Friday 4 November 2011

The Liverpool Arms Conwy

You know when you’ve ignored a pub for years and then on a whim decide to go in and then you think: what have I been missing? That’s what happened to me recently on a visit to the Liverpool Arms in Conwy. It stands on the quay, several houses down from the Smallest House in Wales, compact, next to the town walls, a fixture of Conwy that I last went in with friends on a summer’s evening some 25 years ago. I’ve just ignored it. And then I was in Conwy on the occasion of the food festival the Conwy Feast (after buying lots of food I made a beeline for the beer tent run by local breweries Purple Moose, Great Orme, Nant and Conwy Brewery, whose California was truly excellent) and I remember that the former Bass head brewer Arthur Seddon told me the Draught Bass in the Arms was pretty good. So I went in. Inside: bare stone, dark black beams, red tiled floor and a small bar in a corner. Two cask beers: Draught Bass and Brains SA. There was a weather beaten sense to the interior and naturally there was plenty of nautical memorabilia. It was dark and comfortable and the sort of place where you could imagine coal fires in the winter when the tourists no longer come. The Draught Bass had a formidable Burton Snatch on the nose and danced its way down my throat. Even though the quay was heaving with people who didn’t seem to have a very good idea of navigation, this felt very much like a locals pub. I felt a sense of settling into the landscape, of slipping into the shadows of pub life, watching people come and go (some woman from Lancashire — or was it Cheshire? — moaning about something or other, a Jackdaw perusing his paper) and enjoying my beer before it was time to go out amongst the people once more. And then later on in the beer tent I meet up with an old mate with whom I used to work on the deckchairs on Llandudno prom — ‘the Liverpool? Great pub, I go there with my dad at least once a week.’ What have I been missing? 

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