Foreword. I had noticed @the_food_saint for the fab local foodie tweets & instagram posts and to be honest had massive lifestyle envy! I truly believe that Gin is the drink of the devil, so, I could not write this blog (even in the name of research)! It seemed like these were the perfect people to ask! So many, many thanks Mr FoodSaint & the ‘Blonde’ please check out their website & social media links at the end of the blog.
Me??? I’m just waiting for a Vodka revolution……………it’ll happen
The Lytham Gin scene
Would I be prepared to visit a random selection of Lytham hostelries, order a gin and tonic and then write, compare, contrast? Let’s say there was no need to ask twice.
thefoodsaint.co.uk was launched in early January, and is aimed at celebrating all that is good to eat and drink on the Fylde, Manchester, Liverpool and beyond. So an actual assignment that was more drink than food focussed was a welcome relief.
The brief was simple. Pick 6 random pubs / bars and order a gin and tonic and see where it goes. I wouldn’t say I was a gin snob, but I did reserve the right to intervene if the bar tender made for the house gin optic without as much as a “which gin?” question. So what can you expect on the Lytham gin scene?
This smart new tavern opened on Lytham square just in time for Christmas. The one thing any gin drinker will notice on approaching the bar is that the back of the bar is dominated by gin. This is Lytham’s gin palace.
My request for two large gin and slim lines was met with a polite response as to what I had in mind. I recognised the excellent Monkey 47, a premium gin and my drinking partner went for the ever reliable Tanqueray.
Both drinks were expertly prepared, using assorted fruit and botanicals. The Monkey was served with lavender and sliced orange, whilst the Tanqueray got the blood orange treatment and juniper berries. Both were served, as requested with light tonic. We opted for fever tree, one of those brands you wished you had bought shares in the first time you’d had it.
The Monkey 47 and tonic came in at £8 for a single measure, whilst at the other end of the gin price spectrum the Tanqueray double and Fever Tree light was £8. The preparation of the drinks and what this added to the overall taste of the drink was excellent. These guys know their gin and I am sure as they become more established, the depth of advice available from the team will grow. This was a good start to the evening from a gin lover’s perspective, but premium gin in premium surroundings can mean premium prices.
The County is an impressive building, and a large pub that has a pizza specialism. The request for two large gin and tonics here had the friendly barman headed for the optics. After a quick intervention it became clear that there was a decent selection of alternative gins available.
We opted for the Sipsmith, which is a West London gin that we’ve enjoyed before. Having guided the bartender away from the optics, his enthusiasm for gin came forward, with him declaring himself a bit of a gin snob! We therefore took his advice on choice of fruit and our drinks were garnished with sliced orange. I could see that house tonic was Britvic, so we opted for the upgrade to Fever Tree light and the cost of each drink was a very reasonable £6.10.
The house gin Gordons is available at £2.49. The drinks were very good, and at a decent price. The County takes an early lead in the price stakes, whilst the Deacon leads the way in terms of quality and selection.
Onto Barrique and another impressive selection back bar. The request for two gin and slim lines was met with a helpful enquiry about which gin with a brief rundown of popular gins and some commentary on the main tastes. I went for a large Black Powder Sidelock gin, which is distilled locally at Weeton. This was served with a slice of lime at £9 for a double, with a bottle of Fentemans light adding £1.50 for a total of £10.50 for a double. My drinking partner opted for Manchester based Didsbury Gin, this was served with a slice of lemon, again at £9 for a double with light Fentemans.
The black powder was a peppery explosion of taste and I am very much looking forward to visiting Black Powder Gin for one of the “Ginsperiences” in February. The Didsbury was a bit more refined, so refined, that after black powder it tasted a bit bland, but my drinking partner enjoyed it.
Onto the cosy Taps on Henry Street, this is generally very well priced for all drinks, and therefore always busy! I asked for two large gin and tonics and despite seeing several options behind the bar, the bartender started pouring from the Tanqueray bottle without offering a choice. I could only see Fever Tree in the fridge and I only intervened to remind of the request for light tonic.
The drinks were nicely prepared and included blueberries, orange slices and lime.
The price was £6.15 for a large gin and light fevertree. The drinks were excellent with the fruit adding to the botanicals inherent. The price point was good, but I feel the Taps is missing an opportunity to upsell on gin given their small but decent range on offer.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon to find only two frazzled looking staff manning the large Station bar. On requesting two large gin and tonics, the bartender was headed for the Gordon’s on optic, so I politely excused myself and asked what other gins were available. Again a decent selection was given although I couldn’t see them as they were in a deep open cupboard behind the bar. I heard Tanqueray 10, and as that is our “treat” gin at home, we opted for that.
I could see a selection of tonics and had to ask for the Fever Tree light. The drinks were not served with any fruit, so I requested some lime. The price was £7.50 for a double with light tonic. Tanqueray 10 is a fairly premium product, so the price was fairly reasonable, but presentation needs work. Nevertheless the drinks were delicious and I would happily return for a repeat of this excellent gin.
Wetherspoons – The Railway
Onto our final randomly selected Lytham hostelry and you might be pleased to know that this article was not constructed all in one drinking session! There was a mid-point break, just so I could at least remember a few helpful facts!
Known for cheap drinks prices, I was intrigued to see how that played into the gin experience at Weatherspoons. I needn’t have worried. A helpful bartender made some recommendations from their excellent selection. We decided to go for the Copperhouse gin and were offered a choice of tonics. We opted for the Fentemans light. We were then offered a choice of fruit with the bartender sniffing the poured gins to suggest the best pairing. Each drink was £4.55 for a double and Weatherspoons gets a bonus point for having paper straws. Saving you money and the planet at the same time!
The Copperhouse was an excellent choice, well served and well presented. As you can see from the drinks menu, the prices on premium gins here are exceptional.
There are many great pubs and bars in Lytham. “A gin and tonic” yields different results in different environments wherever you choose to spend your hard earned beer (gin surely?) tokens. What this little exercise concluded was that if you are looking for a cool place, with ambience in central Lytham and money is no issue, then Barrique and The Deacon is for you.
The Taps, The Station and The County can offer well priced mainstream gins with a few options, but you might need to lead the bartender to your preferred tipple. If you want premium gin at bargain prices and are down that end of Lytham town centre, then look no further than The Railway. Especially if you want to save the planet, one paper straw at a time
Check them out thefoodsaint.co.uk/