11th February 2023.

Mrs RM had left me at home alone for a week while she explored the craft bars of Eindhoven (no blog, sadly), so I didn’t need to seek her written permission for a night out in Lancashire.

I probably should have sort Blackpool Jane‘s permission to visit her home town, but I’d picked Preston (aka Blackpool East) for my overnight Travelodge, which for fans of the Tangerines is rather akin to staying in a contaminated zone.

Visiting Blackpool was a late decision, based on jumping on the first train leaving Preston station and buying a mobile ticket just before it pulled away. Tom Irvin will advise on the legality of that.

Just like in the George Michael classic, if I’d turned a different corner I’d have ended up doing the newbies in Lancaster and Morecambe.

Blackpool, the new centre of the micropub world, had three targets.

If my planning had been as meticulous as Jane’s I’d have known one of them had already closed, within weeks of its Guide debut.

Further scrambling around revealed that JD Drinkwaters (NOT a Tenerife Spoons clone) was closer to Squires Gate station than “Pleasure” Beach, so I became the first person to leave the train there since 29th April 1978.

Wiki has next to nothing to say about Squires Gate, bar its 3 non-league teams and proximity to the airport, but it certainly feels a gentrified part of town.

Taking a photo of JD Drinkwater is a challenge, unless you want to stand in the middle of busy Highfield Road, and for legal reasons I can’t recommend that.

This was the first of (brace yourself) seven (7) consecutive micropubs in the GBG.

Luckily, none of them are duffers, with JD’s edging towards the sport bar spectrum.

I only have one rule in choosing a beer. NEVER choose the rugby themed one. On principle, you understand.

The guvnor here was a gem; smiling and chatty and funny. It wasn’t, I felt, a place for a quick half, which is one of the reasons I’m going to struggle to complete the Guide again this year.

Half a dozen Blackpool fans pre-match, half a dozen professional drinkers (the noblest profession), half a dozen choices of seating.

I picked the one under the Stones, whose secret gig at the Pump & Truncheon is the stuff of legend.

Blonde Witch works well in a Lees glass, something for Duncan to note when he opens his own micro in a Paisley garage this year, and was cool and tasty if a tad “soapy” (NBSS 3). Only advanced beer smelliers like me are allowed to use “soapy” in a descriptive.

Resisting the temptation to ask them to put the Kraftwerk album on, I headed for the trams.


  1. I made the same mistake with Thirsty? earlier this pub ticking season shortly after the last edition arrived. Privileged members do receive the GBG two days before ordinary mortals which always comes in handy.

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      1. I can remember my very first pint of real ale in 1973: I used to drink Youngers Scotch from the keg font, but the woman behind the bar must have got me mixed up with someone else and confidently served me a pint of Boddingtons from the hand pump. I magnanimously said it would be fine, but it felt soapy at first, because I was used to the bubbles in the keg or bottled beers I’d always had hitherto. But once I got used to it (about a quarter of a pint) I was hooked.

        Apologies for talking beer again.

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      2. One of my first pints of real ale – probably the first – was Bass at a pub called The Cadland in 1972, but then the very first could perhaps equally have been Kimberley up the road.

        Later, in the 1980s, when I lived in Macc, I found Boddingtons quite often had a soapy character, a taste even, and it didn’t become a favourite. That would probably have been Pedigree for a while.

        It’s literally all water under the bridge now.


      3. I think that it mostly ended up in the Mersey – after passing through the appropriate sewage treatment works – and thence under the Thelwall Viaduct, Martin

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  2. Those huts might have been the basis for Pontins Holiday Camp which was certainly next to the railway in the 60s and quite probably 70s. The station would also have served Blackpool Airport, which is still going but no longer has passenger flights. There were also various aviation factories at the airport, especially during WW2. Squires Gate was probably quite busy at that time and I think used to have canopies the length of both plaforms, although no doubt you only get a bus shelter now.


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