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Bar Essentials: The Crown Hotel

Confidential's lowdown on pubs and drinking dens we've already found ourselves in this week

Published on September 20th 2010.

Bar Essentials: The Crown Hotel

What's the story?
Signalling the start of the last segment of Lime Street, which is buffered at the end by The Big House (or The Vines), The Crown Hotel is one of threescore Grade II listed pubs in Liverpool city centre. There has been a hostelry of sorts on this site since 1859 when the red lights flickered along Lime Street for “dirty Maggie May” and her naval base of seamen.

But The Crown's stained glass windows were also steamy from its proximity to coal stoked engines in the new railway station, and, as thousands alighted, heavy with trunks, from carriages en route to ships taking them to the New World, its hotel rooms and fancy art nouveau-style saloon were often the last they would see of the old.

Although it had ornate, multi-coloured stucco ceilings, a huge open fireplace, upstairs billiards room and much to admire, the Crown, like the rest of Lime Street, had fallen into a bit of a nicotine stained mess by last year. So it was time for a spruce-up, courtesy of owner Mitchells & Butler who own thousands of pubs including The Philharmonic pub, the O'Neill's, Toby, Harvester, Edwards and Hollywood Bowl chains.

Why go there?
You are waiting for someone to get off a train, or you are waiting to get on one yourself. Moreover cost is an issue. The Crown is part of M&B's Goose brand - “high street pubs offering...great value for money”. It's cheap alright. Two pints of bitter for just £3.15.

Who goes there?
The above, and, on our visit, old timers bussing in from the Dingle with a tale to tell, born in places that are now L1 car parks. Young men with few tales to tell, holding shouting contests in the corner, the odd chap wishing everybody Merry Christmas, and we do mean “odd”, and the occasional token female attracted by the charms of £5.69 bottle of Californian red, white, or rose, served with a smile and a single glass.

What's yours?
Even though the lap dancing bar X In The City has replaced the titillating affections of Maggie May, there is still plenty of Bear Ass on public display on Lime Street – if only the name of a bitter served behind the Crown's oak bar. Hand pulled, one imagines.

You also get Cain's bitter, Tetleys and Worthington's, plus Mangers cider on draught and a whole host of usual suspect lagers. There's a big, reasonably priced food selection too, from the same glossy menu you will find in myriad M&B pubs the land over, which includes bacon breakfasts, burgers and butties, and steak and chips on Wednesday. All served upstairs in a pleasant eating area with lovely views over the disused ABC cinema and Concourse House.

Two fruit machines (jackpot £35) flash away at opposite ends of the main bar while a quiz machine fares better with a group of students. Pictures of beefburgers and chips adorn the windows and walls.

What's the crack?
There didn't appear to be one on our visit, although the friendly lady behind the bar endeared us early on. In fact, at 10.30pm all was quiet, drinkers silently musing into their pints. Suddenly the door flew open to reveal a huddled crowd of eight-year-olds in trick or treat gear. “GET OUT! GET OUT!” bellowed the entire clientèle and staff, rising up as one. And they did.

A moment later everyone was back as they were, in isolation, the unifying Cheers! moment over.

More gold leaf than tea leaf. Or the other way round?

The Crown Hotel
43 Lime Street
L1 1JQ
Phone: 0151 7097381

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

allan mc dougallOctober 28th 2008.

i like the crown very mutch good beer and food and nice staff.my wife and i will visit the crown next time we are going to liverpool thank you. allan from norway

DigOctober 28th 2008.

I recognise a few Kirkby bus drivers in those pictures.

Professor ChucklebuttyOctober 28th 2008.

By Jove London you are right! This is a disgrace, particulalrly the reference to Mrs Mays navel. A blatant advert for clap dancing clubs and the "myriad of S&M pubs" and an invitation to "Flash away at the end of the bar" I shall be sending a letter demanding that an apology to Andrew Sex. I am surprised at Liverpool Confidential, the dirty articles!

London RoadOctober 28th 2008.

Prof, it says that the seamen is all hand pulled in this article. I don't know about alighting from trains at Lime Street to get a quick pint inside, I always prefer to get off at Edge Hill.

AnonymousOctober 28th 2008.

Oh don't go to the Crown!

neville robertsOctober 28th 2008.

I see the old place has not changed much ,we used too meet there when we were home from sea, EX Merchant navy 50,s to 60,s started the night there, and the wine lodge. many happy memories of the old Pool, 50 years ago bloody hell I,m getting old Ha, Ha, .NEV>

goobie dooOctober 28th 2008.

Gaydar in the red zone here these days.Viddy the eeks on most of the boozies if you are on leave.

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