Finding a ‘proper’ pub these days can be a tall order, but here we present a West Lancashire gem
In these times of pubs closing right, left and centre, one wonders what will actually become of the great British boozer. It’s a tradition we’ve always cherished, and it seems odd that we should blame the smoking ban – or even the recession – for preventing us from availing ourselves of this national institution. Odd it may be, but true none-the-less, and in our travels throughout the land we have encountered heart-breaking stories from landlords and landladies who have ploughed their all into these cornerstones of the great British way of life, not always successfully. So what makes a pub a winner? It’s quite easy to see how a pub-cum-eatery in a tourist spot can eke out a more than meagre existence, but what about that very special breed, the ubiquitous ‘local’? To survive these days, these must be made of sterner stuff.
Happily, we are blessed with such an establishment in our very own little coastal town of Fleetwood in Lancashire. The Queens Hotel is lovingly presided over by landlords Benny and Gail Emsley, and run pretty much to perfection by their dedicated team of Jamie, Lindsey, Adam and Kathryn. Here is a pub where you can pop in for a pint after work, chat with fellow regulars, pass the time of day with strangers and generally just relax without having to stand on ceremony. It caters for sporting enthusiasts and music lovers alike, offering regular local band spots usually on a Friday night. But if you do just fancy a drink and a chat, finding a quiet corner shouldn’t be too difficult.
The Queens has atmosphere, feels clean and cared for and is a congenial and safe space, thanks to Benny and Gail’s no-nonsense approach to trouble makers. The regular clientele see it very much as ‘their’ space, and a culture of friendly respect is observed at all times.
Prices are reasonable too, with a great selection of ales and lagers, wines, spirits and shots, and a good range of snacks – not least the deliciously well-stocked Holland’s pie oven for those times when a pie and a pint is all that will do.
So if you just fancy a beer down the local, but sadly that means standing awkwardly like a fish out of water while armies of family diners and their delightfully well-behaved offspring scream and shriek around your feet, you might just find the solace you seek at this quiet, unassuming Fleetwood ale house. It’s the great British local at its best.