It’s always nice to get a change of scenery and as we were invited to the evening part of a wedding in Liverpool we decided to combine it with a mini bar crawl during the day.
I grew up in Southport so did visit Liverpool a fair bit when I was younger but in terms of bars and pubs, I haven’t had much of a chance to sample many of the city’s drinking establishments as the majority of times I went out in Liverpool it was usually a few in The Swan then off to the Krazyhouse in my late teens/early twenties and now we generally just end up staying in the same few places.
As we were meeting people at Thomas Rigby’s later on, we decided to stick to the Dale Street area as there are so many pubs we’ve looked at and said “we need to go in there”!
Our first port of call was the Ship and Mitre. This is one of the places we usually go to, so we rationed ourselves to two drinks before forcing ourselves to make a move. The Ship is absolutely heaven in beer terms with a huuuge selection both on draught, cask and in bottle, and it offers pretty decent prices for their wares.
Helpfully, they have boards up with all the cask ales and draught beers on, and menus of all the bottles on the tables (complete with tick boxes so you can work your way through the entire selection). I went for Salopian’s Hop Twister followed by a half of Erdinger because they have it on draught and I just love it (they also have the Dunkel on draught too) and it was Mountain Mild by Facers and Domino Welsh Stout from Big Hand Brewing Co for Ross.
The Ship attracts a wide clientele – from younger couples to older gents to groups of friends dining in the back room so it gives it a real atmosphere. We did have to drag ourselves away and off to somewhere else because it’s comfortable and has such a wide variety on offer that I could happily stay in there all day! (They also have a shop up near the Metquarter if you want to buy anything to take home)
The next stop was a few doors down – the Vernon Arms. This was a suggestion from my dad and was a more traditional local boozer. But happily, it did have a decent selection of cask ales. I went for Hop Beast by Liverpool Craft Beer Co while it was Derwent Brewery’s Blonde for Ross. I also spotted one from Boggart Brewery – the first time I’ve seen it outside of Manchester.
The Vernon Arms also had the benefit of being ridiculously cheap so it was a good stop off.
We then carried on down Dale Street to the Lady of Mann. This shares a courtyard with Thomas Rigby’s and despite it not being the warmest day, there were still plenty of people catching the last of the summer sun. But although this place looked quite nice, the beer selection wasn’t great. Ross was chuffed because they had some Okell’s on while I went for the Cambrian Gold by Stonehouse Brewery which was OK but didn’t blow me away.
The bar had exposed brickwork and felt a bit “trendy” so not somewhere I’d rush back to to be honest,
The next stop was just round the corner – Ye Hole in Ye Wall.
This is definitely a hidden gem – it claims to be one of the city’s oldest pubs (and built on a burial ground) and was also one of the last to let women enter back in the late seventies. As a result, I had to go in!
The first thing you notice is the fire place – it’s absolutely sensational and was roaring away even though it wasn’t a cold day. In fact, all the windows were open!
The pub features traditional decor such as wooden panels and is very cute. The beer choice wasn’t too bad either – Brew#56 by Liverpool Craft Beer Co for me and Grimbergen Blonde by Brouwerij Alken-Maes for Ross. If we hadn’t committed to move around, this definitely would have been somewhere we’d have stayed in for a few more!
After this, we ventured slightly away over to the Bridewell near Liverpool One. A colleague had given me a 15 per cent off voucher and I was enticed in by the talk of Charles Dickens on the website. Dinner in a former prison cell was an interesting but enjoyable experience and as we got another voucher when we paid, we may make a follow-on visit.
And the last pub of our tour was Thomas Rigby’s. As it shares a courtyard with the Lady of Mann we’d already walked past it and as it was getting to the evening time, it was getting fairly busy. A large group of us were meeting but we were the first so I was happy to find a big table right at the front of the pub in a suspiciously empty room before being turfed out as it was only for diners (slightly annoying and nothing to suggest that when you walked in). I did manage to get a smaller table in the main room which would have to do us.
This was selected as a meeting place because of its beer choice (as well as its proximity to the wedding venue) and we weren’t disappointed. Ross was particularly pleased to see four Okell’s ales on cask (probably the most we’d ever seen in one pub – including on the Isle of Man) so I went for the MPA and he had the Olaf. One of the people we were meeting walked in while I was at the bar and asked for my recommendation to which I suggested the Okell’s IPA. But he found it too flat and gave it to me instead (Ross accused me of doing this intentionally!)
There was also a lot of bottled choices along with the cask but we weren’t in there long enough to get chance to sample any. I did enjoy the board listing them though.
This was probably the liveliest place we went into during our crawl but that might have just been as it was about 7.30pm by this point so people were starting to venture out for the evening.
It was time to head off to the wedding which put our pub crawl at an end. We were pleased we’d gone to new places and not just stayed in the Ship and we definitely found some interesting little venues which we might not have gone in to otherwise.
After a day of drinking (and eating) we were both pleasantly surprised at how much cash we had left at the end of the evening – I spent only about half as much as I’d expected to, even with pricey wedding beers. Each venue had decent beers at good value prices and it really does make me wonder if we get ripped off for our beer in Manchester, especially in some of the more ‘trendier’ places.