As a CAMRA member, I have just received a copy of the nominations for the awards to be made at the Southport CAMRA beer festival and was surprised to see that the Guest House, a pub that regularly serves up to eleven real ales from various breweries, was not among the nominees. The Guest House is a fine community pub that has regulars who have been going there for 30 or even 40 years, but it is also sometimes on the circuit of younger drinkers on their pub tours. You also see couples having a quiet drink together ~ it is a mixed clientele. Since the current licensee Gail Heyes took over, the gender balance has has slipped away from the male-dominated pub that it once was to become more representative of the population at large. I remember when I first went into the pub in 1974, the room on the right as you entered had a sign stating, "Gentleman Only." I never entered that room until the Sex Discrimination Act made the sign unlawful; my brother, perhaps more principled than me, boycotted the pub entirely.
That is all in the past now, and I would argue that the Guest House is a leading pub in Southport. Once a month (on the evening of the 3rd Monday of the month) there is a free music session when local folk musicians come along and provide entertainment, not for money, but just for the love of playing. Additionally, a singaround on the first Monday evening will begin on 7 September.
Unfortunately, some CAMRA meetings clash with my music nights so I wasn't there when these nominations were made. I know that a lot of CAMRA members who perhaps don't attend meetings regularly agree with me about the Guest House. You can vote for pubs that haven't been nominated ~ I urge you to do so if like me you consider the Guest House deserves recognition. For a Good Beer Guide pub to receive no nomination is bizarre, especially after the fiasco when the local CAMRA branch (my branch!) forgot to include the pub in the Good Beer Guide a couple of years ago, even though it had been voted in. I have to advise some of my fellow CAMRA members that there are some drinkers, including other members, who are regarding this omission as deliberate. I don't think it is, but am less certain than I was. If you are a CAMRA member and agree with me and want to vote for the Guest House, contact Mike Perkins straight away, as the deadline is Tuesday 18 August.