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Bar Essentials: Coopers Town House

Welcome to the house of fun. Liverpool Confidential's lowdown on boozers we've felt it necessary to visit this week

Published on September 20th 2010.

Bar Essentials: Coopers Town House

What's the story?
With its Tudor-style wattle and daub front, Coopers, or Coopers Town House to give it the correct title, sits in a huddled shamble of bricks across from Central Station. A tiny public house, it was once part of a much longer row of shops and pubs, half of which was demolished to make way for the Clayton Square Shopping development in the late 1980s. Happily Coopers - and its near neighbour, The Globe - survived, slap bang up against the glass and steel of the shops, and today the pub is a family business run by Maria Hodges.

Who goes there?
Coopers is on Cases Street – and a more appropriately named location there could not be, for this Tardis-like pub seems to attract a great many, in the nicest possible way. Day and night they come and they go in waves. One minute the place is bunged with revellers, the next it empties out and you think it's all over. Moments later, a new crew crams in. Ages vary: twentysomething shopping lasses, Primarked up for the day or night, mingle with butchers, bakers, bankers in suits and a big middle aged contingent. Some sit reflectively amid the mayhem, mulling in silence next to the wife, occasionally piping up: “Another?”. But this is no anonymous city centre boozer. Nine out of ten punters are regulars who get trains and buses in from south and north ends alike, every day, for one special reason and that is....

What's the crack?
...The crack. Coopers is quite unlike anything else. OK, people get boisterous in the Big House and the Blob Shop, and tired and emotional in Tess Riley's, but Coopers' raison d'etre is The Good Time, and they work hard to ensure there's a non-stop party starting at 1pm every day and finishing only when the towels go on at 11.

You will hear this before you see it. Strains of amplified, dulcet tones hit you from as far away as the ticket gate at the train station. Get closer, open the door, close your eyes and you could be in the Sands at Las Vegas as Jimmy, a hairy arsed docker from Bootle, belts out Mack The Knife accompanied by the Count Basie Orchestra on the karaoke machine. Sammy Davies Jnr, eat your heart out. Simon Cowell, Coopers has got talent.

MC Steve, dressed in tartan tam and kilt on this occasion, and with his own special weapon, pictured, takes on various guises: as Scouse Elvis (“Coopers' own Hound Dog”) he dons

the rhinestones and jumpsuit one day; then he's superhero with “Cooperman's Disco” all weekend, interspersing his identity crises more by becoming “Madcap Steve” on Sunday lunch. Tuesday night you can win £50 in the karaoke, or, as we learn, “you might be good, you might be shite, but you could win a bundle tomorrow night”.

What's yours?
What is the most popular tipple in Coopers? Whatever they are in the mood for, replies one of our very friendly bar ladies. And they do like their drink in here. Pride of place amid the giddy array of optics is not your posh gin or single malt, but two, yes two, huge, five litre bottles of Aussie White which are half empty, but don't be pessimistic. A large tumbler will set you back just £2.10, an essential livener if you are considering belting out Diamonds are Forever anytime in the next 10 minutes.

There are no cask ales, but the Tetley's (£1.55 a pint) is good enough, as is the draught Boddies, Carlsberg and reasonable Guinness (£2.55). There is also a prominent selection of vermouths, which you don't see much of anymore (Dry, Extra Dry and Rosso Martini) and unknown spirits that perhaps even Tom Slemen would have difficulty recognising. There is also a crate of non-alcoholic Kaliber, which is regularly dusted down.

The people. See above. Watching them, getting up yourself, having a shimmy back to the bar. One chap we encountered had never been in Coopers before, or to any pub in Liverpool. He was a Southampton day visitor. “I've been here since one o'clock,” he told us as he stumbled out at 10. “What a wonderful welcome. What fantastic people. I've been on the karaoke all day.”

Otherwise, there's a fruit machine, a quiz, a telly, and a pan of ribs goes on every Saturday. If you want to be entertained, this might be for you. If you want a quiet pint, it might not.

As Billy Joel once sang (number 320 in the karaoke book) “Don't go changing...”

Where is it?
Coopers Town House,
13 Cases St
L1 1HW
0151 709 3801

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

AnonymousJanuary 6th 2009.

Dig, you can be sooooo ageist! I am 25 and my friends are all under 30 and we all love starting off in Coopers. It's mad in there!!

Captain HookJanuary 6th 2009.


Now piss off!January 6th 2009.

I couldn't agree more. I suppose if Redmond et al had known about it they'd have badged it and presented it as a "cultural offering".

MethusalehJanuary 6th 2009.

Eh lad! Come 'ead! Who're you calling 'old'?

DigJanuary 6th 2009.

It's a crazy little box of a pub. I have never been in there and seen it quiet. Doesn't matter what day or time I've been in it's always been busy and good for a laugh. I've never seen so many middle aged and older people so loud and boisterous.

DigJanuary 6th 2009.

What? What did I say? I wasn't being ageist at all! I know you get people of all ages in there. All I was saying is the older generations in there tend to be a bit more unreserved than when you see them in other pubs around Town. It's a great place for people of ALL ages and you can't say that about many city centre boozers.

MerylJanuary 6th 2009.

I've never been brave enough to go into Coopers but it looks totally wicked on the pictures and I think I might take my chances on the £50 karaoke tonight! I may be good, I may be not!!

DigJanuary 6th 2009.

Oh wait, yes it is. I'm an idiot too. Sorry Peter Pan. I'm a bigger idiot than you.

DigJanuary 6th 2009.

Are you an idiot or just trying to wind me up? 1; It wasn't ageist, it was an observation about the behaviour of people in city centre pubs. 2; You were referring to the misspelling of License, which is the American way and that word isn't on the board. 3; Licensee is the correct spelling. 4; I've decided you are an idiot.

CorrespondentJanuary 6th 2009.

However cringe-worthy the karaoke material may be in Coopers, & for someone who cut his musical teeth in Eric's, it is up there, there's a charm & authenticity about Coopers which accords more easily with any notions of civic culture than the monstrosities on the waterfront & CoC projects over the last, unlamented year.It represents a Liverpool which was hidden away by Lord Redmond et al even as they claimed unworthy kudos from its legacy, ie. Liverpool is a salt-of-the-earth city, now let's overdose on Matthew Street & the King's Dock.

blue boyJanuary 6th 2009.

Great night rat pack at the philly then beer monster at cooperss great company good lookers drink there as pic reporters good company very pro good job lol

Hattie JacquesJanuary 6th 2009.

I wonder who gave Ada Cooper her last known entry in 1943?

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