The Dispensary is allegedly one of the best pubs in Liverpool. Well, according to CAMRA anyway. And whilst I'd say that they were being slightly too accomodating, there is still a certain warm, homely cosiness about it which makes it a great place to pop into for a quick pint.
The best thing about The Dispensary is undeniably its range of real ales - I loved the fact that I could get pints of Cain's Raisin Beer, and that a pint cost less than £3 too. And, whenever I've been there, I've always found the staff behind the bar to be wonderfully friendly. Although saying that, I've never been in on match day.
The only downside to The Dispensary is its size. It is slightly on the small size, and it can be difficult to find a seat if it's a bit busy. However, the historical pharmaceutical items add a nice touch to the place - making it look authentic without being tacky.
I'm not sure if The Dispensary is the best pub in Liverpool, but it's certainly the best pub on Renshaw Street. Well, for now anyway.
old style pub which reminded me very much of the Cock & Bottle in Notting
Hill. Had some kind of 4.6 pc beer called Kiwi which was more interesting than
it was delicious!
This remarkably cheap pub near Lime Street on the lovely Renshaw Street is a great place to stop for a drink and certainly one of the most highly recommended pubs in which to watch football. There are multiple televisions, an effort to avoid fixture clashes and miraculously this place manages to avoid a rowdy brand of clientele.
There's a really good range of real ale on offer including the quintessential Weston's Cider, and the pub being Cains-owned means that everything from draughts to guest beers and bottles are very reasonably priced. Like so many pubs in Liverpool it's very pretty - stained glass and wood panelling allow for a feeling of cosiness and nostalgia. The manager can be notoriously grumpy but if you yourself are a football fan or you bring a companion who is one, conversation heats up nicely.
The seating can be a little limited so it's advisable to get there early, especially if there's a game on. The crowd tend to be older but the atmosphere is friendly and it's got a lot of character.
The Dispensary is situated on Renshaw Street, in the heart of Liverpool city centre. It is quite a small pub but there is a lot of seating crammed into the limited space. It can feel a little cramped at times but it's generally not too bad. The bar is of a reasonable size and has an excellent range of real ales as well as the usual suspects you find behind a bar.
The staff are very welcoming and make you feel valued as a customer. They are helpful and are happy to recommend something for you to drink if you are unsure of what you want. I have tried a few of the real ales here and some of them were foul and some were lovely, but that is the nature of real ales, not a reflection on the Dispensary pub.
They sell ales from Cains Brewery which is a Liverpool based company, probably about a mile away from the Dispensary. it's always good to see local businesses supporting each other. The Dispensary is also the current holder of the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) this year, which is a great accolade for a small pub like this.
Football matches are shown here on a big screen and it can get a bit cramped when the matches are on, but it is a fun atmosphere during the matches and even if you are not interested in football you will still have a laugh with the locals.
There are a couple of tables outside the pub. I've sat here with my pint and watched the world go by. Its an excellent place to people watch.
A great little pub :)
This place is the Musical Chairs of Liverpool. Get a seat and you're laughing as you soak up the atmosphere of gnarled drinkers and inane chatter, but fail and you'll be awkwardly stood somewhere that's in the way of about eighteen people at once, jostled and frustrated.
With literally every corner filled with stools and a bar the size of a chest of drawers, this corner pub is a great little place to stop over for one before heading on to more spacious domains.
Located near the corner of Renshaw and Hardman Street, The Dispensary is a curious little pub, with hardly any seats!
It's a traditional Liverpool pub, and sells a good variety of lagers and ales, including a wide selection of various types of Liverpool brewed Cain's Lagers and Bitters.
But beware, there are hardly any seats in this pub so be prepared to stand up if you go for a pint here. Also, be prepared to queue for a while if it's busy. Last time I went here I waited 10 minutes to get served for a pint.
It's a good pub but tends to have its regulars and doesn't seem as friendly as some other Liverpool pubs. However, the beer is good and cold and the staff are friendly behind the bar. I would recommend trying Cain's bitter as it is brewed locally and is a great pint!
After quickly realising that all of the comfy seats were gone (the World Cup was showing and it was rather busy!) our hopes of searching out a seat were rather diminished.
However using my super power hawk eye vision a friend and I managed to snag bar stools. Score! And preceded to join in the merriment. It's a miniscule place which is a rich and traditional atmosphere full of locals who were friendly enough!
They are really playing on the whole chemist 'dispensary' gig with all the shelves and cupboards in the place crammed with odd-shaped bottles and jars of oddly named liquids, herbs and spices. (And that's not including the pickled eggs I spied behind the bar).
It also won the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Pub of the Year in Liverpool. The cure for your ailments at the dispensary is definitely a well-brewed beer.
So many people complaining about the lack of seating. Ordinarily I'd join in with their clamouring. When I go to the pub, I want to sit down. Preferably in the corner, where it's quiet and I won't have to talk to anyone. Ho yes. When I'm older, I'm going to be "that guy".
However, here I'm happy to stand. Twice has this place won the coveted CAMRA Pub Of The Year Award (1999 and again this year). Now, there are many things for which I won't stand. For real ale, though, I most certainly will. With such plaudits you know that here there'll always be something interesting to try. Even if it ultimately tastes awful (and well it might) - well, it's different, isn't it?
I also really dig the dispensary surroundings. So many weird and curious bottles and decanters line the walls that, if you're of such a persuasion, you'll have a job in preventing Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" from popping into your head.
Unlike The Dispensary's neighbour across the road, The Roscoe Arms, this pub has been quietly attracting a core number of dedicated customers for many years without a fuss and what looks like without a lick of paint for a lot longer.
I assume that this place is part of the very successful Dispensary pubs to be found across the city like Kelly's on Smithdown Rd which have built a reputation through providing a good selection of beers and ales in a traditional environment.
Unlike Kelly's however this place is less student friendly and clearly geared towards older, beer enthusiasts. However like many such pubs they also insist having dusty crap on the walls and ceiling to emphasise the pub's credentials as a place of historical significance. It isn't, it's just a damn fine pub.
The Dispensary is a traditionally-styled pub, which won the award from English Heritage for the most sensitively refurbished pub in 2000. As you might expect, the decor is enlivened by historical pharmaceutical items. There's a single, large room, with a raised seating area at the rear.
The pub serves to full range of the local Cain's real ales, and is popular with a slightly more mature, down-to-earth and predominantly male clientele (on our visit, over 90%!). There's a TV screen showing mainly soccer, so perhaps that explains it. Whatever the reason, it has a loyal crowd of regulars, enjoying well-kept real ale.
On our visit, bar service was good but, for some unfathomable reason, the landlord insisted on propping open the doors (while keeping the heating on), despite the fact it was about 3C and windy outside. Why not turn the heating off, and cut out the draughts? That'd get an extra star from me.
This is my favourite pub in Liverpool. Cains Raisin and Cain's Pilsner are both rare finds on draft and increadibly well kept here. The customers are welcoming and I seem to always end up talking to somebody. As of September 08 you can pick up a list and map of all real ale pubs in the city from here, well worth it, just ask the helpful barman.
The pub is quite small with limited seating. Also getting served can be a challenge with many people crowding around the bar, but it's worth every minute. There is a lower seating area round the bar with a TV for sport, and a lounge like upper area with softer seats. Service is always good and the atmosphere nice. Good music.
Where do you go in Liverpool if you want classic rock music, good beer, food and football? Answer: there isn't anywhere. The nearest you'll get is The Swan (Wood St) with good beer,good music and food (no football) and the Dispensary (Renshaw St) with good beer and football (but no music or food)
But I had a seriously bad experience in the Dispensary recently. I went to there to watch the Everton match and have a pint and a sandwich. But they didn't sell sandwiches so I went round the corner and bought some Tesco sandwiches and was eating them at the bar (with a pint of the excellent cask mild) while watching the Everton match.
The manager told me to stop eating the sandwiches which I did without any fuss or protest. About 10 minutes before the end of the match I had finished my pint so I didn't buy another one. I planned to leave the pub at the end of the match so that I could get back to work and eat my sandwiches!. The manager said that I would have to buy another pint if I wanted to watch the end of the match.
I said I would buy another pint if he would let me eat my sandwiches. He was enraged by this and asked me to leave immediately. "In that case",I said, "I'll have another pint" He said he wouldn't serve me a pint and that if I didn't leave immediately he would physically remove me. His level of aggression was scary and disproportionate.
I obviously wouldn't want to use the pub again (even if they were willing to serve me) but the beer and football is good so I would recommend it.
Just don't get on the wrong side of the manager, don't eat your own food, and don't finish your pint 10 minutes before the end of the match unless you intend to buy another one.
BTW I am not a troublemaker. I am exactly the opposite, a friendly and sociable person. The response of the manager to my attempt to negotiate another pint + sandwich (rage and aggression)was so disproportionate that there must be other factors in play. Perhaps he has personal problems or bad problems that day or perhaps my face didn't fit. His clientele is fairly conventional and I am fairly unconventional (e.g. long haired and a bit scruffy)
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