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Bar essentials: Ye Cracke

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

Published on September 22nd 2010.


Bar essentials: Ye Cracke

What's the story?
Tucked away on Rice Street, Ye Cracke sits impudently between Pilgrim Street and Hope Street, a hidden gem totally undeterred and unfazed by its neighbouring cathedrals, cobbled streets, drama students, concert-goers and newly landed gentry.

It has pedigree too, and we're not just talking about the bitter: Ye Cracke was popular with art college students such as John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe.

Originally called The Ruthin Castle, Ye Cracke has been a pub of sorts for over 150 years. There’s still the 1900s War Office where people used to chew the fat regarding Britain's overseas military operations, but now just just chew the fat off their “Ye Cracke Burger”.

Why go there?
Could it be the fine décor? The pristine toilets? No, then it must be the beautiful people.OK so the above may not be strictly true but who cares? The place has personality in caboodles. Some say you can almost smell the character of the place - most effectively in the beer garden, disguised as the scent of herbal, plant-like pick-me-ups.

And the beer garden is a massive plus point. In the summer months, there aren’t too many better places to while away the hours and a low point in this boozer's history was when it was closed down after complaints from the neighbours.

And if you’re hungry they serve food as well and it’s hardly wallet crippling. You can get a three course Sunday roast for a mere five pounds. Whilst every vegetable appears to come in mush form, it’s still a perfect antidote to a Saturday boozing sesh.

What's yours?
As well as the obligatory Carlsbergs and Carlings, there’s always a nice guest ale or two on tap. A pear cider (or perry) is also highly recommended in the warmer weather. This said, went we dropped in at 5pm after work this week, everyone was well into the double brandies and cokes – one in each hand. They didn’t look like their first ones either.

Who goes there?
The phrase ‘motley crew’ has never been filled with such meaning. Students, wheeler dealers, vagrants, musicians, old, young…pirates, extras from Lord of the Rings, us…

The very diversity of the place gives the pub its untouchable inimitability. This place is exclusive in the proper meaning of the word. No Hollyoaks bollocks here. The only tans you’ll find in here are the results of a day's drinking in the sun, or the advanced stages of liver disease.

That's Entertainment
There’s a nice sized football screen in the front bar whilst the jukebox is decent boasting local favourites such as The Bunnymen, The La's and The Coral as well as a nice selection of reggae and ska. Aside from that, the real entertainment comes from you, the general public. There’s usually plenty of it as well.

What's the crack?
We thought we'd told you already

Verdict?
A cracking boozer.

Where to find it
Ye Cracke
13 Rice Street
Liverpool
L1 9BB
0151 709 4171

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

AnonymousJune 11th 2008.

were is all the friendly staff gone? only one who is left is the pit bull from hell!!!

Stanley StreetJune 11th 2008.

Whatever happened to Marge and Daisy who ran it with fists of iron and mouths like sewers in the late 1970s before it was all ponced-up and extended in the 1980s?The whitewashed wall of the outdoor gents spawned "intellectual graffiti" that was copied far and wide by those impressed with the lavatory wit..Who can forget a pair of cubes rendered in scratchy biro and underneath the legend "Balls to Picasso".

Stanley StreetJune 11th 2008.

Regarding my reminiscence of the 'balls to Picasso' graffito from the Cracke's gents of old. I have spotted it copied again in a lavatory on a science block of the University of Liverpool. Alas today's students are only capable of drawing the cubes as plain, two-dimensional squares rather than perspective drawings of three-dimensional cubes. Despite what the Government says, this is a firm indicator that educational standards are definitely falling.

PeteJune 11th 2008.

Last time I went to Ye Cracke t'other week, ended up having a slash next to that there Noel Gallagher from Oasis. Apparently he was with Kasabian but I wouldn't know what any of them looked like anyway!

Cough till you dropJune 11th 2008.

They need patio heaters in the Crack because in the winter the indoors pub is completely dead now because of the smoking ban. Ciggies and the Crack were meant for each other

Mann S. BrownJune 11th 2008.

Aye, the proper Ye Cracke was genuine and unpretentious through and through, whereas these days it is all rather poncified for the benefit of poseurs. I put it down to soft living, bourgeois values and an indoor gents. “Extra cold Guinness” indeed! Whatever are they thinking of?

Innie BoyJune 11th 2008.

The problem with Ye Moderne Cracke is that you can't smoke inside any more and if you sit in the beer garden you are invariably harassed by some loud-gobbed, offensive nutcase. Sitting at the pavement tables outside The Dispensary also attracts nutters but they are quieter, less offensive and at least they eventually move on.Also the War Office is always occupied by two or three middle-class twerp students who act as if they own it and give you a baleful glare if you dare go to sit in there. In the old days we'd pack about fourteen strangers in there and have a great time!

Catherine DeneuveJune 11th 2008.

Nonsense, Brigitte! Really, you're so easily pleased.

Stanley StreetJune 11th 2008.

The annoying thing about Ye Cracke is that it's gone from a pub that had a name for real ales to a pub that no longer sells normal Guinness, only the freezing cold, tasteless stuff.I know the place has always been popular with ‘oirish’ mountebanks who pretend to be Irish, but serving only the Guinness for people who don’t like the taste but do like the pose rings so hollow and pseudish!

Shakey handsJune 11th 2008.

Nice to see that Carla and co are still keeping the faith and looking pretty well on it too! I also spot muso and DJ Joe Mckechnie in there. Goodness. Monday afternoon you say...?

Brigitte BardotJune 11th 2008.

The Crack is still great. Stop moaning

Tommy the BrushJune 11th 2008.

That's a sweeping statement.

Jerry MarstonsJune 11th 2008.

I seem to remember (if that's the right word) long afternoons in the 1990s Cracke when "betwixt jobs" and skint. We would buy some travellers cheques on a credit card, cash them in five minutes later and bung all the dosh behind the bar at Ye Cracke. Irish Brian would be serving and insulting the punters, the only Ulster/Somali man I ever met and would always have a cheery double entendre when you asked for "Two Mooseheads". Then home for tea and back out to the Crack again. Happy days!

Ken BateyJune 11th 2008.

Ahhhhhhh. Many lost days in The Cracke playing cards, being amused by strangers, destroying my liver...If there's a pub with more character in Liverpool I want to see it

Catharine StreetJune 11th 2008.

Blimey! Is that Paula Maclean in the photograph?

Rusty SpikeJune 11th 2008.

Ah, indeed, fond memories of lost days - nay lost months, Chrissakes, even years - supping and carousing in Ye Cracke. Adrian Henri used to hold a bit of court here in the late 1960s whilst there was an interval in the poetry monologues and sessions that he and the Liverpool Scene would host around the corner in the then 'fabled in its own vomit' Flanagan's - not the bigged up Irish theme joint in Mathew Street but the one on Hardman Street. Cracke regulars would take their breaks in Flanagans or the Phil before returning to the fray into the jammed solid confines of its tiny space where in the evening would steam and stink. As if it didn't actually reek all day - that is and was its joy. It welcomed arty farty types, medical bods, anarchists, communists, cops and robbers, folk who made their living in other nefarious activities or on the streets and members of the Liverpool Phil orchestra who, gagging for a drink, would dash over for a couple of quick pints between the Brahms and the Beethoven. But very rarely did it welcome bore-arses in suits and gelled hair or the new brigades of water quaffing half wits who work in public relations or property development.... Ah me, who could ever ignore the cheery, hospitable welcome from Det whose scowl was a vital ingredient of an afternoon on the lash.

V. I. Lenin AirportJune 11th 2008.

Whatever happened to the framed diagram of 'The Patent Buck-Passing Machine' that was screwed to the wall of the War Office for decades? It was rumoured to have been drawn by an art student regular, but it disappeared off the wall a few years ago.

codheadredJune 11th 2008.

I love it here - the beers always good and theres always something interesting happening - from being offered free bbq ribs to being asked to fund a some sort of deal (I'll be back in 10 minutes with yours...) Anywhere you can find Japanaese tourists is usually worth a visit

London RoadJune 11th 2008.

I spent my 25th birrthday in the War Office with about twenty five people in there too. For party games, we played "cut someone's tie off and bring it back to the birthday girl" and "see how many single shoes you can collect and bring back to the table." What larks, and all of us smoking B&H like they were going out of fashion. I think the Civil War society were there, along with several people from popular pop combos of the time. Older now, but still none the wiser!

Rusty SpikeJune 11th 2008.

Jayz....such was the level of intoxication in the heady days of Sixties poetry, pints and puking at O'CONNORS in Hardman Street that the brain cells died in the summer of 1968...just before flower power withered. It was course the avuncular Jimmy Flanagan who ran it....phew....I think it must have been the numerous occasions that one fell down the stairs from the upstairs poetry thrashes that dimmed the brain, along with the gargle....No doubt some smart arse whose lips barely licked a pint of cider will probably contradict this info and remember that Jim was probably called Sid or Smythe-Tomkins.....Well sod off....

Tetley BittermanJune 11th 2008.

In its heyday The Crack didn't need a jukebox or big-screen footie! Such features ruin a pub by attracting lots of chumps and degenerates.The music of conversation and the clink of glasses was all that was ever required.

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