hmm tides coming in, best go the pub and dry off… (photo G Hutsby)
Right on the northern fringes of the Merseyside metropolitan area sits Waterloo and Crosby, wedged up against the Irish sea its a great place to visit for a day out and even a few pints!
Depending on your direction of travel there are a few ways to get to Crosby, its very accessible by Train, Bus and car. My own personal recommendation is to take the train, the northern line services are excellent and there is a train every 15 minutes. Grab yourself a travel pass so you can hop on and off as you choose, especially if your not to keen on some of the longer walking stretches.
Waterloo train station and Blundellsands & Crosby station serve their respective areas. Waterloo’s station puts you right on the south road which is awash with great pubs in the area. Blundellsands and Crosby station is a short 10 minute walk from the centre of Crosby, pubs are a little more spread out in this area.
Route Length 2.5 miles approx. suggested time allowance 5 hours.
My own personal route is as follows, of course don’t be afraid to explore and check out other pubs in the area, you can use the fine Liverpool pubs passport available for free from the Liverpool CAMRA branch website or use the handy http://whatpub.com/ from CAMRA as well, which also has a mobile website, handy when you are out! Please remember this route is of my own opinion, places are included and excluded at my own choice, I believe that it offers a good spread of experience and beer quality. You are of course encouraged to have a wander around and explore places for yourself and discover something I might have missed. Directions on the map are a rough guide feel free to take another route if you wish.
1. Liverpool Pigeon
The pigeon has been open only a few short years and was initially the areas only micropub. In that time it has garnered a lot of fans and two pub of the year awards from the local CAMRA branch. Because it is a micropub opening hours are not the same as your standard boozer. Cask ales and real cider are on offer, as are bottled beers from the continent, but you will not find any mainstream lagers, keg products alcopops or spirits. There is no music, no TV and no live entertainment, nice surroundings and conversation rule the roost at the Pigeon. Beer changes very frequently the selection tends to come from other North West England and national brewers, furthermore its all served in over-sized pint glasses! It can tend to get quite warm in the pigeon when there are plenty of people in seating is limited to you may struggle to find some where to park your bum if it is busy.
The staff are big on quality here, on a previous visit the first choice drink had only just gone off, the gentleman behind the bar serving me let me know, asked me if I wanted to try it and if I was unhappy he’d swap it immediately, it didn’t seem right so a replacement was soon whipped up, a lot of other pubs could learn a lesson from this small establishment.
Full details and opening hours can be found here: http://liverpoolpigeon.co.uk/
A short bimble up Liverpool road northwards will take you to the next nearest port of call Stamps.
The original stamps is a two tier building right at the junction of Crosby town centre’s main roads to Liverpool and Southport. Stamps is a great little venue for live music, every time i have been there is usually some entertainment on, whether that entertainment is to your liking is of course a matter of taste. Within recent years Stamps have started a brewery auxiliary located elsewhere in Merseyside, it supplies not only to the Stamps but to other pubs, eateries and bottle shops. Six handpulls are present with at least one stocking a Stamps brewery beer. There is also usually one national beer present. On my visits the beers have been in good to OK condition. While the choices on offer may not ever be mind blowing its a good reliable place for a nice drink. And one of the few live music venues in the area!
Seating during busy periods can be at a premium it’s often quite lively and noisy with the crowd and visiting bands competing for the airwaves so if you’re a quiet pub lover this may not be for you unless you get there before any entertainment starts.
3. Crows Nest
Coming out of stamps you will need to navigate your way over the road system nearby towards the direction of Victoria Road, once you round the corner you next goal will be in sight.
The Crows Nest gives off the aura of a typical community pub, its warm and welcoming and has been pretty busy the previous times we have dropped in. The pub is set out into three distinct areas a snug area which you might typically enter if coming down victoria road from Crosby town centre, a back lounge and then the main bar area. It is possible to be served from all three of these areas, however be careful of fellow drinkers hiding behind the door in the bar area, a polite sign will ask you to knock before entering so you don’t whack someone with the door.
You wont find any mind-blowing choices of real ale here, but what you will find are a decent variety of national brands and pretty well-kept to boot, I’ve usually gone for the Theakstons and its one of the nicest pints of it I have had outside my native home land. There are tv’s for showing sport etc and the crowd is quite friendly.
To reach your next destination follow Victoria Road until it forks left and becomes College road until you reach the roundabout, head across this along Mersey road, until you meet the next roundabout, take a left turn onto bridge road and keep an eye out for the post box.
4. The Corner Post
In a previous life the corner post was a post office at the end of a terrace row, hence the corner post! and the post box outside kinda gives it away too. The Corner Post only opened in 2015 and has rapidly become a popular place for local drinkers and those from a far. Being a micropub it does not have extended opening hours, typically it is open from late afternoon until 9pm at night. please check their social media accounts for accurate hours. Basic bar snacks and quality local pies from Satterthwaites of Crosby are available should you fancy a bit of snack.
5 handpulls dominate the tidy corner bar, which regularly host many local beers, a cider and a beer from elsewhere in the country, it has to be said the Corner post does a very good job of supporting Merseysides local breweries and especially those in close proximity to the pub. A smaller selection of bottled beers are also available. Wine and Gin are also available, Micropub purists may scoff at this but I can see the advantages of offering an alternative to those who maybe in a visiting party and really don’t feel like a beer. It doesn’t detract from this being an ale destination whatsoever.
Being a micropub emphasis is put on the care of the beers, and while I have only been a handful of times in 2015 they have always been in great condition during visits. The corner post does an excellent job of updating customers and followers via social media as to what is on the bar through the week. more so than some other local pubs! so follow them to see what’s on the bar. A excellent addition to the local pub scene and the growing collection of Micropubs in the area.
5. The Volunteer Canteen
A fairly long walk along bridge road in the direction of Waterloo is now required, please note this road despite being long and straight changes name several times along its length but the bearing remains the same until you come across Wellington street on your right. Follow Wellington street and take a left onto East Street, your next stop should now be in sight. Please note if you wish you can return to Blundellsands and Crosby station to get the train to Waterloo if you dont feel like the walk.
The Volunteer Canteen affectionately known as the “Volly” its a traditional style pub in a grade 2 listed building. The Volly is a quiet community pub so there is no music or TV. I have only visited the Volly a handfull of times myself. It’s a fantastic looking pub on the inside dating back to 1871 and was previously owned by Higsons Brewery of Liverpool, the inside. Typical bar snacks and food are available, there are 4 handpulls and usually one is from Liverpool Organic Brewery. The Volly has won several awards from the local CAMRA branch over the years. Beer was of a good standard on our two previous visits and table service is still available, a rarity in British pubs nowadays.
6. The Old Bank
“Its a bit of a mad house this place! I like it!” i immediately said to myself when i first walked in the old bank, music blaring from a band on stage, Local characters having a natter loudly with one another and the walls cluttered to the celing with various Music and Football (mostly red sorry blues!) paraphernalia. The old bank is certainly very lively! if you prefer quieter places then the old bank may not be for you. You may prefer to return when there are no bands on but even then it can be quite busy. Beer on offer is usually one or two pumps from Liverpool Organic Brewery and one or two national ales and is well-kept. of all the pubs on the crawl its probably the second most “spacious”, cosyness is the running theme here I think!
7. Stamps Too
Sister pub (or should that be sequel?) to the first stamps you visited, Stamps too really is one of my favourite pubs in the area, its got a great atmosphere, a terrific selection of Beers, a lot of them local and well-kept (by my standards at least) and has some cracking music on. Like a lot of the places on the route it has a fantastic character of its own, checkout the wall of barred famous (infamous) people for a good chuckle! The acts that are on vary massively but we have really enjoyed the music when we have visited, seating is at a premium so be prepared to stand! the beer is usually of a wide colour range there are often lighter coloured ales coupled with a stout so you can give your taste buds a workout. As with the other live music places on the crawl if it’s not your thing you can pop in when its quieter, ive visited stamps too when i’ve been cycling in the area it’s still a great place through the day but i think its heart and soul is best seen when its jam-packed with heads bobbing to good music and clutching a nice ale in your hand.
In Summary – Last Train Home
If your making Waterloo the last part of the crawl and you came by train make sure you check the time of the last train! I enjoy this particular route around Crosby & Waterloo, the walking distances and breaks in between, including the train journey help to add a break into your drinking. Of course if your feeling brave you could go on the train further onwards, although I remind you to drink responsibly of course!