real ale guides but there aren't any pumps so I'm not sure why! Nice cosy pub though, with a good reputation for food. Would be better with ale though!

5 Jun 2007 14:11

The Boardroom, Carlisle

Quietish pub opposite the Cathedral which provides for a great view if you get a window seat. Real ale served.

5 Jun 2007 14:10

Doctor Browns, Middlesbrough

The only bona-fide real ale pub in the town centre, excluding Wetherspoons. Interesting interior, good beer and handy for the Riverside. Make it first choice if you're an away fan after a pint.

5 Jun 2007 14:04

The Chillingham, Heaton

Bit lacking in atmosphere as it is full of students from Heaton. Decent ales though. Handy for Chillingham Road metro station.

5 Jun 2007 14:00

The Dutton Hotel, Manchester

Proper rough-edged old-fashioned pub, in an area that still looks and feels like the true 'Manchester'. Probably not the best place to take your girlfriend but an interesting interior and talkative regulars make it worth a trip for the lover of the classic boozer.

5 Jun 2007 13:57

Brocket Arms, Wigan

Beer has become far less varied in the last few months, even for a Wetherspoons. Also, the staff never turn the clips round when the beer has gone off, which is often! Probably a safe bet for at least one real ale, but the quality is variable. Loads of better pubs in Wigan.

5 Jun 2007 13:45

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