“Marco Pierre Shite”

Not my words Buglers but the words of a correspondent who has sent an email today (which makes a change by the bloody way). Here it is.

“Dear Hoylake Bugle,

I understand you have an outlet for moans like this, so please indulge me.

How long does it take to make a cocktail, do you reckon?

Because yesterday I made the rueful and expensive error of visiting what I imagine is Hoylake’s as-near-to premier destination, the Holiday Inn Express/Marco’s that masquerades as the old King’s Gap Hotel.

It was quite an important day. We were commemorating the death of a mother-in-law I’d sadly never met but who was clearly adored by everyone, and so our miniature family get together strayed over from a decent lunch at the Green Lodge to what we hoped would be a final hurrah at Marco’s.

There were only four of us, matching the same number of diners in the restaurant to our rear.

If you aren’t familiar with the bar at Marco’s, it’s quite an impressive sight: All black marble, chrome and piercing white lights, with a kaleidoscopic tiled floor and a reasonably well-stocked metropolitan-style bar behind the serving area.

You might imagine that when a certain golf tournament is taking place, they might even have staff who know what to do behind it, too. But because the golf isn’t on, and it’s just us mere mortal locals handing over cash, service wasn’t just “below par” (geddit?) but absolutely dreadful – in fact, way beyond dreadful.

Now, I have spent a lot of time in bars of all descriptions, and even worked behind one while on foreign shores, where being able to cobble together a cocktail or two is a prerequisite. Not in Hoylake’s “top” hotel, however.

We ordered: One mojito, two Long Island ice teas, and one black coffee with a brandy.

TWENTY MINUTES later we had the ice teas, which weren’t actually all that bad if not for the fact we could have walked round to Sainsbury’s, bought the ingredients and made the drinks ourselves in the same amount of time.

THIRTY MINUTES later arrived the mojito, which had the merest hint of molasses which rendered the mint as mere leaves. The ice in our ice teas had of course long since melted.

And FORTY minutes later came the coffee, with the brandy in a shot glass.

So no chance to do a collective “cheers” or anything.

And then a demand for a mere £27.50 for the lot.

Dumbstruck – clearly, because we stayed for another, on the grounds it simply cannot happen twice, can it? – the next round was simpler. Three vodka and tonics, and one brandy. Bish, bash, bosh, surely?

Oh no. TWENTY FIVE MINUTES later in an empty (but us) bar and barely occupied restaurant, we are served our drinks. Just the £25 quid this time. And no change in the till, either.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marco Pierre White when he relaunched the restaurant and bar a while back, and it’s clear that he demands a certain level of service that was woefully lacking here.

What is certainly lacking at Marco’s is management. No one appears to be in control, the staff seem unsure and uncertain, and if you want to charge me almost thirty quid for a round of four drinks, then I want them to be exact, served together, and preferably before we reach the next millennium.

I’m not blaming the individual staff members. They were perfectly pleasant, but quite clearly badly managed, as my sister-in-law – herself a former successful publican – could quite clearly see.

This wasn’t Marco Pierre White, not by a scintilla. This was Marco Pierre Shite. On legs. And whatever they’re paying the great man to have his name attached to the place is, with respect, probably not worth it, mate.

The venue – Hoylake’s finest, supposedly, let’s not forget – needs to buck up, not fuck up. But either way I won’t be bothering its shores again any time soon.

Anyway, cheers – I needed that!


Seagull on the sea shore

Much schelebrity schpotting going on at the jolly golfing jamboree this week Buglers although it seems Clooney and the Beckhams and the marauding primates from Planet of the Apes haven’t put in an appearance after all.

But lo and ruddy well behold now an email arrives into our dusty letterbox to tell all that a certain hand-chopping leg-kicking side-swiping  pony-tailed Hollywood star may soon be lurking somewhere in the Hoylake undergrowth…


Yes Buglers none other than Steven Seagull star of such tinseltown blockbusters as Kill, Hard, Hard to Kill, Kill Hard, Killing Harder, Improbable Killing Rate, Stony-Faced Hard Killer and Stone: It’s Dead Hard, is said to be heading for Royal Liverpool tomorrow!!!!

The emailing Bugler says the man who has bitch slapped more baddies than there are grains of sand on the beach will rock up (<—— bad joke alert! HONK!) on the hallowed lawns in Meols Drive  in advance of his performance at this gig tomorrow evening (had to google this one as I didn’t know he was a musician type fellow).


Local musical gentlemen The Viper Kings are on too so it sounds like a mighty ruddy fine way to finish off the weekend over at the O2 in Liverpool aka That Other Place Somewhat Slightly Farther Down The Road With You Know What…!

Toot toot!

Open and shit case

It has been a long old week of trembling cold turkey for the 9am regulars at The Hoylake Lights, that fantastical cover-up name for what is our local Wetherspoons,  the dismal outpost where desperately pathetic hope roughly elbows its gruff way past the pale shadow of broken dreams in the red-eyed race to the death.


When the musty oasis  of doom briefly closed its forever-open doors last week, to finally wipe the salt off of the tables and maybe run a vacuum around the place (clicky), the indigenous wildlife found itself with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and nowhere to let them in.


With the Punchbowl still shut and the Anchor being…. well, y’know, the Anchor…. it was either head for The (Fiddle-De) Dee in That Place Down The Road With Better Shops (clicky), reluctantly inhale the deep-fried air of The Railway in Meols, marshall a car at gunpoint to Moreton, or finally admit the truth to themselves and up sticks to a tip berth in the north end of Birkenshed.


You’ve seen them on Market Street, shivering on their haunches, sandpaper-dry tongues a-dangling through parched jowls,  displaying with despair the sort of delirium tremens that would make a row of shitting dogs proud.


Now though after a lick of paint and a splash of bleach in the bogs the Hoylake Lights to the blessed relief of daybreak bitter drinkers is miraculously back open as from Friday evening and the thirsty hordes can return to their watering hole…


Hang on a-bloomin’ hang-dog gosh darn minute!



Like the highways agency and the council and the people who hurriedly fix things like drains on Meols Drive and the idiots who never ever finish the Meols Bridge repairs and godforsaken Wetherspoons, it seems everything but everything is being done to make sure those happy Americans come and toss their hard-earned dollars into the Hoylake wishing well eight years after the last time they bent over backwards, lifted their soiled petticoats and asked the residents to look the other way while they did what they felt they had to do to look good in the eyes of the incoming Bores in Plus-Fours.

plus fours

For the next two weeks expect to have a host of helpful local authority people armed with earnest faces and mutton jeff ears pretending they’re listening to you while really keeping their ears pinned sharply back, like nervous Mr Rabbit wary of  Mr Obese Fox, for any nearby hint of a mid-Atlantic twang.

Expect the councillors you never ever see and the MPs who don’t ever knock on your door and that mayor person to beam over glasses of bubbly bought by somebody else – most likely you Buglers! – while tootling on about £75 million worth of so called inward investment that actually doesn’t happen at all.


And when it’s all gone in a fortnight or two like a giddy patch of scotch mist (clicky) watch the whole lot of them disappear sharpish before anyone asks if they could spare a bit of that mystical £75 million for Hoylake’s Christmas lights this coming Crimbo.

There’s more chance of finding a salt-free table in Spoons.



Toot toot!

* Thanks a-muchly to Bugler nomansland for the email

Take a butchers

Yikes a-ruddy lordy Buglers!


Super duper news for curvy cows and portly pigs in the locale, they will be very glad to hear, but bad news for the rest of us.


Apparently our much loved purveyor of fine meats, none other than Hoylake’s legendary master butcher Bill Page, has announced he is to retire along with his trusty cleaver on July 19.


This is rather upsetting news for those among us who prefer not to shop at That Place Down The Road With Better Shops (clicky), as Mr Page is one of the few shining examples in Hoylake of A Shop That Could Easily Hold Its Own In That Place Down The Road With Better Shops (clicky).

Now whilst wishing Mr Page every best wish and endeavour for a deserved retirement after a winning innings of 48 years at the butcher’s block, presumably we are not alone in hoping that this marvellous local business is carried on “going forward”, as Mr B Rodgers Esq of Liverpool Football Club is wont to say a bit too flipping much for my liking.

Or are we destined to deny ourselves and our children’s children forever the chance one day of witnessing this much-anticipated sight?


 Because that could upset us all greatly.

Toot toot!

A rum punch

It would appear they have finally come up with an idea with what to do with the remaining bits of Hoylake’s favourite pigeon toilet, Buglers – the fetid, rotting corpse of what was once the Punchbowl Tavern of Broken Dreams and lino-lined bogs and quite a few teeth from over the lines.


And it is this, Buglers  (clicky) – a new bar and “eatery” where the “lounge” used to be, with the wholesale builder purveyors to the left and some office space to the right, with new apartments built into the first floor and further up again into the roof, for views of the scruffy pigeons, one can only presume.

The plans come courtesy of the Beer family of Caldy, which I am reliably informed is a mere hop, skip and a jump from That Place Down The Road With Better Shops.

Hopefully the new chaps and chapesses will have sorted out previous, erm, energy problems with the building

Objections are expected from this fellow shortly:


Toot toot!