Grand reopening for 200-year-old Merseyside pub

A pub that first opened its doors in Southport just two years after the Battle of Waterloo has welcomed back customers after fears it would close for good. Andrew Brown reports

Jourdane Dacre
Jourdane Dacre at the Cheshire Lines Inn pub in Southport

Southport town centre’s oldest pub has been reopened – with the new team in charge working hard to “restore it to its glory days”.

The Cheshire Lines Inn, on King Street, has had a busy first few days already including a lively karaoke night and live music with an Elvis Presley impersonator.

Grade II-listed, it first opened in 1817 – two years after the Battle of Waterloo. It was originally called The Cross Keys Inn. The building behind the Cheshire Lines was called The Horse & Jockey. It changed its name to The Cheshire Lines around 1890. It is owned by Star Pubs & Bars

The new landlady is Julie Goodwin, who also runs the successful Uptown Funk events company. Her daughter Jourdane Dacre is the bar manager.

Julie and Jourdane are working closely with Vici Bradshaw, who ran the Cheshire Lines Inn before the pandemic. Vici had built up a reputation for the quality of its home-cooked food and the welcoming community atmosphere.

Julie said the opportunity to reopen the iconic pub was impossible to turn down. She added: “We got the keys last week and then opened on Friday. We had a great weekend. We had a karaoke night on Friday and then The Elvis Experience night on Saturday which was brilliant.

“Vici has been working on bringing back the famous Cheshire Lines home-cooked food, which it was so famous for before the pandemic. We have had a great reception from people. It has been so good to see so many regulars coming back, and lots of new faces as well.

“I have gone full circle by coming here. This is the first pub I have run, but my parents came to look at the Cheshire Lines 35 years ago and nearly took it over.

Elvis – The Elvis Experience helped relaunch the Cheshire Lines Inn

“But after viewing the pub they heard about a B&B a couple of doors down, The Belfield, becoming available, so they bought that instead. So I have grown up very close to the Cheshire Lines, and know it really well.

“We heard that the brewery was going to close the pub if they couldn’t find anyone to run it. I had a chat with Vici and we thought we just can’t let that happen.

“It’s such an important community pub for the town and we want to restore it to its former glory. We are bringing back the famous home-made food that it was so well-known for in the pre-pandemic days.

“Our Secret Garden will be back open again in the next couple of weeks, and have a gin bar in the outside area. It will be really good. We are confident we will turn this place round and bring back the community pub it has been famous for being.

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“There will be a full line-up of live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The kitchen will be open every day between midday and 7pm. We have put together a lovely menu of small plates and home cooked meals and are working with a number of local suppliers.”

As well as being the new landlady of the Cheshire Lines Inn, Julie also owns the Uptown Funk events company in Liverpool, which has a staff of 90 people.

She said: “I am going to be busy running them both! This is the first pub I have managed, but I am really enjoying it. I love a challenge. I am very thankful to the support I am getting from Vici and from Jourdane.

“We would love to see people coming in join us at the Cheshire Lines, it’s great to see it open again.”

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

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