Few, I suspect, will mourn the passing of The Star pub, recently demolished at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. However, its late landlord Barry Eastwood was a popular character.
When he later took over the old Wheatsheaf – also now demolished on Talbot Road, near Blackpool North station – I admired his subtle, traditional style of management.
“Don’t give old Harry any more, looks about to fall off his stool,” Barry might whisper to a barman, as he emerged late afternoon in a smart suit to start another long evening. Then he’d glance at regulars, waving cheerily or perhaps adding to the staff, “Oh, and how many has Lenny had? Don’t want him fighting again!”
He’d also find some excuse to chat to any newcomers, perhaps building up the log fire near them, to check out any unknowns. There was also an upright ‘joanna’ on which, they say, many a good tune was still played.
Sad to see such historic landmarks go. Still, in Lytham we still have the Taps; in St Annes the Victoria was saved and, in Fleetwood, The Mount. Of course, Blackpool also has its oldest pub too, the Saddle Inn.
But times change; people too. It was decades ago that we lads would finish off a night out in the resort at the basement Galleon Club, then share a taxi to the Everest on Central Drive, or stagger to Church Street’s notorious, late-night Shahi Grill.
I wouldn’t care to return, instead appreciating modern additions to our bistro-bar scene. Traditional boozers have also had a facelift, with refits such as Blackpool’s Brew Room (formerly the ‘Blue Room’ or Stanley Arms). Craft beer and real-ale ‘shops’, offering cosy, convivial service, are also springing up.
I’m sure Barry – along with the resort’s other colourful past landlords – would have approved. Cheers to all, I say!
* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.