|Art nouveau splendour at the Victoria, Gt.Harwood|
However, let's remain on a positive theme, and list a few of my best-loved pubs in this calendar year. Hostelries that undoubtably stood out as exceptional boozers.
Wallace Hartley, Colne - Unlike some Wetherspoon's outlets, this town centre pub has bags of
character. Old fashioned interior, lots of comfy seating. And some appealing , private areas to relax and unwind. Always a superb range of ales, in excellent condition. Staff always helpful and polite - tip top tavern.
Number 39 Bar, Darwen, Blackburn - Small, modern, continental style bar in the town centre. Warm and welcoming. Regular rotating ales from the award winning, Hopstar Brewery. The bar is their brewery tap. Two draught ciders also available. It has quickly gained a reputation as one of the areas premier watering holes. A must visit if you are in the East Lancs area. I enjoyed my visit immensely.
First Chop, Ramsbottom - A quirky, small, old fashioned bar, with stone flagged floors and scrubbed topped tables. Ideally situated on the towns main thoroughfare. It's one for the discerning ale quaffer. Five cask ales, including three regular rotating, First Chop Brewery beers. They were in superb condition on my visit. Regular acoustic sessions down in the cellar bar. One of my favourite
reviews - a classy, unpretentious and relaxing drinking den.
Beer Shack, Burnley - One roomed micropub, ideally situated in the town centre. One of the finest ranges of rotating cask ales in the area, no argument. Eight beers from around the UK and up to TEN real ciders - no fizzy, bland lager served here. A totally relaxed and friendly environment, where good beer and conversation is paramount - a gem of a boozer.
Griffin Inn, Haslingden -How can I forget this cracking brewpub in the Rossendale Valley. The
whiff of malted barley was in the air, as it's the home of the Rossendale Brewery. Old fashioned, traditional pub, serving all seven of their excellent ales - at £2.10 -2.60 a pint. Lots of banter and friendly abuse
with the regulars. A joyous experience of hospitality and fine ale tasting.
Railway Inn, Pleasington, nr. Blackburn - Another memorable highlight of 2014. Owner, Paul Jackson has transformed this pub,since he bought it from Enterprise Inns, just over a year ago. Old fashioned charm and warmth. It offered four rotating cask ales and mouthwatering food. I was most impressed with the snug type room, that offered a relaxed, more sedate surrounding.
A pub until recently, tired and run down. Now, an asset in the local community, since the change of ownership.
Victoria Inn, Great Harwood, Accrington - Arguably, the highlight of 2014. Stunning, traditional award winning boozer. Internally quite breathtaking, with its art nouveau glazed tiling, floor to ceiling. Five comfy rooms to relax and enjoy one of eight, locally sourced, rotating ales - all at £2.60 a pint. A warm welcome guaranteed from the affable and most charming
host of fourteen years, Jean Baxter - I loved the place.
So there you have it. A magnificent seven highlights of 2014. I reckon that superlative septet above, will take some beating, for my beery, investigative reporting in 2015.
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