The Philharmonic Dining Rooms is located in Hope Street in Liverpool, opposite the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. A few yards down the road from the Liverpool Metropolitan RC Cathedral, John Moore's University & Everyman Theatre.
It was recommended to my friends and I by a fellow guest at the Days Inn, on a recent trip to Liverpool (to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse in concert in the Liverpool Echo arena).
It has been described as one of the most ornate pubs in Liverpool and it does not disappoint in its Victorian splendour. It is beautifully preserved and is Grade One listed, the building was commissioned in 1898. The pub I am led to believe is a former gentleman's club too.
It is a traditional pub with ornate period details. The walls have very ornate polished and carved mahogany wood panels. It also boasts a mosaic faced serving counter. It has a high plaster work ceiling, copper panels featuring musicians and stained glass windows featuring Boer War heroes. Two side rooms or snugs called Brahms an Liszt (no rhyming slang there then).
One of the must see "tour attraction" is the original gentleman's toilets, which is an original 1890s Adamant lavatory with its mosaics & pink marble.
There is choice of between 8-10 real cask ales, with tasters available (x3 half pints for £3). I tried a Leeds Brewery Dark Beer called Midnight Bell on my visit.
The food seems reasonably priced with a pub lunch and a drink for £7 or something from the main menu from £10 to £15 I.e. Venison & Sloe Gin Pie.
Seemed a very busy pub on my visit even more so with graduates from John Moore's University (with their caps & gowns on).
I cannot recommend this place highly enough and I am looking forward to my next visit there.
Another of Mr Lennon's supposed favourite pubs, and how. Quick bit of trivia for you here - Liverpool has the most listed pubs in of any city in the UK. You know what that means, don't you. It means that the majority of the pubs here are staggeringly beautiful, and this piece of architectural splendour is perhaps the most impressive of all.
Famous for its ornate marble toilets and absolutely incredible interior, the Liverpool Phil is without a doubt worth a visit. It's near both the cathedrals and if it's sightseeing you're after, this isn't just a place to grab a drink, it's a place to drink in. From the gorgeous chandeliers to the cosy snugs and the grand room which genuinely takes your breath away, all chockfull of original features and stunning finishes, it's complete and utter eye candy from start to finish.
Looking past the stunning visuals (it's difficult, granted), there's a range of real ale to choose from and a restaurant upstairs which serves really lovely pub grub. Even if you're not planning on having some food or even a drink, just pop your head in to have a look. It's incredible.
It's always good when a pub becomes a landmark in its own right and if you were going to jot this very sentence down in a book of quotations, you'd be a fool to not have an illustration of the Philharmonic next to it.... and not because I mention its name just there.
John Lennon once complained that the price of fame was "not being able to go to the Phil for a drink" and it's not hard to see why. From the outside it has all the stone grandeur of a Munich beer hall and inside its rich, dark wood-panelling and brass ornaments continue the effect. If you just got rid of all the people cluttering up the place, this would be like Prozac for the eyes.
The obligatory toilet mention may disappoint you. I just don't think they're such a big deal. The rest of the pub is so much nicer, and not just because it isn't consistently doused in urine.
On an odder note, I once met Aled Jones here. After building up the courage to speak to him, he invited us across to the quiz machine where we managed to lose him three quid on stupid football questions. When he asked us for any good chippys we told him to go to Shiraz round the corner. For a bloke whose flown with a magical snowman and drank in Liverpool's most opulent pub, that must have been a bit of a come-down.
Plus, he swore like a docker.
The Phil is such a good pub to look at. In fact so
many Nicholson's pubs are, but this may well be the most impressive. In fact is
probably a bit too grand for my taste, which just shows how hard I am to
Cherry Porter Dark Angelor some other combination of those words? Whatever
- it made for a decent pint.
Mention the Philharmonic pub to a scouser and I guarantee you they will mention the toilets. I'm not joking, the toilets are even mentioned in pub guides or tourist information about the city - that has to make you wonder what the place has to offer when you highlight the loos.
The talking point about the toilets are the ornate, marble features of the gents but I've been many times and they're not that special - makes me think maybe it's the ladies and I'm missing out? - at the end of the day you only spend a couple minutes in there and I'm not shifting my mates and all our drinks in there for the night.
The rest of the pub is quite a grand venue - overlooked and often with all the hype around the toilets - and has a gentleman's club feel to the wood paneled walls and chesterfield chairs of the lounge. It's a good starter to a night at either The Everyman theatre or Philharmonic concert hall situated nearby.
The only place I've ever deigned to visit the men's toilets on recommendation (The most ornate urinals known to man!) The Phil is a true piece of Liverpool heritage. From the gold gilded entrance, the grand and ornamental traditional fixtures and fittings, down to well, the loos, it is the business.
Real Ales selection? Exceptional.
Food? Perfection in pub gastronomy if I ever did see-saw it. And relatively cheap, (of course this is slightly biased, their speciality is pies and I am a Wigan girl at heart.)
You need to experience The Philharmonic pub for the sheer grandeur in which you can enjoy the simple pleasures of eating and drinking. It turns out that with all this class it's not a bit condescending or snobby. So kick back and enjoy a pint of their best in glorious surroundings and comfort and don't forget to pop to the loo for a gander, I know it sounds odd, but I'm serious!
This place has history and is reflective in a way of Liverpools' structural and musical history. The decor is grand and inviting and it really is an experience to stop off and grab a drink here especially if you have never visited before. Despite all its' grandeur and pomp the prices are reasonable too meaning the ordinary person can feel a little more important for the duration of a pint which is a nice touch. There is a good variety of ales ect on offer which is exactly as it should be with regards to an historical old building.
The crowd is a mixture in here and changes day to day but it is always a nice spot to drink before heading to the theatre providing you don't get carried away by the pleasant atmosphere and have one too many.
The Philarmonic pub seems to be an ordinary pub in extraordinary surroundings and I hope it never changes.
So famous it got itself a mention in Bill Bryson's "Notes From A Small Island". His first impressions of Liverpool were to comment upon the staggering amount of litter. So staggering, in fact, that he commented that it felt like the city was hosting a festival of litter.
Well, it was in The Philharmonic that he appeared to have some kind of ephiphany. It was here where he seemed to realise that beyond the litter and the hills (he complained about the hills), Liverpool ain't really so bad.
We must remember that Bryson's experience of Liverpool was in the 80s - I hear things really weren't so good back then. Well. The redemptive qualities of The Philharmonic are highlighted further then, aren't they?
That Mister Bryson was approached by a chirpy scouser who asked for money for "the kids in wheelchairs, like" should give an accurate idea as to the range of punters you're likely to find here. Here, internationally acclaimed linguists, writers, historians and social commentators happily rub shoulders with - well, locals.
This amazing pub is an essential place to see on any week-end visit to Liverpool. In a city full of astonishing Edwardian pub interiors, the Philharmonic's takes the first prize. It is a Grade II* listed building, features in CAMRA's National Inventory of Pub Interiors, and is regarded by many as Britain's finest pub interior.
Built in 1898, there is a central bar, with four main rooms: a small front lounge; a pair of small lounges (called 'Brahms' and 'Liszt' in best Cockney Rhyming slang) and through a short passage, the former billiard room, known as the Grande Lounge. (The present dining room is on the first floor).
Everything - and I really mean everything - is heavily decorated. The entrance, with its partly gilded ironwork screen, sets the tone. The floors have mosaics, the glass is etched and stained, the mahogany woodwork is carved, the bar fronts have more mosaics, the ceilings have elaborate strap-work plasterwork, walls feature panelling or glazed encaustic tiling, and there are Tiffany-style lights and chandeliers everywhere. An unusual feature is the series of beaten-copper reliefs set in some of the wall panelling, especially in the main dining room.
But perhaps the most famous room is the Gentlemen's lavatory: the urinals are set in beautiful polished red marble, as are the sink surrounds, the walls feature yet more glazed tiles and the floor is covered in delicate art-nouveau mosaics.
Thankfully, it's also a decent pub - there is usually a choice of half a dozen real ales, and they also do food (although I've not eaten here). Service is OK, although it can get frenetically busy at week-ends.
If you've not seen it before, you have to go.
If the breathy exhortations of the bloke who was talking about Liverpool on Radio 4 this morning are to be believed, Hope Street is the North West of England's answer to the 'Boulevard Saint Germain' - and the Philharmonic Pub is its gleaming, elegant epicentre.
Whilst I'm not entirely sure that I agree with the first part of the above statement, it's difficult not to agree with him that the Philharmonic pub is a very special drinking establishment indeed. It's a testament to stunning Edwardian design, and every single part of its interior is swathed in gleaming mahogany, beaten copper reliefs, elegant tiles, and art-deco chandeliers. No wonder then that it's a Grade 2 listed building, and is frequently cited as being one of the most beautiful pubs in the UK.
If rumours are to believed, The Philharmonic also has the best gent's toilets in the whole of Liverpool, if not the world. However, not being a bloke, I can neither confirm or deny this statement - although I have been temped to drag up and sneak in on more than one occasion just to check out their splendour for myself.
But enough about the interior - what about the beer? Well, being a CAMRA approved pub. it has a wide selection of delicious artisan ales which a comely barmaid will recommend to you with a nod, a wink and a sly sample if you're lucky. They also do a great selection of wines, and a halfway decent selection of pub grub standards - although don't come here expecting anything particularly brilliant on that front.
But what I love best about The Philharmonic are its little side rooms, all named after different composers. Back when I was first courting my beloved, we would regularly hide away in one of these and plot world domination over a nice glass of red, and I still love coming back here with him to celebrate the fact that we've managed to remain together for so long without throwing crockery at each other.
The Philharmonic is a beautiful beautiful pub. If you only go to one boozer the next time you're on Hope Street, make sure that it's this one.
Seven of us had an exceptional lunchtime meal here. Very cool looking old authentic interior design. Fascinating mosaic tiling throughout the place. Great looking bar too.
A stunning interior, regarded as one the best in the UK by architecture aficionados and pub buffs alike. It's an essential port of call on any trip to Liverpool: and, with a beer selection like this, why wouldn't you? Even going to the Gents is an experience.
It's also mid-way between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals, so it is a perfect point to stop off for some refreshment during a sightseeing trip.
How many places have you been to where the star attraction is the men's toilets! Seriously, the mens toilets in this pub are so beautiful and lavish (plenty of gold!) that even if you're a lady like myself you can still visit them to take a look. Do ask at the bar first though, don't just walk in! The mens lavatories are a well known tourist attraction in Liverpool so I recommend a visit even if it's just so you can say you've been.
Other than that, this place is best described as splendid. I love all the different rooms. If it's not too busy you can have a room to yourself and your friends. It is very fancy and the decor is very classy. Despite all that, the drinks prices are reasonable.
Beautiful interior. Worth visiting to sit in the comfy chairs and take in the view :-)
Bottle of red wine was about £7 which is pretty good by Liverpool city centre pub standards ( I had to pay £12 for a bottle in another pub closer to the centre! )
The staff all look under 20.
Haven't tried the food so can't comment on that :-)
Stunning building with men's toilets that are definitely worth a visit (or a peek through the door). The food is pretty good and the beers available are varied and reasonable.
It does need a revamp though and perhaps a change of hands, the last time I was there it felt very much like a place trading on its reputation and nothing more.
A pub well beyond what comes to mind when the word pub is heard. This place is so grand and of another time I actually wondered if I have fallen into a time warp when I stepped foot inside.
The interior is a combination of sumptuous polished oak(?) and tiling that leads to a series of different rooms, some barely bigger than nooks. The tiling cannot be missed, literally and figuratively. It covers most surfaces and in grand patterns and colours. I never made it into the gents but did go to the ladies and was aghast to see whatever the original decor was it has not remained. It is just a plain old pub toilet for the poor ladies.
The range of ales was great and enough choice to have a good few pints without repitition. I sat in the Grand Dining Room, which was certainly grand but the immensely high ceilings and brighter lighting made it less cozy for a drink.
The Phil has twice been my local and during those periods I seemed to live in either the dining hall or one of the hidden side rooms.
The Phil is a CAMRA approved pub so the beer is always worth trying out and the wine, cheap plonk as it is, is well priced. Food is good value and a bit more interesting than the normal pub fayre of burger and chips (although I think you can get burger and chips) and service has always been good. There are set times for serving food so worth a check if you are making a special trip.
As with every other review about The Phil, the men's toilets are fantastic. The staff will let ladies in for a peek if you want to look.
This is a review of the restaurant rather than the pub.
Yes, that's right - the Philharmonic Pub also has a restaurant. I don't know how long its been there but to be honest, it's more like somone has decided to convert the flat above the pub by sticking a few chairs and tables in it. No, I'm being overly harsh because of a recent bad experience there. You see, I went there over the weekend with family, having already made a reservation that afternoon. After battling through the busy bar to get to the staircase to the restaurant (which is conveniently situated right next to the famous Gent's toilets and you'd have no hope of finding if you didn't know it was there) we were met with a less than enthusiastic welcome:
"We're fully booked for the rest of the evening" After explaining that we had a reservation and watching the poor lad who must've been duty manager run around like a headless chicken for two minutes, we established that our table had been double-booked (as we could see by casting a glance around the room full of people eating) and that we could come back in half an hour but they couldn't guarantee a table. On that occasion, we went elsewhere.
However, the only other time I've been the food was lovely but limited, the service slow but polite, and the atmosphere lacking but pleasant enough. Their speciality is pies, and it is well worth sampling them as they do seem to be of the homebaked variety that you see that chap doing on the lurpak ad. The Phil's saving grace? According to my friend, the chocolate cake. The portion was enough to feed a family for a week and it was so nice apparently that she wouldn't let it defeat her and we all had to order copious amounts of coffee while she polished it off over the space of, oh, lets say half an hour.
A stunning pub/dining room. The phil as it is called gets a lot of attention and definitely lives up to its billing - a classic pub which serves good food, however on one occasion the service was terrible, but that was a one off i hope. Altogether though a grad pub with a great affiliation to liverpool- it also has grade one listed toilets!
You cannot go to Liverpool without having a bevvie in 'The Phil'. It's the epitome of good Liverpool hospitality and there isa lovely, jovial atmosphere. The gents are well known here, they are beautiful. I felt really naughty going in them as a teenager, but apparently everyone comes in to have a peek.
You can't fail to be impressed by this architecturally splendid pub. From the marble loos to the two snugs titled Brahms and Liszt, to the spacey grand room with its lofty ceiling, everywhere you look there is a wow factor. Not greatly impressed with the real ale range when I visited (12 September) - the Cains bitter was very average - but I intend to revisit in the hope that I was just unlucky with my choice and things improves. The pub itself is incentive enough to go back. Close to both Cathedrals if you are on a sight-seeing trip.
This is probably one of the most well known pub in Liverpool, thanks to it having very ornate gents toilets and also being mentioned by John Lennon as one of his favourite pubs. I would agree that if you are visiting Liverpool then it is definitely worth making a trip to the Phil as it is known locally. When you walk in you see a beautiful traditional bar with several rooms leading off. There are two very cosy wood panelled rooms, and beyond those there is the grand dining room. I prefer the smaller rooms myself as they feel warmer, but you should have a look around. The most famous feature of the pub is the gents toilet. Even women can visit these if you ask the bar staff to take you. I still haven't gone to see them yet as the bar has normally been busy when I've been there, but the next time I'm there and it's a bit quieter I'm going to ask. All my male friends have confirmed that it is indeed something special. They serve food and have a restaurant upstairs. I haven't eaten here but everyone I know that has said it was good.
They serve a fairly good range of beer at the Phil, normally having two guest ales on tap and either Deuchars or Greene King IPA. The prices are quite reasonable.
Ate increadibly rich mushroom and melted cheese dish here, good value. The place is quite formal and abit too anomymous for me on a regular basis though.
Was on my 2nd visit to Liverpool yesterday and just had to go back to The Phil. Just as good as ever. Beer great (Kelham Island), cracking Shepherd;'s Pie with proper lamb chunks, fresh vef and proper mash. Friendly staff - had a good laff with them about "is this pie made from fresh Shepherds mate?"
How can you give anything LESS than 58s? I love Liverpool's old boozers, particularly Tom Baldwin lol
Slightly out of the way of the city centre which means this never gets absolutely packed. very handy for the Philarmonic hall over the raod so often full of highbrow people going to a concert. Architecturally it has got to be one of the most fantastic buildings in the whole of liverpool. Beautiful windows and ceilings and as has been said the mens toilets have to be visited whether you're male or female! I've never eaten here but my mum who is not a fan of pubs at all met friends for lunch here and said they had a fabulous time with great food.
whilst i love the phil and have enjoyed many a good drink in here, recently have noticed that standards may be slipping.
went in for a Sunday roast recently and all three dinners were cremated! the beef was so well done it was crumbly! to top it off there was a weird smell floating in the air!
saying this, it is an amazing interior and the real ale selection is there, worth a visit when visiting Liverpool but i think I've knocked this off my pub route in town.
Great beer selection and fantastic building. A must see for anyone visiting Liverpool!
Great building but a wasted opportunity. Could be an amazing place for top quality food and beer but smacks of big brewery having got hold of a gem and ruining it. Such a shame. Does have some good beers though.
I'm sorry, but this place has got to have the most uber-stylish toilets in the country, world renowned. Some of its past punters have included John Lennon, President Clinton and believe it or not, Adolf Hitler. It's well documented. Traditional pub, with unusual 'meeting rooms', where bohemian groups hang out. Serves some of the best real ale in Liverpool City Centre.
if you only go to one pub in Liverpool, it has to be this one. A great pub set in an amazing building. the ale is good and the atmosphere is great
Its well worth a visit. Not sure if it would be one of my regular pubs. Shame I didnt have time to eat there. A great place to drop into when you are out during the day and want to relax for a pint. Inside it has a great interior, plenty of seats although could do with a touch-up.
Beer was expensive but the males toilets are worth the visit lol. Great pub so British
This place is nice for special occasions, but I wouldn't go on a regular basis.
This place needs a quick change of hands. The pub has the history and potential to be great but falls way short, head down Hardman St for a range of pubs worth a visit. The beer here is inconsistent and the food out of a micro-wave. The staff would be great at a student union, but not here. The famous toilets have been too smelly for too many years. Don't waste your time.
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