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“Go west,” as the Pet Shop Boys once famously sang. Little did the unsuspecting public know that this song was actually about what path you should take when drinking in Lancaster. These three pubs are perfectly in line from the train station too, so should you need a post-train drink or three, Merchants, Robert Gillow and The Pub should fix you up nicely.
Merchants could lay claim to being one of the nicest pubs in Lancaster. It’s cosily situated next to the castle, and has a neat little front garden for sitting in on warm summer evenings. The structure of the pub is endearingly unique, having a main bar area, then three offshoot rooms which are almost tunnel-esque.
There’s plenty of quality ales and lagers to try, and Merchants is probably the wine connoisseur’s haven in Lancaster. Regarding the beer, there’s plenty of local ale on sale, as well as some more exotic flavours from abroad (if you can call Belgium exotic). The downside is that Merchants is one of the more expensive establishments in town, but ultimately it’s a fair price to pay for one of the nicest places in Lancaster.
The Robert Gillow was once the pub of Lancaster. There was a great community spirit, serving free food, numerous music nights and also being open 24 hours over the Lancaster Music Festival. But there was a rather unceremonious takeover that saw the owner turfed out to the anger of locals and students alike. It’s reopened now, and is a damn sight tidier, but is this at the cost of its soul?
Well, there was a significant lack of atmosphere, but this could just be an observation of chance. New additions to the Gillow include wobbly chairs, an empty birdcage and 50 beers. Fifty. I was tempted to use a random number generator to pick my poison, but instead settled for a craft IPA on tap. The ‘extraordinary beers’ include bottles from Argentina to Australia and Thailand to Turkey. You’ll be spoilt for choice, you really will. Prices aren’t the cheapest in Lancaster, but like Merchants, it’s expected from one of the fancier establishments in town.
“Does anyone fancy going to the pub tonight?”
“Yeah sure, do you wanna go to The Pub?”
“That’s what I just asked you”
“I know, but I’m asking if you want to go to The Pub”
“Of course I do, why else would I ask?”
“Ok, let’s go to The Pub”
“Good, where shall we go?”
What came first, the pub or the name? The name only serves for ambiguity and mirth, but this is a serious review of drinking beer in every pub in Lancaster, so let’s compose ourselves.
The Pub isn’t the greatest pub in Lancaster, nor is it the worst. The prices aren’t the cheapest in Lancaster, nor are they the worst. So what does The Pub offer? If you’re into your metal and rock music, there’s plenty of decent nights to be had here. The range of ales isn’t at all bad, especially compared to some in town that offer few, if any. There’s definitely a clientele that suits The Pub more than others, but that shouldn’t discourage you from venturing in at some point, even if it is just for the joke of the name.