Tricky one, this.

The Connoisseur Ales Tap in St Helens prompted my post about opening times in the Good Beer Guide back in September.

Except January

Back then I said “Now the Connoisseur can open whenever it likes, but having a place in the GBG open 11 out of 365 days is just daft. ”  And I stick to that.*

My local brewery (Milton) will serve you some of the best beer on the planet from the back room if you ask it to open nicely. And the Great British Beer Festival is open 60+ hours; should that be listed under West London in the Guide if the beer is as good as it ought to be ?

No matter.  I always enjoy my trips to St Helens, with two National Pubs of the Year and a lot of lively boozers.

I tipped up at 11am so I’d know exactly where it was when it opened.

st helens.PNG

In the centre of town, but it took some finding tucked behind the Quaker Meeting House and round the cobbles towards the crumbling Liverpool Echo advert on George St.

If you see this you’ve gone too far
Down there off Shaw St.  Don’t read the graffiti.

Time to explore St Helens.  A town for the connoisseur of civic buildings and street art.

Only wrong by the hour
Mosaic made out of old punk CDs

You’ll know how much I love Christmas and shopping, so here’s the St Helens festive display,

Scaring toddlers since November 20th

and here’s the man who has to dress up as a chicken to promote a vaping shop.

There’s worse jobs. Ask Theresa.

In the Spoons I filled up with flat whites and noted the Punk IPA was £2.99; it’s a £2.99 Punk sort of town.

But there’s the odd sign of creeping gentrification to try to stop folk travelling to Warrington for their craft thrills. (Not that you can actually leave town with the Northern Rail strike rumbling on).


But thankfully not too much craft. Try telling the pubs round here the smoking ban was a good idea.

Best enjoyed in the rain
Cashing in on their sculpture to the south

See Phil’s blog at Merseyside Pub Guide for a more adventurous St Helens day here.

Back to Parr Lane, where I stood nervously outside the door at 11.59.

Duncan would get in via the fire escape

Whatever my views on GBG and Brewery Taps, the Connoisseur is worth the trip.  Cheery welcome, beers well pulled through,

Go for the Ruby

and there’s a really pleasant front room to sit and enjoy a stunningly good Ruby (NBSS 4).  The beer was so good I took a bottle home for Mrs RM, and you know my views on drinking at home.

Better than our Christmas Tree

I complimented Mr Connoisseur on the pleasing homeliness of his Tap and he admitted his Mum was behind the deccies. A woman’s touch.

Well done Mum.


At that moment a couple of gentlefolk popped in for a sharpener.

How’s yer mum ?

Suddenly, it felt like a pub, and I can’t say fairer than that.


*They’re open the next two Saturdays as well.


  1. weird drinking town St Helens, pick anywhere in town at random and you could either end up in a real ale haven or the worst dive bar imaginable


    1. Spot on. That’s what I like about it. Turk’s Head is surprisingly rough’n’ready for a National POTY, Cricketers has staff with the pub name on their shirts, always a bad sign !


      1. Yeah I’m not the biggest fan of the Cricketers despite everything. the Phoenix is another which has to be one of the roughest pubs in the GBG, good for them


  2. Well done! I was thinking about going there on Saturday but forecast is for snow here so have given myself a good talking to and decided to meet up with pals locally instead. No ticks in December so far….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Famous for glass making, including Ravenhead glasses, one might have expected you to report on a glass museum in St Helens.


  4. Right.
    I’m going to have a serious go tonight at sorting out this interrupted sleep malarkey.
    Last night/this morning I woke up at 3.47am and decided it was too much of a coincidence,and you’d think I’m making this up,to post yet another Bastard 3.45am message.
    So I kept my powder dry,took the dog the dog for a five mile walk instead of his usual half an hour,limited myself to just half a gallon in the 5’o’clock club ( okay, I hold my hands up,a couple of chasers too ) and I’ve told the missus under no circumstances to let me fall asleep in front of the t

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I hope to visit St Helens someday, as it was for some time the home of my ancestor (a great many generations back), who eventually left England and started our family line of Crilleys here in the States.

    Has Roger Protz ever given his opinion on these “11 days a year” type pubs being in the GBG?


    1. I hope you make it to St Helens; you got very close at Newton St Willows ;-0

      Didn’t raise with Roger last month but Colin Valentine (last CAMRA Chairman) had very strong view. No criticism of the Brewery or their Tap, but it’s like giving Album of the Year 2018 to Pet Sounds or something pointless.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve added a link to your post on mine, Phil. Always good to read about Proper Pubs. I also scored the beer in the Market Tavern highly when it was GBG.

      I’ve no problems with places open a few days a week being in the Guide, but once a month is taking the mick. Their beer was good though, but I’d rather have met you for a pint in Dreem !


  6. “Don’t read the graffiti.”

    All I see is Tommy something or other. Isn’t that a poem by Kipling? 😉

    “Mosaic made out of old punk CDs”

    Isn’t that one of those tests for colour blindness?

    “Scaring toddlers since November 20th”

    Or is could be a promo for the new movie Smallfoot.

    “There’s worse jobs. Ask Theresa.”

    (slow golf clap) 🙂

    “Cashing in on their sculpture to the south”

    And from the front window it appears they really really like their vodka.

    “Duncan would get in via the fire escape”

    Whilst Si would hide in one of the kegs a la Trojan horse.

    “Go for the Ruby”

    The one beside it looks more Canadian to me, eh? 🙂

    “A woman’s touch.”

    LOL, same at my house. 🙂

    “Suddenly, it felt like a pub, and I can’t say fairer than that.”



    Liked by 1 person

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