The Bridewell

Vicky Andrews
The Bridewell Pub
The Bridewell: Photo © Vicky Andrews

Tucked away in the Ropewalks and just a stone’s throw from Liverpool ONE is The Bridewell, a former Victorian police station that is now a Grade II listed award-winning pub.

The Bridewell was originally a 19th century cop shop called the Campbell Square Bridewell. The walls of this place could definitely tell a good story. Officers based here had to police the toughest part of the most crime ridden city in the UK and their only assistance was a truncheon and the nightly bucket of Guinness from the boats tied up in Salthouse Dock.

Legend has it that Charles Dickens got himself sworn in as a special constable for the night to gather material for The Uncommercial Traveller. Dickens loved Liverpool and Liverpool adored him. His first readings in Liverpool were at the Philharmonic Hall, though his favourite venue became St George’s Hall. On the wall of The Bridewell is a plaque which celebrates Dickens’ life as a journalist, novelist and for his one day as a Liverpool police constable.

In 2019, The Bridewell was taken over by Fiona and Dominic Hornsby, who also own the Denbigh Castle, another cracking little pub on Liverpool’s Hackins Hey. Lovingly converted into a cosy pub, the jail cells of The Bridewell are now used as seating areas that provide an unusual focus for the downstairs bar, with original heavy doors and hatches. The pub stocks cask beers, local beer and a range of craft keg and continental beers, as well as an impressive range of whisky and other spirits.

Rum was very popular with sailors in the city in the 1700s and 1800s. After you’ve enjoyed a tot in the Bridewell cells, head down Argyle Street and at the bottom of the John Lewis steps you will see a viewing portal to the old dock, rediscovered in 2001 during excavations for the enormous shopping complex.

Thomas Steers construction of the world’s first wet dock in 1715 is arguably the most significant moment in Liverpool’s history. It was to make the turnaround of ships quicker; in a matter of hours rather than days, and spiked a massive hike in trade from the Americas and the blood of Africans from the third corner of the slave trade. Liverpool became the Western Gateway and second port of the Empire.

For a closer look of the old dock you can book onto a group tour organised by Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, a fascinating way to discover the origins of the city buried underneath its streets.

1 Campbell SquareLiverpoolL1 5FB View map
Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Tuesday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Wednesday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Thursday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Friday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Saturday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Sunday12:00pm - 12:00am

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near The Bridewell

Old Dock Tours, Liverpool

The Old Dock tour is a treat for younger and older visitors alike, fans of Liverpool’s maritime past, and anybody curious about local history.

£8.50 with concessions
Open Air Theatre at Grosvenor Park
Open Air Theatre at Grosvenor Park

Expect another fabulous season of open-air theatre when The Gangs of New York, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Importance of Being Earnest play Grosvenor Park this summer.

from £6.75

Where to go near The Bridewell

City Centre
Café or Coffee Shop
Thoughtfully Café

Formerly known as Cow & Co, Thoughtfully Café is a slice of heaven in a row of spruced-up facades just minutes from the chainstore central of Liverpool ONE. Outside, wooden…

Inside Pilgrim Restaurant
City Centre
Pilgrim Restaurant

Pilgrim offers a fresh approach to traditional Iberian food, promising seasonal and ethically sourced regional produce with a big focus on live-fire flavour.

The MerseyMade building in Liverpool

In the MerseyMade shop you’ll find bottled gin from the likes of Turncoat Gin, Anfield Gin, Albert Dock Gin and Three Graces Gin. Yep, Liverpool REALLY likes its gin.

Albert’s Schenke

Albert’s Schenke is the brand new Liverpool bar-restaurant from Mission Mars, the team behind a host of top-class Manchester venues.

City Centre
Bar or Pub
Hanover Street Social

At the intersection of Hanover Street, Duke Street and Liverpool One, Hanover Street Social is at the centre of Liverpool’s burgeoning food quarter

Clockworks building in Liverpool
City Centre
Bar or Pub

Clockworks is a great spot off the beaten track to grab a cosy pint or cocktail, and you’ll often find live music happening outside the front in Wolstenholme Square. It’s worth dropping by just to see Cuban sculptor Jorge Pardo’s Penelope, one of the largest sculptures in the city.

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.