Sometimes, when taking a stroll down the canal, you come across little hidden gems only known about by the locals who frequent them. You know the likes, quiet little pubs where the at least adequate beer is lovingly kept by staff passionate about their business and happy to serve the newcomers with a smile.
Unfortunately Swifty’s is nothing like these little gems. I’m sorry I can’t really dress it up any nicer than that, but I will explain why.
We’ve often seen this pub when walking to town. It does boast an excellent position on the canal side, and has probably the biggest outdoor area of all the pubs there, with tables and seats at the front as well as the side. Inside, it looks rather appealing, with the dark wood floors, a raised bar and striking red background. It’s more spacious than it first appears, with little nooks everywhere and a lot of space for larger groups.
There’s even Liverpool Organic beer on the taps. Lots of it.
But as it turns out, having Liverpool Organic beer is the only saving grace of the place, and even that does not compensate for the other failures Swifty’s suffers with.
Unless you’re a regular (and I’ll get to that in a minute) you might as well pace yourself as you will not get served or even noticed really until you’ve waited around for an unreasonably long while. When you do, you still have to wait as either there is something wrong with the pumps in Swifty’s or because the staff aren’t particularly talented in pouring a pint of hand-pull. This can be determined by the fact that it takes a good while before the pints are pulled but they also leave them with a large head. If you ask them to be topped up, you might as well be asking them to pull their underwear over their heads and dance a polka, it’s that much trouble.
The beer itself isn’t too badly priced, with around £3 and change for a pint, but you certainly wouldn’t pay more for it. We’re all up for supporting independent enterprises and have never complained about the price of beer when it’s in an establishment we’re happy to support and the beer is at least of reasonable quality, but for a pint of hazy goo that just tastes like it’s been lulling in an oven instead of a cool cellar for too long, even £3 sounds a bit steep.
I suppose we should have left it at this point and just admitted defeat and put this all down to experience, but as we were still waiting to actually pay for the aforementioned goo, we couldn’t exactly make ourselves scarce. However, we were due another long wait as the member of staff was too busy chatting to a regular, across the bar area, in a loud enough voice to wake the dead. I’m sure that the ins and out of the lovelife of someone we didn’t recognize would have been interesting to anyone else, but we seriously were regretting ever braving to enter here by this point. Without wanting to stereotype too much, I would dare to venture a guess that the locals of this place frequent here often enough to form personal relationships with the staff, which in itself is not a particularly negative aspect, but when you hear stories of unsavoury carnal acts and illegal substance abuse told across the bar, you get a little uneasy to say the least.
After finally (begrudgingly) parting from our pennies we finally decided to finish our pints in the sunlit side garden, as it was a beautiful day and we had wasted enough of time to actually make the purchase. This was another mistake. The seats were sticky enough for my jeans to get stuck to them and the tables hadn’t seen a wipe for a good while. The other patrons, and we might be jumping into conclusions here but we assumed them to be locals as well, were intoxicated enough for it to be annoying for two people trying to get there, and the only communication they directed at us was a rather impolite demand for our lighters and a few minutes later our cigarettes. Not exactly the most welcoming of feels, then.
Now don’t get us wrong. It’s good to have a vast variety of different places in Chester. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to consuming beer. But as there is a vast variety of places where we’d much rather spend our pennies on beer that is of much better quality we won’t be visiting again. Ever.
No point for Swifty’s, we’re afraid. Just… none. Which is a shame as we are big fans of Liverpool Organic beer. We’d just much rather consume it somewhere else.