Alcohol is, to paraphrase Homer Simpson, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. This may be one of the reasons why Liverpool has seen something of a renaissance of the old-fashioned boozer. Over the past few years, local heroes such as The Philharmonic, The Baltic Fleet and (the recently revamped) Fly in the Loaf have all tidied themselves up. It seems us Scousers have become more discerning in our tastes, preferring to drink our ale in a place where everybody knows your name, the football is always on and you’re sure to get a decent pint, which might even have been brewed by a super cool craft brewery.
Here are our picks
The Bridewell, 1 Campbell Square, Liverpool, L1 5FB - Visit now
The Bridewell is a former Victorian police station that is now a Grade II listed award-winning pub. This place was originally a 19th century cop shop called the Campbell Square Bridewell. Follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and enjoy a tot of rum or two in the converted jail cells with original heavy doors and hatches. The walls could definitely tell a good story or two.
Ship and Mitre, 133 Dale Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 2JH - Visit now
The interior of this Liverpool boozer echoes a ship’s gallery, with nautical nods throughout. The Ship & Mitre has the largest selection of hand pulled ales in Merseyside and around 200 draught and bottled beers – take guidance from knowledgeable staff. Recognised as a CAMRA Pub of Excellence, it also serves up traditional pub food made to order.
The Baltic Fleet, 33A Wapping, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 8DQ - Visit now
Liverpool’s only brewpub – a no-frills boozer with a cellar full of fermenting hops. Dating back to the mid-1800s, the pub is rumoured to be haunted, with secret tunnels beneath it (which is where they mature the casks of beer). There’s a patio for summer and a traditional wood burning stove for winter.
The Grapes Liverpool, 60 Roscoe St, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9DW - Visit now
Known as ‘The Little Grapes’, this pub on Knight Street sits inside a very old building and benefits from old-fashioned values. It’s a laid back pub with top-notch beer, friendly service and host to one of the city’s most popular jazz nights on a Sunday.
The Caledonia Liverpool, 22 Caledonia St, Liverpool, Merseyside, L7 7DX - Visit now
Live music sets The Caledonia apart – with regular folk, jazz and soul performances. There’s also a community bookshelf on top of the pianos at the end of the bar, a good selection of real ale and, as summed up by the pub’s Facebook page ‘Great People. Random Banter. Dogs’.
Peter Kavanagh’s, 2-6 Egerton Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L8 7LY
One of the most intriguing pubs in the city, Peter Kavanagh’s has been run by, you guessed it, Peter Kavanagh for over a half century. City councillor, inventor and still-life painter in his spare time, Kavanagh has fostered a pub that’s all about its punters – some are even lined up on the bar, their ashes in urns, having chosen the place as their final resting spot. A fabulously eclectic place.
Hobo Kiosk, 9 Bridgewater Street, Liverpool, L1 0AR - Visit now
Hobo Kiosk is completely unique to anything else you’ll find in Liverpool and is one of the city’s most fun and welcoming watering holes. It’s a haven from the flash and dash of city life where you can relax into a booth with a good book, a notepad, your knitting, an old-time newspaper or magazine from their cool collection of curiosities. Great selection of local ales, gin and coffee.