And I go back to Black

The Black Horse
The Black Horse
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The city centre’s most historic pub never fails to keep the home fires burning

There are times, when imbibing in The Black Horse, that I struggle to remember ever having had a pint anywhere else in Preston.

The ornate cluster of saloons, snugs, vaults and halls of mirrors of that timeless hostelry seem familiar to me as any home and hearth of memory.

The Black Horse was the first pub graced with my underage presence on my first proper night ‘up town’, and to this day remains the favoured first port of call on those now thankfully infrequent middle-age forays thereabouts.

Often the final destination too, a ciggy on the front step being the closest one ever gets to moving on. Well, why would you?

Secure oneself a dimly lit cosy corner in the Black Horse and you are already drinking in the finest trad public house environs that this old city has to offer – all the moreso should there happen to be a nice little fire in the grate.

Who but a blithering fool would brave squally December climes in futile pursuit of illusory improvement?

A cheering blaze precisely as described above greeted yours truly upon trundling into the pub’s snug last Monday evening, as it happens. Needless to say, wild horses gone mad on Old Tom would have been required to shift my carcass from the moment of that discovery onward.

Agreeably sprawled by the fire on comfortably shabby velvet, it felt, as ever, like a homecoming.

The crowd, once more as ever, was that mix of gender, lifestyle and extremes of age – the teen to the toothless – particular to a genuine community pub.

Groups of lasses, groups of lads, mixed groups, old mates, first dates, late seasonal revellers, old seasoned drinkers.

Come all, come you and sup from the horseshoe.

Sup what? Robinsons still in situ, no doubt pleasant as ever, but the beverage of choice this particular evening turned out to be Veltins Pilsner.

Seen along the bar on recent visits but never sampled. Fancied something light and crisp, and on the recommendation of a mate tried a glass. Hit the spot several resounding thuds and so that was me squared away.

A pleasant evening raced to the horizon, marred only barely when the landlady entertained the brief notion that I was a snoop from the council.

Probably still irked by the pre-Yule cobblers storm which burst over the pub’s log burning ways, aninnocent remark about the fuel source drew a short sharp response. Happily, having made clear both my complete lack of any local authority and implacable support for them burning anything and everything, whatever they like, up to and including the furniture, so long as I get my crackly glow, the bonhomie was swiftly rekindled.