A.J. Walker


Public Houses 61 Revisted

In January last year I tasked myself with getting to as many local pubs as I could in some kind of reaction to the empty pubs I was faced with on New Year’s Day. I had no aim other than to throw myself around town a bit from hostelry to hostelry. It was nothing more than a pastime. It’s only a year ago but it seems a lifetime in some respects. The ever changing rules, guidance and laws are so hard to remember now. But mainly it was the fears. I ultimately got to 48 different pubs last year, which was pretty a robust dabble.


This year seems a decade later. That may explain why Liverpool are playing so differently this year too: something must!
So here we are in 2023 and hospitality is on the rack again, this time largely from the “cost of living crisis.” It was good to see Dry January was taking a bit of a back seat this year, but maybe it wasn’t and it was just lost in the deluge of other news. And so it was that I intended to get out again this January again with the same lack of definitive goals. Just an aim to not just go to the same eight pubs or so. To spread my wings and fly away with whatever ale I found on a given day.


It was quite a different month from last January. It was easy to get around a bit for a start (albeit if planned around rail strikes). And I even had a gig or two to get out and see. I won’t save the final number to the end (hell it was in the blog title) but I ultimately went to 61 different places selling ale in January. That was again without trying too hard either; I could have easily made more if I'd wanted to. But I was happy with the efforts I made. It was good to do and no stretch goal. Obviously getting to travel to Lancaster, Manchester, Wolverhampton, and Birmingham helped boost the numbers. Let’s face it I’m alway gonna go to a minimum of four venues on a wee visit to a town, ain’t I?


So 61 pubs (or venues), it’s a nice number even if it ain’t a round one. Anything Dylan related is pretty damn fine to me. But, other than reporting the number as a kind of answer, what else can or should I say? Anything I damn want I guess - it’s my site after all. I’ve put the final numbers against the pubs below, but I suppose a few words are worth penning too.


Anyone who is into ale and pubs knows it and there’s no point in preaching to the converted. And who’d ever read this blog who’s not into pubs anyway? I guess not damn many. No need to overthink it or write too much then. Hell a paragraph. 61 pubs, some quite different, some similar, all boil down to a few words about our pubs:

We need them. The clue is in the name pubs; Public Houses. They are places to meet. Places to relax, to get away from; home, from work, the norm, the daily issues. Where people can chat to their mates, meet new people, have banter with the bar staff. Where they can chat about the latest news, the sport, or the weather if they want, to listen to music (live or otherwise), play some games, read a book, get some scran: and taste their favourite beers or something new. Public Houses when they’re gone from a community what happens to the people who used them? Hopefully they find somewhere else, but in some areas they may not. They don’t even need to sell real ale of course. But for its followers like me it is a damn fine bonus. With the cost of living crisis many pubs are bound to see some downturn. The businesses will suffer and those that are confined to barracks by financial necessity will suffer at home too. People need people. They need social interaction. And for many the one place they get that is at a pub. I have good memories from this month of pubs and I really hope if I do it again next year that all the 61 will still be there. That’s where you can help: get out there and support your locals if you can. The whole ‘use it or lose thing’ is the vibe. Raise a glass of whatever your weapon of choice is to the pub, to the staff, to the brewers, to the hops, malt, yeast & water. And raise a glass to your buddies of yesterday, of today, and of tomorrow. Cheers!


The pubs and bars of January 2023:

1 Dr Duncan’s 01.01
2 Ship & Mitre
3 Excelsior
4 Vernon
5 Rigbys
6 Railway
7 Head of Steam
8 Sanctuary 02.01
9 Lime Street Central
10 Denbigh Castle 05.01
11 Bridewell 06.01
12 Dispensary
13 Fly in the Loaf
14 Belvedere
15 Grapes
16 Roscoe Head
17 Caernarfon Castle 08.01
18 White Star
19 William Gladstone
20 Lady of Mann
21 Hole in the Wall
22 Lion Tavern
23 Pen Factory 10.01
24 Philharmonic Pub
25 Blackburne
26 Ye Cracke

27 Tite & Locke 11.01
28 Merchants
29 John O’Gaunt
30 Sun Hotel
31 Three Mariners
32 The Bobbin
33 White Cross
34 The Borough

35 Red Lion 14.01
36 Globe 15.01

37 White Lion
38 West Kirby Tap
39 Black Toad

40 Leaf 19.01

41 Gas Lamp 20.01
42 Ape & Apple
43 City Arms
44 Briton’s Protection
45 Wharf

46 Crewe Hero (station) 21.01

47 Royal London
48 Posada
49 Lych Gate Tavern
50 Great Western

51 Wellington Arms (22.01)
52 The Colmore
53 Purecraft Bar & Kitchen
54 Sommar
55 Post Office Vaults
56 Head of Steam Birmingham
57 Bacchus
58 Good Intent

59 Peter Kavangh's (29.01)
60 Hobo Kiosk
61 Baltic Fleet