Sunday, 30 August 2015

Cats and Rats and Elephants, But Sure as You're Born

Mmm...warm Jennings Bitter for £3.50

Historians said about the constantly infirm Charles II of Spain (1661-1700) that he "was always on the verge of death, but baffled Christendom by continuing to live.

Many similar things can be said about many pubs in the North. Take, for example, The Unicorn in Preston.

This place is a former Scottish & Newcastle house, based in a formerly packed pub district on North Road, just off the A6. Several pubs in the area have closed in this area (ie. The Mitre, which is now a Vet Surgery). But The Unicorn stubbornly hangs in there.

It's now owned, of course, by a Pubco. In this case Trust Inns of Chorley who own around 80 premises around the North West. We know this because of the "Do you want to run this pub?" sign that frequently appears on the side of the building. Three times in as many years, by my reckoning.

Numerous tales of unsuitable  landlords, crap beer and a dismal clientele abound about The Unicorn. But somehow it stays as a going concern. Being near the University of Central Lancashire, most assumed it would have been turned into student housing long ago (a fate of many pubs in this area). I can only imagine the cost of conversion is prohibitive. They even replaced the sign outside in June (whether at the Landlord or the Pubcos cost is unknown).

Me? Never been in. I'm presently in the pub next door which has better beer and a much better reputation. If the Unicorn wants to be a continuing and viable pub, it needs to address these issues, rather than A-boarding messages about 40,000 song karaoke database or Free Pool.

I'm betting it'll be student flats by 2020, myself.


  1. I'll survey it next time I'm up Matthew, soon as Travelodge prices get back to bargain levels. I can compare and contrast with Wheatsheaf.


  2. I actually went in this pub on 27 November 1993. The reason I am so specific about the date is that I remember going in the Moorbrook afterwards and watching England beat New Zealand at rugby. The Unicorn was distinctly chilly!

    I also remember going in an estate-type pub across the road which I believe is now closed.

  3. This one? I'm across the road from it now. Building looks pretty much the same now.

  4. Yes, that's the one.I think it may have been in the GBG at the time. Interesting that it's an original Vaux pub, not one they acquired from Grand Met in the 80s or 90s. I hadn't realised Vaux got quite that far south.

  5. I'd have assumed - wrongly, obviously - that with a name like The Unicorn it had been a Robinson's pub at some time.

  6. Sorry Matthew, I chickened and used my units up in the Moorbrook and Wellington. It's looking for a tenant and was empty, despite (?) advertising Hobgoblin. Vote it into the next Beer Guide for a laugh.

    1. I think the Unicorn's patrons are saving up for the "Psychic Nite" I saw displayed on the blackboard outside it on Friday.

      "I'm feeling VERY STRONGLY.... a lot of plasterboard and young Chinese people with big rucksacks..."