Trips to the Borough of Sefton are a bi-annual event; Crosby and Southport are two of my favoured towns, and always seem to be able to dig up a new micro pub, bottle shop or occasional real boozer to keep their GBG entries fresh. And then there’s Harpers Fish & Chip shop to seal the deal.
South Liverpool, in contrast, manages to remain a virtual Guide pub-free zone to match Sheerness, with only the odd local, mainly in Mossley Hill, making the GBG in the last decade. The collapse of Cains, in Capital of Culture year, hit the suburban local hard.
I know South Liverpool isn’t an actual place, though older readers may remember the eponymous football club, whose franchise was acquired, MK Dons-style, by New Brighton in 1921. In those days, crossing the Mersey would have been even harder for the SLiverbirds* than it is for Wimbledon fans to travel up the M1 now.
I stayed in Aigburth once, at a Toby/Innkeepers Lodge on the A561, and still failed to find the remnants of the 1984 Garden Festival, the only thing my Dad knows about the area.
I had Pubmeister’s recent report to guide me, not that Duncan’s opening time fun in Aigburth filled me with confidence.
Sefton Park impressed on a hot Sunday afternoon, even if the main activity seemed to be ice cream consumption.
I headed to Lark Lane, the self proclaimed “Bohemian quarter“. You might find Bohemian Rhapsody in this box of vinyl I suppose.
A string of Mediterranean bistro-type restaurants make Lark Lane seem more like Liverpool’s Islington than its Walthamstow, which some will see as A Good Thing. They all seemed quite formal (i.e. they had napkins) and expensive by my meagre standards, lacking the cheap Asian options I was hoping for. I should have stopped off in Ma Bo.
Plenty of cask and craft being advertised. I would have tried the Big Bog in Love & Rockets for you, but couldn’t get served.
It seemed inevitable the new Beer Guide entry would be called Que Pasa Cantina.
This is the type of bar they use in filming “Hollyoaks”, though some of the barflies are older than me (I think, the lighting is very dim).
There’s some attractive touches dotted around, but the high posing tables do it no great service. No restaurant at the moment, and a focus on the fizz rather than the cask. Most locals seemed to be on the Brahma, in keeping with the Lark Lane style.
I had a half of the local beer (top), which was celebrating the firmness of the posterior of the brewer (I assume). It was fine (NBSS 2.5), but wouldn’t convert me away from Brahma. LESSON – NEVER PICK A NOVELTY BEER.
By way of total contrast, the 7 minute journey from St Michael’s to Parkway brings the type of pubby contrast that Beer Guide tickers dream of.
Multiple drinking areas for multiple sections of Garston life. You could certainly film a soap opera here. Chat surrounded the pre-eminence of Wigan pies, racing upsets and stuff that Simon will be more willing to report than I am.
I loved the Masonic. A shame the Masonic’s customers didn’t seem to love the cask, and the Dizzy Blonde was a little bit tired at 4.30 on a Sunday. A shame, as the beer range was very ambitious.
Pubs are about much more than beer, of course. Cask sales may be on the wane but backstreet pubs like this can still thrive. I’ll probably pop back here next year and give it another go.