Real ale pubs in Chorley and how the town has relished the real ale revolution

As part of our Chorley 150 series, Adrian Smith, Central Lancashire CAMRA Chairman, explains how Chorley has a remarkable choice for real ale drinkers.

By Adrian Smith of CAMRA
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:27 am
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:00 pm
Chorley loves real ale!

For a place of such modest size, there is probably no better town to go drinking in – especially if you love real ale.

It wasn’t always so, but the remarkable change in choice and availability can be traced back to August 2014, with the opening of the town’s first micropub, the Shepherds’ Hall Ale House on Chapel Street.

A shop conversion, serving five changing real ales from smaller breweries from all over the country, this provided drinkers with a different type of pub environment – devoid of music, TV or gaming machines,

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Traders Taphouse had a reopening this summer, showcasing its new focus on real ale

It was a place to drink quality real ale and where conversation was king.

It proved so popular that in a short space of time other entrepreneurs joined in, with the opening of the Bob Inn within the covered market later the same year and the Ale Station on Chapel Street in summer of 2016.

Just on the edge of the town centre is Bootleggers on Bolton Street, while The Shed and Nelipots in the centre offer a more ‘cafe bar’ type feel.

Their success has been such that both the Shed and Shepherds’ Hall Ale House are currently working on expanding their business into adjoining units.

From our archives ... in 2016 Adrian Smith, from CAMRA, presented the George Lee Memorial Trophy to Tom Handyman, landlord of the Shepherds Hall Ale House in Chorley, as it was named CAMRA's central Lancashire pub of the year.

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The focus on real ale is not confined to the newcomers on the scene.

The Malt’n’Hops has long been the acclaimed ‘free house’ in town with nine changing real ales; the Potters Arms on Brooke Street has as traditional a feel as any back street local; and the White Bull is a comfortable town centre pub with decent real ale, and is the regular local outlet for the Escape Brewery from Horwich.

A couple of weeks ago, the Traders Taphouse (formerly Trader Jacks) had a reopening showcasing its new focus on real ale – which hasn’t been available there for years.

We're asking Chorley Guardian readers to nominate 150 reasons to celebrate Chorley to mark the Guardian's 150th birthday

There are something like 15 real ale pubs within a 10 minute walk from the bus station, offering anywhere up to 60 or so different real ales at any one time.

What more could a real ale drinker ask for?

Chorley 150 countdown

This story is part of our Chorley 150 series.

Bootleggers in

We are featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.

It's a countdown to our 150th anniversary on November 4 and we’re celebrating the community we’re proud to be a part of.

If you have suggestions for our stories, then email [email protected]