Considering the fact that pubs are in decline across the nation and have been disappearing at an alarming rate for a number of years, Chester hasn’t been too badly hit. The pub scene remains relatively healthy and in some ways eg. the wider availability of quality ales, is in better shape than it once was. We’re fortunate to have a high number of excellent boozers in the city then, but nevertheless, at the other end of the spectrum there are a few absolute duffers ! These are listed below, starting with the pub fifth from bottom and finishing with Chester’s worst pub:
* dons tin hat *
5. The Twirl of Hay (No. 14)
If remoteness, terrible keg ale, total lack of atmosphere, poor service and the smell of stale food is your thing, then this boozer is for you. It would be worth taking the trip out to the edge of town. There’s not a lot else for me to say to be honest. This is an arse-achingly uninteresting pub.
4. The Flookersbrook (No. 24)
Hoole has become one of the more affluent parts of the city and this big pub should have been able to capitalise on that. The huge success of ‘the Lodge’ (No. 22) just along the road, proves that there was a demand for a smart modern boozer in the vicinity, serving quality beverages. However, this place is none of those things and I doubt it ever will be. The ale is vile and the interior is cavernous and characterless. Can’t think of a single reason why anyone would want to drink in here, unless of course they’d been barred from everywhere else.
3. The Amber Lounge (No. 107)
This place is completely devoid of character, which is quite an astonishing thing to say about a building that dates from at least the 16th century. Nevertheless, it’s true. So while the ambience or whatever isn’t exactly offensive in any way, the really depressing thing is the wasted potential and the contempt with which the building’s provenance has been treated. An interior design ponce has obviously been let loose in here some time in the mid 90s and armed with a ‘minimalist sensibility’ and a few cans of white paint has vandalised the magnificent Elizabethan structures and fittings. Hopefully, someone with half a brain will restore it all at some point – and will get some decent ale in an’ all.
2. The Dee Miller (No. 71)
Everyone sympathises with a landlord struggling to make a living under the oppressive regime of a typical PubCo in an alehouse starved of investment. Nevertheless, community boozers MUST serve cask ale (and keep it in good condition) or they might as well not bother – it’s the only product pubs can provide that supermarkets cannot. Cask wasn’t on offer when we visited this desperately run down housing estate pub, nor was any form of courtesy or even a conversation ! Sympathy can only extend so far I’m afraid. This place is doomed to failure unless there are big changes in the way it’s run.
1. The Amphitheatre Bar (No. 76)
Easy choice. A confluence of bad service, bad attitude, bad atmosphere and bad ale made this place the worst boozer we visited in 2011 by a long way. Oh, and the puke dripping from the ceiling was also a factor. What else would you expect though, from an establishment with a cynical business plan based entirely on selling strong liquor to kids ? Reality bites.
OK, stay tuned next week folks for the one they’ve all been waiting for. It’s the CBP top ten pubs of Chester – might need to do it in two parts though pop-pickers, so next week will be ten down to five, with the top five following on in two weeks time !