I wrote about my love for Preston and its wonderful pubs in September, without prompting any noticeable surge in house prices there. You may also be aware of Preston through the eyes of the See the Lizards blog, an advert for the inspirational qualities of the Moorbrook (http://seeingthelizards.blogspot.co.uk).
The city has plenty of unpretentious boozers to accompany your pie on a barm on a night out. There is another side to Preston though, where people seemingly go to pubs purely to eat, entertain their children and drink Prosecco. You can read about it in The Red Lioness, Cathy Price’s self-published book in which she visits all the 650 odd pubs of that name.
I’m part-way through, but can already recommend this competently-written book, especially if you can still get it on Kindle for £1.49.
You’ll be able to compare your experience of pub-going, and of a fair few Red Lions, with that of Cathy. Its also the only place you’ll read about the inside of pubs you’d never go in, like the scary looking boozer in north Bootle I pass on my way to Crosby’s Another Place.
Three hours into the book, and beer (any beer) has hardly got a mention yet, though no doubt there will be pictures of pints of frothing beer throughout the printed version. There’s tales of derring-do, hauntings and medieval history though, and Observer standard critique of posh food.
Cathy pulls no punches in describing the shortcomings of pubs; unfriendly welcomes, scruffy toilets, unimaginative wine ranges, refusal to let children to sit in the bar (discuss). You get the picture. I’ve yet to read much about any inebriation yet though.
I really commend Cathy for her enthusiasm in getting this book published, for her insight, and for putting money in the tills of pubs. It’s really instructive for anyone interested in the future of pubs to know what people really look for in pubs these days, and it isn’t necessarily beer.
NB Cathy’s Robinsons local is in Bamber Bridge, a pleasant suburb with a decent Thwaites pub (Withy Arms) in the Guide.
I’d love to read about the 12,000 odd pub visits of Alan Winfield, and I must track down the memoirs of Peter Hill of the infamous pub-goers from Kiddy.