Saturday, 7 April 2012

Chorley Night Out

'You should get yourself down Chorley one Friday night', bellowed my colleague Matt Squires, who I suspect is part of an underground cell which will one day launch a coup to overthrow the Government and reform society, with Chorley at its epicentre.
'Okay mate no need to shout', I replied. 'I'm only sitting opposite you'.
So with his words ringing in my ears, I boarded a train for my first big Chorley night out.
After a cracking curry and a few pints in Vujon we made our way into the heart of the People's Republic of Chorley'.
Our first stop was The Market Tavern, in Cleveland Street.
I walked through the door which was surrounded by an appealing traditional frontage and very suddenly came to a halt.
Two steps inside the pub were as far as I was going to get, at least initially, because it was completely packed out.
Eventually I wriggled my way to the bar and bought a pint of Theakston Mild, a weak keg beer which reminded me of many evenings spent in snooker halls.
Edging round I tried to work out what all the fuss was about?
Why were so many people crammed into this little pub?
Then it struck me. A note. The wrong note.
I spun to my left to see a lady on a small raised stage piling her heart into a tub thumping karaoke hit, though it was difficult to decipher which one.
But the crowd loved it and a steady stream of singers got up on stage, buoyed by the encouragement of an appreciative audience.
Deciding against having a crack at Bon Jovi, we slipped out and moved on to The Sir Henry Tate, in New Market Street, a new-build Wetherspoon pub which looked like many others.
There was however one feature which set it apart from its branches in Preston and elsewhere; music and lots of it.
The big beats bounced off the walls as happy drinkers got geared up for their final destination; Applejax.
With good real ale at very good prices, a Wetherspoon pub always manages to strike a chord with me, even if many of them have been built in places more suited to carpet shops.
Our final destination was The Imperial, a large and airy pub which was busy with a good blend of drinkers old and young, having a quick one before the club, or enjoying a last pint of the night.
With a pint of Thwaites Wainwright in hand, I fell into the latter category as I reflected on a night spent in bustling pubs whose owners have worked hard to make sure their customers keep coming back.
'What did you reckon then mate', Matt bellowed (though this time it was fair enough because it was noisy).
'Sign me up. Vive La Revolution'.

*If anyone would like to suggest their ideal Chorley pub route, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog  or find me on Twitter - @RobinsonBee

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