Friday, 5 December 2014

BRAPA - Liverpool

As a pub ticker, I always feel like a child in a sweet shop when I come to the excellent city of Liverpool, and Wednesday was no different.  I was expecting maybe 3 new pubs at most, 5 was a fantastic result matching my most productive football day ever at Arsenal.  And again, we played well and got a good draw, maybe I should do 5 pubs more often!

By 3:30pm, Dad and myself had checked in at our Lenny Henry Inn and had made the 1.2 mile walk across the city to our first pub .....

516 - PETER KAVANAGH'S - Being the furthest pub from the centre, this made a good place to start and wow, what an amazing pub!  So ornate, so much decoration and bric a brac adorning the ceilings, including a rather worried looking tiger in an American Football helmet which I hoped wasn't a bad omen.  Gargoyles were carved into the wood as we found a side room with amazing old murals painted on the walls.  The beer was pretty good too, I had a local cherry mild which helped my man-flu I was suffering with,  We weren's so sure the barmaid was a people person, plus she let a local old crone push in front of us to buy a lighter!  Christine and Chris Douglas soon joined us, confirming neither of them had visited either and all in all, we were very impressed.

Beautiful interior at Peter K's.
517 - BELVEDERE - With our travelling companions gone in search of food, Dad an I made the short 5 minute walk in one of Liverpool's prettier street areas (amazing large old houses) to a tiny side street pub which really screamed traditional scouse boozer to you.  Having said that, we were greeted with an early Christmas do of annoying people ordering complex cocktail drinks.  Though it took us ages to get served, the barmaid couldn't have worked any harder plus there wasn't any space for another staff member behind the bar anyway!  With local Scouse comedian wannabees filling up the main bar, and the Christmas do in the other room, we found the only hallway seat and settled down to a gorgeous pint of Thirst Quencher from Spitting Feathers.  I knew it from my Chester BRAPA day, and it slipped down easily.  We were almost tempted to stay, but we had places to go, people to see! 

Small things come in good packages - the Belvedere

518 - CLOVE HITCH  - I'd tried to come here on New Year's Day but like most places, it was closed as I stood drenched under a bus stop!  Happy to finally get the tick, Christine and Chris D had been shoe horned into a dining area where they were painstakingly waiting for two plates of Gnocchi.  Yes, this was a culture shock after the last two pubs.  A hipster bar in truth, all young bearded men with more craft beers than cask (3 pumps, one went off).  But good punk music, friendly trendy staff and a nice warm atmosphere, you couldn't really dislike the experience!  Most importantly, the ale was well kept and my Hop Beast from Liverpool Craft was predictably modern and full of flavour.  The report on the food was good, and explained to the others I liked the diversity of GBG venues - all old men pub may, just may get boring!  

A Clove Hitch is a knot, as I learnt on my visit here!
519 - THE FLUTE - And with that last sentence fresh in my mind, maybe I should have been careful what I wished for,  This was another very different kind of place.  The vast one roomed space, with "banging" tunes, drinks offers, Christmas lights and screens had me thinking "90's chain student dive when you didn't know any better".  However, the one big difference was quality ale, this time another local brewery Peerless, provided very strong Knee-Buckler IPA which was the perfect winter warmer before two hours stood in Goodison Park.  A strange guide inclusion, not really the kind of place I'd be dying to go back to, but as Dad said, this is the 'good beer guide', and you couldn't knock that.

Chris D strides for the entrance to The Flute

520 - VERNON ARMS - This made sense for our post match venue as it was on the street corner next to our Premier Inn and we all met up again, sitting with some friendly Everton supporting locals to tell them how lucky they were to get a point!  This felt more like a traditional pub you'd expect to see in Liverpool but it lacked the class, historic feel and ornate design of many similar pubs in this city.  Having said that, hard working friendly staff again served a fine range of ales, the always excellent Boggart Hole Clough Rum Porter a good way to end after another fine local beer in Blakemere Jewel.  Very impressed with range and quality in here.  Some locals told us a recent drama/soap called Liverpool One was filmed here and they paid them £80 to be extras, but our new found friends didn't get chosen!  As last orders sounded, they tried to freeze us out by holding the door open on a chain, but I guess it was good tactics.  It could spoil a superb afternoon, evening and night ticking pubs off in Liverpool.

Dad proves he's still thin enough to hide behind a lamppost at the Vernon Arms.

So, with a big day in Macclesfield tomorrow, I'm suddenly a bit less worried about the current "when will I finally get to Pontefract & Darrington?" conundrum, with next week also in jeapordy due with lots on and 5pm finishes at work.  I'll blame that "busy Christmas season" bah humbug!



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