Blackpool pubs proud to be 'rough'

TWO Blackpool watering holes have been featured in a book celebrating Britain's top 50 "rough" pubs – and their landlords do not mind a bit.

The Happy Scots Bar and The Jaggy Thistle were both "honoured" by two authors who said they had chosen the bars as symbols of "Britain's quintessential pub tradition".

Writers Paul Moody and Robin Turner spent months travelling the country drinking and sampling traditional pubs up and down the country.

Mr Moody said Hamish Howitt, controversial landlord of The Happy Scots who has flouted the smoking ban since its inception, was "fantastic".

On the Jaggy Thistle, he joked you feel "lucky to be alive" when leaving, but love every minute of being there.

Mr Moody said: "The great British boozer is an endangered species.

"Across the country ancient 'locals' are closing down faster than you can ring last orders.

"The Rough Pub Guide is quite simply a celebration of some of the most extraordinary drinking experiences in the UK.

"People don't want to pay 8 for a bottle of lager in a wine bar and we believe the best nights out you can have are in a local pub with your mates.

"The Jaggy and The Happy Scots are perfect examples."

Mr Moody also praised Mr Howitt's campaign against the smoking ban, which has so far seen him fined thousands of pounds.

"It's fantastic what Hamish is doing," he said.

"He's a great bloke and he's standing up against a law that has decimated pubs up and down the country."

Mr Howitt said he was delighted to have been included in the book and said it was no slight to be called "a rough pub".

"It's fantastic and I'm so proud," Mr Howitt said.

"Pubs like mine will be like museums to a bygone day soon and to celebrate them is wonderful.

"We will be left with posers drinking in fancy wine bars.

"The Great British pub should be a centre for community and social and political debate and long may it continue."

Alan Ogden, landlord of the Jaggy Thistle on York Street, added: "I'm not annoyed to be included in the list of 50 rough pubs at all.

"I think The Thistle is one of the few surviving traditional pubs – there aren't many of them left.

"When companies take pubs over and refurbish them they lose their character but this is just the way our locals like it.

"We've faced some tough times with the smoking ban but we are still busy. It is a bit rough and ready sometimes, I suppose, but then not everybody who comes here is rough."