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Philharmonic, Liverpool

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user reviews of the Philharmonic, Liverpool

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Treat as a tourist attraction as opposed to a pub - once again found service to be indifferent and the ale on this occasion (a Dark Isle brew) was undrinkable. I used to say just drop by for the one to have a look at the interior but now I'd say drop by to look at the interior and don't even bother having a drink here.
Snarling_Mallard - 26 Apr 2019 12:26
Visited Sunday afternoon along with The Lion and The Crown.

First visit for a decade, seemed as busy as ever but found last table in the main room. Beers as below, but London Pride was drinking well, NBSS 3.5.

Yes, it's geared up for food, but glad I popped in.
mtaylor40 - 18 Feb 2019 23:24
The reviews below pretty much sum this place up. It's worth a visit once in a while to admire the architecture. But it very must rests on its laurels in terms of service and ale selection. I found myself in here again yesterday. St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale is the regular beer. Guests were Sharp's Atlantic & Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride, St Austell Proper Cracker, Exmoor Mild, Adnams Ghost Ship & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Fine for visitors to the city. But there are many better Nicholson's pubs alone around the country.
blue_scrumpy - 25 Nov 2018 11:11
because of its uniqueness, well worth seeking out. However, a total tourist trap with awful service.
Wilson_MacDonald - 30 Sep 2018 17:25
If you go to Liverpool you must go for the decor (and toilets...) but go once, for one drink only.

Lunchtime last Saturday chokka busy, all tourists, apart from a couple of the staff not a Scouser in the pub.

No surprise at all. Understaffed at the bar, mediocre bar staff, half the beers were off and indifferent quality beer when we eventually found a couple (the ubiquitious Doom Bar and Oakham Citra) still on.

Tourist trap; very complacent indeed, probably even more so since the Paul Mc Cartney Carshare gig got it so much publicity. I would say wasted opportunity but I'm sure it rakes in money for Nicholsons even though it's a 5/10 pub (even allowing for the great decor).
mike_s - 9 Aug 2018 15:50
Lunchtime visit with the Mrs. Very quiet but gave us a chance to look at the building and visit the gents, (with permission!!!). A must see in Liverpool.
captaineric - 15 Jul 2018 16:38
Had an okay dark brew here another one of those Formby ones) but noticed the corner bar seems to be a bit frayed round the edges. Get the feel it kind of rests on it's laurels sometimes (especially the 'restaurant' upstairs).
Snarling_Mallard - 26 May 2018 15:44
Seems like my experience here has been similar to most of the other reviewers (well parts of theirs are applicable to mine). I have been in here a couple of times but haven't bothered seeing as most people have talked about the main things about the place, e.g. the very nice decor in the bar and toilets. The beer selection has always been pretty decent when I have been in. It's pretty pricey and I have never had a problem with getting served but the beer in this pub seems to be kept at a very warm temperature. I had a pint of 'Musselburgh broke' by Knops and I found it to be warm. Worth a visit to see the interior of the place but I wouldn't recommend hanging around for too long as there isn't much to the place on the actual drinking front.
Wezzielad - 18 Feb 2017 13:34
Visited last September on a Saturday evening. It was very busy. A bit of a delay getting served at the bar and has been previously commented, feels a bit "dog eat dog" trying to get served. If I remember rightly the various real ale pumps are spread across the horseshoe shaped bar, which makes it a bit difficult to see what is on offer when the bar is crowded. I seem to remember a reasonable selection though, and may have included some Robinsons ales unless my memory is playing tricks on me.

Great historic interior and well worth a visit just to marvel at that. The gents are interesting too, if a little fragrant.

Would happily return. You probably stand better chance of admiring and exploring the interior during quieter times. We only managed to get a seat because someone else was leaving.
RealAleRobUK - 27 Jan 2017 14:56
Worth a drop by with new visitors to the city. The Organic 24 carat Gold was a nice enough pint. Service has always been crap in this place though. I managed to get served swift enough on this occasion but there were others waiting who gave up and left before getting served. Getting served at the bar is a bit dog eat dog and you need to wave notes and bark your order.
anonymous - 18 Dec 2016 14:36
A must visit pub to anyone with an interest in pub heritage and architecture.

Simply wonderful inside.

Decent pint of Landlord and food was very good and quickly served.

Photos at my blog - http://bit.ly/2csv7Qs
Mappiman - 5 Sep 2016 11:57
Spectacular interior which just has to be seen. Ok choice of beer but service was VERY slow. Food pretty good. A must visit just for the architecture and make sure you go for a piss as the gents are great.
baxterfish - 4 Aug 2016 20:07
Nice interior. But pretty rubbish beer I'm afraid. It's located amongst some of the best pubs in Liverpool and if you haven't been before, it's worth a visit to see the décor. But I very often find myself walking in and then straight back out again. On Saturday I vowed to stay and have a drink. Luckily for me, Nicholsons had a real ale festival on. Ales were Box Steam Tunnel Vision, Moorhouses Black Cat Reserve, St Austell Nicholsons Pale Ale, Portobello Triple Choc Stout, Arkells Tinge of Ginge, Inveralmond Marzenfest, Navigation Britannia, Celt Experience Galaxy Equinox, Glamorgan Dead Canary & Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold. The two halves I had were pretty poor. Walk on by if you've been here before. I also tried the brand new Refinery across the road. But despite having 3 ales on, that was no better.
blue_scrumpy - 18 Apr 2016 18:52
Another one of England's great pub interiors, with the nicest men's dunny I've seen (bar the Princess Louise). Not many in so I was able to wander the nooks & crannies. My pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord (3.05) was more than satisfactory & the bar people friendly & chatty.
Queenslander - 10 Sep 2015 22:10
I used to visit this pub a lot, but stopped some time ago because of the dramatic decline in the quality of its beer. (CAMRA are presumably of like mind, as the place is no longer in the Good Beer Guide).
Against my better judgement, I was persuaded to go there last Friday night. The two beers I tried were scarcely drinkable and around half of the handpumps had their clips turned round (indicating that the beers weren't on).
This pub is spectacular - of course it is - but it needs to be much better run before I'll consider going back.
Blokfluit - 16 May 2015 11:15
Proud to have such a pub in my city. Would urge anyone to visit just to marvel at the architecture - did you know the same guy who designed the interior the Titanic designed the interior of the Phil?
Can get busy, especially of an evening as it is a popular meeting place and especially when a show is on over the road. My advice is to visit on a Saturday afternoon when you can have a good look at the surroundings whilst having a pint.
People have said the ale can be hit and miss, to be fair I have found it more hit than miss.
McLovin - 1 Oct 2014 13:02
This was my first visit to the place following a recommendation from a friend.

Was totally blown away with the unbelievable architecture. It's not that often I take photos, as I don't want to look like a Japanese tourist, but I was compelled by its magnificent splendour! I even took a photo of the toilets!

Can't comment on the quality of the real ale, as I supped a JD & coke, as by this time I was feeling bloated with drinking several pints.

A must see place when in Liverpool.

NB As a Salfordian, I still see Manchester as my own city, even though Salford is a city in its own right. But I'm sad to confess that it is quickly becoming too "trendy" for my liking. In other words, it's trying too hard to be like London.
realalerules1983 - 17 Aug 2014 11:30
Agree this place is something else and has to be visited if in the area.
Got in just in time as about a dozen decended on the place just after I had been served.
10 hand pulls but the selection is not great.
However this is Liverpool so good to see Sam Brooks has come this far.
I had a pint of the Liverpool Organic Brewery 24 Carat Gold which was quite nice and cost £2.90.

bjbrummiejohn - 30 Jul 2014 08:20
We called in on Easter Monday to ask if the upstairs dining room was serving lunches only to be told that it didn't open until five o' clock, which seemed eccentric to say the least. Everyone who has visited the place would agree that it is probably the most eccentric pub in the world and also has the most eccentric toilets. We stood at the bar of this magnificent folly looking at the extensive range of real ales and got into conversation with an elderly gentleman who informed us that his tipple was a Moscow Mule, which is a vodka, ginger beer and lime cocktail. He also told us he had played The Pope as an extra in a famous television series, which only added another dimension to the eccentricity to the place.
shouldersarms - 25 Apr 2014 09:29
Had a disappointing visit here on Saturday. The decor is still amazing and I would advise anybody to pay the pub a visit. It will always survive by virtue of its architecture as visitors to the city should and will flock here. But it's not really for regular drinkers. The ale range is no longer as good as it once was, the quality has also gone downhill and the service is also far worse than it used to be. We waited 10 minutes to get served on Saturday while the young barmaid served everybody out of turn. When we finally got our Kelburn Dark Moor, it was in a poor condition. But we were in too much of a rush to wait another 10 minutes to return our drinks. Other beers on were Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, Ilkley The Norseman, Sharps Doom Bar, Woodfordes Wherry & Daleside Old Leg Over. If you're here to see the pub itself, I definitely recommend a visit. If you're here for the ales, there's plenty of decent pubs/bars within a few minutes walk - try the Caledonia, Clove Hitch, Belvedere, Cracke, Pilgrim, Fly in the Loaf, Grapes, Dispensary or Roscoe Head for starters.
blue_scrumpy - 23 Oct 2013 20:42
A staggering place, more like a stately home than a pub. A good selection of beers and we had the Brahms room to ourselves.
jagsfan - 1 Sep 2013 19:20
A staggering place, more like a stately home than a pub. A good selection of beers and we had the Brahms room to ourselves.
jagsfan - 1 Sep 2013 19:20
A staggering place, more like a stately home than a pub. A good selection of beers and we had the Brahms room to ourselves.
jagsfan - 1 Sep 2013 19:20
Absolute gem of a pub, wide choice of real ales and a tourist attraction in itself. A must visit for any holidaymaker.
ridgewood - 24 Aug 2013 18:53
Just a joy to eat and drink in such a wonderful building. A must visit.
Scoops - 14 Jul 2013 22:02
The building is already on the CAMRA national inventory but it ought to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well---an absolutely fantastic fin-de-siecle extravaganza. The beer was good too---Liverpool Organic to name but one. If they hadn't been playing "Brown Eyed Girl" on the PA I would have given this pub 10/10.
16jamesdoc - 29 Apr 2013 21:56
When we're in Liverpool we always try to have lunch at the Philharmonic, especially if we're there at the weekend and the dining room upstairs is open. The dining room has a quite unique atmosphere which I can't put my finger on. The food is very good, the service is relaxed, there's no rush and the prices are as attractive as the staff. And on top of that they will bring up any real ale from the bar below to accompany one's meal.
shouldersarms - 8 Apr 2013 17:05
Always a fun place in my experience.

Last time I went, a young lady near us complained she was too hot. So my tall, well-spoken buddy kindly offered to open the antique lead glass window. The whole casement came off its hinges in his hands, and he was left holding it. "Good Lord! I seem to have dismantled the entire apparatus" he remarked. The scouse girl decided he was just weird on hearing this, and moved away...
eddybeer - 10 Mar 2013 10:17
What can I say that has not been said before about The Phil? It is stunning and is a "must visit" establishment when in Liverpool. Beer wasn't too bad though I have had a naff pint in times gone by. Anyway, go there and enjoy (the Gents toilet must be the most photgraphed loo in the world!!)
mcroyal - 5 Mar 2013 14:36
The meeting place for me and my pals yesterday. A pleasant atmosphere and an enjoyable visit. Various ales available. I had something from the Harviestoun brewery. Can't remember what it was called but it was a tasty IPA.

wirraldrinker - 8 Dec 2012 15:43
A pint of Moor Somerset Ale and a pint of Aspall Suffolk Cyder was just the job on an October Saturday evening after a trip out to The Wirral to watch the Rovers. Sitting there in the big room nattering about this and that watching the world go by, what more could one ask for? O.K. it isn't full of Scousers, but it is very civilised and at least there's always a nook you can squeeze into even on an evening when it's packed with pre-concert goers. So come on , less grumbling and more supping please.
shouldersarms - 5 Nov 2012 08:25
Just walked out because the one member of staff behind the bar was more interested in chatting to her mates than serving. She looked at us twice but carried on chatting knowing she was the only person behind the bar!!

Another member of staff came behind the bar, also just looked at us and then disappeared! There were also four members of staff preparing casks for their beer festival. Not once did anyone say they would be with us in a minute.

This place was recommended by a local chap, we are utterly disappointed and will not come here again.

Only plus side the decor is great.
Viki247 - 29 Oct 2012 17:31
The Phil is only always full of tourists because all locals know how far hill it has gone. Nicholsons seem intent to run it into the ground, by having a minimalistic staffing policy, and when there are suffcient staff behind the bar they seem to be students who are more concerned with playing with their i-phones than serving. If you want a decent pint in a traditional pub go around the corner to the Belverdere.
DNADAVE - 13 Aug 2012 13:27
Rarely top notch?! You rarely drink in the place then. Well kept beers every time I've been in ( hundreds of times in the last ten years ) . The previous comment of drinking there for 35 years means you keep going back....why would someone do that if they served bad beer???!!! Food has always been fantastic when I've dined there. Had an amazing Old Spot sausage and mash tonight....thank you to our waitress Nikole for the great service
NH77 - 9 Jul 2012 01:33
Have to say the beer in here is rarely top notch in my view. They have a wider range than they used to when I started going (35 years ago!) Staff always seem friendly but the beer could just be a bit better kept.
Still a must visit as itís probably the best pub interior in the country and Iíve been in a lot. And unlike the Crown in Belfast and several others this place has never been up its own backside.
Had a meal in the upstairs dining room about 2 years back and have to say it did not look promising when entering the room. Bit scruffy and lots of stuff dumped in a room just in view next door. Staff seemed jumpy and disorganised. But after being seated they were very good. Take your food order and bring you a pint up from downstairs when required. Food came quickly and was very nice, hot, well cooked and plenty of it. A real surprise.

Gurkha - 6 Jul 2012 14:14
Lunch in Liverpool for us means at least one visit to The Phil and this time was no exception. After a visit to the Lutyens Crypt, we braved torrential rain to reach the safety of the bar where we ensconced ourselves in a nook by the big fireplace in the bar and began to enjoy ourselves. Later we ordered lunch and moved to the big room. Service, food and surroundings couldn't have been bettered.


shouldersarms - 27 Jun 2012 16:39
We had arranged to meet a friend for lunch after the Easter Sunday Mass in the Metropolitan, in the Philharmonic. When we arrived there was no sign of our guest, so we orderd a couple of ales. The pint I ordered was really murky, very off putting. I pointed out this murkiness, and the waiter and I struck up a conversation about the possible causes. He came to the conclusion that only the dregs were left in the barrel. The solution was to have a crack at one of the other half dozen ales on offer. By this time I had learnt that the upstairs dining room was open, so up we went, pints in hand to a really pleasant place to eat. Our friend by this time had arrived, and we ordered the Easter Sunday speciality of roast lamb with all the trimmings. The waitress turned up rather sheepishly (no pun intended) with three plates of roast beef. As I could imagine the rather hapless girl trying to explain her lapse of memory to the chef, I told her it didn't matter. I had no beef with her after all (no pun intended either) and I saved twenty quid on the bill.
shouldersarms - 22 Apr 2012 18:54
After a brief stop in a cafe bar over the road (the Clove Hitch - 2 unusual real ales), I paid a return visit to the Philharmonic for the first time in 18 months. The interior is just as grand as ever. The beer range seemed to have improved since my last visit too - Adnams Lighthouse, Summer Wine Barista Espresso Stout, Kelburn Red Smiddy, Brewed Up North Cherry Porter, Thwaites Wainwright, Roosters True Grit, Wickwar Bob & Sharps Doom Bar. No real ciders were available. Still worth a visit on any Liverpool crawl.
blue_scrumpy - 12 Mar 2012 20:24
A ten minute, albeit uphill, walk from Lime St/Central stations, the Phil is certainly worth a visit on architectural grounds alone. As a pub, it was perhaps something of an anti-climax, if only since London drinkers such as ourselves see similar food and beer menus throughout the capital across the dozens of similar Nicholsons pubs and I hadn't been aware that it was part of the chain prior to our visit. Personally I found the other options nearby a bit more intriguing as a result, but still a pleasant place to raise a glass or two.
LondonWolf - 21 Feb 2012 19:42
Glad to say that after the refurbishment, the Phil has improved a great deal. I said a few years ago on here, the place needed a good spring clean and more enthusiastic staff. Well they done just that. It can still get packed, particularly of a weekend/evening, but regardless of that, I urge ANYONE who is visiting my city to go out of your way and take a look. Probably the best time is a midweek or Sunday lunchtime. If I could say one negative thing, perhaps some of the prices are higher than the norm, but you get what you pay for in my opinion.
Scousefire - 17 Feb 2012 15:18
On a recent trip to Liverpool we thought we'd eat in the newly-refurbished restaurant upstairs. On enqiring, we were politely informed that the eating rooms upstairs were only available at weekends. Mystified, we stood with pint in hand and a glass of mulled cider wondering what to do. Then the waiter informed us that meals were being served downstairs so we took up the offer and we were very glad we did. My fish and chips with mushy peas was just the ticket and my wife's haddock with herbs was sensational. Eating in such surroundings was wonderfuland; the service couldn't have been bettered or like my fish, battered.
shouldersarms - 29 Dec 2011 16:41
Sorry, but as a piece of architecture / interior design - excellent; as a pub - overated.
pintofplum - 29 Dec 2011 13:19
Five ales available yesterday afternoon and added bonus of very few customers. This allowed me to wander around and have a good look at the marvellous interior.
I had a couple of pints of Brains SA Gold which was well kept.
wirraldrinker - 26 Nov 2011 16:41
Gorgeous interior, as everyone says...it should be visited if you're within 20 miles. Perhaps a bit intimidating (and full of beer tourists) to be cosy?
mozzzzzz - 12 Oct 2011 18:18
The Phil is currently closed for a refurb. Go along and check out the improvements when it reopens. The much loved Phil finally gets a revamp. Looking forward to seeing the changes!!!
NH77 - 24 Jun 2011 00:37
Absolutely staggering interior within a magnificent piece of street corner architecture. But as a pub going experience...!? A beer festival type event was advertised just outside of the doorway but I found only half a dozen cask ale options of which I opted for the quite common Bitter 'n' Twisted to the accompaniment of a curl of a lip by the barman as I'd only ordered half. I'm sorry I took up his precious time by trying to pace myself at the beginning of a crawl. After being dismissed from the bar I found a place to sit and quickly felt as though I was drinking in a museum or the drawing room of a listed tourist attraction. I drank up quickly and left, enriched on one level by my visit to one of the most beautifully designed and conceived pubs but not connecting to the over reverential atmosphere which made me feel rather uncomfortable. Would agree though that this is an essential visit for any self respecting connoisseur.
ILooklikeme - 31 Jan 2011 15:58
All drinkers must be mandated to visit this pub at some time in their life, an abslutely unique interior. Even surpasses my other favourite - The Black Friar in London. Beer was OK, but rather secondary.
Wilson_MacDonald - 29 Jan 2011 15:36
Realalebum likes to go to the GOOD real ale pubs in the Hardman Street area at their busiest times.... Any GOOD pub at peak times will have a LOT of people in it. The best pints come to those that have the sense to know that you can only pour a pint SO fast. I think you'll find the best pints are let to settle ( no matter how busy it is!!).The verbal reviews of FILL lately haven't been great by the way!!
NH77 - 30 Dec 2010 00:10
I think you'll find it has had the same Manager for some time. The ciders were part of their seasonal selections over a year a go. Things have moved on in the world!
NH77 - 29 Nov 2010 22:00
Apparently the Philharmonic has changed hands, and in my opinion it has changed for the worse. The interior is still splendid, and appears to have been spruced up a little. The beer selection is still good - Wickwar Rite Flanker, Orkney Dark Island, Everards Beacon, a Celt Experience beer (don't remember the name), Adnams Old Ale, Titanic Tomahawk, Fullers London Pride, Cains Bitter and Sharps Cornish Coaster were all on yesterday lunchtime. However, there are no longer any real ciders where there used to be a few. The Phil was still busy and I still enjoy a drink here. But it has gone down slightly in my estimation.
blue_scrumpy - 28 Nov 2010 14:41
This architectural gem suffers slightly from being part of the Nicholsons chain, with its standardised point-of-sale material, menus, etc. but that cannot take too much away from the imposing exterior and richly ornate interior. The service area is a reasonable size, but rather inconveniently placed with respect to the drinking areas and main corridor when the place is busy (meaning that getting served can be a bit of a challenge). However, with a pint in hand you could spend ages looking around and noticing all the different features (followed by the obligatory visit to view the gents toilets...). I counted eight handpumps (usual suspects plus seasonal ales from the M&B booklet such as RCH Pitchfork at £2.75), but there may have been others hidden round the other side of the bar. A 'must' for any pub lover visiting Liverpool.
rpadam - 20 Jun 2010 20:29
@ mattbeer. i go to many places in town that you get served quickly no matter how busy it is. the staff in here just seem like they cant be arsed and arent trained in the aspect of look up an see who comes to the bar rather than just serve the next person who is standing next to the person you just served.
Realalebum - 17 Jun 2010 22:16
@ realalebum - you went on a friday? Let me guess, late afternoon, early evening? No wonder it took "a lifetime to get served"!

Go during the week from lunchtime to late afternoon and you'll get served straightaway.

I've been impressed the last few times I've been here with the service, the beer, the prices and the surroundings.

Yes, it can get very very busy in here in the evening - especially Friday and Saturday - which is when all the sheep come here!

Anyway - The Philharmonic is getting refurbished in September this year and will be closed for 10 days.


mattbeer - 17 Jun 2010 03:43
was here last friday and took a lifetime to get served. pint was substandard. will probably return in a few months to see if things have changed but i feel the only thing that makes people go to this pub is the toilets and the name.
Realalebum - 11 Jun 2010 12:36
God bless my colleagues in the Fire Service as they worked very hard to stop the fire at The Korova (adjacent) from spreading into the Phil`. It would have been a monumental disaster had this building been damaged / destroyed.
Thankfully, all is well and the "new look" Philharmonic is a vast improvement on what used to be.
Scousefire - 2 Jun 2010 11:21
This pub has improved immeasurably in recent times.

Visually it is and always has been spectacular. However, staff were often slow and/or rude. There were times when despite having 8/10 pumps, there wasn't a single real ale available. Furthermore, beer was often in poor condition. Nevertheless, the staff would on occasion refuse to change a pint, feeling (wrongly) that it tasted fine.

Anyway...These days it's all change. Staff are attentive and friendly. Beer tends to be in good condition, and there are always loads available. Prices, considering the nature of the pub and its location, are reasonable. There is an excellent quiz machine near the bar and a gambling machine, but for those who aren't interested in that there are two little private rooms (Brahms and Lizst!) and a large back room.

An excellent pub.
Northern_Ale_Monkey - 18 May 2010 16:58
Spectacularly furnished historic pub. I am rather puzzled by the low rating on BITE. Didn't want to take my shoes off to count the number of ales on pump, but there were at least 12 downstairs including Tournament, Cain's Best, Ffiagra, Thornbridge and Ubu. Upstairs is primarily a restaurant. The main bar is partially compartmentalised with rooms given names like 'Brahms' and 'Liszt'. Coldplay were on when I entered, in direct lineage from both I don't doubt. I chose the Brahms room as I dislike showy pianists. The room was dim but comfortably furnished. I sat in a leather armchair facing the main bar. Lots of people around looking very hung over from St Patrick's Day wearing 'Kiss me I'm Irish' tee-shirts and the like. This was rarely tempting. The only downside came with a visit to the Gentleman's Urinary Facility. The dryer was in a corner between the condom machine and the door. This makes it impossible to dry your hands without getting battered into a prophylactic dispenser by another's entrance.
BitterShurn - 22 Mar 2010 17:39
It's frustrating but not entirely surprising to see a few comments re service and average food here. Surely that's not the point when you're talking about a pub like this? Forget these minor grumbles, this place should be at the top of your list if you're heading to Liverpool. It's beautiful, has a real wow factor and does some good ale. Need I say more?
plymouthpirate - 21 Mar 2010 13:34
I'd previously given the Philharmonic a wide birth over the past few years thanks to poor ale and equally poor service.

However, I got dragged in the other day quite unwillingly and was a little taken back. I'd heard rumours of improvement but never really hold much faith. I'm going to assume that the pub is under new management and thank God is all I can say.

The pub itself was noticably cleaner with a much better atmosphere than previous years. Took me a short while to get served but it's no surprise given how busy it was. From what I could see, everyone was getting served in turn and the staff were working very hard, and looking slightly out of breath.

When it was my turn I asked the lad about the ales available that day, he was probably only in his early twenties and didn't strike me as an ale drinker but I was pleasantly shocked he knew a lot about the beer and recommended Neathergate Azzaparrot as his personal preference. A very good choice, and a quality beer. Also nice to see somewhere reviving the old style handle mugs for fussy old men like myself.

The whole exerpience was just how the Philhamonic should be, lets just hope they keep it up. Credit where credit due and I commend the manager on their much improved efforts.

The Phil will be added back to my regular crawl
Liverpoolalesnob - 2 Feb 2010 13:12
Had a big argument with the missus in this place but a few hours and very pleasant pints later we were ok with each other again. I think the beautiful decor helped.
PeoplesPalace - 12 Nov 2009 11:20
Went in for a meal on Friday. One girl serving in a full restaurant, waited 15 minutes for a drink and 40 minutes for the meal, which was pretty ordinary and had clearly been sitting on a hot plate waiting to be taken to our table. Then went sownstairs and it took about 10 minutes to get servied at the bar. Won't be returning.
MG52 - 2 Nov 2009 12:30
Probably the most ornate pub in the country - solid marble urinals in the gents twin rooms called Brahms and Liszt - I'm a sure lots of others have given a far greater detailed description. Had the Cains and one from that small brewery where the blokes who own it are on the labels/pumpclips with a red nose on. Beer was an improvement on the past but still not quite top notch. It is however another one of those must visit establishments
anonymous - 30 Oct 2009 12:33
Went in on a Saturday lunchtime which seems to be the best time to go, busy enough but not crowded, and got served straight away. Jennings Cumberland Ale and Shepherd Neame Late Red, both well kept and well served. The fabulously ornate interior of this pub just has to be seen to be believed, it really does feel like an old gentlemens club, with its wood panelling, stained glass, mosiac floor and leather chairs etc. Upstairs the elegant restaurant serves some of the best pie and mash I have ever had, and service is generally quick and friendly throughout.
amosbriz - 19 Oct 2009 16:51
Yes it's a fantastic looking pub but you just can't get served. It wasn't that busy on Saturday but we still couldn't get beer after a five minute wait. THere were 4 staff on but 3 of them seemed to be collecting glasses! How can the staff here be so crap when after walking 100 yards to the Fly, which was much busier, you get acknowledged as soon as you go to the bar and are served in double quick time. Call in to have a look at Brahms, Liszt and the toilets but don't try and buy beer.
ROBCamra - 23 Sep 2009 16:04
Spectacular interior as people have said, but the feel is slightly corporate and the beer while reasonably good (Cain's in this case) is not cheap. Worth going to at least to say you've been.
rainlight - 1 Jul 2009 21:55
Very touristy and got extremely busy on a Saturday night, approx 30 mins to get served. Real ale is decent but you feel like you are going more for the building than anything else, which is okay but won't be going out of my way for a second visit.
stoutoforder - 1 Jul 2009 14:59
The Philharmonic or the Philharmonic Dining Rooms to give it its full title. What has been left unsaid about what is probably Britainís most ornate pub or at least in the top 5? In a city with an outstanding collection of exuberant edwardian and victorian pubs the Philly stands out. Five different drinking areas including the main bar, a Grande Lounge and two rooms called Brahms and Liszt, all decorated with mosaic floors, stained glass, brass plaques and a mass of dark carved wood. But architecture aside what is the beer like, after all it is a pub not just a popular tourist destinationÖ isnít it? The beers are usually major names, Fullers, Marstons, Deuchars etc, always of acceptable or better quality and there will be a choice of four or five most of the time. The staff are courteous and generally attentive which is just as well given a customer base of curious tourists and occasional Liverpudlians, however this means there is little in the way of atmosphere, it can feel more a privilege than a pleasure to drink here; perhaps this also betrays its gentlemanís club origins. I have a Liverpudlian friend who says the only thing worth going there for is the gentís bogs.
anonymous - 8 Jun 2009 12:52
An imposing corner pub from the outside with an ornate interior. We sat in a small room just away from the main bar area. Apparently I missed the main room and the gents toilets, which are supposed to be worth a visit. I'll have to visit again! Wood panelling is the order of the day here and it's here in abundance. There's a good selection of beers - Morrissey Fox Proud of Pubs, Cains Bitter, Taylor Landlord, Cairngorm Monster Mash, Greene King IPA, Black Sheep Bitter, Deuchars IPA and Shepherd Neame Spitfire. There's also a couple of real ciders from the Westons range. However this is a Nicholson's pub and definitely not a free house. I also found it, perhaps unsurprisingly, a little touristy. If you're in the area, make sure you pay a visit.
blue_scrumpy - 7 Jun 2009 16:00
There's some more racked!!!
NH77 - 13 May 2009 21:26
It's back - sweet sweet Raspberry Fool!
UncleDrunkard - 3 May 2009 14:48
Raspberry Fool should be back this week!!!
NH77 - 1 May 2009 19:12
Bring back the Raspberry fool, it was bloody lovely
UncleDrunkard - 1 May 2009 15:01
Best visited when it is quiet so that you can relax & enjoy the ornate interior. Limited choice of real ales on my recent visit but the Deuchars IPA was on good form.
happytyskie - 15 Feb 2009 11:25
A victim of its' own success. I couldn't get in recently due to it being so crowded!

wirraldrinker - 14 Feb 2009 12:43
awesome building, must see if you haven't been, but agreed it is perhaps resting on it's laurels and a bit complacent.
mps77 - 20 Jan 2009 15:05
A must-visit pub for reasons that are well-documented, but you do have to wonder if they're getting complacent- the toilets are very smelly and the beer range is often very limited. That said, if these minor gripes can be resolved this will resume its place as one of the finest pubs in the country. Service efficient, food good and reasonably priced and quality of beer good. Go!
Carlurmston - 8 Jan 2009 13:09
Relaxing in daytime ,plenty people in the evening,good food.
A, must see for tourists.
NorwegianFlyer - 27 Dec 2008 14:27
Found it impossible to get served at 8pm on Friday evening. Gave up after three people jumped the queue. Perhaps I did not barge my way through or shout loud enough, not my idea of a good time.
yamato - 18 Oct 2008 16:57
Part of M&B's Nicholsons chain, The pub may look good but beneath lurks the typical m&B / brakes frozon food offer. more ales off than on when we visited last week, not the best in liverpool by a long shot...
kiwiphil - 15 Oct 2008 11:13
A majestic establishment..! Always a regular on our Liverpool pub-crawls for all the reasons mentioned below. Generally, a good selection of ales available and have yet to be disappointed. A comfortable place to enjoy a drink and company. We're usually here early doors, so catch the Friday night offices turning out and they're always a good crack..! Off now to another pub with 'rooms off', but on a slightly reduced scale..! The Roscoe Head...
Glenco - 8 Sep 2008 12:21
Whenever I have been here it's been crowded and it takes ages to get served. Several real ales at reasonable prices but be prepared to stand!
mattbeer - 10 Aug 2008 15:55
a must visit, when on tour to lverpool, simply for the interior.

havnt tried the food, but beer was nice enough.
CHELSEA_on_tour - 11 Jul 2008 17:15
beer's not as good as the Loaf but what an interior - easily the grandest pub I've ever been in. Take that Wetherspoons! Even with the after-work crowd in attendance there was plenty of space, I would reccommend coming here just for the spectacular decor!
ChrisP87 - 28 Jun 2008 22:26
Beautiful pub, but dodgy clientele (a drunk at the bar barely able to stand let alone speak asked me if I was German when I couldn't understand what he was saying to me), lack of atmosphere, bad music blaring out for no reason, only two real ales on (Cains and Roosters, all the rest off). It should be a great great pub, but isn't.
malone - 6 Jun 2008 13:37
Generally accepted as the most ornate pub in Britain, this well-known pub is a must visit place for strangers to the City. Listed in CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors.

It was built by the same architect as The Vines on Lime Street, another pub you should try and get to.

The room at the far end, entitled the Grande Lounge, used to be a billiards room and retains something of the atmosphere of a gentlemans club.

Note the splendid copper friezes and ornate plasterwork and the iron gates outside by the pub entrance.

In contrast to previous reviewers postings, there were half a dozen or so real ales on - I went for the Everards Sly Fox, a reasonably enjoyable pint.

However, it goes without saying that the beer is not the main reason that visitors to Liverpool make the short pilgrimage here.
JohnBonser - 18 Apr 2008 13:43
OK, so this is a great looking pub with remarkable gents' toilets, but what has it really got going for it other than that? The beer has been substandard every time I've been there, the food is disappointing, and the bar staff seem to find customers an annoyance. It's a shame.
mhanley - 16 Apr 2008 11:39
We met some friends in the 'Brahms' room late Friday afernoon and the six of us stayed for a meal which we had upstairs. The food was fantastic (quality & value) and ALL the beers were on! We were spolied for choice! Service was quick & efficient. My first time there, will not be my last
scoffer - 14 Feb 2008 17:46
A really impressive interior and friendly enough place, though, as seems to be the case from other reviews, most beers were off. Slightly disappointing beer wise.
JonW999 - 11 Feb 2008 18:40
Great looking place with plenty of space - I used to have a biot of a love/hate relationship with the place because it was one of the smokiest pubs I knew, and though there were one or two non-smoking areas they were always so over-crowded that it was ridiculous. That's not an issue anymore though, obviously. Beer range is limited but there are usually a few real ales on.
anfieldjet - 26 Nov 2007 14:49
Another pub I remember from a significant time: it was here that we went to drown our sorrows when the news of the Hillsborough tragedy came in, on a Saturday afternoon in 1989. In those days there was something worth drinking in the place: it was either a Higson's pub or at least a free house with various local real ales. Last year when I went in there it was impossible to find anything worth drinking. The atmosphere was good. But there again, what pub in Liverpool doesn't have atmosphere? Give us the decent beer back....!
RAFsprog - 15 Nov 2007 20:11
Fascinating building, beer was OK...nothing special sadly. It was just so busy but we did arrive at the same time the Phil Hall kicked out which wasn't good planning!!
LickeyEndBooze - 29 Oct 2007 16:40
On a are trip to Liverpool, we were really keen to visit the Phil, not having been there for many years.

It was a big let-down though. Firstly, there were no Merseyside real ales available. The barmaid said they'd just run out and were waiting for another delivery (why don't pubs ever seem to run out of bloody Foster's or Carling???)

The once-beautiful decor looked quite dusty, shabby and neglected - and with notices telling patrons what they could and couldn't do tacked all around it felt more like a Sunday School than a welcoming pub. The huge slot machine in the middle of the bar area was incongruous to say the least.

A reek of chips and vinegar pervaded the place.

Ladies' toilets were grotty. In the famous gents' the hand drier wasn't working - just confirming our overall impression of a lack of TLC.
anonymous - 17 Sep 2007 23:28
This is one of the most beautiful pubs I have ever been in, it feels more being in a palace than a pub!
GaryReggae - 12 Sep 2007 12:35
The Phil is a palace.There is no pub like it anywhere.
I have just spent a week in a remote part of Scotland where the two locals have no atmosphere at all. (Like a lot of Scottish pubs. Sorry Scotland). Bored to death with village life I made a beeline for the Phil almost as soon as I could. Sumptuous!Especially the dining room,formerly the Cocktail lounge.As for it being touristy so what, tourists are welcome as far as I am concerned and are part of living in a cosmpolitan city.
One small grouse though.If there must be piped music in the big room it should be classical piano not pop!
flixter - 15 Jun 2007 18:59
What an experience, BRILLIANT, there's not another "pub" like it! it really is that special!!! the beer is good and the decor amazing! You have to see it to understand!! Don't miss it!
Kevb - 28 May 2007 09:35
Obviously one of the country's great pubs with gorgeous doorways and the best toilets around in terms of decor. This is an essential stop off on any visit to the city. Therein lies the sole caveat - this place is well touristed.
BoehmBawerk - 14 May 2007 18:45
The beer was ok & the rooms are a bit cavernous, but who cares, just go to marvel at the interiors, as this must be the best Victorian Pub left intact anywhere in UK.
strongarmboy - 26 Feb 2007 13:53
Three or four ales from various breweries. Beer was adequate enough. The pub itself is stunning; feels like an old fashioned gentlemen's club sitting in one of the smaller rooms in a leather armchair during a quiet session.
Rich66 - 10 Aug 2006 21:27
Looks awful outside the pub right now. Surrounded by scaffolding and very unwelcoming. Met unfriendly bar staff there Saturday lunchtime. Won't go back there again. Beer has always been unreliable here.
anonymous - 20 Jul 2006 19:31
Bad experience at The Philharmonic.

I normally go there for a drink after the concerts at the Philharmonic Hall. Last time, I asked for a bitter and they gave me a pint which tasted very strange both to me and a few of my friends who tried it. Naturally, I asked for a new pint but they refused to give me one because they didn't believe that there was anything wrong with it. Of course, I didn't drink that horrible pint and I said to the barmaid she should trust her customers more, especially regular ones, like me.

0/10

carlsorff - 17 May 2006 11:05
Wow, you just have to do this one !
JohnBonser - 20 Dec 2005 14:41
One of the worlds greatest pubs
mikejpickering - 23 Nov 2005 11:14
Apart from the architecture which everybody comments on - I've been in many worse pubs and have never had a bad pint in here. The food at lunchtime is excellent and will fill you up for the day. It may be a bit dusty but I would hate to be the cleaner here with all those carvings statues etc..............
Joe_Cundy - 28 Oct 2005 16:56
Awful beer(as I`v learnt in the past)-so stick to something they can`t ruin....The pub itself is one of the best you`ll visit-the main room looks like its come straight from a 'members club,somewhere in London'...The gents is ornately tiled-it makes you want to drink lots more -thats if there was anything worth drinking(brewery take note)!!
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 29 Aug 2005 19:07
A popular place with theatre goers from the adjacent Everyman, however as said by the sensible people below, this place badly needs a tidy up! It is one of the most famous buildings in our city and is getting left to pot! Managers, brewery - listen to your customers and spend some cash.
Saying that, the gents are still the most spectacular toilets in the country!
Scousefire - 19 Jul 2005 22:56
A beautiful building, such a shame it's been left so dirty. The brewery must spend some money to save the stunning architecture from becoming ruined beyond repair.
anonymous - 3 Jun 2005 16:19
Despite looking rarther impressive I'm afraid it is a thumbs down for The Phil'
Following a vile pint of Black Sheep last night I've been sick as a dog all day. Similarly my colleague who had a pint of London Pride was also struck down with a stomach complaint. Thanks for that Phil'.

Clean your pipes out, get your cellar sorted and whilst you are at it give the place a clean, it looks and feels tired and unclean.
in4 - 15 Apr 2005 19:18
the wonderful ornate entrance has been left to go to ruin, its dirty and such a shame to be left like that
anonymous - 14 Dec 2004 00:43
A must-see for the architecture and decor. Once you get over that however it's a pretty average pub. Beer is OK and the seats are comfy but it's more of a 'have one and then move on' sort of place.
Den - 4 Nov 2004 11:57
brill pub to go to on the way down the hill into town
h - 20 Oct 2004 15:09
Excellent beers,Friendly staff. a beautiful pub with a wonderful atmosphere.
jakob - 4 Aug 2004 19:08
This pub is a must if you've never been before. Must be one of the most ornate pubs in the country - and always has been a pub unlike the often splendid bank conversions. Became a bit pricey and touristy a few years ago but has evened out and back on my list of regular places to go to. Ladies are allowed to view the famous gents toilets with permission, although my female friends walk straight in - but they're not ladies!
palmwinedrinkard - 14 Apr 2004 17:31
Fanmous gents urinal (grade 2 listed), great interior,some decent beer, not my favourite though, maybe as it is not near enough the centre where I normally stay?
Acid Sorceror - 18 Feb 2004 10:03
The best pub I've ever been to. Awesome!
Geir - 7 Feb 2004 16:04
Beatifully ornate and highly recommended.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2004 19:36

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