Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Old Dog Inn, Church Street, Preston

Tired, laboured and knocking out the odd funny smell, I have always found a certain kinship with old dogs.
They may not be able to keep up with their leaping, yappy friends and their days of chasing tennis balls are long gone, but they are solid and steady, without getting carried away.
And so it was for a time with Church Street’s old timer.
The pub opened well into the small hours on most nights, serving up real ale, live music and an appealing alternative to a nightclub.
But, even the most lucid old Labrador needs a bit of order and it became grumpy and aggressive.
The pub ended up being closed down briefly and when it reopened its licence conditions were toughened and the opening hours curtailed.
I feared my old Saturday night companion had become uncontrollable and would surely be put down.
But Paul Whittle, who runs a firm providing door staff across Preston, decided to step in and run the pub.
It was his first experience of running an entire pub, rather than merely looking after the security and what a challenge to start out with – an improbably angry Labrador, growling menacingly through its muzzle!
But by introducing and enforcing strict rules, including drugs checks, CCTV and careful vetting of the clientele, he quickly transformed its fortunes.
Under his management, it has also had a much-needed revamp, to make the pub much more appealing.
The transformation has been such that Preston Council has reinstated its 4am licence seven days a week, which blissfully means for old-before-my-time curmudgeons like me, I can forget forever trying in vain to make my hips wiggle in shiny, horrible nightclubs.
At least some old dogs can learn new tricks.

1 comment:

  1. Have they put new carpet down & gutted the toilets? The price of a pint there doesn't warrant putting up with being unable to move as your stuck to the carpet, and when you eventually get to the loo, you wish you hadn't bothered...