Friday, 9 December 2011

Ship Inn, Fylde Road, Preston

When I talk to friends who studied at UCLan over the past decade many of them reminisce about great times aboard the Ship; the most recognisable pub in Preston on account it was painted orange.
For one or two of them to have eulogised about it, I could have put down to rose-tinted memories of happy times at university.
Lets face it you can have a good time pretty much anywhere you go during those student years.
Yet proclamations of ‘great’, ‘brilliant’ or ‘good laugh’ came far too frequently for me to dismiss their claims.
But when I arrived in Preston in 2007, all I found was an odd looking spray tanned building packed with big kids’ entertainment like punch bags and games consoles.
It was certainly crammed from wall-to-wall with every diversion imaginable to draw the students in.
But, it always seemed to be a bit of an uphill battle to keep them there and the pub seemed to be fast running out of space for gimmicks and attractions.
So, I was really pleased when a year or so ago they shut the pub and gave it a complete overhaul.
Gone was the David Dickinson tint along with all of the ‘attractions’ inside.
Instead they replaced pretty much every fixture and fitting, to create a clean, tidy and tasteful pub which would be as acceptable to your gran as it would an 18-year-old fresher.
They even installed three real ale pumps and improved the rear outside area with nice new seating and heaters.
But for some reason which I cannot quite fathom, it does not seem to have quite worked.
When Miss Chardonnay Sidekick and I visited on Wednesday there was no real ale available, though Miss Chardonnay said her wine was nice.
Neither were there any customers, save for one or two scattered around, though I think at least a couple of them were employed to operate the redundant karaoke machine.
I was also a little concerned to see the sort of tat returning which had been wisely swept away in the pub’s revamp.
Items such as lilos stuck above the bar and models of little ghoul skulls randomly dotted around the place did not bode well.
There is a board outside the pub advertising the tenancy and it seems to me almost everything is in place for it to be the student venue of choice once more.
Lilos aside it looks smart, has plenty of seating, a small stage for bands and an outdoor area.
All it needs is a bit of imagination to drag the students back and a little consistency to keep them there.

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