It might be complacency but I never seriously thought the Roscoe Head was at risk, but if the Lion can close then nothing is sacred.
I’d visited the other four ever-presents in the Beer Guide, in London (two of them), Cambidgeshire and Purbeck, and found them all in rude health, fully justifying a Beer Guide place and retaining a real pubbiness.
The Roscoe Head is probably the most ordinary of the five, and therefore my favourite. It really does operate as a community back-street local, without ale-house or gastro pretensions. On my first visit Roscoe Street looked like a back alley rather than a proper road, and a bit of street art hasn’t made it any less uncompromising.
It’s still a multi-roomed, traditional seated gem though.
I must have had a good time as some of my photos were a bit “wobbly”, so these two are courtesy of the wonderful WhatPub.
Gorgeous, and very friendly, even by northern standards. The young barman did actually laugh when I ordered Landlord though. Some folk would have gone straight on to Trip Advisor to tear a strip off the pub; I just thought it showed a bit of life.
Landlord is a beer I’ve found increasingly dull in the smart gastropub that dominate north London these days, usurped by Peroni and Camden. So why wouldn’t I go for the Roscoe’s house beer (who drinks Tetley ?), knowing I’d at least get a pint someone else had had that day ?
It was a good decision (NBSS 3.5),though it did make me hope I find a good reason to visit Keighley again soon.
Sensing the Formby IPA was the beer you’re supposed to order, I had a half of that, which the lovely barman even brought to my table. This was challengingly dry, and quite wonderful (NBSS 4), drinking well above its 4% abv.
Pubs aren’t really about beer, of course, and the chat here was very Liverpool. Plumbing, French Olympians, the gigs at the Kazi. Very little beer chat, though a group next to me were doing the “Beer Paddle” and clearly working through the MerseyAle pub trail.
As I returned my glass I got a “Aww, thanks very much” the sort of courtesy I get less and less these days. These things matter.
Still a wonderful pub, in a wonderful city.