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Bar essentials: The Fly In The Loaf

Liverpool Confidential's lowdown on pubs and bars that we've found ourselves in this week

Published on September 22nd 2010.

Bar essentials: The Fly In The Loaf

What's the story?
FORMERLY Kirkland's bakery and for years the semi-legendary Kirklands wine bar where people as diverse as The Teardrop Explodes and George Melly played, The Fly in the Loaf opened in March 2004. Last year BBC Radio 5 Live listeners voted it the best pub in the UK.

The Grade II-listed building boast one of the prettiest pub exteriors in town, and still has the original mosaic floor from when it first opened as a bakery in 1888.

Rather bizarrely there's also a pulpit inside. Can we take then as gospel, that it's "the best specialist beer pub in North England"? That's the claim made by Dominic Hornsby who runs the place. He's entitled to maintain he knows a thing or two about the beer industry, having previously run The Dispensary on Renshaw Street. And they do like to keep the pub talk in Dominic's family: His other half, Fiona Watkin, is licensee of Rigby's in Dale Street.

Why go there?
Quite simply, if you're into your beer there aren't many better places than The Fly. There are over 50 lagers and real ales available at any time, and from all over the globe. The Isle of Man Okells and Fuller's Discovery are the mainstays, while some of the guest ales are so popular that they disappear within half an hour. They also do a very impressive lunch menu. Try the green Thai curry or the impossibly massive Fly Burger which the chef cooks on a whim and which tastes a lot better than it sounds.

What's yours?
The Cologne-based Früh Kölsch is a well favoured choice amongst the punters. Or try the aforementioned Discovery. First introduced to appeal to the lager drinker, it's cold and refreshing hoppy taste puts most other lagers we've tasted in the shade. In fact we liked it so much that we returned the next day to become better acquainted. Our Australian colleague was so impressed by this particular amber nectar that he was smacking his lips all the way back home to, er, Chorley.

Who goes there?
Anyone and everyone. Professionals, vagrants, students, young and old, often at the start of a night out. When we went, there was a stag do featuring men in pink tutus, and a rather glamorous looking lady. We also noticed a “gentleman of the afternoon” drinking an Erdinger on the raised seating area overlooking Hardman Street, which is particularly good for observing the crapulous buying their bevvies from Ten till Ten across the road. Was Matt (pictured) undertaking a spying mission or simply in the Fly "to watch the world go by whilst having a good beer" as he claimed?

That's Entertainment?
In the great world of the pub, there's an array of added extras – but not, as yet, a traditional Thai massage (unless you know different).

We're talking quiz nights, karaoke, open mic evenings, fruit machines, pool tables. You won't find any such things in The Fly. It knows what it does and does it well. Yes, there are a few TVs which make watching a game of football over a pint possible.

As for everything else Dominic is very clear: "I don't claim to be a restaurateur, I don't claim to be a cocktail bar. If someone came in asking for a cocktail I'd send them to The Living Room and I hope if they got asked for a fine ale, they'd send the customer up this way". The Fly does beer. It does lovely beer, with fast, efficient service. What else do you really need?

What's the craic?
The stag dos have already been mentioned, but other than that, the Fly is reserved - and not for snakebite enthusiasts. There's plenty of scope for a good craic, however Mr Hornsby does say this: "I don't care whether you're the Queen of England. If you misbehave, I'll throw you out".

No flies on this place.

Where to find it
Fly In The Loaf,
35a Hardman Street,
Liverpool L1
0151 708 0817

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

We are not amusedMay 21st 2008.

Is that an oral joke, an oral joke, or an awful joke?

Black SheepMay 21st 2008.

I think the place is great but it could do with better ventilation! We were all sweating cobs in the dark, airless rear last Friday evening. Has the smoking ban led to managers thinking they no longer need to run the extractor fans or the air conditioners?

Melvin Carferry IIIMay 21st 2008.

I do believe that shifty looking fellow in the sky blue top is none other than the imfamous hungarian beer guzzler Laszlo Pratcics. Laszlo loved the beer in Liverpool so much that he stayed after university and can often been seen in the fly and other pubs of the areas entertaining the locals with stories of his eccentric family back in Hungary.

LizzieMay 21st 2008.

You can't even speak the Queen's English. Innit

Cock LePickerMay 21st 2008.

'Fly is so fly it's my favouritest damn pub in the whole of Liverpool village. Hot barmaids (can we call them that now? Are they alehouse sanctuary seekers or suchforth?) and as the Hulk said, excellent Fullers on tap. Which is odd, because I don't generally like anything southern.

Paul HoganMay 21st 2008.

Me and my cobbas love this pub, it does the best Fullers Discovery Blond Ale in the city, crikey am i turning into a Pom, I love it!

Cains BoulevardMay 21st 2008.

Or maybe she'll go to the Living Room for a Bacorgi and Coke

LCoq porterMay 21st 2008.

She'll have been sinking a few pints of Stella, or 'Old Dukebeater' as it is popularly known.

The real LizMay 21st 2008.

It's always been a Gin & Monarch for me

We are not amusedMay 21st 2008.

What I meant to say was: Is that an oral joke, an aural joke or an awful joke?

Lady in waiting saysMay 21st 2008.

Phillip recommends the Ales in this public house and is looking forward to poppng in for a quick pint during his city tour on Thursday.

B. JaysusMay 21st 2008.

"Craic"? The word is actually 'crack', the expression originates in Lancashire from where it spread to Ireland and this bogus 'craic' spelling was invented by the Irish Tourism Board quite recently. To compound its phoneyness it was taken up by the 'Oirish theme' pubs in England to take in the sort of chumps who prefer their Guinness 'Extra Cold' so they don't have to taste it.

MadgeMay 21st 2008.

Old Dukebeater? I prefer a Bacorgi & Coke with a couple of Maamalade butties

London Pride RoadMay 21st 2008.

She's opening the arena tomorrow and will have a chance to nip in if she wants to get away from all the twats down there.

Fly on the wallMay 21st 2008.

I've never seen Her Majesty looking so menacing. She's scaring me

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