I finally left Southport after a Spoons breakfast enlivened by an Old Boy singing “I’ve had the time of my life” loudly to the barmaid.

No problem with his rendition, but I resisted the beer.

If you study to become a Good Beer Guide expert (correspondence course £29.99 + P&P from D. Mackay Esq, Paisley), you’d assume the three biggest trends in UK pub-going were bottle shops, Brewhouse & Kitchen, and Brunning & Price.  Actually, the big trend is for pubs not to be open at all in order to stoke up demand.

The main benefit of B&P is that because they’re identical, you can use photos from one blog post in another, and no-one will ever know the difference.  Except Russ.

Formby.  Or possibly Preston
Been here before

The Sparrowhawk is one of their many former country house hotels.  The upkeep on those must be high enough, but they also seem to employ all the local gardeners not snapped up by local golf courses.

This is why your pint costs £4.20 instead of £2.

Imported from the corners of the world
Winner of Sefton in Bloom 2011-37

I feel instinctively I’ve been here before as I march under the chandeliers to the bar at 10.30am; early opening being the other B&P selling point.

Deja Vu all over again

It’s like Preston, but with Scouse accents. Your money, your choice.

Oh, good grief.  Plum Porter at 10.30 in the morning !

Oh Plum Porter, twice I deny thee !

As you’ll see, I went Pale.

Breakfast choice

So what do you do at 10.35am in a Brunning & Price, where the sole banter of note is when the Barmaid takes a call from local brewery rep.

I’m sorry. Is it Spitting Feathers, did you say ?”

Play Battleships solo ?

Unused games

Listen to a Gentleman reading out the Amber Rudd resignation letter line by line to his wife ?

Times drama

No. Just admire other peoples trousers and socks.

Nicely done, Sir

And consider that a cool, tasty beer such as this Hawkshead (NBSS 3.5+) is worth paying a bit extra for.













  1. Handy that the B&P’s are all the same…

    means I can use the same comment as the last one in ‘argh’ country…

    ‘In the beer garden photo I see the farmer is just turning up on his tractor….’


    Tractors are obviously part of the B&P corporate theme – bet the tractor enthusiasts will be upset when they find our where all the vintage tractors have gone…

    Can’t knock the opening hours or well kept real ales though – good for them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Formby. Or possibly Preston”

    Definitely Formby. Preston has a recessed door. 😉

    “Oh, good grief. Plum Porter at 10.30 in the morning !”

    Nowt wrong with that lad. 🙂

    “Times drama”

    They look like they’re taking morning tea in their observatory.

    “Just admire other peoples trousers and socks.”

    Reminds me a bit of my dear old dad. Only his socks were black and his shoes were similar in design to this gent’s socks (my brother and I called them moon boots for some reason).

    “And consider that a cool, tasty beer such as this Hawkshead (NBSS 3.5+) is worth paying a bit extra for.”

    Once in a while you just have to say the heck with it and ignore the price; kind of like my brother and I had to do if wanted to have a final pint together at the airport before flying off in opposite directions.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is there a swingboard or other external sign to indicate it is a pub ?
    From those photos, it looks like it remains exclusive by concealing its existence from the rif-raf, in much the same way as many micropubs. How many times did you walk past it before finding the door ?
    Incidentally, do “correspondence” courses still exist, or are they all web or e-mail based now ? I wonder how many folks who Google “Good Beer Guide expert” will send thirty quid to Paisley on the strength of this article ?


  4. Genuine question – you seem to go to a lot of these pubs dead early in the day – why not go later when the true character of a pub is likely to become more apparent?

    Liked by 1 person

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