Merseyside's Magnificent Seven; HERE'S PART ONE OF OUR PUBS OF DISTINCTION - SO LET US KNOW YOUR BEST OF THE BOOZERS.
WELCOME to our first collection of Merseyside Pubs of Distinction - a Magnificent Seven which have unique stories to tell.
And we want you to tell us which other brilliant boozers deserve to be celebrated for their individuality. Please let us know about your out-of-the-ordinary favourites by emailing email@example.com Gallagher's Pub and Barber's, Chester |Street, Birkenhead THIS can justifiably describe itself as being a cut above (apologies).
In these hectic times, it's no surprise that many drinkers are tempted to, ahem, cut corners by getting two jobs done at the same time - getting a haircut and a pint or two.
Frank and Sue Gallagher's pub is also packed with military memorabilia (Frank served in the Irish Guards), while Sue tells me the barber's is about to have new managers and ladies will be welcome.
The Swinging Arm, Church Street, |Birkenhead A ROCK music venue which also has something truly stunning out the back - Liverpool's world-famous waterfront!
Sit by the window here and give your eyes a real feast: two cathedrals, the ECHO arena, Albert Dock and the Three Graces.
It also has a "Metal Man" model and a motorbike in the bar - oh, and a Frank Zappa For President poster on a wall!
Peter Kavanagh's, Egerton Street, |Liverpool 8. ONE of Liverpool's most individual pubs, Peter Kavanagh's was given a classic refit way back in 1929 when Peter Kavanagh, himself, commissioned Scottish painter Eric Harald Macbeth Robertson to produce murals based on the work of Charles Dickens (scenes from The Pickwick Papers are in The Pickwick Room - the front room) and William Hogarth (scenes of drinking and merriment are in the Hogarth Room - back room).
Landlady Rita Smith says: "People love the murals and they love the pub, because it's a community pub which has character and history."
The Swan Inn, Wood Street, |Liverpool FOR many, the mighty Swan is all about its mighty jukebox.
One of its most loyal regulars, Ray Brookman, 60, from Tuebrook, says: "Its jukebox is so popular you can put your selections on at the weekend and have to wait three hours before it's their turn to be played.
"There's loads of heavy metal, heavy rock and punk, and you will have long-haired people like me happily standing side by side with people with pink and green Mohicans and with skinheads."
If you're a fan of the likes of Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Megadeath, Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Deep Purple, The Ramones and Iron Maiden you know where to go.
Ye Cracke, Rice Street, Liverpool |YOU might think Ye Cracke's most distinctive feature is its delightful beer garden. Or it's John Lennon link, including a plaque celebrating The Dissenters - the late Beatle's "other Have say Go to co.uk band (which never played a note)." But, for many, it might instead be the fact one of its rooms is called The War Office, where, legend has it, "the Boer War was discussed by locals between 1899 and 1902."
Landlady Zaidia Naif says: "Tourists, especially Americans, are fascinated by The War Office. I've also heard a wonderful story that John Lennon was never able to get into it in the 1950s because it was always full of former servicemen reminiscing about World War II. They would apparently say: 'We fought for the likes of you - go and get a haircut, we don't want riff-raff in here!'" The Philharmonic, Hope |Street, Liverpool HISTORIAN Ken Pye, author of the recently-published book, Liverpool Pubs, says of this famous Liverpool landmark: "You could be your www.
in a Scottish baronial mansion - it's a masterpiece of art and craftsmanship."
And yet, for many, this well-documented wonder is all about ... the gents.
Just look at all that lovely marble (though make sure you concentrate on what you're doing).
Ye Hole In Ye Wall, Hackins Hey, |Liverpool AMONG this tucked-away gem's claims to quirky fame are its "upstairs cellar" - landlord Stephen Hoy says: "Pedantic people tell me it can't be a cellar if it's upstairs, so I reply 'Can you think of a better name for it, then?'" It also claims to have been the last "men only" public bar in Liverpool - only allowing women in when forced to by the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act.
This is said to explain why women must walk past the bar, around a corner and up a staircase to get to their loo.
Stephen, who put a nicely-decorated "ladies' fashion through the centuries" mural on the staircase, jokes: "You could say it's still not officially a ladies' pub toilet - but a toilet I let them use, because it's actually a former staff toilet!"
Samantha Oates cuts Frank Gallagher's hair, as wife Sue looks on, in Gallagher's Pub and Barbers, Chester Street, Birkenhead Picture: RICHARD WILLIAMS
The Swinging Arm pub, on Church Street, Birkenhead
Landlord Stephen Hoy from Ye Hole In Ye Wall, in Hackins Hey
The Swan Inn, on Wood Street, Liverpool
Paddy Shennan sits in the War Office in Ye Cracke, in Rice Street
Pictures: JASON ROBERTS Landlady Rita Smith, from Peter Kavanagh's, on Egerton Street, Liverpool; and, inset, below, Paddy Shennan in the Philharmonic's famous toilets