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 ?