There really is only one place to start a new year, and that’s Tyldesley, not least among Wigan‘s beautiful necklace of towns. It helps if you were tucked up with cocoa by 9pm on New Year’s Eve.
Elliot Street was beautifully embellished with the remnants of a New Years Eve clearly celebrated with Holts and kebabs, judging by the polystyrene count and the sound of furious domestic arguments in Wareing Street. The latter rather disturbed my appreciation of The Railway’s green tiling. Mmmm. By the way, do Mayfair Taverns have a Mayfair branch ?
There’s a good range of architecture in town, including the inevitable stately Conservative Club, one of a string of old-school pubs and clubs. Tyldesley is famed for having two (possibly three) Beer Guide entries that just sold Holts Bitter a decade ago, which was clearly A GOOD THING.
Neither the Half Moon or the Mort Arms have survived to this years Guide. But we do have a new gem. Passing the obligatory New Year heron spotter, I found a proper pub atmosphere in the Union Arms.
Faded Thwaites livery, but Allgates owned and therefore low-priced. To be contrary, I went for the Wainwrights (£2.30 a pint), and splendid it was (NBSS 3.5). Now I come to think of it, I can’t actually remember an Allgates beer on the bar.
Wigan Borough do this sort of pub better than anywhere. Cheap and cheerful, multi-roomed, proper seating, burger and chips for a fiver. The couples whispering to each other may have reflected a late night; hopefully speaking volumes will be increased by the time Simon gets there.
Tyldesley is a fine town, but Leigh has the canal, the Rugby League heritage (top), the art gallery and the frisson of danger that you want on the first day of 2017. So I walked there along the Long Causeway. Bing said 58 minutes, it took me 47. Still got the legs.
That frisson came not from St Helens Road, but a chain Greene King pub by the waterside. Called the Waterside.
Where the Union was buzzing, the Waterside was clearly recovering from a night of throbbing electro and Kylie into the small hours. Just a few mums and children having arguments about fruitshoots. Why weren’t they discussing Cloudwater ?
The interesting beer from Sadlers was off, the GK IPA was OK and £2.80 a pint. But the highlight was seeing toddlers dancing to Fleet Floxes. If you can guess what they were dancing to I’ll buy you a pint of IPA in a Hungry Horse of your choice.
Thwaites and Greene King to start the year. Just as it should be.