Top 5 Secret Bars and Pubs in Liverpool

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Written by our web team

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5 min read | Published 24 September 2021 Updated 19 October 2023

Liverpool is a city that knows how to let loose. Every weekend, especially in the summer, the evenings are electric, with crowds spilling onto outdoor terraces and revelling in nightclubs.

If you’re a visitor to the city, you’ll feel the buzz and excitement the moment you step off your train at Lime Street Station.

Many people know about the famous restaurants and bars in Liverpool. There’s the iconic Cavern Club and the world-famous Philharmonic, both deeply associated with musical culture.

Meanwhile, the Baltic Triangle, Albert Dock, and Concert Square are among the best places to eat in the city with lots of outdoor seating, fine dining and street food stalls available.

But what if you’re looking for something different or want to experience the lesser-known parts of the city? Whether you’re planning a day trip to Liverpool or spending longer in the city, here are five of the best pubs and bars in Liverpool to enjoy for a cool or unusual night out.
Old red brick streets of London, showcasing classic pubs.

1. Doctor Duncan's

If you’re a fan of real ales, then Doctor Duncan’s is one of the best pubs in Liverpool to visit. Opposite St John’s Garden and behind St George’s Hall, the huge neoclassical columned structure can be seen as you emerge from the train station.

Named after William Henry Duncan, a local lad who started as a GP before being made Medical Officer of Health in 1847, it’s a quirky location with a medical theme running through the decor.

There are some cool and unusual features you can enjoy as you sip your perfect pint, with a genuine Victorian pharmacy cabinet that fits perfectly with the rest of the 1800s styling throughout the pub.

Go there on a Sunday if you love a good quiz or, if you’re off to watch a live game, the football shuttle buses from the city to the grounds stop right outside!

As well as sampling the huge selection of guest ales, why not have a bite to eat too? Chips, burgers and hot ciabattas are all on the menu.

  • Location: St John's Ln, Queen Square, Liverpool
  • Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 to 10:30 pm

2. Ye Cracke

A little bar with more than 150 years of history, Ye Cracke is one of the most historic and quirky bars Liverpool has to offer. Visitors can expect plenty of good, honest pints to drink whilst chatting in the cosy surroundings.

A short walk from the university quarter, Ye Cracke is a student haunt that’s just as popular with locals. It’s tucked away on Rice Street, a single-lane road off Hope Street, near the impressive Anglican Cathedral.

A favourite for the local creative crowd, it was also the pub of choice for John Lennon. There’s a famous pre-Beatles photo of him standing outside the same glass door that remains there to this day.

  • Location: 7 Rice Street, Liverpool
  • Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 1:00 pm to 11:30 pm

Outside of Liverpool Lime Street at night

3. 81 LTD

This is one you’ll have to plan for, as just rocking up is not an option. You’ll find 81 LTD above Salt Dog Slims on Seel Street, a few roads down from the more famous Bold Street, and home to a number of the best bars Liverpool has to offer.

You can only access the bar via a secret code that you’ll have to text ahead for (you can find the number with 81 LTD themselves).

Once you gain entry, you will be transported back to the prohibition era where you can enjoy a few laid-back drinks or a special occasion with friends. With well-priced cocktails, it’s a fun place with great music and a cheerful atmosphere.

  • Location: 79 Seel Street, Liverpool
  • Opening Times: Friday to Sunday, 8:00 pm to 2:00 pm

4. Berry and Rye

While you don’t need to book to get a seat here, it helps to know exactly where Berry and Rye is. You won’t find a name over the door, or in fact, anything to indicate that you’re about to enter one of Liverpool’s best bars.

It’s a dark, intimate place where they play smooth jazz and blues and serve delicious whiskies, gins and cocktails.

If you can spot it, the door sits on Berry Street, a busy route into the city centre. We don’t want to spoil the fun of discovering it, but it’s between Upper Duke Street and Seel Street.

  • Location: 48 Berry Street, Liverpool
  • Opening Times: Monday to Thursday, 7:00 pm to 1:00 pm, Friday, 5:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday, 3:00 pm to 2:00 am, Sunday, 5:00 pm to 1:00 am

The 'Liverpool' block letter sign outside Liverpool One

5. Goodness Gracious

If you’re looking for fun bars, Liverpool has plenty to offer but few have views like this location. We don’t know if it’s the highest rooftop beer garden in town, but it must be up there.

You’ll find Goodness Gracious upstairs at Oh Me Oh My. This restaurant is legendary for its afternoon teas, and the bar is located on the eighth floor of West Africa House on Water Street.

When you step onto the rooftop terrace, you’ll gasp in amazement as you’ll be almost level with the iconic birds on top of the Royal Liver Building across the road. Next time you’re in Liverpool and the sun’s out, we recommend you make your way up there.

They serve all the drinks you’d expect from a rooftop bar, but you really should try their amazing cocktails as you take in the view.

  • Location: West Africa House, 25 Water Street, Liverpool
  • Opening Times: Open Wednesday to Sunday throughout April and September (weather-allowing)

A nighttime view of Liverpool’s skyline by the docks

There's more to discover in Liverpool

Our selection is just a tiny sample of the quirky pubs and nice bars in Liverpool. The pub, bar and restaurant culture that exists in this cosmopolitan port city is a draw for millions of people every year.

If you’re looking to visit Liverpool and its numerous attractions, you can explore what else the city has to offer in our Liverpool destination hub.

Our trains take you right to the city centre, so you could be ordering your first cocktail just minutes after stepping onto the platform! Ready to go? Download our app and plan your journey now.

Buying train tickets to Liverpool?

Buying through our website or app also saves you on fees, and there are plenty of other ways to save such as using a Railcard, booking in advance and booking as a group. Avanti West Coast App

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