“Eddie! Eddie! Don’t ignore me Eddie!” But Eddie is ignoring the lady, presumably his wife, apart form a kind of guttural bark that could have several different meanings. This is our introduction to The Old Bank Alehouse, a reinvigorated pub on Aigburth Vale situated on one of the busiest crossings in South Liverpool.

Around a decade ago the underpass that connected Lark Lane with St Michaels was demolished and a nice pedestrian crossing installed. This was better for everyone, as it was safer, actually more convenient for pedestrians and rather more pleasant than the concrete scar with its flickering yellow lights.

Further down the road, past the Fulwood Arms at Aigburth Vale, there’s still a grotty, sinister concrete underpass that connects the Jericho Lane side to the Ashfield Road side. Pass a couple of closed public conveniences that look like something out of Silent Hill (and Eddie and partner) and you will find something worth the journey: The Old Bank Alehouse.

Not so long ago a Barclays Bank, then Sullivan’s Bar – a kind of 80s or 90s wine bar that seemed out of place – then The Old Bank Bar, the pub has reopened as an independent ‘Alehouse’ and serves a range of bottled beers with six handpumps. That means several different beers, with an emphasis on locals during our visit.

We spotted a couple of Liverpool Craft – the excellent American Red and the very drinkable Viking session bitter. We went for the Liverpool Organic Pale Ale and William Roscoe; both are hoppy and quite bitter, lovely for a summer’s evening and cheap at £2.70 a pint

I admire Liverpool Organic’s willingness to try different beers, even when I don’t enjoy them; I found the Kitty Wilkinson chocolate and organic stout fairly unpleasant. I’m fond of the way the brewer names many of its ales after Liverpudlians of note too, as the name suggests. Josephine Butler (a building named after her was recently destroyed by a developer in very odd circumstances); Roscoe (historian, librarian, botanist, has two Liverpool pubs named after him); Noel Chavasse (a park named after whom is now referred to as Liverpool One more often than Chavasse Park); Wilkinson (a wash-house saint) and Joseph Williamson, either an eccentric benefactor or the sort of chap Alan Moore would centre a graphic novel around.

Anyway, I enjoy their beers, as well as the naming conventions behind them – and it’s great to see Liverpool beers from the cask in independent Liverpool pubs. If you’re not a particular fan of ales or bitters there are loads of bottles too. We noticed Erdinger, Budvar, Estrella and Lindeboom and would suggest there’ll be plenty more as the weeks and months go by.

There’s only one area inside the pub; it’s fairly large with the bar dominating and a raised area. There are flatscreen TVs if you’re after somewhere to watch the footy and there seems to be live music too.

At least there was when we there; we were in the beer garden, an interesting space ringed by a zig-zagging iron fire escape, when two lads come out from the bar. “He looks like Wagner,” says one of the musical act. Perhaps it was Wagner; he was gone by the time we went back in. It was fairly quiet – people seemed to come and go all night, the only regular features a gang of lads whose conversation was peppered with ‘soft arses’. We had a quick chinwag with the landlord, who knows his beer and is happy to chat.

We like the Old Bank Alehouse. It’s not complicated but there’s a real feeling that it’s about beer. Beer, as we’ve discussed before, is important. And so are our pubs. This one doesn’t even have a brewery behind it. By all rights it shouldn’t work, especially in the financial climate.

But a price policy that means real ales cost £2.50 and guest ales are at £2.70 is great news for Liverpool beer drinkers and also good for the area. With The Fulwood Arms and Victoria and ale-free zone and Pi a good mile’s schlep up to Mossley Hill, there aren’t many other places to go for a decent pint in Aigburth.

It’s well worth the journey through the Clockwork Orange underpass; a welcoming light at the end of the tunnel.

The Old Bank Alehouse
301 Aigburth Road

You can follow The Old Bank Alehouse on Twitter

Top image by garstonian, Flickr

3 Responses to “Bitter Experience: The Old Bank Alehouse”

  1. They are doing a good job in a real ale black spot. The clientele are fun and the beers are great. Good luck to them . Pity they can’t put a sign up on the side of the building as it is hard for people to notice it is a pub from the street.

  2. Joe Bloggs

    Not been in yet but will definitely visit. Sounds like a nice place.

    Glad to see reasonable, common sense prices! Especially in the current climate with a lot of people not earning what they did a few years ago. Got sick of the new breed of real ale pubs (Pi, Beer,The Dovey etc) trying to charge £3.70 or so for real ale. A year or two ago a lot of pubs wouldn’t even touch real ale but now want to charge over the odds for it just because lager sales are dropping. They need to get real as pubs are closing everywhere and lower their prices. This pub will get plenty visits from me just because of their pricing policy alone 🙂

    In any other business sector, if new producers come to the market the extra competition drives down prices. Not with beer as most of these new micro breweries/producers think theirs is a premium product and so want to charge the earth for it. Get real it is just beer !!!!!

    Enough of my rant, I need my morning coffee. Sorry for going on !!

  3. Yorkshire Pudding

    I’ve been once before and its quite nice, was a very quiet night though, its good to have another boozer in the aigburth area selling real ale but here’s a thought why not do what me and my pal did, create a pub crawl in the area, we started in the old bank had some lovely pints in there, then a brisk walk to Pi on rose lane and then over to the Dovedale towers, after that you can go anywhere

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