Friday, November 25, 2011

CBP on tour No. 3, Gallaghers Pub & Barbers

Visited on 24/11/11. Birkenhead is half an hour away from Chester by train. Or it should be. When the points don’t fail that is. That was how we found ourselves stranded in Rock Ferry – or some of us did at least. I can think of a lot worse places to be though. Like down in the streets. Or down in the sewer. Or maybe on the end of a skewer. Or maybe not. Even once we’d found the taxi that had been called in for us, covering the remaining distance to Hamilton square wasn’t straightforward. This was due to the fact that the Albanian driver had never heard of the place (true story). Nor did he know how to operate a satnav – or a car. Maybe it’s the law that you have to stop at green lights in Tirana, I dunno. It was more by luck than good judgement then, that we finally arrived at ‘Gallagher’s’ to be greeted by howls of derision from our Wirral-based CBPer who’d travelled independently of the ‘soul train’ and was already into the Wobbly Bob. We were an hour late. Frankie who runs this place with his missus is an ex guardsman and barber by profession. During the day he cuts hair and provides ‘hot towel’ cutthroat razor shaves in the traditional barbershop, which is situated in the middle of the pub. Ale is served throughout, but at 5:30 pm the barbershop is closed and roped off. Frankie then switches to full-time landlord mode for the evenings. The superb Brimstage Trapper’s Hat is always on here and is accompanied by five constantly changing guest ales. On this occasion, in addition to the previously mentioned ‘Wobbly Bob’ from the Phoenix brewery which is an overly sweet ale at a brain numbing six percent, the following were also present: Nervous Turkey (Ossett), Pendle Witches Brew (Moorhouses) and a porter from Liverpool Organic that I can’t remember the name of. All were in excellent condition. There was also a sort of coiderrr on draft. I say ‘sort of’ because it tasted like nothing on earth. It was called ‘la Cantina’ and according to Frankie, is an Italian Scrumpy ! I can’t find any mention of it on the world wide interweb though, so being an old cynic, would have to place a question mark over it’s provenance. It tasted like crushed ‘Granny Smith’ apples combined with stewed socks and possibly tincture of goblin’s arse-crack sweat. Not for me, that one I’m afraid ! This is a fantastic and totally unique pub though, it has to be said. Where else can a chap avail himself of the very best in gentleman’s grooming and then enjoy a couple of pints of top-notch real ale in the same establishment ? Nowhere – that’s where. I suppose it’s ironic then, that one of the best pubs we’ve visited on the Chester Beer Project isn’t even in Chester. And to think that due to the vagaries of Merseyrail, we very nearly didn’t get there in the first place. It was a very close shave to be honest. What ?


  1. I've been reading this blog since it's inception over a real-ale-fueled game of dominoes in a backstreet pub somewhere in Chester.

    It's given me lots of chuckles along the way. I would hate to think that the CBP would be over anytime soon because i look forward to the latest 'episode'(makes it sound like a soap).
    There must be a future, even if, as Adrian says, the future lies in offies. But a future you must have! Think of your audience! How will we fill this black hole left by the loss of the CBP from the blogging world?

    On a serious note, i do hope you extend the CBP blog to other things when you've run out of pubs (or maybe move on to a different town for the night? Crewe, Frodsham, Neston, etc), because I'm sure I'm certainly not the only one who enjoys reading your blog (hi Paul at No. 5 Somestreet).

    Here's looking forward to your review of the Barbers


    Yours lovingly,
    First time commenter

  2. PS when i said "or maybe move on to a different town.......", I meant do a pub crawl and review the pubs there. I didn't, I might hasten to add, mean that you should leave town. Period.

  3. There are a few landlords/bar owners who DO want us to leave town mate believe me ! This thing's got a while to run yet though so don't worry. When we've done all the Chester pubs, we've got to do top 10, bottom 5 and all that stuff - so that will spin it out a bit. Only then will we consider the fuchsia ! Thanks for your support anyhow - it's very much appreciated.

  4. Good to hear that there's life in this blog after Chester, and maybe after pubs. Or both,
    Perhaps you could post pics of the places visited to help capture the atmosphere and give us dear readers a bit of background to the night. For example, when there's snow 3 feet deep, then that means you can be excused for not writing up the blog immediately because you're in hospital with chronic pneumonia.

    You;ll be glad to know that you've given me my daily LOL.

    You wanna be careful about that Gallaghers pubs - didn't Sweeney Todd also own a pub?

    With the further unstoppable expansion/escape of the CBP into Barber shops beyond that of the tightly secure gates of Chester, perhaps it's now time to rename the Chester beer Project as "Project" now that the Chester and Beer are now no longer requirements.

  5. Ruprecht: The ale in question is indeed 'Dark Icon' - obviously your constitution is more robust to the effects of Wobbly Bob than mine ! The reason I couldn't find it on the Liverpool Organic website is that it isn't Liverpool Organic ! It's from new brewer, Liverpool Craft Beer co.

  6. Jeff: We've been outside Chester before - see links, and no doubt will again. Not sure about pics though. That's the kind of thing that might get us into trouble ! You might be able to find some videos hidden as hyperlinks in the earlier blogs !

  7. The reason why i mentioned it is that it would have been pretty interesting and illuminating seeing the inside of the Gallaghers pub. I mean, a barbers in the middle of a pub???
    Please note that i was referring to pics of interesting establishments and interesting aspects about them rather than seeing pics of various members of CBP doing the Can Can on the bar of the Victoria.

    I had a look at the links, but after sweeping my cursor over nearly every sentence like a tractor in a field, i was unable to find a single pic/vid link.
    Not to worry.

    btw I'm glad you gave a nod to the history of various establishments in those links. It's always interesting reading about the history of the olde worlde pubs.

  8. Jeff: You can see the CBP doing the 'can can' by clicking on the phrase 'fizzed up' in the review of 'Carriages Cafe Bar'

  9. what next,maybe oirish bars doing a full body wax.i no, we can call it back,sack and craic

  10. Some nice vids there, Tarquel.

    Soooo have you got any plans to mark the end of the actual Chester Beer Project (before it metamorphoses into a different monster. Perhaps Chester nightclubs, Frodsham pubs, etc)?
    There must be a grand finale to mark the very last pub in Chester pwned by the CBP. No brilliant(and practical) ideas come to mind, sadly.