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Ken's Liverpool Pub Crawl

Unless you are a hardened scouser it would be impossible to have a drink in all of the pubs on my list.
To make it easier for you then I have divided the city into a number of zones and have also included some interesting sights you might see on the way, before things get too hazy! I have also pointed out some of the pubs you should avoid like the plague. I have to admit now if you are looking for a site that reviews pubs on the taste of the beer, then you've come to the wrong place. I am on the look out for atmosphere. What sort of music do they play? What sort of people drink there? etc. I also like the sort of places that have cheap drinks and promotions so if it's a pound a pint you'll be getting top marks. As well as the city centre, under review are some places up out in the suburbs. Wavertree High Street gets a mention as I can be found down there at least once a week. Each pub will be given a score out of ten.

Crawl 1, Mathew Street. Liverpool City Centre

Crawl 2, Wavertree High Street. Liverpool 15

Mathew Street Liverpool City Centre

This first trek around Liverpool's pubs takes in the famous Mathew Street area, home to the famous 'Cavern Club' where the Beatles played in the sixties. The start is at the Revolution on the corner at North John Street. This fairly new bar is especially relaxing of a week. Decorated tastefully with images of friendly Lenin and Russian text the bar adds to it's welcoming feeling with subdued lighting and candles. The main attraction however is the selection of flavoured Vodka's available. Everything from Pear Drops to Dime Bars are available, as vodka that is. The only thing to watch out for are the spices as I once had my head blown off by Chile flavoured vodka.
Monthly promotions are also available with special flavours 50p cheaper at 1.00 a shot and if you are really adventurous you can try the Finnish Vodka at 78% proof. All in all a great bar to start the evening in although it can get busy at the weekend so I prefer in the daytime when I can relax on a sofa drinking a bottle of wine with the ambient music playing in the background. (9 out of 10)
Next stop is the Grapes on Mathew Street itself (6 out of 10). Recently refurbished it is now the 'famous' Grapes, due to the fact that Paul McCartney once had a pint here. The Beatles theme is often overdone and although some pubs have become parodies of their former selves this pub has managed to retain its friendly atmosphere and although there isn't too much of a choice at the bar the pub is a nice place to have a quick bevvie before heading over the road to Flanagans Apple. Flanagans is the opposite of the Grapes as although an Irish bar, it does not feel like the usual Irish theme pub instead having it's own distinctive character. Downstairs of an evening you can watch for free great bands playing a mixture of Irish and Liverpool songs. If you are really lucky you may be entertained by 'Tommy', Liverpool's own version of Elvis who is well known for his version of 'Blue suede shoes'. Often attracting tourists Flanagans is a great choice as even if you drink too much and start dancing badly, you wont be the only one there doing so, (7 out of 10). After the Irish influence you may be tempted to go over to the Rubber Soul, but I wouldn't advise it. The pub has always felt a bit unwelcoming and is often empty during the week and full of the 'scally' element at the weekend. Sometimes though you can get hold of cheap bottles on promotion, (4 out of 10), For more of a welcoming atmosphere try Lennons Bar next door. This may not be the classiest pub in the world but at weekends is popular with people of all ages enjoying the Beatles records which are constantly played in the basement. On the ground floor it is a bit quieter and I must be getting older as these days I tend not to go downstairs too often. Nevertheless it is a fun place on a Friday night and so i'll give the Lennon Bar (7 out of 10).
Even the electricity sub station on Mathew Street has a Beatles theme with laser images of the yellow submarine appearing on the side of the building. The whole success of this area is built on the Beatles and as you near the end of the street you pass the Cavern Walks shopping centre and the Abbey Road pub (6 out of 10). The Cavern Club itself is a bit of a sham as although it proclaims itself as the most famous club in the world the Cavern Club in which the Beatles played in was infact demolished in 1973 to make way for a car park, the present building dating from 1984 when the city council decided to spend money building a new version next door to where the original was. Although not the original Cavern, that doesn't really seem to matter as it certainly feels as though the Beatles could have played there. Now new music is played alongside the sixties stuff and during the week it is free to get in and even at the weekends it is only about one pound before ten. Often cheap bottles and lager are available even on a Friday night. The place is usually filled with young people although you can often spot an old hippy who may have even gone to the original Cavern. Although the most famous club in the world, ill give it (8 out of 10).
If you are still standing after leaving the Cavern you may want to try some other places in the area. There's the Bar Cava which must be one of the most expensive pubs in Liverpool (5 out of 10). Also nearby is DeCoubertin's which is pleasant enough even if it does feel as though you have are having a drink in a sports shop, as the place is decorated with football memorabila. Also irritating are the twenty televisions dotted around each tuned to a different sports channel. (7 out of 10). A bit further away on Hardman Street is the Why Not which is a favourite of mine, especially if you are after a quiet drink at the wekend when most other pubs are heaving, (8 out of 10). Bar Zero, does two drinks for the price of one before nine so I often can be found there. (7 out of 10). Other places include Boogie Nights on Button Street, a crass seventies theme pub (4 out of 10). If you are still standing other watering holes include Labinsky's (7 out of 10). Edwards (6 ot of 10) and next door the new Dix Neuf (7 out of 10) which is quite trendy.
Mathew Street although a shrine to the Beatles has come a long way since 1963, so much so that Sir Paul McCartney himself recently did a gig back at the Cavern again for the first time in 35 years.

Mathew Street Liverpool, looking towards the world famous Cavern Club

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Copyright © Kenneth Neil Pulford 2000