Dat Dere Liverpool

Mrs Reluctant is a Spandau Ballet fan. Now then, stop sniggering at the back. Shlepping over to Liverpool to see them play live gave me the perfect excuse for some Merseyside boozing. Would the beers be Gold? Or Confused? Let's Cut A Long Story Short...

With two days in town, we picked out six of the seemingly-best pubs to try. Mrs H is a wheelchair user, so level(ish) access and ground floor loos were important. I was keen on finding some decent pub grub. As for the beer - whatever was on offer would be fine. I'm always ready to scoop the unknown ;-)

Ship & Mitre

First pub we visited and possibly the best. Yards of handpumps that went untouched by me due to there being a German bottled beer festival on at the time. Standout beer was Gilden Kolsch. Sparky, helpful staff, eclectic decor, great food (by Burning Kitchen - burgers were immense). Only two regrets - should have asked them about level access (we struggled up a steep step) and we should have gone back for more beer (and Aspalls cider for Mrs H, served in a dinky Aspalls glass).

Doctor Duncan's

Flagship Cains' pub, noted as accessible in GBG but we couldn't see any obvious way in with a wheelchair. There was a rambling outdoor area to the side which may have disguised a level entrance but we saw no signs to point us in the right direction. Time was tight so we skipped this one, reluctantly. We had an appointment with Superlambbanana:

Baltic Fleet

Not listed as accessible but we thought we'd chance our arm. A wooden ramp at the front door made the bar accessible; the barman apologised though that the loos were now upstairs (or was it downstairs) - perhaps that was a recent change? An interesting pub with a ragtag of rooms, although it was rather smelly - possibly from being crammed full of concert-goers on successive evenings? That put us off having a meal in there. Great pint of Summer Ale, brewed on the premises (Wapping Brewery). Mrs H had hoped for real cider here, but there was nothing on. Only pub we visited that played the Beatles, but we won't hold that against them too much...

Philharmonic Dining Rooms

Level access, opulent architecture, mediocre beer (Harviestoun Hoptoberfest and Cains Bitter). Would have stayed longer but they couldn't serve food - problems with the gas supply. Gents loos were rather special (see below). But not impressed by bar staff storing a bike in the wheelchair loo - they're not supposed to be store cupboards!

Fly In The Loaf

Just a flying visit; we were looking for lunch after the foodfail in the Philharmonic. GBG had them listed as serving hot food; only sarnies were available. Shame, as the beers looked interesting and the whole pub was easily accessible.

Richard John Blackler (Wetherspoons)

One of those great-location Spoons; perched on a corner, plenty of natural light, easy access. Good range of festival beers on, though I passed as we were here for breakfast. And jolly decent it was. Not to say thirteen quid cheaper than what the hotel was offering. Cheaper sausage = more beer money :-)

We also tried to get in a couple of other chain pub/bars, the real issue being a lack of signage to point us towards alternative access. One bar did have a side door, unmarked, down an alley, though there was no way Mrs H could have opened it herself. Once inside, there was no obvious level route to the bar. Just a few signs would have make a difference - I shouldn't have to leave Mrs H in the street to go and find out how the hell we're supposed to get into a pub. It made us feel like our custom was too much of an inconvenience.

And whilst I'm on the subject - cobbles. Nothing wrong with ye olde pavementing, but the Albert Docks even had pedestrian crossings that we couldn't use safely, the gaps between the cobbles being wider than Mrs H's wheels. Combine that with the lack of drop kerbs and rubbish bags blocking the pavement, some of the Liverpool streets offered the worst wheelchair access we've encountered in the UK.

So, a bit of a mixed bag. At times we seemed to be going Round And Round, but perhaps that's just the Nature Of The Beast.

Do I need to sack myself - have I made too many Spandau allusions?


True ;-)