The Commercial

The Commercial, Wheelock, Cheshire CW11 3RR

One of Cheshire’s dwindling handful of truly unspoilt pubs, this is a former Birkenhead Brewery tied house, now a free house, near the Trent & Mersey Canal in this large South Cheshire village. The interior comprises a congenial main bar with an impressive carved wood counter, a chintzy snug and a spacious billiard room with a full-size table that doubles as a concert room. The overall atmosphere seems little changed since the 1930s, and the gents’ toilets are well-kept survivors from that era. In the past, opening hours were very restricted, but seem to be more liberal now. On my recent visit, cask beers available were Weetwood Best Bitter and Marston’s EPA – the Weetwood, a classic English “brown bitter”, was in good nick and a bargain £2.20 a pint. No food appears to be served.

Addendum, February 2016: Sadly this pub is now CLOSED. Not sure of the actual date.

The Post Office Tavern

The Post Office Tavern, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 3AG

Bill Jones writes: This is my local. It's a proper wet-led pub, which does food but doesn’t let that get in the way. It has a mixed clientele with a few “gin & jag” types but plenty of ordinary working men as well. Everyone rubs along together quite nicely. It sponsors a football team so there is a younger group of customers to balance old codgers like me. In the good old days when you could smoke, there was a non-smoking bar and an elaborate ventilation system which took all the smoke from the main bar. Everyone was happy. Now you have to go out the back where there is a decent smoking shelter. Four real ales, usual lagers, ciders etc. Dogs welcome. Pub’s website here.

The Vine

The Vine, Dunham Woodhouses, Cheshire WA14 5RU

A Samuel Smith’s pub set back from the road in an attractive village close to the National Trust’s Dunham Massey estate. Despite the leafy setting, it’s surprisingly down to earth, with a strong core of regulars mingling with visitors eating meals. Possibly Sams’ famously low beer prices help keep its feet on the ground. The interior has a firmly traditional feel featuring much dark wood, with a variety of cosy areas rambling around the central bar. The pub is the building by the red car, not the one right behind the sign.

The Seven Stars

The Seven Stars, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 3QA

It’s twenty years since I visited here, but it’s well summed up by Adrian Tierney-Jones in last Saturday’s Daily Telegraph.

Apparently the roof board shown in the photo but absent on StreetView was blown off in high winds.

The Anchor

The Anchor, High Offley, Staffordshire ST20 0NG

A Victorian pub set by the Shropshire Union Canal in a very isolated rural location. It has two small rooms – a bar with old, high-backed settles on the right and a lounge on the left which is a tribute to 1950s formica. The only cask beer available is Wadworth’s 6X, served from a handpump but topped up from a jug. The pub is, not surprisingly, packed with canal memorabilia. It has a spacious beer garden with plenty of seating and comes into its own on sunny summer weekend lunchtimes. Opening hours in winter may be limited.

The Traveller's Rest

The Traveller’s Rest, Alpraham, Cheshire CW6 9JA

This is an incredible, unspoilt pub that is like taking a step back into the 1950s. It has a main bar area in the centre, two lounge-type rooms at the front, one accessed by stepping through a bead curtain, and an entirely separate parlour at the rear, with its own door to the exterior. The toilets, of course, are outside. Leatherette seats and formica-topped tables abound. The beers available on my most recent visit were Tetley Bitter – which was better than it has any right to be – and Weetwood Eastgate Ale, a classic English “brown beer”, not too malty, not too hoppy. The quality of both justified its entry in the Good Beer Guide. No food is served, but it seems to be popular with a good group of regulars.

(Amended 25 August 2013 to replace the StreetView image with my own recent photo. And, no, I don’t drive a blue Honda Jazz!)