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.
– Christina McDermott
Here are our picks
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
Built around 1804 on the site of an ancient tavern, The Grapes is one of the oldest pubs in Liverpool. It has, perhaps unintentionally, become an arty haunt, with punters just as likely to be found discussing Derrida as football.
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.