Thursday 31st March 2016
South West Lancashire and adjacent Merseyside are fast becoming hot spots for micropubs. East Kent was the first such area and still is. Then there was an explosion of them in the East Midlands which continues. So, the North West of the country seems to be the next and our target on this visit was one of the first, opening on 2013.
The Market Ale House is the brainchild of Danny and Alison Hindle who are licensees of the Railway Hotel in Preston Road, which not unnaturally, is close to Leyland station.
That pub is the complete opposite to a typical micropub. However it is indirectly responsible for the creation of the Market Ale House.
It won North West Sports Pub of the Year and the couple were in London for the presentation. Whilst there, they visited a few micropubs in Kent and were very taken by the concept, so the rest is history.
They established the pub in a former Travel Agent’s premises. Although, I notice from an old photograph that it was once Robinson’s Milk Bar.
It is on the corner of Northcote Street. This once led to the North Works of Leyland Motors. Now that old building houses Leyland’s Market Place. It is about a half mile (750m) from Leyland Railway station.
I visited with wife Linda in mid-afternoon and we were the only customers; inside, that is!
It was an unseasonably fine day and all of the patrons were sitting at the tables and seats on the wide pavement outside. The entrance door is on the left of the building and inside, we found a medium sized room with the bar counter at the rear on the left side.
Down the right side and in front of the window are six high tables with accompanying tall seats. Between the door and the L-shaped bar there were a few stools along with a shelf along the wall for balancing pints whilst standing.
The walls are painted in several shades of beige and all very professional. There some shelves high up the walls and there are also a number of framed photographs mostly depicting the town’s motor industry. The pub seats 35 but can hold 60 in a crush.
There are seven hand pumps on the bar and the norm is for there to be five cask ales and one cider dispensed this way.
On the occasion of our visit the cask offerings were: Phoenix (Heywood, Greater Manchester) Pale Moonlight (4.2%); Stonehenge (Netheravon, Wiltshire) Heel Stone (4.3%); Irwell Works (Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester) Marshmallow Unicorn Milk Stout (4.4%) and finally, two from Cross Bay (Morecambe, Lancashire) Dusk (4.5%) and Halo (3.5%). They change constantly.
There were two ciders offered: Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Happy Daze (4.5%) and Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Country Perry (4.5%).
They have wine including Prosecco, Malt Whiskies and Gins. You can also tea or coffee. Food is limited to a Lancashire cheese plate, pickled eggs or pork pies.
This pub was Central Lancashire Cider Pub of the Year in 2016. We liked it a lot and it is well worth visiting if you should be in the southern part of Lancashire.
Market Ale House, 33 Hough Lane, Leyland PR25 2SB. Tel: 01772 623363
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 14.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 14.00-23.00; Sunday 14.00-20.00
The pub is to be found around a half mile from Leyland station. This has trains operated by Northern running from Manchester via Bolton and on to Blackpool via Preston. Also there is an hourly service from Liverpool to Preston via St Helens and Wigan.
A number of bus routes serve Leyland.
From the station walk up the station approach road (Golden Hill). Pass the Railway Hotel on your left. Turn left into Chapel Brow passing a new micro-pub (The Golden Tap, fitting out when we were there). Walk down to the roundabout. Cross to Hough Lane (we went across the car parks on the right). Continue up, passing the Leyland Lion (Wetherspoons) on the left. You will find the Ale House on the right just after the church.