P547 Last updated 11th April 2018
Pub of the Year 2018
19 Queen Street, BlackpoolWinner, Blackpool Fylde & Wyre Branch Pub of the Year 2018
We have chosen Bar 19 on Queen Street in Blackpool as our Pub of the Year for 2018. It showed early promise when we made it our Winter Pub of The Season in 2016. An oasis of cask ale in an area of town that is more noted for its "fun pubs" and 2-for-1 discounts, it beat off stiff competition from two previous POTY winners to land the award.
A massive turnout of CAMRA members was on hand on 23rd February to see the award presented by Branch Chairman Rob Wheatley. Rob said "CAMRA doesn't just visit pubs with horse brasses, folk musicians and the like, we go anywhere that our members like to drink, and Bar 19 is one of our favourite haunts. Every time we come here we find excellent beer in excellent condition. We also enjoy the lively atmosphere and friendly service. Many landlords have said that you can't sell real ale in this part of town - clearly Lee can. The low price probably helps, but the quality of the beer is the main draw. Lee has done a superb job."
Accepting the award, landlord Lee “Burner” Rawlings said "I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us, both the regulars and the CAMRA members who have stood by us over the last 4 years, as well as the staff. We sell keg beer even more cheaply than cask, and yet I've converted many regulars and staff to real ale. Four years ago I asked the owner if I could have one hand-pump on the bar. He said that it would never work. Now we have four hand-pumps. Our bar is one of the longest in Blackpool and yet most of the customers are gathered at the end where the hand-pumps are!”
Bar 19 used to be a china and crystal shop until its conversion into a bar ten years ago. John Willie Lees of Middleton were closely involved at the time - you can still see their logo over the door - but now it belongs to a small group of three pubs, the other two being in Manchester.
Lee was involved in the original set-up of Bar 19 ten years ago, but, after a stint working in other pubs in the group, came back and has been promoting real ale here for the last four years. In fact, he has managed pubs in three different CAMRA branches and now won awards in all of them. With its late night licence, he describes the venue as a "drinking pub by day, nightclub by night”, but where else can you get real ale at three in the morning? The shots and cocktails associated with Queen Street bars are also readily available, alongside the constantly-changing range of guest ales. North-west breweries are well represented and the low price charged for cask ale is certainly no reflection on its quality, rather the opposite, as the award proves. And, as added value for money, CAMRA members can get a 10 % discount off a pint - just make sure you bring your card.
So, for a different experience of what Blackpool has to offer these days, where better to start your town “crawl” than Bar 19 - before moving on to explore the other delights (which are also getting better all the time)?