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Bar Essentials - Bier

Angie Sammons finds the Old Ropewalks pub is all new and 'on-message'

Written by . Published on October 28th 2011.

Bar Essentials - Bier

What's the story?
There has been a boozer between this bit of Bold Street and Renshaw Street for as long as anyone can remember.

In the all-you-can-smoke days, it was The Newington. Never trendy, never talked about, never on the radar, it just got on with being a useful quiz night and giant ashtray.

Sitting in the long shadow of the teeming-with-life Lewis's department store, The Newington was best known for people who babbled like shopgirls - largely because they were - plus assorted students and riff raff.

Then it became the Old Ropewalks pub, rebranding itself with the same name as that of the entire area - but not the styling.

Many Euro millions were spent on Rope Walks' marketing as it carefully contrived an image of “creative industries hub and Euro cafe culture”.

So the suits must have loved it every time they walked past the down-at-heel karaoke pub, in the centre of their new manor, turning it all the way up to eleven - until eleven - every night of the week.

Now, however, both pubs are dead, as is Lewis's, a hulking gravestone over the burial ground of Renshaw Street.

Only The Lonely have crooned their last and a far more fitting emblem for the Rope Walks has emerged: Bier.

New name, new image?
Simple one-word titles for venues are the fashion on Bold Street these days, so not only do we have Bier, but "Leaf", "Brew"... 

Indeed. “The Camden-style hangout is set to be one of Rope Walks' best-loved venues,” says the RW blog, greeting the new neighbour with gush, warmth and glee.

Much (Bier won't say how much) money for Old Ropewalks has been lavished; largely, it seems, tiling the entire pub in the manner of a Victorian sluice room.

However, earth-toned paint on the wood, tealights, little touches of plant life and pretty rows of bottles across the windows do much to impart a vibe of Soho-Boho, rather than Jack The Ripper's Whitechapel.

The people involved with Bier have also taken on ex-Korova venues Dovedale Towers and Low Bar in Lark Lane. All have been decorated in the same manner.

Indeed, if one didn't know better, they might think the Guttman Ghost of Interior Flamboyance Past was blowing through them, albeit all in the popular new mood of austerity.

Whatever, it's happy days for anyone with shares in The Tile Warehouse.

Why go there?
This is definitely not the place to go if you want friendly banter with the landlady or anything like that, but it has to be said that once you get the hang of Bier, it's quite an interesting little hour or so on the tiles.

It is especially useful to start the party night off, or if you are on the way home after work and find that neither a trendy bar or a traditional city centre pub tick your boxes.

Like a best-of-both bike, Bier is that hybrid.

Grub wise?
The only stuffed animals you will find in here are the ones eating all the pies. Pieminister posh pies are becoming more common now, served, as is the fashion, with mash, mushy peas and gravy.

In case you thought Bier had gastropub aspirations and some genuine pie gourmandism was going on in a dungeon underground, we are assured that these are bought-in, complete ready meals, reheated in the microwave.

Still, they are under a fiver, they taste fine and soak up the beer far better than a bag of Big D ever could, so let's not be sniffy, children.

Who goes there?
Early days yet, but it so far appears to be attracting all ages of the population across the Liverpool drinking demographic. What it evolves into in 12 months is anyone's guess. 

Decent reggae/electro mixes will drown your conversation out if the place happens to be empty, but that's increasingly unlikely as Bier hits the early evening spot with more and more drinkers. There are DJ sets from 9pm on Thursdays now, and apparently the needs of the football match TV viewer are met too.

What's yours?
Depends. How big is your wallet? The cask ale drinker and his/her pal won't get anything for their last fiver between them, with most pints weighing in at over £3 a time.

And it's not just the prices that can be hefty. Real ales come in old fashioned, flavour-numbing, hard-to-smash pint pots.

This prompted one diminutive, IPA-loving female in our party to wonder if the idea was to a) engender that quaint, jellied eel eastender feel, or, more wisely, b) to prevent people from using them as ready glassing weapons? 

For these are not flimsy vessels, she said, picking one up, playfully taking aim and reminding us of why she is known to some doormen as the “lady of the lamp”. 

You can drink decent wines and spirits, but Bier is the name and beer is the game.

P1019754Wait a minute, don't go!
The cash savvy thing is to turn to the far stronger Trappist ales, like 9.5% Achel or 9% Carolus. In the case of the deep and tangy Biere de Miel, at around £7 for a 75cl serving, we are talking 8% abv. That's not far off the strength, and it's certainly the size, of a bottle of wine. And you get a proper glass.

Remember, It's not lemonade this Belgian/Dutch stuff, so elegant sips, not down-in-ones are called for. 

Finally, bang for your buck?
Somewhat; it reminds me of the time when the skint of Lark Lane discovered that you could buy an entire bottle of port in Keith's for exactly the same price as a warm litre of Hock. But, er, classier, obviously.

Like anything, it has a strange appeal after the second time. 
"Bier: For the brew that is true and will get you there too."

Liverpool 1


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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on October 28th 2011.
Absinthe & TurksOctober 31st 2011.

I found it pricey with clammy PVC banquettes and the tiled walls concentrated the raised voices and the forced laughter of the 'shtirdents' into an alarmingly nerve-jangling shrill pandemonium.

The staff were pleasant if a little disorganised behind the bar resulting in slow service.

A far more pleasant experience was to be had seated at their pavement tables.

Absinthe & TurksOctober 31st 2011.

What is this craze for introducing half-ton glass southern beer mugs in Liverpool pubs? Last time I ventured in to the Phil our pints were served in these crystal chamber-pots!

These things firmly belong in 1970s home counties suburban pubs with fake horse brasses alongside spirits served in wine goblets without ice.

Alan HirdNovember 1st 2011.

I firmly believe that the Cains brewery in Liverpool is certainly something Liverpool can be proud off , and as such I believe that there should be a firm objective to get all pubs in Liverpool serving Cains beer. With the exception of some pubs using the new Liverpool One Brewery.

Cains really is Britain's best beer, and is something to be proud off. So support the local economy and drink local beer.

I have the misfortune to have been born in the south, and bitterly disappointed that I cannot get Cains on draught. Even worse is that my local Morrisons no longer sell canned or bottled Cains.

Half ton glass southern beer mugs in Liverpool?? disgraceful, believe me I don't like that anymore than you do. I'm just a first generation southerner to the extent that I feel much more like a northerner than anything else. We need a good campaign to get GET CAINS IN AS MANY LIVERPOOL PUBS AS POSSIBLE AND THEN RIGHT ACROSS GREAT BRITAIN!!! It really does annoy me that the Grapes in Mathew Street no longer sells Cains bitter.

Stanley StreetNovember 5th 2011.

Of course, one assumes that 'Bier' is a reference to beer in several european tongues, but in English a bier is a stand to put a corpse on.

This "Victorian sluice room" really is like a nineteenth century mortuary with its tiled walls, low lighting and close, damp atmosphere.

One has to admire their commitment to have spent so much to make a good pun, but to make it a good pub it needs some open windows to improve air circulation and some chintzy upholstery and curtains to prevent fungal infections on the fundaments of customers, the moistening and crumpling of trousers and skirts and to absorb the reverberation of the shrill excitement of the tipsy novice drinkers off the tiled walls.

Lord StreetNovember 7th 2011.

"Many Euro millions were spent on Rope Walks' marketing as it carefully contrived an image of 'creative industries hub and Euro cafe culture'."

Such a pity then that the area has since become dominated by loud-gobbed, braying arsewipes with southern accents, no manners and horrible clothes.

Salty SamNovember 7th 2011.

Oh and the Newington was entitled to use the Rope Walks name - the Rope walks, where cables and lines were twined for sailing ships were in the long narrow streets alongside Central Station.

Rope Walks had nothing whatever to do with Bold Street, Duke Street or any of the rest of the vomit-streaked tawdry drink-o-drome bedsitland they have been turned into by posturing but clueless incomer property developers.

AnonymousNovember 9th 2011.

So the Guttman's are running this joint

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