Liverpool is a city that knows how to party. Every weekend, especially in the summer, the evenings are electric, with crowds spilling onto outdoor terraces and reveling in the nightclubs. The bars will be full of laughter, music and song and you’ll feel the excitement the moment you step off your train at Lime Street Station. Many people know about Liverpool’s most famous bars and restaurants. There’s the Cavern Club and the Philharmonic, each deeply associated with musical culture. Meanwhile, the Baltic Triangle, Albert Dock and Concert Square are among the best places to eat in Liverpool 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 city like a local? Here’s our selection of five best Liverpool pubs for a cool or unusual night out.
If you’re a fan of real ales, you’ll be in for a treat at Doctor Duncan’s. 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 out as a GP in Liverpool before being made Medical Officer of Health in 1847, it’s a quirky location with a medical theme running through the decor. There’s 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 Friday if you love live music – you’ll hear up-and-coming acts from across the UK. As well as sampling the huge selection of guest ales, why not have a bite to eat? Nachos, burgers and ciabattas are all on the menu.
A little bar with more than 150 years of history, expect plenty of good, honest pints of beer to drink while you chatat Ye Cracke. 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 Anglican Cathedral. A favourite for the local creative crowd, it was also the pub of choice for a certain John Lennon – there’s a famous pre-Beatles photo of him standing outside the same glass door that remains there to this day.
This is one you’ll have to plan ahead for, as just rocking up is not an option. You’ll find 81LTD above Salt Dog Slims on Seel Street, a few roads down from the more famous Bold Street, and home to a number of very cool bars. You can only access the bar via a secret code that you’ll have to text ahead for (the number is on their website). 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. And it is, as we feel duty-bound to tell you, all 100% legal. Why not try your luck?
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 a bar. 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. Plus, if you fail to spot it, there are plenty of great alternatives nearby.
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, a restaurant that’s legendary for its afternoon teas on the eighth floor of West Africa House on Water Street. When you step onto the rooftop terrace, it’s guaranteed that 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 of a rooftop bar, but you really should try their amazing cocktails as you take in the view.
The tip of the icecube
Our selection of hidden bars is just a tiny sample of the unbelievable bar and restaurant culture that exists in this cosmopolitan port city. Plus, our trains take you right to the centre of the city, so you could be ordering your first cocktail a few minutes after stepping onto the platform. Ready to go? Download our app and save the cost of your first cocktail by booking in advance.