Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Continental, South Meadow Lane, Preston

Since starting this column I had repeatedly resisted the urge to review the Continental because it already receives lots of publicity in our newspaper and plenty more elsewhere.
But temptation, that most beguiling of mistresses, finally grasped a firm hold of me and whisked me to the bar, before I had a chance to protest.
When I first moved to Preston nearly four years ago I would regularly pass the pub on the way to a jog in the park and think what a great shame it was the place was shut.
With Avenham and Miller Parks on its doorstep and more importantly my house less than a mile away, it seemed to be in the perfect location.
It was though just a distant dream and I fully expected it to be converted into ‘stylish riverside apartments’.
So when the pub’s grand opening arrived I was rejoicing and calling for a city-wide Bank Holiday to be declared.
Inside the decoration has been kept clean, simple and airy, making it an inviting environment for a meal out with the family or a pint with friends.
The owners have also got it right in the beer garden, with a large grassed area and simple flower beds with lots of patio seating and covered areas with heating.
On a sunny day the conservatory and garden a real draw for everyone from park strollers, to runners, cyclists and of course many of my fellow real ale enthusiasts.
The pub goes all out on its ales and always has a wide selection on offer.
If I was to pick a fault here it would be a real struggle but I would say they stock too many golden ales, where I prefer a slightly darker beer.
But, with all that eulogising done I am only half way through the story, probably less.
Based at the pub is an independent company called They Eat Culture which uses a converted kids’ play room to put on everything from plays, to live music, writing classes and comedy.
From nothing, this organisation has become one of Lancashire’s leading lights for attracting and showcasing creative talent.

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