STEPPING into The Cricketers Arms is a pleasant journey back in time.
A no frills local that is thriving in providing just what the customer ordered.
“It’s one of the oldest pubs in the town centre,” said Andy Evans, who is revelling in the publican’s role he shares with joint owners, his wife, Denise, and landlord and mother-in-law Barbara Kenyon.
To regulars in The Cricketers, in Peter Street, down by the side of St Thomas’s Church, they are the holy trinity.
But Andy reckons it’s the real ale they serve-up that has proved The Cricketers' saviour.
As social secretary of St Helens branch of CAMRA Andy admits to being “passionate” about cask ale.
“The pub looked set to go under but I believe cask ale has worked and in the past 11 months we’re turned trade on its head and it’s all been through word of mouth,” said Andy.
“We have brilliant staff in Gavin Evans, Karen Yates, Mike Wilson and Faye Knowles. We’re a team here, there are no bosses, we all pull together. The real ale scene in St Helens is better than in cities such as Liverpool or Manchester."
The Cricketers’ prices are one of the attractions that make it a staging post on the real ale trail which brings in enthusiasts as well as locals who like the friendliness and warmth of a community pub complete with woodburning fire, darts and pool teams, a beer garden, smoke area and up to the minute wi-fi.
The pricing structure is simple: £2.40 a pint for brews with an abv below 4.5% or £2.50 a pint for beers that are above 4.5%. There’s a 20p a pint discount for CAMRA members and a ‘buy 10 pints get the 11th free’ discount offer and you don’t have to down them all in one session!
*On April 26 St Helens CAMRA branch is heading from The Cricketers to the East Lancs Railway at Bury to sample the beer at The Trackside bar. The trip costs £8 return and a limited number of seats are available.