FORTS ARMSThis week I hunt down a historic pub in Clayton le Moors, Accrington. The Forts Arms dates back to the 1790's - and I think it's fair to say it has had a colourful past down the years.
To be honest, I remembered this hostelry, only a few years ago, as shabby, tired and rundown. However, how times have changed since 2010, when new owners took over, and totally renovated the pub.
Landlord, Barry Marshall explained: "Yes, it's fair to say that the pub had become tired and run down. We were closed for about six months for the renovations. But, since it reopened, we have never looked back. It's now a popular social destination."
It is a delightfully well presented pub. Brightly decorated in white and magnolia shades. It's split into three areas. A roomy L-shaped, stone flagged bar area, with leather settees and chairs.
Finally, for the more sporty brethren, a spacious, oblong-shaped, well lit games room, with pool table and adequate seating.
And so to the bar. A fine line-up of cask beverages was witnessed. Four in all. Barry said: "We always have four or five on. And we love to support local breweries. Worsthorne(Burnley)Hopstar(Darwen), Bowland(Clitheroe) and Three B's(Blackburn) are very popular. As is another Darwen brewer, Snaggletooth. We have one of theirs permanently rotating on the bar.
Snaggletooth, 'Cos I'm a Lobster', was one of three I sampled. A tasty tipple. Smooth, refreshing and malty, with a hint of dark fruits. Naylor's Brew 1641 was another slurp I enjoyed. As was the Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. All three priced at £2.70 (10p discount for CAMRA members).
The triumvirate were all in exceptional condition. Hardly surprising, as Forts Arms is currently the CAMRA Pub of the Year, for the Hyndburn area.
Barry was eager to tell me there was lots going on at the pub - and there certainly was. He said: "Lots to keep the customers happy. Open Mic night on Wednesday. Thursday I host the Quiz Night - and set the questions. And at least once a month, at the weekend, we have local artists performing acoustic and folk nights.
"Oh, and we have our annual beer festival 3-5 June. Approximately twenty cask ales on. And free live entertainment will be provided."
The Forts Arms is undoubtedly a premier watering hole. A most relaxing and immaculately presented pub. With an affable and welcoming host. A social hub to satisfy many moods. It's a gem of a boozer, no argument.
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