In praise of: The Royal Oak

They don't pull 'em like that anymore

Yes, The Royal Oak.Never Prescot’s coolest pub even in the days when a night out was free of the politically correct dead hand of government and the cafe culture. The cool pubs were always the Victoria and the Eagle & Child which were mid way and the full stop of a Prescot pub crawl. Start in the Bath Springs along to the Crown,Red Lion,Dean’s House,The Sun,The Vic,Hope and Anchor,The British Soldier,Fusiler,Hare & Hounds,The Oak,The Plough and finishing in the Eagle & Child. Last person standing paid the taxi fare and/ or stumped up the ackers for the takeaway.

Even in those days the Oak was something of an old man’s pub to us youngsters but it was the pub that always seemed to be our longest stay of the evening. It was always a bit of an adventure trying to get to the juke box before Ned the mad biker, a huge bearded specimen who stood near the bar and loudly lambasted everyone’s choice of music.It got to the stage we wasted our money putting on The Nolan’s ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’ just to see iof we could encourage an early heart attack, or at lerast see his red face turn purple.If caught putting on anything less than 1950’s rock music you would get a lecture on the the true nature of rock.We laughed, we sometimes cowered in fear, noione went to the toilets without an armed guard, but 30 years later you start to realise he was right.

The Vic, The Long Pull or whatever it’s called these days has long since sold out with wooden coffee tables and polished chrome being the main features.It’s main appeal for us was trying to walk up the cobble stoned hill while bladdered on frosty nights, and finding ourselves taking two steps forward then sliding back twenty yards before landing in a giggling heap outside the old bakery at the bottom.These days that would be rounded off with an ASBO from knacker of the yard. Some of the pubs are now long gone of course.It was no surprise to lose The Soldier and The Plough, both were more like the sitting rooms of elderly person’s homes than pubs,which is fine but isn’t going to pull in enough punters to survive the onset of dwindling pub numbers and competition from cheap supermarket booze.

So three cheers to The Oak, defiant, proudly Prescot and, like Cables, a bridge from our past to our future.

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