Tonight, Lets All Get Drunk In Lancaster

A Guide To What's Great and Where

Pubs. You love them. I love them. Let's face it, we all love them, and, in a very physical sense, they love us back. To live in Lancaster these days is to live in one great big pub; statistically, if you're not in the pub, and the guy sat next to you isn't in the pub, then at the very least, you're both probably drunk. Anyway, what does a good pub look like when it's at home? Here at the Paddy Garrigan Web Pages, we thought we should tell you. Just check this little lot out, my prettys........

Pubs that you're welcomed in
Pubs you're welcome to
Pubs where no-one's welcome

Pubs where anyone is welcome

The Brown Cow:- Is tiny. If there actually was a brown cow in there, the ladies' darts team would be forced to sit in the toilets. So there's one good idea for improving the place. They have a good jukebox and they serve excellent guinness, which offers some relief from the relentlessly bad pints of Thwaites that seem inescapable in lancaster. Some potential clients may, however, be put off by the interior which is best described as "how a pub used to be". Before the dawn of health and safety, one imagines.

The John'O'Gaunt; this is a pub for anyone who likes a real variety of Beards. These are reflected in both the incredible diversity of Guest Beards available at the Bar, and also in the live music four nights a week, to suit beards of Jazz, Dixieland, Blues and even Folk dimensions. One afficianado of lager actually started drinking bitter as a result of visiting the John. He now resides in the Betty Ford clinic. Another triumph.
The Golden Lion; Just about slips into this section, since we're pretty certain that however physically maimed, mentally perverted or socially reprehensible you may be, you'll be welcomed with opened arms at the Lion. At least, you will be if there's anyone there to welcome you. The beer's fine, the staff are usually nice (apart from one chap who may actually be the Devil, but hey..), and at least you won't get into a fight, unless you're a shadow boxer.
The Gregson Centre; The Greggie is a very useful boozer (especially since it's really a community centre), on account that it is regularly open to midnight when you most need it to be (ie; thursday, friday and saturday). It has three principal drawbacks, however: 1) By this point there's nowhere to sit except for 2) the non-smoking area. Oh, and 3) it's another bloody pub selling thwaites that tastes like it was brewed from a mix of detergent and cabbage. But it's still open, and you've just been kicked out of your local at closing time.......
The Green Ayre:- Everypne is welcome at JD Wetherspoon's Green Ayre, which is just as well, since it would appear that most of us seem to go there on a fairly regular basis. If you like your quality ales well kept, your food fresh from the microwave and your atmospheres thin, this is the place for you. Not big on music, but very big on cheapness of booze. It's like the temperance movement in a parallel universe.
The Water Witch; Back in the day, I lived directly opposite the Witch, a fact which, whilst it does not explain why this longstanding local favourite has so long escaped the incriminating gaze of the Paddy Garrigan Web Pages, may well explain my remarkably poor show as a once and future undergraduate. Renovated within the last year, the Water Witch offers two parallel experiences: stand at the great, chrome and marbled bar and be served exotic beers by attractive young women, then retire to your dingy seat in the half-light where you suddenly remember - SHIT - this is the Water Witch. Some renovations can strip a pub of it's atmosphere; the Water Witch has simply had it's old atmosphere coralled to one side.
The Yorkshire House; Is conveniently situated culturally and spiritually at the centre of the Universe. Live rock and roll, excellent booze, local rock stars, a lovely jukebox, a host of comedy characters, the heady smell of golden virginia, and a huge push forwards to the bar at ten to eleven. Or, if you prefer a quiet night out, try going before ten o'clock. The Yorkie is more like a community centre, supporting as it does such minority interest groups as Bus Spotters, Motorcyclists, and Opaque. It was, I believe, no less a wit than Oscar Wilde who once wrote "when one is tired of the Yorkshire must be time to go up to the Gregson to catch last orders again. Oh, pass me my buckskin waistcoat, dear boy....."

Pubs you may go to, but aren't particularly welcoming

The Penny Bank; I have a friend who loves the Penny Bank. He lives away from lancaster, but every time he comes up, it's the first place that he wants to visit. It's not a bad old place, it sells plenty of good beer, and lots of variety of it. Unfortunately, the Penny Bank has two states: 1) Full, and 2) Empty. Both of these states are equally attractive. So if you enjoy the sensation of drinking in either a claustrophobic sweat bath or a ghost town, come on down - it's got to be the place for you.
The Dukes:- What, you might ask, are the average customers of lancaster's only art-house cinema like? The Dukes would probably like me to say that the Dukes does not have an "average" customer. It would, sadly, be more accurate to say that, apart from just before the film starts and just after it finishes, the Dukes does not actually have any customers whatsoever. Critics quibble at the quality and friendliness of the service, but I say to you, how friendly would you be if you were kept in solitary confinement all night, only to be exposed to the preposterous opinions of your average Dukes film-goer at the end of it all? Not that I shall cut them too much slack - they visit appropriately western-styled vengance upon us by selling drinks at "shirt-off-your-back" rates, and then take great pleasure in displaying no pleasure whatsoever in serving you. Cheers, lads.
The Ring'o'bells; Still has a beer garden to beat all the competition stone dead. In Lancaster, sadly, this is almost as big an accolade as, say, being voted least violent member of the IRA, or the smallest racist in the BNP. It also does not really compensate for the fact that the barman's a surly scot who rarely thanks you in a manner you're likely to believe, the quality of the beer can be highly variable, and on a cold winter's night, that terrifyingly hot fire seems to follow you round the room. There's some graffiti on the wall by Jools Holland who famously got locked in one night. If he wrote on my walls, I'd smack the bugger. Damned impolite, if you ask me.
The Royal:- serves great food at a reasonable price (Tapas, since you ask), and usually sells very cheap doubles on all spirits. There's a good and reasonably priced wine list, and the staff are usually quite jolly in their own way (at least , in a way you wouldn't find in, say, The John O'Gaunt). But it's still languishing down here, because a) I'm a bastard, b) I can't be arsed moving it up the list, and c) it very much resembles a 1980s wine bar, right down to playing Lisa Stansfield on the jukebox. Many would quibble at my retro angst, but I was a student in the 1990s, don't you know, and, frankly, if that kind of thing doesn't come dowsed in layers of irony so thick they should have been fashioned at Cammel Lairds, I come out in the most dreadful rash.

The Bobbin; Lancaster just hasn't been the same since the Alex closed down. However, those pining for the good old days will find a that the memories come simply flooding back at the Bobbin. There's nowhere to sit, it's full of miserable twats, any live music music is rendered unlistenable by the appalling acoustics, the beer tastes like somebody shat in it and you're more likely to get a diamond out of a dog's arse than to get friendly, prompt service at the bar. All they need to get is a fat miserable cunt to work as a bouncer at the end of a slow moving queue in the pissing rain, and it'll be like the whole of the last year never happened.

Pubs where No-one is welcome

The Merchants; I believe I first went into The Merchants on my second day in Lancaster, way back in October 1993. I have since spent several hundred hours in there, for reasons which I cannot satisfactorarily explain. It is, I think, fair to say that I have been served by one particular member of staff on the enormous majority of these visits, who in all that time has never once acknowledged me, anyone I know, or, indeed, anyone at all. Considering how much money I must have poured in and out of the place, I should have my own table in there. Instead, I'm lucky if I get a pint of anything approaching description as "beer". In fact, you're lucky to get anything, okay? You heard.
Ruxtons; Ruxton's is certainly the first pub we've ever come across to be themed after a famed local murderer, and if this isn't quite original enough for you, you'll be pleased to find that the entire pub - staff, decor, beers, locals, location, everything - is themed to incite even the meekest pacifist to acts of devastating brutality. Too few people these days can claim to be a local at Ruxton's, since no-one ever lives long enough to become a regular. Of late, the increasingly lawless climate in Lancaster's town centre hostleries has become so threatening that Ruxtons has started employing a bouncer. Most bouncers, I'm sure you will agree, tend to stand outside pubs trying to look as menacing and intimidating as possible. The bouncer at Ruxtons tends to stand furtively in the doorway, looking for all the world as though he's trying to give the impression that he hasn't been stood up.Yes, we make our own laws round these parts......
The Wagon & Horses:- I admit that if my house & livelihood were under constant threat of being subsumed by the indomitable forces of Mother Nature, my outlook on life might well be somwhat darker than it already is. So it is at the Wagon & Horses, where our carefree and lackadaisical staff have been bound, gagged and exiled to Siberia, and replaced by two young lasses who are gradually working their way up to total ignorance. They are every bit as interested in dealing with your order in a friendly and polite manner as they would be receptive and amused to find you pissing on the table. Previous years have seen the Wagon's cellar subject to flooding. On the basis of the Robinson's bitter I was drinking, it would seem that a considerable amount of water has yet to be shifted.