Kings Lock Inn, middlewich
No frills canalside freehouse with 9 local beers and 2 real ciders on draught, a warm welcome and great food at sensible prices. Reopened under new management in May 2014 and by Christmas was ranked #1 out of over 2000 restaurants in Cheshire according to Trip Advisor reviews. It's not fancy though, it's still the kind of place where locals can come for a pint. Canal people and music are important, never more so than during the Middlewich Folk & Boat festival in June (www.midfest.org.uk), one of the biggest folk music festivals in England. Home-baked dog biscuits are provided for four-legged friends. There is a car park and several outside tables along the canal.
There are 6 real ales from local microbreweries - usually including at least one from Merlin and Weetwood - starting at £3, three Freedom lagers (Four, Five & Fort Simcoe), an Orchard Pig cider and a scrumpy on tap. Coca-Cola is served from proper glass bottles rather than a tap, even the gin is from Cheshire (Hunters). Non-drinkers are well catered for with proper alcohol-free (but not taste-free!) beer and wine, mocktails and a range of Orchard Pig juices. All the food is home-made, right down to the brown sauce and bloody-mary ketchup.