The Albion Inn

A Little Pint of Heaven

Pub culture. It's an oxymoron in the States and an institution in the United Kingdom, albeit an increasingly endangered one. After a fair amount of wandering around the walled city of Chester on my first visit to England, I stumbled into at least one obstinately authentic example. No T.G.I. McFriday’s waitresses stuffed into horrific uniforms. No plastic playground equipment to distract the carpet-crawlers while mom and dad inhale a nervous pint. No buzz-killing Muzak or lumbering clots of insufferable XXL t-shirts from Lubbock or Bakersfield or Oklahoma City ordering pitchers of Bud Light & Clamato. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

From the outside, anyone with an eye for such things can tell the Albion Inn is The Real Deal; as far as you can get from the contrived evil of a contemporary faux pub. Inside, it's a cozy little slice of 1915. Nice people. Good beer. Great food. Order up a pint of Black Sheep and McConickies corned-beef hash with pickled red cabbage, or maybe a MacSween haggis-don't knock it till you've tried it-with tatties and vegetables. Keep an eye on your designated rider and have another Black Sheep if you're so inclined.

If ever you find yourself walking down Park Street in Chester, stop in and find a seat. One rainy autumn afternoon in the Albion will reinforce your faith in human nature and the future of civilization. If you’re lucky enough to have something like it in your neck of the woods, drop in and lay a few bucks on the bar now and then. Bring a friend. Otherwise you might not be so lucky for long.