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The interior of the Shipping Forecast in Liverpool
Photograph: Shipping Forecast

The 13 best pubs in Liverpool

There's nowhere quite like Liverpool, and the best pubs in the city are tailor-made for a tremendous tipple or three

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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If you like a good pint in compelling surroundings, the best pubs in Liverpool are manna from heaven. There’s nowhere quite like Liverpool, a city of character, history and community, and its pubs are integral to it all. From friendly neighbourhood boozers to city centre slickers, you’ll almost certainly find your new favourite pub somewhere here.

Liverpool is always moving forward, but there is a reliable comfort in its best pubs that is utterly reassuring. There’s just something about an old-school pub - we’re talking dark wood, stained glass, fireplaces and near-constant chatter - that sets the soul at ease. Nowhere does it quite like Liverpool.

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At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Amazing pubs in Liverpool

1. The Poste House

If you want your pub old, your drink cheap, and your crowd mixed, the Poste House should be right up your Danny La Rue. This is the sort of drinking hole you’d expect to see in an old black-and-white film, the kind of place where ‘theatrical types’ gather. And they still do, with a young gay/mixed clientele upstairs and passers-by downstairs. You might be drawn in by the old-fashioned look and old-fashioned prices, but you’ll stay for the buzz.

2. The Old Bank

If a taste of Victorian grandeur is what you’re after, the former First National Bank of Liverpool is one of many architectural jewels along James Street – and now it’s got a pub in it. Head to the veranda level to the cocktail bar, where you can dine with views over the throng below. The Old Bank is a beautiful building and just across from Queen Victoria’s cock, should you fancy a childish giggle on your way home.

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3. The Grapes

Built on the site of an old tavern, the Grapes has been around since 1804 – making it one of Liverpool’s oldest surviving pubs. It may be known for its dizzying selection of rums, but there are also plenty of beers and gins on offer. The Grapes hosts regular music nights, with a slant towards jazz, while a beer garden makes for a thoroughly pleasant drink outdoors come summer.

4. The Boat House

Famous for its tremendous ice cream and fish and chip shops, Parkgate is a Wirral tourist hotspot that’s also home to the Boat House, a tremendous old pub at the start of what’s known as Parkgate’s Parade. It overlooks the Dee estuary, which is an RSPB nature reserve, so if a laid-back afternoon of seafood, beer and twitching takes your fancy, you’re in for a total treat.

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5. The Shipping Forecast

When is a pub a bar, and when is a bar a music venue? Ostensibly all three, the Shipping Forecast has the laid-back feel of a pub (and drinks menu to match), so, despite having hosted nights by the likes of Mark Ronson and Disclosure, that’s why it is deserving of its place on this list. Expect a wide array of beers and cocktails served by friendly and knowledgeable staff in the heart of the RopeWorks neighbourhood.

6. The Ferry

Take a quick trip across the water to the Wirral, walk a few minutes to the Ferry, and you’ll be rewarded with absolutely fantastic views of Liverpool’s waterfront. But the panoramas aren’t the only reason to visit, as The Ferry is a historic pub serving locally sourced food and a brilliant selection of cask and craft ales. In warmer weather, grab one of the glorious pub-front tables.

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7. Peter Kavanagh’s

In Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, you’ll find Peter Kavanagh's, one of the city’s most storied watering holes. The owner, one Peter Kavanagh, has been a painter, inventor, and a city councillor – and his venue is as eclectic as his CV. So beloved is it that several punters, long since gone, remain in urns displayed in the dark interior. There’s occasional live music, you can take your dog, and the ales are great, too.

8. The Caledonia Liverpool

This corner pub may not look like much from the outside, but step inside the Caledonia, and you’ll find a traditional pub where community really matters. Not only does it serve top-notch drinks, this old-fashioned spot has gone modern with its 100 percent vegan menu and community library (well, bookshelf for now). It also puts on so many gigs you could come here every night and never get bored.

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9. The Lisbon

A proper old-school Victorian boozer, the Lisbon is tucked down a flight of stairs and comes with all the dated design features you’d expect: tiled floors, sticky carpet, wood panelling and a glorious ceiling. It’s been a huge part of Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ scene for decades and hasn’t changed to accommodate fads and tastes. The crowd’s mixed, so don’t think you’ve wandered into the wrong place on a Saturday if it looks a bit, well, straight. It isn’t.

10. Ye Cracke

A nineteenth-century jewel tucked away in the Georgian Quarter, Ye Cracke is as old-school a pub as you can hope to find, with its multitude of small seating areas, including a war room and a proper ‘snug’, and without a TV screen in sight. It has a rich history, of course, and though it trades on its links to some famous Scouse band perhaps a little too much, it’s still a very cool place to be.

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