It’s not quite Proud Preston to be fair, but I always enjoy the annual trip to Chorley to tick off a new Guide pub or two.  To me it’s an exemplar small market town, with an actual market that lacks the glamour of Bury but at least sells stuff people want.

Not sure what Botany Bay sells now, but it still gets the coachloads of OAPs, even without the helicopter and U-Boat it used to have.

I can’t claim the town is an architectural gem, but the pedestrianized heart makes for a good stroll, and Astley Park is right on the doorstep.

Astley Park

The pubs sell beer that people want too.  A succession of market town pubs in the Guide have a welcomes-all approach, but only one (Malt’n’Hops) has obviously put on loads of beers and that’s had its ups and downs recently.

A dozen or more Guide pubs over the years have served very good Wainwright, Moorhouses and Jennings at a good quid less than Manchester or Cambridge. The Crown looks like it will repeat that trend, but actually offers Fuzzy Duck and Prospect, though I doubt it’s joining the Preston tickers tour anytime soon.


The Crown sums up what I like to see in pubs. Friendly staff welcoming all-comers, absence of food, attractive seating options, a smile and my first “Sweetheart” this year. Sweetheart is a local Chorley speciality.

The chap at the bar commented that you don’t see Mild much anymore. I thought about leaving him my copy of Ale Cry with details of Mild Month in it, but frankly he was clearly getting more enjoyment from his Fosters than I’ve had with some of my real ale recently, so I ignored my campaigning duties.

Across the road, Chorley’s inevitable micropub is very cosy as well.

The Shepherd’s Hall micropub

I was always going to take to this place with Mordue’s Workie Ticket on (NBSS 3.5, £3), but it was the pubby chat that I enjoyed most.  For 20 minutes four of us exchanged views on Manchester and Leyland’s newest and oldest pubs, giving me that critical information on new openings that pub tickers love. It was great.

We also touched on FC United’s new ground and Chorley AFC, but I could see how this sort of determined beer chat could be a bit alienating to normal folk more interested in the result of The Voice, the time of the next coach-and-four to Preston, or the price of Prosecco chillies on the market.

And that’s the only potential flaw in the micro model, as eloquently set out by Matthew Lawrenson recently. They’re rarely places you can hide from the conversation that dominates the room. If you’re part of that conversation, you’ll think your micro is what pubs should be all about.

10 thoughts on “CHORLEY CHATTER

  1. Crown sounds good – I note from GBG that it has proper all-day opening hours.

    Giving the guy a copy of Ale Cry would probably be a good way of putting him off real ale for life 😉

    Those metal stools in the micropub don’t look very forgiving to the older gentleman’s backside!


    1. Good spot. When you’re standing at the bar you don’t notice that detail. You can see the point Matthew made recently.

      I know exactly what you and Matthew mean about Ale Cry, but I have a soft spot for it that’s more about my genuine affection for Preston. Good article on Bridgnorth in Spring edition.


      1. It’s not so much the content, which has improved since the days of “zombeers”, but the appalling layout. The last issue had a panel of black text on a darkish green background that was well-nigh unreadable.


      2. Ah yes, zombeers. Don’t know if you’ve seen Spring edition, but Page 16 is a design classic. Opening Times is the benchmark branch magazine to be fair.


  2. Shepherds Hall Ale House or just ‘Sheps’ is the name of the place. Chorley actually has a few decent drinking holes, Sheps definitely one of them.


  3. I’ve had a Chorley trip in mind for ages now and reading this great post pushes it up my Lancs pecking order. Crown and Sheps look great in different ways.

    Can’t beat a bit of ‘local on the day pub knowledge ‘ on such trips.


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