If you’re of a certain age you might remember that the fairground would sometimes rock up on a patch of ground next to the ‘curly bridge’ on the canal bank opposite Runcorn’s Brindley Theatre. You might even recall when that patch of land was the Crosville bus depot, though that has been gone for quite some time. Nearly two years ago plans were announced for a new leisure facility to be built on the site, and the Ten Lock Flight pub will open in April 2017.
The name refers to canal locks; a flight is a run of locks and there were two sets of ten locks built on the Bridgewater canal when it opened – hence the Ten Lock Flight. Marston’s, like JD Wetherspoons always endeavour to name their pubs in the traditional way of making a local connection, but don’t expect there to be a strong barge theme in the interior – Marston’s more recent design briefs have been ‘family focused’, and ‘fun’.
Marston’s have been significant in the renaissance of cask ale in pubs with their 2009 innovation of fastcask. Yeast, our lovely brewing friend, is also a temperamental little bugger. If it isn’t allowed to settle, or if it’s moved once it has settled, the beer turns cloudy and undrinkable. Fastcask replaces the yeast in the cask with a gel which sinks to the bottom, so even if the cask is moved and jostled it doesn’t move and therefore doesn’t cloud. This has reduced the risk factor in pubs buying cask ale – it can go straight onto the pump once bought without the need to leave it to settle (this can sometimes take 48 hours), and if the cask is moved, it can still be sold.
In Marston’s business model, the Ten Lock Flight will be one of their ‘destination’ pubs, that is, a family pub with an emphasis on food and two for one offers. 70 percent of sales will be ‘dry’ ie food, and there will be a fresh pizza oven. Their biggest competitor for the Runcorn dollar will be the Ferry Boat which has just celebrated ten years in the town and is getting along swimmingly with its meal deals and impressive real ale and bottle selections.
The planning committee when approving the pub believed it would contribute immensely to the draw of the ‘canal quarter’ in Runcorn which currently consists of…the canal. And the Brindley at a push. If the campaign to re-open Runcorn locks is successful then who knows, in future the canal-based hall of fame might come to read Venice; Amsterdam; Runcorn.
If you fancy working as an assistant manager or head chef at the Ten Lock Flight, click here.