Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

Best Blackpool Boozers #3

There’s a new drinkery on the block in Blackpool. I’d been eagerly awaiting the reopening of Abingdon Street Market following a massive revamp. It promised street food outlets and bars and I wondered how it would compare to Chorley Market, which I’d visited recently and loved.

As the grand opening day approached (with great fanfare), I couldn’t help but worry that it might be a bit shit. I must have walked through it in its former guise but it hadn’t made a great impression (the fact that I couldn’t really remember it didn’t work in its favour). Lee and I headed down there early on opening Saturday afternoon really hoping it would be somewhere our beloved Blackpool could be proud of.

Abingdon Street Market

We approached the market with excitement and trepidation. Please let it be good!

Dear reader, I needn’t have worried. The sight and sounds of the already-bustling market made my heart swell with pride. It looked just like the foodie markets in Manchester!

At the front was a coffee shop with delicious looking cakes on display:

There were food outlets down the left hand side:

At the back was:

  • Neighbourhood Subs (NYC style sub sandwiches, bagels, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, doughnuts)

And on the right hand side…the bars!!!

  • Nomad (craft beer, whiskey, cocktails and Farm Yard Brew)
  • Public (natural wines, cocktails, spritzes, beer and Farm Yard Brew)

Guess where I headed first?

I couldn’t see any dark beers (my default) so I had to think about this. Go on then – I’ll give this one a try.

And very nice it was too.
They even had exciting pop for Lee.

There were two bars alongside each other and both seemed to have the same drinks offerings (not that I looked any further than the beer). I thought that was a bit odd but it was only the opening day so I expect this to change once they strike deals with more suppliers and begin to diversify (SPOILER ALERT: this happens and dark beer appears too).

Next I headed over to Tuk Tuk, the Punjabi street food outlet (as if I’d go anywhere else).

As I tried to place my order, I was advised to find a table and order from the QR code. It was very busy but we managed to find space enough for two on one of the benches and called up the menus for the various eateries. I selected my Chicken Biryani and Lee perused the menus for something to accommodate his dietary requirements. It didn’t take him long to opt for the breakfast bagel. We placed the order and he trotted over to the Neighbourhood Subs to inform them of the tweaks to his order from the menu. Going off menu is something I’ve grown confident in doing since joining SlimmingWorld (for example swapping in a jacket potato for chips or asking for a salad without dressing) and I’ve never had a problem – and nor did Lee today.

Lee’s breakfast bagel. Quickly demolished.

This chicken biryani was as good as anything I’ve tasted in an Indian restaurant – and there was plenty of it too. I decided immediately that this is my new staple place to eat in town.

We weren’t for leaving just yet, so I returned to the bar to consider the beers in the fridges. I couldn’t see very well as the tall fridge was behind the bar but the barkeep was soon over to talk me through the cans.

‘This one has a really strong honeycomb flavour.’

‘Ooh I’ll have that one please!’

And it did! Fab beer this.

Back in my seat, I scanned the room (there were a few people I knew from the football) and sighed contentedly. This place was exactly what Blackpool needed. For months, nay years, I’ve been searching for a suitable casual dining place in town; somewhere to nip into for a quick bite, as opposed to committing to an hour seated in a restaurant. And this, dear reader, is it. And a bonus that it has lush beer too!

Of course I checked out the facilities before we left. There were plenty of cubicles but the taps were of such a design that they were left turned on by previous visitors. Of course I turned them off before I left.

Back outside, we recorded a little section for Lee’s video of the market opening, which you can watch here.

How had I forgotten the cakes?! We marched back in. I knew I shouldn’t really but they’d looked so inviting.

As I considered my options, I heard a voice:

‘But what would Paddington say?’

It was my CAMRA buddy Victoria alerting me to my conscience and lifestyle guru. All of a sudden, the cakes looked less appealing, baking in the sun from the skylight window, and we walked out of the market without cake. It’s what Paddington would have wanted.

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PS I was so excited by the market that I made return visits within days and here’s what I had:

Tuk Tuk Lamb Karahi. Lush.

Next Up: Manchester GBG Mission #8.