Chris Heasman recommends where to go for a drink to get away from the cold and the rain
Now that the summer has faded away and the days are becoming just a little colder and darker, it might be time to think about trading in your gardens and cocktails for a roaring fire and a good, hoppy ale. Here are a few of the city’s cosiest, warmest and friendliest drinking spots in which to weather out the coming winter.
The Belvedere Arms
The Belvedere Arms isn't exactly the easiest pub to find - it's located down a dead-end road just off Falkner Street - but it's more than worth the journey. A regular haunt for members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, this Grade II-listed community pub sits just far enough from the hustle and bustle of Hardman Street to feel remote but not so far as to be inconvenient.
Inside, it’s a classic setup: you've got an intimate lounge area, a tiny bar, a friendly clientele and staff and, of course, an open fireplace. Drinks-wise, expect classic name-brand beers, guest ales from local brewers and a surprisingly heavy focus on gin, courtesy of the pub’s own “ginnasium”. All in all, it’s not exactly the glitziest place in the world – but if you’re after a proper no-frills pub that’ll keep you warm until you’re drunk, you’re honestly unlikely to find anywhere better.
The Belvedere Arms, 5 Sugnall St, Liverpool L7 7E
Peter Kavanagh’s is a pub quite unlike any other. First opened as the Liver Inn in 1854, the property was commandeered by a young Irishman at the turn of the century who renamed the pub after himself. The pub's history is long and rich (so much so that it's noted by CAMRA as a pub of national historic importance) and it never lets you forget it. The place is completely filled with junk acquired over the years by the owners: plates, tankards, pots, pans, toy trains, crocodile skins, books, statues, bicycles – you name it; they’ve got it hanging up somewhere.
In amongst the students, the retirees, the professionals and the artists who call the pub their local is Rita, Peter Kavanagh's stalwart landlady and lead character. And that's what defines the heart of Peter Kavanagh's: character. This isn’t your average, sterile city centre gastropub or run-of-the-mill Georgian Quarter hipster dive – it’s a colourful, bizarre and ultimately welcoming establishment which, once you’re inside, you’re likely to never want to leave again. And isn’t that what cosiness is all about?
Peter Kavanagh’s, 2-6 Egerton St, Liverpool L8 7LY
The Smuggler’s Cove
It’s heartening to know that mankind’s definition of cosiness hasn’t changed over the years - and nowhere demonstrates this better than the Smuggler’s Cove. Decked out on the inside like an 18th century pirate tavern - which really isn't as tacky as it sounds - the Cove is warmly-lit, open plan (making for a pleasantly communal atmosphere) and features views out over the water of the Albert Dock.
As you might expect, rum is the order of the day here, and the bar's own Rum Room provides a gorgeous, comfortable private drinking area away from the rigmarole of the rest of the Cove. A genuinely impressive range of ales and wines are also on the menu, however, and the bar's own kitchen offers a number of classic British and European dishes to keep you going after the sun goes down. Probably your best port of call once the autumnal storms start rolling in.
The Smuggler’s Cove, Britannia Pavillion, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AD
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms is probably one of Liverpool's most iconic pubs. Built over a hundred years ago as a gentleman’s club, the interior is pretty much what you'd expect from a great building of the time: wood panelling, fireplaces, stained glass windows, leather seats and spectacular furnishings. The pub is split into a number of smaller lounges and rooms - each named after a classical composer - meaning that it never loses any of its intimacy because of its size. In fact, apart from the suitably impressive open-plan Grande Lounge, the Philharmonic actually feels more like a collection of living rooms than a pub.
The pub's speciality drinks include gin, whisky, cask ales and craft beers, while the kitchen menu features a number of pub classics, sandwiches, grilled dishes and burgers. And if you get a minute, check out the loos – they’re Grade I-listed.
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, 36 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9B
The Poste House
The city centre’s Poste House offers two things in particular which are nigh-on guaranteed to keep you feeling cosy during the winter months: a friendly atmosphere and cheap booze. The first isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s ever walked past – it’s hard to find a day on which the pub’s locals and regulars aren’t engaged in some rousing singalong or bout of furious laughter. The latter doesn’t exactly hurt, either – expect to pay no more than a few quid for a decent pint, with some drinks costing as little as £1.
The pub itself is no Philharmonic Dining Rooms (don’t think you’re going to find listed loos or Brahms lounges here) but it’s instilled with such a definite and endearing charm that too many others in the area lack entirely. The Poste House is a proper, genuine little pub with a lot more going for it than you’d think at first glance. And did we mention the £1 drinks?
The Poste House, 23 Cumberland St, Liverpool L1 6BU