New pub on the block, The Harry Beswick in Heswall – whose name pleasingly seems to evoke the syllables of its location – is named after the architect who designed the old police station.
Local lad Beswick, son of a schoolmaster, was born in Chester in 1856 and developed quite a line in designing civic buildings – church halls, schools, and more than his fair share of police stations, including, in 1911, the handsome redbrick and sandstone nick in Heswall.
Vacant for several years, Hydes Brewery, whose portfolio boasts interesting and original buildings and includes The Boat House in Parkgate, attempted to purchase the plot a few years ago BC (before Covid) and finally secured it this year.
Proving that good things come to those who wait, the gastropub is a beautifully put-together space, ensuring, presumably, that old Harry doesn’t turn in his grave.
A lantern-roofed orangery has been added to the original building, which develops into a patchwork of cosy spaces, some gleaming with copper-topped tables, others aglow by firelight. Decadent velvet abuts sleek leather and statement wallpaper swathes some surfaces whilst panelling provides contrast on others.
There’s a nod to both Beswick, in a collage inspired by original architectural drawings, and its heritage as a lock-up, with plod paraphernalia about the place. It’s a careful blend of quality and authenticity. Not so authentic, however, as to employ amongst its 55 staff the two hopefuls who admitted to having spent time in the police station in its previous incarnation!
The menu is unapologetically English, from lamb shank to steam pudding and if it feels a bit too familiar that’s because it’s the same menu as found in other Hyde pubs.
Nonetheless, the food is very good but, at £25 for the pork duo and over £7 for a G&T, it’s more special occasion fare than a regular boozer. Heswall is of course awash with dining options but it does rather lack good pub grub and should do well with the silver pound.
Dog-friendly in parts, they have also produced a walks-from-the-area leaflet, which is a nice touch. A greater variety of zero-alcohol beers would be the finishing touch.
Image: Roy Wilson, general manager (front centre) at The Harry Beswick in Heswall with some of his team