Keyboard Warriors, Trip Advisor and A Defence of a Beautiful Pub


I don’t publish my image online,  I have a “face for radio”. But I don’t hide, many people in the beer business in the North know who I am and – rather embarrassingly, as I am by nature quite shy – I get approached in pubs occasionally. It’s really flattering, but I’m actually a boring sausage. More Richmond’s than some artisanal chorizo.

My point is, I suppose, that I don’t hide behind this blog. And hundreds of people get to see me as the public face of The Independent Salford Beer Festival. As I said, I don’t hide.

But one thing that I do hate, is using the anonymity afforded by the Internet to do wrong – potentially harming a decent business. That cowardly ability to hit and run. And one of the worst fora for doing this is Trip Advisor.

I’ve seen many examples (and, conversely, abuse of the app via self promotional comment disguised as a customer) and one that hit me recently, was a posting about the Crooke Hall Inn on the outskirts of Wigan.

The Crooke is one of my Top 5 pubs. It is one of the few places that I, Atilla AND the brood agree on. They get a fabulous Sunday lunch, I get that allied with fabulous beer at ridiculous prices.

The thing about The Crooke is that it kind of relies on the food element of the business. Given its slightly remote (and picturesque) location on the bank of the Leeds – Liverpool canal, it could never be a “wet led” Pub. So, when someone has a dummy spit about slow service at a very busy time (Father’s Day) on Trip Advisor, it can do damage

1 of 5 starsReviewed 29 June 2016

“If TripAdvisor allows me to award zero stars throughout then I will. It didn’t so I’ve had to go through and click on one (unmerited) star.

Three of us visited this pub on Sunday 19th June at 6:40pm, with the intention of having a meal there, but we were told that the pub could not serve any more meals, since it was ‘busy’. It did NOT look busy to us, there being plenty of empty tables, and none of them had ‘reserved’ signs on them. As far as we could see there were only two large tables of diners being served their main courses at the time.

We were gobsmacked! Never come across such an negative attitude before.

Outside, an ‘A’-Board proudly proclaimed “Good Food Now Being Served”. Maybe it was, but not to us. I said we were quite prepared to wait, but that offer cut no ice.

Many pubs are sadly closing these days; this one deserves to join that list.”

  • Visited June 2016

“Deserves to fail”? The petty little man. Does he have no idea what such a sentiment entails? In the words of my Belfast relatives GO BOIL YOUR HEAD!

The response of one of the owners of Allgates was….choice. And made me smile. Read it.


(My Sunday lunch today -rearranged by me…..)

 As I said, I know The Crooke. It makes my favourite Sunday lunch – I had one today in fact, having stayed overnight in a Camper Van – and it is a lovely old pub in a beautiful location.


(Leeds – Liverpool Canal – from The Crooke Hall Inn Beer Garden)

These things are all opinion of course, but that post – based on my repeated experiences – COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. This is a lovely old pub, in a fabulous (and rather unique)  location – positioned as it is in a conservation village on a canal bank with narrow boat moorings. The post comes across as petty and vindictive, knowing full well how damaging such an opinion could be.

The Crooke IS remote to many. It’s about a 15 min walk from Gathurst train station (on the Southport line) and is best accessed by car. I adore the food (superior for pub grub), the beer selection is varied, well kept and incredibly keenly priced (Allgates beers £2.50, guests £2.60).

I couldn’t recommend somewhere more.