Monday, 10 September 2012

33 Prince Of Wales

Visited On 26 June 2012
Here's the photo ...

... and here's the (not totally accurate) map

So from the first surviving West Street pub to the last. The Prince Of Wales prominently displays the assertion “Your Local” where it used to say “Thwaites”. And that is the default beer offer. This is a slightly more well turned out place than the Brunel Arms, but despite an old display in the pub listing “Thwaites Cask” among the offerings, you know what’s coming.

NO CASK BEER

The same idea as the Brunel is being used, to flog nitro-keg cheaply. So it’ll be a cheap pint of allegedly smooth Thwaites keg, then. This is indeed smooth, and it achieves something that not even John Smiths and Worthington Creamflow (tm) have managed – it tastes more or less of nothing. There’s certainly no taste that suggests it’s related to the same brewer’s cask bitter.

What of the facilities? There’s a stage at the far end of the lounge bar, so no doubt there is music now and then. The usual screens relay sports when they are on, and the ubiquitous karaoke is advertised. Some comfy and slightly higher than usual chairs are also provided, which is welcome. But the barman does not need to spend 100% of his time serving, which tells you all you need to know.

Let’s cut to the real issue here: the only pub in the area that is pulling in the punters right now is the White Lion nearby on Ford Lane. But whether it keeps that place has to be uncertain – it, and both the surviving West Street pubs, have either closed for a time or been the subject of uncertainty about their future in the recent past. And they’re all chasing a rapidly dwindling market.

Beer sales continue to decline, and keg is declining fastest of all. The Crewe pubs that master in cask beer are doing fine. The consistently popular ones offer a cask option, with the only exceptions being the Imperial and White Lion, which both sell themselves as sports bars and happen to be well placed to take advantage of having no immediate competition for that market.

As with the Brunel Arms, the Prince Of Wales gives the impression of just staggering on and not really having any idea how to stave off the inevitable decline and ultimate closure. It would not surprise me to come back a year from now and find one or both of them closed. Snap out of it guys, we need good pubs. But right now this isn’t even an average one. And that’s a sad conclusion to have to make.

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