Southport boasts some of the best pubs in the whole of Merseyside, including The Windmill on Seabank Road in Southport town centre.
It was a Pub Of The Year finalist in the 2022 Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards in March.
The venue’s landlords are Neil Walsh and partner Tom Hodgin.
Today Neil Walsh gives his answers to our 20 Questions feature:
1 – Name? Neil Walsh
2 – Job Title? Licensee of The Windmill
3 – What type of business is it? Public House
4 – When did the business open? The Windmill has been pub for over 150 years, we took over in November 2018
5 – Three words that describe your leadership style? Firm but fair
6 – Favourite part of the job? When we have an event that’s busy, such as a quiz night or live music event, knowing that we made it happen and brought people together in our pub
7 – Challenges you have overcome? The big one at the moment is COVID, getting people back out into the pubs which seems to be working, in the early days it was bringing the pub up to the standard it is today, we’ve done a lot in just over three years but there’s still a lot more I would like to do
8 – Biggest achievements in work? Being a finalist for Pub of The Year at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards
9 – Biggest achievements away from work? Away from work I play in a brass band and have been lucky to have played on some great stages and in theatres all over the country.
10 – Three things that are crucial to a business’s success ?
- Finances – the main pitfall of many businesses is not knowing how much you actually need to take to break even or make a profit, if you don’t know this you will never succeed
- Take a step back – check out similar places, get ideas, try them out, visit places outside of your area too
- Have a clear message for your business, if you’re a pub, what are you, are you a pub that does food, a community pub, a sports pub, a rocker pub? Stick to one message otherwise your brand gets lost
11 – What is your priority for 2022? To have a fantastic summer, and with all the big events back like Southport Flower Show and Southport Air Show it should be great. We’re also looking to upgrade some more spaces in the pub and we’ve got some great events lined up as well
12 – How do you unwind? Music, playing in my brass band, me and my fiancé Tom also like to go out and visit other pubs and bars and just chill and sometimes just lying on the sofa and watching tv, especially after a long day
13 – What songs are on your playlist at the moment? My music is very random anything from 80s to rock to classical to movie soundtracks, currently I’ve got into country music, so lots of that
14 – What do you love about Southport? Southport is a special place, it has such a mix that some seaside resorts don’t have. I like the fact we have our Victorian buildings but in between there is new life coming. We also have a great range of pubs and bars in such a small space
15 – What is your hidden talent? Now that would be telling
16 – What’s your philosophy? Give it a go
17 – Name two other Southport businesses you like and why? Masons Arms – We got to know the owners when they took over just before Covid. We love the Masons, it’s dog friendly, has a real fire, and they take a proper pride in the offer they have! They’ve done so much to it in such a short space just like us
The Whistle Stop Café – our go-to when we want a breakfast, the food is always great and all the staff are very friendly, it’s always busy which is a testament to their hard work
18 – Favourite film? Must be Titanic or the James Bond franchise
19 – If you could bring one thing to Southport what would it be? I’ve always wanted to see a proper ice arena like they have in Blackburn, I think it would bring so many people into the area especially as the nearest is Blackburn or Deeside
20 – Why should we shop local? Why shouldn’t you? Particularly in my industry supporting a local independent is important – they generally take more pride in their business and really care more about their customers and being part of their community, knowing their customers names, what they drink etc. Support places like that