Hmmm, apologies for the blurred photo, that’s somewhat sub-optimal. Anyway, I’m something of an advocate for Head of Steam bars and I’ve visited most of them, including this one in Liverpool which opened in 2017. The chain is operated by Camerons Brewery and most of the venues are in the north of England.
I’m reminded that I haven’t been on an adventure including train beers for some time. When I was at Peterborough Beer Festival this year, a volunteer told me that he had a great idea of branding a series of drinks as Train Beers and I have some sympathy to his intentions. Anyway, I digress already. The service in the bar was polite but all over the place, the server hadn’t heard of Brew York despite them stocking two of their beers and she didn’t know where the third measure was on the glass so just over-poured it to a half. I can’t say that I was disappointed with that arrangement, indeed, I was quite pleased at the lack of staff training.
It was worth coming to the pub for this beer, which is the Adrenalina from Brew York. It had a cinnamon edge and it was a moreish and smooth pastry sour which is one of the better beers of this type that I’ve had. Unfortunately, the other Brew York beer had sold out and the venue wasn’t being that sharp on updating Untappd.
The pizza was adequate, not exactly the explosion of meats that had been mentioned, but it tasted OK although inauthentic. Susan opted for the pizza where the middle was hollowed out and replaced with salad, but the kitchen forgot to hollow out the pizza and just dumped the salad on top. I gained from this as I was given a couple of slices of the pizza, so another win for me there. The beer in the photo is the Pemberley from Chapter Brewing, which I thought was rather lacking in flavour and I struggled to get the hints of roast and molasses.
The on-line reviews for the bar are generally favourable, with a healthy number of complaints to add to the mix, but most praise the venue. They received a complaint:
“Pubs great, a bit dark but I remember it as Halford years ago. However I called in with family just before the lock down and embarrassing I collapsed. It turned out I have Atrial Fibrillation and an irregular heartbeat. This has now classed me as disabled. I called in at the weekend and was embarrassed to be told I was barred and after I explained the situation the reply was your disabled”.
There’s always two sides to every story, evident with the pub manager’s reply:
“Unfortunately there a few inaccuracies in this review and yes indeed you are barred from the venue. The manager didn’t mention anything about being disabled. That was just what you were shouting as you were walked out of the venue.”
There’s something classy about adding “as you were walked out”. I’m pleased to say that I’ve never been walked out of a bar and if I had, I’m not sure that I’d be leaving a review about it.
And a complaint about the music:
“They played Gary Glitter’s Leader of the Gang. Upon objection, the bar staff said “it’s just music”. The ale’s really good. Not that good.”
The manager didn’t reply to that one. Another person was disappointed by the lack of Guinness:
“A wide range of beers but not to my taste, a Guinness substitute no thankyou”
I’d add that there are about ten keg beers, four real ales and plenty of cans, so I’m puzzled as to how not one of them is to someone’s taste, but each to their own. The manager also wasn’t surprised and delighted by the review, noting:
“A 1 star rating for not stocking a product is interesting we have 3 other stouts and porters available”
I still enjoyed my visit here and the environment was surprisingly quiet for a venue in the centre of Liverpool on a Saturday evening. But, I don’t like raucous (unless it’s at an event I organise, in which case it becomes positively desirable and on at least some occasions leads to some form of argument) so that suited our needs. The food was acceptable and the team members were doing their best, but they seemed short staffed and under-trained and that’s not the fault of those hard workers at the bar. Anyway, once again I’ve digressed, but I’m looking forwards to visiting more venues in the chain to complete my list (and as my friend Des comments, I do like ticking things off on lists……) It proved to be a satisfactory start to our evening out in the city centre and to my amazement, Bev liked her food. I suspect that she was probably still quite tired and unable to articulate any issues, as it’s rare that she’s content with her meal (but, of course, I don’t say anything).