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The Black Horse [Website] [Photograph] [Map 14]
166 Friargate || Telephone 01772 204855 or 01772 252093 || Date visited: Nov 2007
  • Alcohol
    1. Lager
    2. - Grolsch, Carling
    3. Bitter
    4. - Unicorn / Robinson's Best / Hartley's Best (name change) / Cumbrian Way / Double Hop
    5. Old Ale
    6. - Old Tom (8.5% ABV!)
    7. Stout
    8. - Guinness
    9. Cider
    10. -
    11. Mild
    12. - Robinson's Hatters Mild
    13. Bottles
    14. - Various
Comments:
One of only 2 Robinsons pubs in Preston. The other being the The Golden Cross (currently closed 2006) on Lancaster Road.
Frederic's Bitter no longer in production (2004).

  • Entertainment
    1. Live Acts
    2. - No
    3. Karaoke
    4. - No
    5. DJ
    6. - Yes
    7. Juke Box
    8. - Yes (often free)
    9. Quiz Nights
    10. - No
    11. Pool Table
    12. - No
    13. Darts
    14. - No
Comments:
At weekends Peter's Bar (upstairs) is open and they have various DJ's - playing mainly Jazz.
Downstairs rooms can be booked for society meets.

  • Food
    1. Quality
    2. -
    3. Price Range
    4. -
    5. Prestentation
    6. -
    7. Serving Times
    8. -
Comments:
No food available at any time. Previously (approx 1994) there was an African restuarant upstairs.
  • Toilets

  • Gents
    1. Cleanliness
    2. - Good
    3. Maintenance
    4. - Good
    5. Aroma
    6. - Good

    Ladies

    1. Cleanliness
    2. -
    3. Maintenance
    4. -
    5. Aroma
    6. -
Comments:
Has previously had problems with the drains (and no extractor fan), but currently (2002) is good.

As of November 2002, the gents toilets have a new automatic airfresh spray above the door and detects use. Lets hope the new aroma stays this way.
UPDATE : 2003 - it hasn't remained stink-free, but a huge improvment.


  • Staff
    1. Friendliness
    2. - Good
    3. Attitude
    4. - OK
    5. Appearance
    6. - Smart but casual (usually in Black Horse polo-shirts).
Comments:

  • Customers
    1. Locals
    2. - Yes
    3. Students
    4. - Yes
Comments:

  • Decor [ Traditional / Modern / Other
  • ]
    1. Traditional
    2. - Yes
    3. Modern
    4. -
    5. Other Style
    6. -
    7. Condition
    8. - Very Good
Comments:
This must be the best-preserved Victorian pub in Preston (and possibly Lancashire / the world!) Seriously though, 95% of the original fixtures and fittings still exist and are in great condition. this includes the doors, the stained glass windows, mosiac floor and walls / bar tiles. It's the same in the tolilets and upstairs too.

The reason for this time capsule? Up until 1996 the previous landlord had, had the pub for 50 years and his father had it for years before him. Also Robinson's Brewery are a family brewery from Stockport who believe in traditional values and recognise the north's heritage.

Robinson's are the largest of the independant breweries in the country.

Here's what CAMRA has to say about this place.....

"Black Horse Preston, Black Horse, 166 Friargate 01772 252093 Mon - Sat 10.30-11, Sun 12 - 10.30

A most interesting turn-of-the-nineteenth-century pub right in the heart of Preston and which served originally as a small hotel. It is a stone and red-brick building typical of its time. The hotel function explains the fact that the drinking areas are very well-appointed and thus a far cry from basic street corner locals which would have proliferated in the inner suburbs. Entering from Friargate, there are two rooms, one each side of the corridor and then you reach the heart of the pub centred round the servery.

The part on the right has a wonderful ceramic bar counter in graceful cream and light green (photo here). The other side has a timber counter base and sash windows above containing Art Nouveau glass. On further you come to a large alcove with fixed, upholstered seats. Either side of this are the entrances to the loos and there's a further display of glass, this time coloured. The pub was highly commended in the 1996 English Heritage/CAMRA pub refurbishment awards".

Praise indeed.

What CAMRA failed to mention are the stained glass shutters above the main bar, which up until the refurbishment in 1995 were regularly lowered at closing time by the previous landlord (Jack Hawarth). It is no longer possible to lower them because of the shelves which were added during the 1995 refurbishment (as much of the shelving on the inner-bar was lost). The refurbishment also rearranged and reduced the inner-bar where the cash register and spirits now sit. Previously this inner-bar (the central table holding the cash register / spirits) covered twice the area and staff found it difficult to move about. The old inner bar was removed and the current one is a smaller new version. The semi-circular bar top was also either sanded right down to the bare wood (eliminating years of varnish and character) or it too is new. This refurbishment was overseen by Design staff at the University.

When the current landlord (Keith) came to replace the linolium around the bar area, he discoverd the original mosaic floor with brewing motifs such as hops and yeast plants for borders which are now again visible for all to see.

The Gents toilet floortiles and corridor to them were replaced in the late 1990's in keeping with those removed. Apparently it was more expensive, but although plain b/w, they look more in keeping than any modern alternative would have allowed.


Did you know?
This pub is the only one in Preston to have access doors on 3 streets. These are Friargate, Orchard St & Lowthian Street and serve the main bar, the back room with the one on Lowthian St originally for hotel residents, although this hasn't been used since approx 1995 and remains locked at all times.