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BITE bites the dust???? with NickDavies on the Pub Forum

Merchants 1688, Lancaster

29 Castle Hill
Lancaster
LA1 1YN
Phone: 0152466466

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about Merchants 1688

This place has gone down in my estimation since my visits a few years ago. On entering, there was a strange smell, of long-unwashed socks in a kit bag, or a male changing room, something unsavoury anyway. Service was not as good as when I've been here at busy times, and I wasn't as impressed with the five beers (on eight hand pumps) as on previous visits. And why are they charging over £4 for a pint (£2.05 for a half of fairly ordinary Tirril Nut Brown Ale 4.1%) when it's less than £3 for a slightly stronger beer at the Cornerhouse, five minutes walk away? I went and sat outside to avoid the smell (I hope it's only temporary); I'll be back before long, and hope things are not going permanently downhill.

Date of visit: 23rd July 2019

On 16th August 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2653 recommendations about 2500 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Brainy Pool left this review about Merchants 1688

a trendy little cavern place with tunnelled rooms coming off a main bar. has a wide range of real ale and some will like it. for me it's vacuous, too cramped and attracts the snooty brigade like the place next door.

On 3rd September 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 773 recommendations about 754 pubs]


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Gill Smith left this review about Merchants 1688

Thought this was a grand place for real ale. Not far from the railway station you pass through outside seating area to enter cellar like bar area with a couple of other cellar rooms going off from the bar. What a beer selection today though of varying styles and strenghs across all 10 handpulls. Beers from Settle, Avid brewing Co, Beer Brothers, Kirby Lonsdale, Blackedge, Coach House, Harbour, Allendale, Rudgate and Tirril.

On 1st May 2018 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1308 recommendations about 1197 pubs]


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Al Bundy left this review about Merchants 1688

A good, if rather cramped pub set within what amounts to a cave but is an old wine cellar apparently. There are 3 tunnel-like rooms one of which is as you enter and here you will find the bar. A decent selection of real ales from the 8 handpulls, of which 6 were on. Local ales and a good variety of styles. Outside seating at the front.

On 19th April 2018 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3390 recommendations about 3303 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about Merchants 1688

This pub is so handily placed for the station that it would be a simple matter to become a regular here by just getting off your train and catching another one an hour later. On my most recent visit, I had a couple of quick halves from the very tempting range of mostly dark ales, which in itself makes a pleasant change. Unfortunately the first one I asked for had only a gurgle left in the barrel, but my next selection, Old School Headmaster, was spot on, and was soon followed by Tirrill Academy. After going to the station only to find my train delayed by 30 minutes, I returned for a further half, this time of Worsthorne Old Trout. All the beers were in fantastic condition and if I'd had time for a fourth half, I'm pretty sure my mark for this pub would have stretched to a 9. Maybe next time.

Date of visit: 19th November 2016

On 23rd December 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2653 recommendations about 2500 pubs]


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Aqualung . left this review about Merchants 1688

I have to admit that when I first arrived here I never even noticed the tunnel construction of this pub but spotted it when looking at a room to the right on the way out!
It's been well described below and was fairly quiet on my Wednesday night visit. There were eight hand pumps with two unused and I noticed beers from Slater, Hawkshead, Kirby Lonsdale, Tirril and Robinson's Trooper. I went for the Hawkshead Brodie's Prime which was in excellent condition. I thought this pub was a bit trendy but would return for the diverse beer choice.

On 5th November 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]


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Old Boots left this review about Merchants 1688

Dug out of the hill on which the castle stands as described below it is made from four barrel vault tunnels one at right angles to the others. The main tunnel has the counter, now with eight pulls of generally local beers, a house beer from Old School and a traditional bitter from Tirril among them. The other three tunnels are used for dining and in the last one is seating at tables for drinking. Good quality beers and an unusual setting along with its proximity to the station make it well worth the visit. GBG2016 listed as well which tells us it was a wine vault built in 1688.

On 6th March 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2299 recommendations about 2130 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about Merchants 1688

At the time of my visit one extra hand pump had been added since the previous review, making seven now lining the bar. Seven beers were available, from an interesting variety of breweries, more than half from the north-west of England: Nine Standards, Spitting Feathers, Tirril and Old School, plus from further afield Dunscar Bridge, Tring and Greene King. I was back again, half between trains, about a week later, and all the beers appeared to be different. On the first occasion I had Dunscar Bridge Best and Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian, and on the second a swift half of Hart of Preston Festive Pale. All beers that I tried were in very good condition, and the service was speedy and efficient even when the place was suddenly overrun by a group of Luton Town fans drowning their sorrows after the game at Morecambe. Only a few minutes' walk from the station, this one is worth breaking your journey for.

Dates of visits: 13th and 24th December 2014

On 13th February 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2653 recommendations about 2500 pubs]


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ROB Camra left this review about Merchants 1688

A very unusual pub housed in an old wine vaults which means that the seating area is effectively 3 tunnels. The bar is up a couple of steps and on the right as you enter, the tunnels are on the left. There's a large beer patio at the front. Some of the lighting in the tunnels is a bit chintzy. It's quite food led until 9, but after that it's full of drinkers. 6 handpumps on the bar serving changing guests with 4 available on our visit. My pint was in good condition and Ms CAMRA thought the red wine was very good. This, along with the friendly, chatty barstaff made us stay for two. There's a 10p per pint discount for CAMRA members.

On 17th June 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2868 recommendations about 2788 pubs]


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Peter Rydings left this review about Merchants 1688

Always call in had friends what were the managers there back in my Scottish and Newcastle days as not got the atmosphere it had in those days. Trying to go up market but the outside drinking area as improved a lot.Always our first and last port of call when in Lancaster for the day

On 21st March 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 948 recommendations about 917 pubs]

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