Monday, January 24, 2011

Canal Pub Review: Botany Bay, Whittle-Le-Woods, Adlington

After the walk along the towpath and having over done it on the thermals I was a bit warm and ready for a drink. We had parked at the Lock & Quay so planned to have lunch there. The pub building has been here a long time but only shows up on the 1920s OS map as a public house. It was once the Railway, a name that has gone along with the railway itself. If you stand on the canal bridge and look towards the Botany Bay mill you can see the remains of the railway bridge by the boatyard. Much of the railway embankment was wiped out by the motorway construction. And yet the canal remains so the pub has taken a more navigational name. 
While the outside of the pub looks like an old cottage the inside is newly refurbished. We went in and were the only customers in there. Last nights karaoke was being packed up, it seems to be popular here on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This was 1:45pm on a Sunday, the pub should be full of diners. We got our drinks and I stripped off a few layers. The only ale available was Bombardier, the rest were off, Black Sheep being one. There were 4 lagers on tap and John Smiths. Some more customers came in only to be told there was no food today. They left and we followed soon after. 
On the way to the Lock&Quay I noticed the Malthouse Farm. More of a restaurant with a travel tavern next door than a traditional pub maybe but worth a visit. The Premier Inn and restaurant are on the site of an old farm house. The outside is very smart, with some very nice patio furniture for sunnier days. Inside it is obviously more of a restaurant than a pub, well at Sunday lunchtimes anyway. We were taken to a table and told it was all table service. The interior is very smart. Like many newly refurbished canal pubs it has the grey wooden panels, brown leather chairs and old canal photographs. It might be a bit artificial but it does look smart and the photos are still interesting. The gents toilets were very nice too! 
Its a chain pub, owned by the "chef and brewer" pub company. The menu is pretty good, most things were between £7.50 and £10. We cheated and just had the starters and desserts. There were some draught ales, the Lancaster Blonde was judged to be very nice. Although the place was packed and the staff were busy they were very nice and friendly. While we were waiting for the food (which arrived very quickly, faster than the drinks in fact) I noticed that my iphone was showing it had a wifi connection. The pub has the Cloud so anyone with access to that can surf for free. And so I did. The pub gets bonus points for playing Frightened Rabbit on their piped music. 
The pub has special weekly food nights, vegetarian on Wednesdays,  curry and quiz nights on Thursdays and fish on Fridays. As chain pubs go it was a lot nicer than other pubs that could only be said to be "fayre" or those in which you might want to "eat beef".  This would be a nice place to stay as part of a canal trip or a good place to have an affair if you were in middle management with a Lexus and a secretary. It would certainly be a lovely place for a summer drink outside.
Adlington is not a million miles from Whittle-le-Woods but the Bridge is as far removed from the corporate class of the Malthouse Farm. The Bridge is a locals pub. It has two doors and we went in the "wrong" one, ending up in the pool room. We had to politely push past all the locals who were watching the Blackburn match on TV and head down to the other end of the pub to the empty room without a TV. Adlington must look to Blackburn for its football rather than Wigan or indeed Chorley. Its a Robinson's pub so can't be too bad, the Unicorn bitter was nice although being the driver I was bought the pinkest soft drink they had. At the end of the room we were in was last nights karaoke machine still set up. Children and dogs were welcome and there were as many sweets on sale at the bar as crisps. Its outside seats weren't as posh as the Malthouse but would be just as welcome on a rare hot summers day by the canal.
The Bridge pub is named after the canal bridge. The canal bridge is named after the White Bear pub. I couldn't find any white bears to ask who they were named after. 
Its hard to judge a pub on one visit but I would have no problem going back to any of today's pubs. The Malthouse Farm is more of a place for a meal than drink maybe.
Review the pubs on the canal pub guide

1 comment:

Bang on said...

Great post, look forward to visiting some of those pubs :)