8 Historic Pubs in Liverpool

A proper pub by definition, ‘Public House’ is a house that the public can enter unjudged by whatever it is weighing you down on the other side of the door. It should make you feel warm and welcome. Homely. The older and more traditional the better. Many have these type of phrases written on the exterior walls somewhere to help reinforce the idea that they are a safe, relaxing space to unwind.

To me there’s a clear distinction between a bar & a pub. Bars are faddy and fashionable. A pub isn’t either of those things. In order to qualify, a proper pub needs to have plenty of dark oak, some tiles (mosaic for top marks), the obligatory green and/or maroon colour scheme, and critically; an atmosphere at weekends that blends laughter & storytelling into the background of whatever conversation you’re currently in the middle of.

As you can probably tell, I love a good pub. My Mum and Dad were Publicans, so I spent a lot of time in them as a kid, normally with a Britvic 55 & my hand in a bag of frazzles.

During my twenties, I had an ever expanding list of pubs in the city that I wanted to have a pint in. I’ve managed to get through a fair few over the years, some of which are now closed down, but despite my best efforts, changes in priorities and lack of spare time mean there are still plenty left for me to explore (and if we’re being honest about it, it probably isn’t the most sensible of hobbies).

For now though, here is a pick of some of my favourite historic pubs located in central Liverpool:

  1. Ye Hole in Ye Wall. The name is a giveaway that this is an old pub, even by this lists’ standards. Serving pints to the city since around 1726. The tucked-away-tavern is based on Hackins Hey. There have been alleged sightings of ghosts in there over the years, & interestingly, the beer cellar is situated on the first floor of the building, as the pub was built on an old graveyard!
  2. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms: Known locally as “The Phil” was originally built as a Gentlemen’s club. It sits on the corner opposite the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Hope St. Built in 1898 it is a Grade II listed building famous for its ornate grand interior. The men’s toilets are actually Grade I listed as they are considered higher in special architectural interest. According to folklore it was one of John Lennon’s favourite places to drink. Paul McCartney & Buddy Holly have also performed in here.
  3. The Grapes: Situated bang in the middle of Mathew Street, just a quick shuffle from The Cavern club, The Grapes earned the moniker ‘The Beatles pub’ back in the 1960’s as it was the preferred drinking hole of the Fab 4. The pub dates back to the late 18th century, making it one of the oldest pubs in Liverpool.
  4. Ye Cracke: Originally named the Ruthin Castle, it is believed to have been built in 1825 (although another source states 1846). Located on Rice Street, it is another one of John Lennon’s preferred watering holes, & was a popular meeting place for artists and writers alike, including The Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien. full of historic photographs throughout, it also has a plaque found on the wall commemorating a meeting in 1960 when John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, Bill Harry and Rod Murray formed a band called The Dissenters. Worth noting that it has a really nice beer garden situated at the rear.

Look out for part 2 of our blog post on my favourite historic pubs coming soon!