If it’s any consolation, I’m finding these posts as exhausting as you are.

But I’m almost at last week’s Isle of Man trip (aka HenGate), which you can read about on Pubmeister’s blog if you’re desperate for Manx mutterings.

First up though, Merseyside Complete.

Knotty ash.PNG

With every new entry in Merseyside CAMRA being either a micro pub or café bar, the Ale House isn’t a surprise.  But I am a bit taken aback to find a second small bar in the area of the much-missed Sir Ken’s Knotty Ash (OK, it’s Old Swan, pedants) so soon after Cask.

Nice bit of Old Swan
Rare proper pub

Old Swan is a typical suburb, a mix of tight terraces, discount shops, chain dining pubs and erratic parking, all underpinned by that Scouse humour that Manchester City fans know and love.

But don’t be bitter, RetiredMartin, for the Ale House offers a welcome to be proud of.


And a Proper Pub menu, with Scouse I’d have succumbed to if I hadn’t had some rubbish from M&S earlier.


The Old Boys at the bar made way so I could pretend to peruse the handpumps like beer nerds do, before realising there was a blackboard.


The beer menu was Proper, too, with Plum Porter somehow resisted in favour of a Black Swan that Landlord Lee recommended because he’d made the recipe or something beery.

Not Plum Porter

Lee was quite a star, one of the most welcoming guvnors of the year (“First time here ?” ,”What do you think“) and I wasn’t surprised he’d won some CAMRA award or other; they should clone him.

Clone him

It’s a spacious bar, a Micro Max if you like, and accommodating groups of lads in for their pints of Rattler and game of Twister.

Enter a caption

One of the best pubs in Liverpool, and superior competition for the long-standing real ale focal point, the Spoons.

98% bloke, and only 2% food; a good ratio for a boozer but possibly not for Tim Martin’s Long-Term Strategy.  Most punters were glued (not literally) to the 3.15 from Redcar or the Deal or No Deal machine.  High drama.

Spoons !

Yes, still plenty of cask in the Navigator, but no GBG place.

More Titanic
Empty Spoons

No idea if it’s any good, as I just had my refillable Flat White.  I added to limited drama by attempting to pay with a 2 Zloty coin, which clearly looks nothing like a 5p piece.


The efficient barmaid was having none of it, and I feared the worst as a familiar tune started up behind me.

But it wasn’t Mersey police, just the ringtone for an Everton fan about to be updated on the latest bid for Pickford.

Nearly there, Merseyside.





  1. Sigh. I had to check out the website from that poster. 😱

    I think you have grounds for a lawsuit. One of their venues is called the Bass-ment, but it has no Bass! 😉

    “and erratic parking, ”

    Is that a comment on the way people park or the availability of parking? 🤔


    That pie and pint combo looks a winner. 👍

    “with Plum Porter somehow resisted in favour of a Black Swan”

    I would have bet against that happening. 😎

    “Enter a caption”

    Ok. How can a game in Liverpool wind up with you tied up in Nottingham? 😏

    “One of the best pubs in Liverpool, ”

    High praise. ☺️


    (Goes back to waiting by the front door for a cheesecake pickup) 🍰


      1. “You work cheesecake into all these posts, don’t you ?”

        Yes. But sadly only the verbal kind, not the semi-erratic* photographic kind. 🙂


        * – oops, erotic as per mine fine host

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had lobscouse in a couple of proper pubs in the north west and north Wales and it’s like an inferior and more expensive version of the beef stew we enjoyed in the Stile, Wolverhampton for £2 washed down with top rate Banks’s Mild.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard,
    That reminds me that I saw, and my father spoke to, Stratford Johns when we were staying in Howarth in about 1962.
    That’s not far from where we were yesterday.


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