When Mrs RM and I first started crossing into the The North (at Catchems Corner) 25 years ago, Warrington was a bit of a bellwether town. Multi-room pubs, boarded-up shops, folk dressed up for their curry as if they were going to a wedding. Don’t see that in Cambridge.
I still stay there occasionally; there’s half a dozen Premier Inns around the town and they’re always cheap at weekends. The central one is excellent, and you get to walk along the river into town.
Since RAMP 1 skate park opened two years ago, my teenage son can locate Warrington on the map. For context, there are people in our Cambs village who think the Lake District is in Sussex.
My targets were a new bar in the smart suburb of Stockton Heath (Warrington’s Didsbury if you like), and yet another Spoons. As always, I got yet another fresh perspective on the town’s impressive but slightly neglected buildings.
Bridge Street is to Warrington what King Street is to Wigan. Uncompromising club venues, curry houses and cash generators. As in most UK towns, you have to look up when walking the streets to appreciate them. You would have bumped into folk looking down at their phones anyway.
Just as Gandhi once visited Darwen, it appears that Warrington also had a famous visitor.
Keep me out of the “Craft Beer” debate, but a lot of places now just stick the words on their sign and a bottle of Punk or Brooklyn in the fridge. Example below.
Round the corner at the building site at Market Hall there is a decent bit of street art, which I’m pleased to say I don’t understand at all.
Buttermarket Street contains the town’s gem. The Little Angel (top) is lively, gorgeous and serves decent beers. No idea why I didn’t go in; perhaps because it was 9am.
Luckily, Wetherspoon’s Looking Glass was open early for pub tourists, charity runners, Racing Post readers and grandparents in Everton shirts looking after well-behaved children. That’s not sarcasm, children can be well behaved if well-supervised. And tables can be cleared by well-managed, motivated staff.
This is a decent Spoons with a decent beer range (Coach House, Weetwood,Wright) in an interesting building with a Lewis Carroll theme. Their other outlet,the Friar Penketh, was equally impressive last year.
We’ve been quite taken by the gradual development of Warrington over the years. The Golden Square shopping centre is spacious and has useful shops (compare and contrast with a certain development in Cambridge).
The Old Market Place was small but buzzing with activity at 10am.
There’s not much unmissable, but the Barley Mow does stand out against the modernity.
Only three Guide pubs in town, which seems a bit light. The Real Ale Shack at the market looks a good development though.
Only a mile to Stockton Heath along the Causeway, and a newish Costello’s bar that perhaps had a bit too much choice for a crowd drinking more Peroni (or whatever) and Prosecco. The Dark was fine (NBSS 3) but like their Altrincham outlet a quick half felt plenty.