Wednesday 30th March 2016
Since the Liverpool Pigeon micropub opened in October 2013 there has been a steady increase in their numbers in Merseyside. At the time of this visit there were seven with more on the way. The one Linda and I were visiting today is the only one to be found in Liverpool itself as the suburb of Stoneycroft comes under the administration of Liverpool City Council, although it is about three miles to the east of the central area.
The pub sold its first beers to a grateful public on Thursday 23rd July 2015 so had been open for less than a year when we visited. It is the idea of Ian Barton who, along with wife Michelle, run the pub on a daily basis. Its opening was not without controversy as there were many objections. Most of them seem to have been misinformed as to what was coming. Now the pub is open they can see that their fears were unfounded.
Most of their concerns were about parking which does seem to be quite an issue throughout Merseyside. They couldn’t seem to grasp the concept that most of the customers would be walking to the pub with others arriving on the bus. If they had visited one of the other Merseyside micropubs they would have seen this in action. Luckily the City Councillors had done their homework and the plan was approved.
Cask is located in a small corner shop premises along with a few small retail businesses. I have been unable to could find out what its former use was.
Once in through the central door we found a comfortable little pub. We settle to the left of the door and I went to the bar counter which is in front of the back wall to the left of the room. Although the counter is small it is similar to one in a normal pub.
There are a few stools in front of the bar and the other two customers were propping up the bar. There are fitted leather settles facing in from each window and the rest of the furniture consists of small round varnished wood-topped tables and upholstered chairs that all matched, unlike some micropubs where every piece of furniture is different from the next!
It is obvious that a bit has been spent to get it right here, from the custom-built bar with its barrel motif on the front to the walls that covered with many small shelves holding a large amount of miniature casks in various forms. Of course, this is in keeping with the pub’s name. On the left wall is a very nice wood-framed mirror along with pictures, one of which is an old photo of the shop.
There is a corridor from the room along the right side of the building that leads to the separate Ladies and Gents facilities. Along the wall here is a shelf with a couple of stools underneath. Above it is a further shelf containing a library of beer books. Further along are three display cases that contain a great collection of pub and brewery memorabilia, a virtual museum! One is dedicated to the late lamented Higson’s Brewery.
On the bar top there are five hand pubs dedicated to cask beer. These offered: Off Beat (Crewe, Cheshire) Hinkey Herkulean Hopper (4.3%); Blackjack (Manchester) The Pokies (3.6%); Tiny Rebel (Newport, Gwent) One Inch Punch (3.9%) and Skinner’s (Truro, Cornwall) Pennycomequick Stout (4.5%). There are also two pumps for Cider and these dispensed Rosie’s (Llandegla, Denbighshire, North Wales) Triple D Cider (7.2%) and Orchard Pig (West Bradley, Somerset) Medium (4.5%).
They also offer a selection of European bottled beers and wines. They have a “beer bat” with three thirds of a pint. There are 2 pint takeaways available. Dogs are not allowed. Such is the ascent of this pub that it is CAMRA Liverpool & District Pub of the Year 2016. It’s well worth the effort to get out from the city centre to this perfectly-formed micropub.
The Cask, 438 Queens Drive, Stoneycroft, West Derby L13 0AR. Tel: 07747 034499
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 16.00-21.30; Saturday-Sunday 14.00-21.30. Monday: Closed
From the city centre the best way to get here is to use the very frequent No 12 and 13 buses from Queen Square Bus Station. You alight at the Jolly Miller pub in West Derby. It is around a 500 metre walk south along Queens Drive to get to the pub.
Queens Drive is the Ring Road and the Stoneycroft Crescent stop is served by three routes: 60, 81 and 81A. This stop is around 200 metres from the pub.
The 60 goes south to Aigburth Vale. The 81 and 81A follow identical routes that split just at the end. The 81 terminates at Speke. The 81A at John Lennon Airport.
All three routes go north along Queen’s Drive to terminate at Bootle New Strand Bus Station. None of these three routes from Stoneycroft Crescent serve the city centre.