We visited Middlewich‘s premier canal side pub a couple of weeks ago, enough time for the BRAPA-meister to visit AND report on it himself (here).  Introducing characters such as Lord Lucan, Giles from Knutford and “Old bugger who was probably a Mason”, this is one of Simon’s classic posts, but that won’t stop me nicking bits from it. Particularly as I seem to have lots my own notes from the day.

In my post from Ellesmere, a trip prompted by my inability to book a B&B in the right county, I mentioned I’d be heading to the Big Lock in Middlewich shortly.

So it was that a few days later I was firmly instructing Mrs RM to direct me along the A54 to the Big Lock, on the way to (nearly) completing Cheshire’s GBG entries. Pleasingly, the traffic chaos gives you ample opportunity to admire the new Travelodge, Starbucks and a rather wonderful looking Robinson’s pub (the Boar’s Head).

Obviously, as we pulled in I realised we were at the wrong lock.  Mrs RM laughed, hysterically, but it was clearly the negative energy emanating from the Ember Inn down the road in Holmes Chapel that was to blame.

Of course, it was only 2 minutes from Lock pub 1 to Lock pub 2, but I got 30 minutes of abuse in that time, so starving were the rest of the RM family.


Thank goodness, then, for huge packets of crisps and beer, which is what Mrs RM had within 2 minutes of entering the quite gorgeous King’s Lock (I think).

The Big Lock I remember (clearly unreliably) was a fairly standard dining pub I scored average on an earlier visit.  To be honest I’ve come to expect middling quality in Middlewich (possible future post title), but the King’s Lock may just redeem it.


Mainly, that’s because the “cheery cute barmaid” (BRAPA,2017) was everything you want in a slightly foody pub.  Relaxed, efficient, enthusiastic enough about the beers without having ten of them on, and running a pub packed with charm.

Spotless, simply furnished and with fresh flowers.  And a short menu listing dishes in £ sterling ! (as opposed to “Soup du jour 5.2”)


Yes, those test tubes in front of the beers are off-putting.  And yes, I’m a little confused by this picture I took of the beer,


but I think that’s what you get when you pour a half of craft keg into a pint glass. Anyway, Mrs RM was drinking the beer, rather quickly if I recall, always a good sign of quality.

Lack of beer mats apart, I could imagine myself drinking the excellent Weetwood beers in the bench seating below.


We ate very well, proper burgers and a salad that Mrs RM convinced herself counteracted the calories in the crisps and beer.  Our boys declared the chips the best since BrewDog.

I’d love to tell you about cutlery dramas and bill-splitting drama, but to be honest the other diners were pleasant and well-behaved.  Even in BRAPA land, that does happen occasionally.

A tiny gem.


  1. Is “the family” getting more into the spirit of this adventure? It seems they are joining more and more of the outings.


    1. My youngest son is intrigued by the blog, particularly the street art when I put it on instagram. His geography has improved tremendously over recent years.

      Mainly, though, they come along to get food.


  2. Really enjoyed that having been so recently, lovely frothy beer photo and those flowery doors, I didn’t dare get that close to them in case I ended up back in 60’s so very impressed!


    1. It was very 1960s, in a good way. I know I made copious notes about music and the foibles of the OAPs, but must have deleted them, so your report captures the feel perfectly.
      I did the other town pub last year and you had it spot on, clinically modern. A nice, scruffy town though.


      1. I’m glad you recognise Middlewich to be a scruffy town, as Simon seemed to get the mistaken impression it was a bit posh. In fact, despite its reputation, much of Cheshire certainly isn’t remotely posh, especially the string of towns along or near the West Coast Main Line – Crewe, Sandbach, Middlewich, Winsford, and Northwich. Not to mention Runcorn! 😮


      2. Driving along Weston Point Way and over Runcorn (QE) Bridge the other week, the views were among the best, anywhere. Which doesn’t make it less scruffy, but needs saying.

        Cheshire a bit like Essex, gorgeous villages and functional working (and often modern) towns.

        Middlewich and Winsford High Streets are desparate.


      3. No, lack of listing currency properly seems to only be a British disease at present. Mainly trendier craft bar pricing boards from my experience? For a price of 5.2 I’d hand over 6p and say keep the change. Or is it a modern way of listing 5/2? Is there a post Brexit push to go back to £SD?
        I prefer at least some pubs to be stuck in time. Unfortunately barring Sams, the prices never really seem to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s certainly a feature of craft bars, even more irritating when prices relate first to pint, next to two-thirds. Independent Gastro pubs the biggest culprits. It’s the 5.2 rather than 5.20 I’m most irritated by, oddly.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it a little disappointing that both you and Si have mentioned a cheery cute barmaid without showing a photograph for dirty northern bastards like myself to look at (I do admit the Si has a photograph which has the lass in the background). At this rate I’ll have to visit all of these places myself. Indeed I may do if the railway station at Middlewich ever reopens.

    £4.00 is a little pricey for soup. Crisps and chips should be encouraged by all.


  4. We were in Middlewich last summer, but we didn’t make it to the Kings Lock. It’s a pub we don’t visit very often as it is a bit out of the way from our usual pub crawling routes around the town…especially when we’d moored near to the Big Lock.

    We did discover the Boar’s Head for the first time on that trip and I can confirm that it is a lovely pub with a lot of old school tiling on the floor.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Plum Porter – they do! It’s one of the most frequent beers there along with Old Dog, albeit erratic, maybe 50-50 – I guess it’s a throughput issue (contrary to what Mudgie says about Cheshire GBG pubs choosing choice over quality). So there’s a good chance of seeing it on a Saturday in June, unlikely to see it on a Wednesday in January – and in any case they have bottles of it and Titanic Stout for when it’s not on draught.

        I’d say it’s definitely “original shabby” rather than “shabby chic” – it’s all about cheery barmaids and a good bar rather than spending a million quid on a refurb. That suits me just fine.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m with you on Cappuccino, but I was talking about Titanic’s “ordinary” Stout, which I quite like. However according to the manager of a Titanic pub, when it’s on Cappuccino outsells Plum Porter so WDIK?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Boars Head pub you passed used to serve late most weekends
    The Robbies beer was poorly kept though that didn’t stop it being packed

    Liked by 2 people

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