Going, Going, Gone?

I returned from my London sojourn last week to two pieces of contrasting news. Firstly, on the down side, was the demise of the Brickcroft Tavern on Brook St. This small backstreet pub closed quietly some time ago, but it seems that Thwaites have given up on it, as it’s now all boarded up and a for sale sign hangs outside. A sad end to one of my early haunts. Nicely tucked away from prying eyes, you were always guaranteed a late lock-in. Old Harry Tattersall use to hold court, spinning tales of the good old days when the landlord would only serve light Mild in the taproom-he wanted to avoid “chaos” in the lounge.

Of course the Brickcroft went keg several years ago and then started only opening in the evening. Still it stubbornly held on as the only pub in Freetown, having seen off both the Star and the Bridge. Its future looks bleak, although never say never. Its position at the heart of the knocking shop quarter may tempt a change of use and a new lease of life. That’s what happened to the Golden Fleece on Bell Lane. Bass managed to offload it to Hydes, who struggled with it for years before finally giving up on it. Now it trades as World (nothing like a bit of hyperbole) Famous Babes. Mind you, Knocking Shop Neville says times are tough in the brothel game, so it may it be bye-bye to the Brickcroft for good.

Better news in the centre of town. The Knowsley has reopened after a major refit. This is the closest pub to the travel interchange and has been, for several years, only good for a quick pee before getting your bus or tram. Originally a cosy Whitbread pub selling some decent Boddingtons, it was opened out, and gradually became a place to avoid. More sad than dangerous, though. Greene King eventually took over, although there were no visible changes. Until now. In a move obviously aimed at taking it upmarket, they’ve installed a wrap around bar, moved the toilets upstairs, put plasma screens in, and are heavily pushing food. Rather impressively they open at 7am for breakfast. Although Eddie, the eager, legal beagle is disappointed. His dream of getting tanked up on Old Speckled Hen before going to work and tricking some old lady out of her inheritance has been shattered. They only sell alcohol from 11am-well nowhere is perfect.

Yes, the Knowsley has finally gone cask. An array of pumps seems only currently to be serving OSH and St Edmunds Ale, which at £2.65 has been pricey but indifferent. I’m no fan of Greede Kerching, or their insipid beers, so they won’t be seeing much of me. Except of course when I swallow my pride so I can watch the footie in comfort. It may have to be orange juice, though. It will be interesting to see how successful it is at keeping out its old clientele. It currently has bouncers on the door (front only btw-you can sneak in at the side), on weekend afternoons. Never a good sign to me and one has to wonder how long they will keep this up. One to watch.


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