Thursday 31st March 2016
I must say that the Albion Ale House looked very inviting as we passed by on the bus from Wigan before alighting at the nearest stop. It has a very distinctive red sign in a traditional style. Yet actually, inside we found it to be fitted out in a more contemporary fashion.
Where are we? Well, Standish is a small former mill town found around three or so miles Northwest of Wigan. I would guess that it is furthest outpost of Greater Manchester just before the border with Lancashire. It is reached very easily via a frequent bus route that runs from Wigan to Chorley, Lancashire.
The spring sunshine flooded in as Linda and I settled down just after opening time. The furniture is mostly tall varnished light wood tables and upholstered chairs. The walls are a sort of grey-green colour with a few framed photographs of old pub scenes. There a garlands made of hop bines hanging above the window. There is very attractive flag-stone flooring.
The already small room narrows towards the rear of the pub and the varnished light wood bar counter is to be found on the right. This is of a conventional style with no less than eight hand pumps.
As the board displaying the current beer list only has six slots for removable blackboards I guess that is the normal number offered.
On the wall in front of the counter there is a shelf with four stools underneath. More hop bines hang from the ceiling and there also a string of pennants above the bar. Going deeper into the building the room narrows again and there is just room for one table with two chairs.
After that it is just a corridor that leads to the separate Ladies and Gents toilets, including disabled facilities. The walls here are covered with the pump clips of beers past, in true micropub fashion.
The pub is the idea of Kevin Goudy, who is assisted by his wife Becky and three staff. The building’s previous use was as a Pound shop. No wonder it closed, there couldn’t have much room for the stock!
The pub opened its doors for the first time on Tuesday 18th November 2014. The micropub effect has rippled through Standish as there is now a second example, Hoots, a few doors down. I wish we had known that when we visited the Albion. Never mind, it’s an excuse to go back.
There is a surprisingly good selection of cask beers for such a small pub. The choice was: Martland Mill (Wigan, Greater Manchester) Clogmaker (3.9%); Abbeydale (Sheffield) Deception (4.1%); Goff’s (Winchcombe, Gloucestershire) Tournament (4.0%); George Wright (St Helens, Merseyside) Mild (4.0%). Bank Top Brewery (Bolton, Greater Manchester) make their house beer (the only regular offering), Th’Albion Ale (3.6%) and also their Gold Digger (4.0%).
There are always two ciders and on this occasion they were Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Fiery Fox (6.5%) and Thistly Cross (West Belton, East Lothian, Scotland) Traditional (4.4%).
Wine including Prosecco is also available. There is a range of soft drinks offered. Food is Scotch Eggs and cold pies. There are also pickled onions, eggs and gherkins along with the usual packaged snacks.
So, a micropub that is well worth visiting.
Albion Ale House, 12 High Street, Standish, WN6 0HL. Tel: 07411 081342
Hours: Sunday-Monday 14.00-20.00; Tuesday-Thursday 14.00-22.00;
The pub is situated a few doors down from the major crossroads in the middle of the town.
If arriving by bus from Wigan, as we did, alight at the Avondale Street stop in Preston Road.
Walk back in the direction that the bus has arrived from, to the crossroads. You will see the red-fronted pub on the opposite side of the road past the intersection.
The 362 bus runs from Wigan Bus Station to Chorley Bus Station via Standish. It runs every fifteen minutes from Monday to Saturday during the day. It is less frequent on Sundays and in the evenings. Chorley Bus Station is opposite Chorley railway station and is very close to The Shepherds’ Hall Ale House.