Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brahms & Lizsts

Happy New Year folks and welcome back to the twilight world of the Chester Beer Project

As we now know more about the pubs of Chester than anyone else, we thought it appropriate that we should put together some sort of a ‘hit parade’ of both ales and pubs, covering the best and the worst of what’s on offer in the city. Therefore, over the next couple of weeks, the following will be appear on this site.

CBP worst ale

A list of the Bottom 5 most lamentable, offensive and/or downright rancid examples of the innkeepers art that we’ve had the misfortune to sample over the last year.

CBP best ale

A list of the Top 5 ales we’ve encountered, in each of two categories.

- Strong ale
- Quaffer

CBP worst pub

A list of the Bottom 5 pubs in Chester – in contrast to the Top 10, this will be easy to figure out. There’s a clear group of 5 boozers in the city that are absolutely dire with no redeeming features whatsoever.

CBP best pub

The eagerly awaited list of Chester’s Top 10 pubs – including the ‘CBP PUB OF THE YEAR’. We reckon there are between 20 and 30 excellent pubs in Chester, so the Top 10 will be very difficult to decide. We’ll probably have to append a number of ‘honourable mentions’ in addition to the ten that make it to the list in fact.

So there you have it.

Unfortunately, former Chesterville MP and woolly jumper wearing ‘bon viveur’, Gyles Brandreth isn’t available to present the CBP PUB OF THE YEAR award to the winning landlord as promised. We were then dealt a further blow when we heard that TV’s Oz Clarke, who we had hoped might ‘step into the breach’ fell victim to a shark attack whilst on holiday in SE Asia over Christmas and is now sadly deceased. On the plus side, we already had Chester’s most famous minor celebrity, Lucy Meacock lined up as a reserve, but it seems that even she is now beginning to waver.

We’re currently trying to contact Bob Carolgees.


  1. Happy New Year to the CBP team and readers!

    I'm looking forward to this. I was going to say that i wouldn't mind trying to predict the worst pubs on the list because that will be easy. Any and every that have a whiff of gastrodom will be there, understandably.

    I may well try my hand at guessing the top 10. I will probably inform you of how many i got right just after you've told me the list, but Carlton Tavern is surely in the top 10.

  2. Thanks for your good wishes Jeff.

    You're dead right - we don't like 'gastropubs', but abject shite-holes come even further down the list and the bottom five pubs of Chester are all squarely in this category.

    As for the top 10 - well again you're right. The Carlton has to be in there - but where exactly ? Well you'll just have to wait and see.

    The results are in...

  3. In before the lock (as the saying goes). I think that attempting to predict the top 10 in the right order is a wee bit difficult, so i'm going to predict the top 10 in no order.

    -Carlton Tavern
    -Olde Cottage
    -Oddfellows (Lower Bridge St)
    -Pied Bull
    -Ship Victory
    -Spital Vaults
    -That pub on the corner with bagatelle opposite the Railway on Brook St beginning with E
    -Brewery Tap
    -Amphitheatre Bar

    Hehe only joking about the last one. Seriously now, i think Bear and Billet is probably the 10th.

  4. You have done well Jeff! Obviously, a man with impeccable taste. Would like to tell you more but, can't let the cat out of the bag (just yet).

  5. You gentlemen visited the Blues Bar at the football ground? Two hand pumps (usually Spitting Feathers Thirstquencher plus one other), and bottled ales too. Well worth a visit one day (feel free to stay and watch the football too...). The Chairman is secretary of CAMRA I believe.

  6. We haven't, although maybe we should. I've not been to see Chester since they beat Leeds Utd. Glory hunter, me !

  7. Wasn't that in 1923?

    Indeed i am (a man of impeccable taste). Shame i won't win so much as a sausage from the CBPers.

  8. Marvellous! We'll be there Monday night to watch The Mighty Reds humiliate some team from Merseyside. Definitely nip in fer a pint. #CBP

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  10. I'm not sure if this blog post has been forgotten about yet, but i would like to have a go at predicting the worst 5 pubs. In no order:

    The Plummers
    Amphitheatre Bar
    That poncy one run by Mr Caines
    Dee Miller
    Dublin Packet

    In order they are likely to be (top is worst):
    Amphitheatre Bar
    Dee Miller
    Dublin Packet
    That poncy one run by Mr Caines
    The Plummers

  11. Nothing gets forgotten Jeff - every time someone puts a comment anywhere on the blog, I get an email !

    We've got best ales first then worst pubs - you're pretty close though !

  12. I know ;).
    Will look forward to seeing what you have listed as the best and worst.

    Here's my own few of the best and worst, for what it's worth.

    Regarding the (possible) worst, i don't think the Dublin Packet is that bad - I think it has some character, and it's interesting, in some intangible way.
    Plummers is dead, Amphitheatre bar is a soulless haven for the under 18s, and i've never been to the Dee Miller or the poncy one.

    Regarding the (possible) best, i like most of them. I really like the Old Cottage because i think it has character, they play good music, it's got a nice warm fire (a rarity these days), and it has a good vibe.
    I've never been to the Egerton Arms on Brook St nor Spital Vaults in Boughton.
    Ship Victory doesn't seem too bad from the one time that i've been there. it's very locally from what i could gather.
    Oddfellows on Lower bridge St is too expensive, but an ok vibe. However, this vibe is available elsewhere for a much cheaper cost.
    Pied Bull best features are that it's relaxing and it's olde worlde.
    Carlton Tavern is quite a nice venue. A bit out of the way through. Relaxing, low gastro-ponciness factor, nice scenery, and happy memories playing pool(where is the pool table on the right hand side of the room as you walk in from that newsagent that's no longer there? There definitely used to be one about 20 odd years ago) from Handbridge College many years ago.
    Brewery Tap is really nice. Good vibe, but expensive beer. The only genuine example of a medieval hall left in Chester, i believe.
    Telfords is good for music but expensive.

    These are MY own best and worst (again, for what it's worth):
    Anything owned by Wetherspoons
    Ship in Handbridge (explosively high gastro-shittiness)
    Handbridge[used to be White Horse when normal] (ditto)
    Amphitheatre Bar (ultra-meh)
    Piano & Pitcher (totally soulless and high gastro-shittiness. Same thing really)

    Boot (old worlde goodness, feels lived in, like a good pub should be, cheap beer galore)
    Falcon (ditto)
    Bear and Billet (ditto)
    Victoria (great atmosphere, olde worlde charm, comfy, but expensive)
    Olde Cottage (see above)
    Dublin Packet (has as strange intangible character)
    Harkers (lively, good atmosphere. a few showoffs though)
    Duttons (feels kinda good to be in here)
    Cross Keys (feels relaxing)
    Bar Lounge (same as Harkers)

  13. Ok, I'll have a squirt:

    Best 5
    Telfords - Good beer, choice and location
    Coach House - Well kept beer
    Commercial Hotel - Very civilised
    Custom House - The small lounge
    Duttons - Wine bar that is like a pub

    Worse 6:
    Dublin Packet - Whole place stinks of piss
    The Falcon - Why's it cheap ? Cus it' crap.
    Watergate Arms - A Local pub for local people
    Temple Bar/City Arms - No Trainers lads
    Victoria - Why's it so expensive ? God knows.
    Boot - See Falcon for details.

    Best & Worse ( At the same time ).
    The Oddfellows Arms - Full of nutters, so bad it's good.