Thursday, 24 September 2015


The Old Chapel. Simply stunning.

Whenever the word Wetherspoon's is mentioned in conversion. You usually get a visual reaction of both raised eyebrows and smiley faces. My reaction would most certainly be in the latter category - and I suspect it would be the majority response too.

Wetherspoon's are a unique beast, in business terms. Combining a formula of unusual locations, cheap beer prices and value food. A formula that has proved to be a roaring success, no argument.

One of its one thousand plus locations, is a former Wesleyan Methodist chapel, in an elevated position, overlooking Darwen town centre, in East Lancashire.

It has a quite stunning facade, as you approach it. With its four stone pillars and historic, early nineteenth century architecture. And it was equally stunning internally too. With a magnificent open staircase, antique stained glass windows - and 'jaw dropping' bespoke, ornate lighting.

The pub is on two levels. The upper floor, is a quiet, relaxed environment. Ultimately, a dining area. It has quite a contemporary theme, with its shiny topped, 'wooden' tables and soft upholstered chairs.

Down below, the open planned main lounge and bar area is most impressive. Leather Chesterfield settees and chairs, are complimented with a range of other forms of contemporary, comfy seating. However , I felt it lacked one or two more private areas. That is common in many of their drinking dens.

Oh, and the gaming machine, with its flashing lights, close to the entrance. Just didn't look right, amongst the swanky furnishings and decor.

Of course, we were here for the beer. We, as in myself and beery amigo's, Bob and Arthur. As always, a great selection of cask beverage's, to suit all palates - and the ten on offer, proved a bit of a head scratcher ( mind you, there was a couple we dismissed).

Worry not! A paddle of ales solved our predicament. Three thirds of a pint, times three - sorted.

A young, affable fella, named Eli, served us. He's worked here since it opened eighteen months ago. He said: "I enjoy working here. Preferably the busier times, on Friday and Saturday nights - when it's absolutely heaving. During the day, it's quieter. When food is very popular."

The ales were in good nick. "Of the ten, six are rotating and four are permanent. The two craft keg ales are also popular, "explained Eli. My favourite ale was the Banks's 'Botanical' ale. It was certainly floral and earthy! An acquired taste in my opinion. A smooth and complex beer. Soft citrus,floral and spicy notes. Strong floral aroma. David Bellamy would love this botanical beauty!

Also felt I should mention the 'craft' keg pale ale. The Shipyard, American Pale Ale, was a refreshing, citrus packed delight - a belting beverage.

I do love a Wetherspoon's - and the Old Chapel is a delightful and relaxing environment to enjoy a beer . A place which offers polite and helpful service. As well as a plethora of cask conditioned ales - and dare I say, keg beers - in fine condition.

In my opinion, this two million pound plus investment, is money well spent by Wetherspoon's . It's a most imposing and breathtaking structure. Both internally and externally.

Long live 'Spoons, in my humble opinion.