Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Blackpool v Fleetwood Town: Poulton Pubs

I have always viewed Poulton as an enigma. I have been a dozen or more times – but always with other people, following them around from pub to pub. I have no idea which pub is called what or where any of them are in relation to each other. But I know there is a churchyard involved. Dear reader, this ends today. I am heading to Poulton all by myself and I am going to get to know it properly.

I buy an Off Peak Day Return for £3.60, and catch the 1027 from Blackpool North. I barely have time to sit down before landing in Poulton at 1033. This leaves me ample time to walk to the pub furthest out, as I make my way from pub to pub back towards the station.

Bull Hotel

This is a ‘Great UK Pub’, whatever one of those is. Further research indicates it is a Stonegate pub.

Whilst the reality is that I will always but always order a curry if I see it on a pub menu, these virtual crawls are allowing me to be more daring with my choices. Today I cannot resist these:

As this is effectively my breakfast, I can’t manage any more (a decision I will come to regret), but I note with interest the available toppings for the burgers:

They do Yorkshire Pudding wraps here, too. Dear reader, this is too exciting.

Recent beer checkins on Untappd include:

  • Timothy Taylor Landlord
  • Kirkby Lonsdale Ruskins
  • Greene King IPA
  • Marstons Wainwright

The Bull does plan to reopen its beer garden on 12th April and bookings are being taken from 15th March. They have an app enabling you to order from your table. Substantial meals are no longer compulsory but, come on, look at that menu!

I am delighted that the 10pm curfew has also been abolished. Women’s safety is very much in the news at the moment and I confess that walking home alone at 10pm – at the same time as everyone else is kicked out of a pub after a session of binge-drinking – felt even less safe than usual. Staggering out times should be staggered.

Rhythm & Brews

A new dog-friendly bar with live music, tap takeovers and craft beer from around the world? I’m there!

Thursdays and Sundays seem to be the nights to visit this place for entertainment. Tap takeovers scheduled since they opened in late 2019 include Tiny Rebel, Flowerhorn and Brew York.

They have 12 taps as well as ciders and an extensive range of bottles and cans. Recent checkins on Untappd include:

  • Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout
  • Stone Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager
  • Dinkelacker Oktoberfestbier
  • Hardwood Park Gingerbread Stout
  • Fierce Day Shift

Stop right there! They stock Fierce and that is all I need to know. Also: what an interesting beer list.

Poulton, you are going to have to go some to top this.

The Old Town Hall

According to WhatPub, The Old Town Hall is ‘packed at the weekend, busy on Wednesdays with local choir members and football fans whenever there is a match on.’ I’m not sure whether that means Blackpool fans or matches being shown on tv. They have live music on here, too.

Recent checkins on Untappd include:

  • Moorhouses White Witch
  • Bank Top Port O’Call (porter)
  • Pennine Hair Of The Dog (blonde)
  • Moorhouses Blonde Witch
  • Roosters Yankee (pale)
  • Ossett Yorkshire Brunette (bitter)
  • Bradfield Farmers Blonde

I opt for just a half of the Port O’Call. I had a dangerous session on this beer last year and know it to be lethally quaffable.

Golden Ball

Hello Greene King, my old friend. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on the menu here, but I can’t find one! Are they revamping the menu? Do they even serve food?

The only beer checkins on Untappd in 2020 are:

  • Coach House Cheshire Gold
  • Saltaire Titus

Hmm. Trip Advisor swings in to save the day:

Paris in the springtime, eh?
I want to meet Craig and Maureen

Thatched House

Thatched is an Orchid pub, owned by Mitchells & Butlers – and it has been refurbed since my last visit. It has open fires and is notoriously difficult to leave.

Recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Saltaire Blonde
  • Saltaire Titus (bitter)
  • Marstons Wainwright
  • Saltaire Amarillo
  • Lancaster Blonde
  • Ossett Yorkshire Blonde
  • Little Critters Blonde Bear
  • Bradfield Farmers Blonde

I get the distinct impression that the local gentlemen prefer blondes.

I can’t find a menu here, either, but there is a tantalising picture of a burger on their website, so who knows?

I catch the 1410 back to Blackpool North, landing at 1419. I power walk through town.

I am shocked by the number of empty units in Blackpool town centre. The closure of WH Smiths and Debenhams alone are devastating for the town, but so many other shops have been quietly closing over the last year. I remember Birmingham being a similar sight several years ago – when rents were high – before its later transformation, with the revamping of the station and an indie revolution. I do wonder what the future holds for Blackpool town centre, but I know that the tourists will come flocking back – with perhaps a reluctance for overseas travel in the near future. How will Blackpool look in five or ten years time?

These virtual pub crawls will be interesting to look back on when the time comes to visit them for real. How many will have survived the pandemic?

I land at Bloomfield Road just in time for kick-off.

Blackpool v Fleetwood Town

Blackpool are not an easy watch right now – and this afternoon is no different. Larry is back for the first time since his sacking a year ago. I have only just recovered from the trauma of his second spell in charge here. I can’t be having his team winning here this afternoon.

The match is scrappy and sloppy, with high feet and hospital balls. We lose Kevin Stewart to a painful-looking ankle injury in the first half and he is replaced by Matty Virtue. We create many more chances than our visitors but we again fail to score. As the game advances and Fleetwood tire, we find more space but any chances that aren’t blocked by bodies are high or wide or hit the post. Today is simply not our day. But it’s not Larry’s either, so that is some consolation.

Here are the highlights:

Despite the football being a difficult watch, I am enjoying hosting the live watchalongs with Lee. We have a great bunch of viewers – some regular, some intermittent and some ‘why the hell has YouTube recommended this?’ – and we enjoy the live interaction in our regular Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night slots. If you haven’t popped in to say hello yet, please do. It would be lovely to see you.

We talk about all sorts of nonsense when the football is less than entertaining, including Malteser Cake bars, Fleetwood’s strange kit and my new shirt. Tune in from 1h30 in the video below to find out all about my Lego team FC Brickstand, who hosted a meet the players night last Thursday, where I got to meet my hero Conor Muldoon.

It’s back to Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night, when we face a Burton team who have won their last six matches. Eek!

UTMP.


NB Pics above are taken from the websites referenced, as this was a virtual trip.


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