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Bar Essentials: The Crows Nest, Crosby

Pubs and bars Confidential writers have found themselves in already this week

Published on June 3rd 2010.


Bar Essentials: The Crows Nest, Crosby

What's the story?
Roosting on a quiet corner of Victoria Road, a residential street turned rat-run in Crosby Village, six miles out of the city centre, the Crows Nest has existed since since around 1916. Looking every bit the village pub it has changed little down the years. It retains the classic pub format of a bar and a lounge traditionally decorated in oak and tapestry seating.

Oh and there's a snug. According to pub writer Mike Chapple, it is one of only two remaining snugs in Liverpool – the other being in the Roscoe Head.

In short, the Crows has survived BECAUSE it has no big drama story. It has quietly ploughed its own furrow.

Who goes there?
With 50,000 people living in Crosby and Waterloo - that's 12,000 people on every square mile – that's one hell of a region to roll out the barrel for.

Ordinary Crosby folks might, by day, find themselves jostling with the hoity toity rugger and marina types in the Pimms aisle of Sainsbury's, and eh oop, here they all are again by night, trying to attract attention at the bar. Then there's the couples, the lads, the girls, the old timers, not to mention the odd artist, the odd muso and the odd (obviously) eccentric.

Over the course of the day and evening, different crowds come and go in waves. By the time the last orders bell goes, the 5 o'clock regular is a different animal – often in every sense.

For The Crows Nest has always attracted people with staying power – and many regulars today are exactly the same as those you would see propping up the bar a decade ago.

Why go there?
“Great beer, great atmosphere, great times”, is the slogan outside. A friendly landlord, Dave, and the family behind the bar, efficient service and a no nonsense approach. Plus an inclusive, welcoming vibe even if you are a stranger. What more do you want from a neighbourhood pub?

What's the crack?
Talk. Just talk. Crosby has a great many bars and restaurants, but there is something different about the Crows. Once the beer starts flowing, so does the banter.

Barb and Wal have been going there for 15 years. They have kids in their twenties. But before social services start doing the maths and getting involved, this has been an escape in a good way. It has been their bolthole to reconnect like grown ups when family life would not allow. A breather on the corner of the road.

Other people go there on a date. Or to meet their cohorts. This is a proper boozer, the sort where you make lifelong friends and together, on a nightly basis, put the world to rights – but crucially would not have anything to say to one another if you met beyond the bar.

What's yours?
Because the Crows Nest is one of the few un-tied pubs left in Liverpool you will find quite a lot to go on. Excellently kept cask ales, several well chilled lagers by the bottle and on tap, a reasonable choice of bottles wines for £8.95. The Cains, possibly the best on Merseyside, owes its good reputation in here to minimal road travel and fuss, and Dave's cool dark cellar ensures an ever changing, lipsmacking guest beer or three . At the minute, expect the zingy and refreshing Summer Lightning types.

Hungry?
There's the odd charity barbecue out the back, but it's crisps, pork scratchings and bar snacks to keep you from falling over.

Fancy a fag?
There is a big beer garden out the back. But obviously it wasn't always the case. Former manager George McKay instigated a search of the pub after a regular patron's cigarettes were found atop the bar as he was locking up for the night. Eventually, in the single cubicle of the gents, he found Confidential food critic AA Grill slumped in stupor. McKay later explained that he was sure Grill was still somewhere on the premises because "he wouldn't go without his ciggies".

That's entertainment
Er no. There is no music in the Crows, no dartboard, no quiz nights, no big telly blazing out all the time (a moderately sized device is turned on in the bar area for major sporting events only). No happy hours. But hey, it's been tried. A few years ago, a fruit machine was installed. It was taken out after a couple of weeks because it wasn't making any money. The reason? The punters kept unplugging it.

Verdict
The talk of the town.

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