Thursday 31st March 2016
The Shepherds’ Hall Ale House is extremely well located, as Linda and I discovered. We arrived at the bus station and departed from the railway station. The pub is no more than 200 metres from either, making it an ideal stop-off point if travelling around this part of Lancashire.
It opened on 8th August 2014 and is owned and operated by three brothers, Stuart, Graham and Thomas Hardyman.
The small unit is within the Shepherds’ Victoria Hall building, hence the name. Its last use was as a florist’s shop. However, it seems to have been most known to Chorley’s residents as a newsagent’s shop.
The Ancient Order of Shepherds Friendly Society was founded in 1826. In the days before unemployment and other benefits these mutual societies helped people during hard times.
The building was constructed in 1903 which was during the most prominent years for Friendly Societies that prospered during the late 1800s and early 1900s. No doubt the rents from the retail units on two sides of the building were used to supplement the Society’s work.
The outside of the pub is painted black but inside it is much more warming. We sat on a bench seat within the bay of the window with the spring sunlight streaming in.
In front of us were a couple of typical round wooden pub tables. Around them were some strange metal stool cum seats. They were the height of a stool yet had a bucket shape in the manner of a seat, please see photograph.
Running down most of the left wall is a long upholstered settle. Facing are two white-painted tables and four cushioned stools.
Most of the seating has come from the now-closed Tut ‘n’ Shive pub in Chorley. At the end of the settle there is another small wooden table with three stools.
The walls are painted grey and there are a number of framed photographs showing coastal scenes.
There is beading along the upper parts of the walls and affixed above this is the almost obligatory pump clip collection.
Across the wooden floor from the settle is the bar itself. The counter is quite odd as it has a semi-circular protrusion at the front and the surface is made of red glazed tiles. It was rescued from another closed Chorley pub, Harry’s Bar. Please see photograph above right and kindly note the plaque on the wall, more of which later.
There was a great selection of medium strength beers offered where we visited and these were: Rat Brewery (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) Raturday Night Fever (4.0%); Fernandes (Wakefield West Yorkshire Malt Shovel (3.8%); Skinner’s (Truro, Cornwall) Betty Stoggs (4.0%); Hawkshead (Staveley, Cumbria) and Deeply Vale (Bury, Greater Manchester) USA Pale (5.0%). Incidentally, the first two breweries mentioned on this list are actually owned by the Ossett Brewery.
There are three ciders / perries always available and on this occasion there was Dudda’s Tun (Doddington, Kent) Dark Side (4.0%) flavoured with blackcurrant.
The other two both came from Scrumpy Wasp Cider of East Markham, Nottinghamshire and were Nice Pear (5.0%), a cider / perry mix, and Bad Apple Cider (7.4%).
There is a selection of wines and continental bottled beers. Like most micropubs there is not a large selection of food but pies and pickled eggs are offered.
This delightful pub has established itself very quickly. It was CAMRA Central Lancashire Pub of the Season Autumn 2015 and then rapidly went on to be the branch’s Pub of the Year 2016. This award comes in the form of a plaque and this can be seen on the wall at the back of the bar counter photograph above. There is a Board Games evening on Wednesday.
So, there are many reasons to visit this excellent little pub.
Shepherds Hall Ale House, 67 Chapel Street, Chorley PR7 1BS. Tel: 07412 584907
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 14.00-22.00; Friday 14.00-23.00; Saturday 12.00-23.00;
Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 14.00-21.00; Monday (not Bank Holiday) Closed
The pub is 100 metres or so from Chorley Bus Station. Chorley railway station is around 200 metres away. It is served by Northern Trains services from Manchester via Bolton continuing to Blackpool via Preston.