Two days ago, I went to survey a pub crawl in Liverpool in the Dale Street area, easily reached by train from Southport. The furthest pub on this crawl is about 6-7 minutes’ walk from Moorfields Station. Pubs surveyed on 8 April (except the Hole, visited on 3 April). The numbers below refer to the map, which was designed by Dennis Jones of Liverpool CAMRA, used with permission.
1. Ye Hole In Ye Wall
This interesting pub in Hackins Hey, round the corner from the Saddle pub, claims to be the oldest in Liverpool, dating back to 1726. The cellar of this pub is above the bar, as the pub was apparently built on an old Quaker burial site, and no one wanted to disturb the bones; this has led to stories of ghosts. The pub is extensively wood-panelled and has two separate seated drinking areas, separated by wooden partitions embedded with stained glass, as well as standing room around the bar. There are pictures of old Liverpool scenes on the walls.
The pub had two George Wright beers on: Saaz (4.5%) and Drunken Duck (3.9%). The other beers were Tetley Bitter, Landlord, Adnams Bitter, London Pride and Spitfire. Owing to the location of the cellar, this is probably the only pub in town where the beer is served by gravity dispense through hand pumps. (The previous posting gives more details of this pub)
2. Thomas Rigby's
Another old, wood-panelled pub with three separate rooms and a courtyard at the rear, wonderful to sit in with a pint of good beer when the weather is fine. One of two pubs in Liverpool owned by Manx brewery, Okell’s, this pub featured in the film “Letter to Brezhnev”. The Nelson room to the rear is in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson who, it is said, was a regular in the 1790s. Hmmm …
There is usually a choice of beers from the Okell’s range, plus 3 or 4 guests. I had Newcastle Pioneer from Hadrian and Border, a light 4.2% beer named after the pioneer hops used. The pub serves good quality meals.
3. The Vernon
This pub was closed for a couple of years, reopening last year. It's a long, two-roomed pub with a distinct slope as you walk towards the rear, slightly confusing after a few pints! The room at the rear was used as a meeting place for Militant during the Hatton era. There are good value meals: we had steak pie, chips and peas at £7 for two. One curiosity advertised on the menu was “beef burger on a sesame seed bum”.
There are six cask beers on: Brains Rev James seems to be on each time I go, and beer from Liverpool Organic Brewery was on this time. I have seen Cambrinus and Baltic Fleet beers on previous visits. The Vernon is a keen supporter of local breweries which is why it has LocAle accreditation from CAMRA.
4. The Excelsior
This pub was closed on the day of my visit. It has served real ale on previous visits and still advertises cask ales in the windows. Additional comment 26 Feb 2011: this pub was open when I passed today - I could see Deuchars IPA and Landlord clips on the handpumps.
5. The Ship and Mitre
This pub has a 1930s art deco exterior, although the inside has been changed to suggest an old sailing ship. The upstairs room, however, is largely unaltered and is an art deco dream, wonderful for special functions, such as the recently revived folk nights - the new Woody Guthrie folk club is held on the last Thursday of each month.
Proudly boasting the best range of real ales in Liverpool (something like ten when we visited), there are always beers on here that I have never heard of before. We had Summer Wine Invictus and Gold Cup Ramsbury, both 4.5% and excellent. The pub holds regular beer festivals for real ale, and various continental beers through out the year. The next real ale one is 21 – 25 April. There is also good food available.
6. The Lion, Moorfields
The Lion is a small gin palace just across the road from Moorfields station - ideal to finish the crawl, being so close to the train. It has three separate drinking areas and up to eight changing guest real ales. I can’t see any significant alterations to this lovely little pub, which has a stained glass domed ceiling in the rear room (pictured), panelled wooden pilasters and etched glass panels; much of the original glazing survives.
We had Hawkshead Bitter, and Lees Bitter from Middleton is often on, not a common sight in Liverpool. Food is available, including the popular cheese board.
The last train back to Southport is 23-40. Return ticket: £4.40. An all-areas Saveaway is £4.50.
Click on the map to open it in a new window, which you can print if you want to.