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25-09-2010, 10:34
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As readers of 'A Swift One' will be aware we sometimes go out and about to see what other places have to offer as regards beer and pubs, yesterday I tripped off to the city of Liverpool to have a look at a pub crawl in a part of the city I had only briefly visited before to see what I could find.

My original intention was a short pub crawl centering on Dale St which provided 4 pubs in the new Beer Guide, one was an old favourite and three were new to me. It did not quite end like that but more of that later.

Dale St is an easy walk from Lime St railway station, turn right out of the station, cross the road and walk down the side of St Georges Hall, across the roundabout at the bottom of the road by the entrance to the Mersey tunnel , and then up to the right. Unless you are like me and stop to photograph the myriad of new buses around this part of the city. All the pubs I went into open between 11 and 12 o'clock so you can be home in plenty of time for tea !!

My first call was my old favourite the Ship & Mitre. An old art deco building on the right hand side of the road, (in fact all the pubs I visited were on this side of the road), it is a pub with plenty of choice for the beer enthusiast with over 12 ever changing guest beers on hand pulls around their circular bar which serves 4 different rooms. Here I found offerings from near and far and settled for a beer from the uncommon Gertie Sweet brewery, and an uncommon beer from the Leeds brewery. Both reasonably priced. All their beers are available in 1/3 pints for those who want to sample more of the range. I was disappointed to find I had missed their Autumn beer festival by a week, when they have over 70 beers on. I suppose I would never have moved on had this been the case. What I did find here was a copy of 'Merseyale'. The local Camra group's superb magazine, and a copy of the Liverpool pubs passport, which is a great idea. Showing 80 plus pubs in full colour, with an easy to use map it suddenly opened up another few pubs in the area to call in expanded my crawl considerably.

The next pub on the list was the Vernon Arms, a few minutes walk down Dale St. This was a new pub to me, having only been reopened a couple of years ago. A fine job they have made of it too. Retaining the old tiled front, the pub is on a street corner with 2 entrances to the fine looking Victorian bar, I am not sure if it is original but it certainly looks the part. Here I opted for a beer from Derwent brewery, and another from the local Liverpool Organic brewery,from the 8 on the bar. The latter was off but changed for a new barrel without hesitation.

The next 2 pubs on the list were also Beer Guide listed. I suspect they are under common ownership but cannot be sure, but both sold Okells beers from the Isle of Man. Thomas Rigby's is on the main road, The Lady of Man is set back in a shared courtyard behind. As well as the Okells's beers, each had a guest beer which I opted for, both coming from larger breweries. By this time the pubs were becoming more crowded with crowds of office workers all out for a beer and lunch,(all the pubs mentioned do food). Again Rigby's looks a Victorian pub , with an imposing frontage, but without the ornate tiling of the Vernon. The Lady of Man is a smaller one roomed pub which I suspect could get very cramped at busy times.

By now I had exhausted my list of Dale Street pubs but the newly acquired map soon led me to another Beer Guide listed pub, just off the main drag. Ye Hole In The Wall is actually on Hackin Hay, which connects Dale Street with Tithebarn St behind. Another small,busy pub with a tiled frontage and a myriad of small rooms off the central bar. There was a beer festival on the go here, but only with the larger brewery beers showcased on my visit. A quick half and off again, up the road into Tithebarn St.

The Railway is the first one I came across on my way back towards Lime Street. Another imposing looking pub but very busy and after struggling to get served I gave up the ghost and tried the Lion Tavern just along the road. Easy to find, by Moorfields station, it is another imposing corner pub, painted red and white. Again however, from my point of view the beer range was a bit uninspired, so another quick half and off again.

The James Monroe is on the opposite side of the road, and again is on a corner, This time painted grey. It is Beer Guide listed, so it was a bit of a shock to walk into what was, to all intents and purposes, a restaurant. Here I found 3 hand pulled beers, selecting a beer I had not come across from Wychwood. There was only one table not set up for dining though, so after an uncomfortable few minutes I decided to call it a day.

From here, it is an easy walk back to Lime Street but I decided to take a longer route and include the Cains showcase pub, Doctor Duncan's, in my itinerary. Just down from the station and the nearby bus station, the pub is another large pub which has the entire range of Cains beer on offer. I settled for the 'Voyager' and had a few minutes watching the world go by.

It is a couple of minutes back to the station from here so is a great place to end a trip.

All in all, I was very impressed with what an unknown part of Liverpool had to offer. The pubs are mostly wonderfully preserved and although not heritage listed by Camra, are all historic in their own way. The beer range varied from the exceptional to the bland but that should not detract from what is a good way to spend a few hours in the city. I was just a little surprised how few local beers were on offer in the pubs I visited, with the area being home to many up and coming breweries. Perhaps I just caught a bad day. Don't let that put you off trying it.

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