Introduction

Why? It all started on a Friday afternoon in June 1998. The Friday Night Gang were discussing the forthcoming evening's activities. "We always do the same thing", someone complained, "let's go somewhere different". "There's some nice pubs in West Derby Village" was the reply. An enjoyable evening out with some decent beer followed. A couple of weeks later we decided to go somewhere different again, and it was suggested that I ought to keep a record of where we'd been. This idea rapidly developed into the challenge of visiting and recording every pub in Merseyside.

What? This is not a good beer guide or a good pub guide, although I hope it will help you to find good beer and good pubs. The objective is to list and describe every pub in the County of Merseyside (1974 boundaries), along with a selection of night clubs, hotel bars and private clubs.

How? The Merseyside Pub Guide is only a hobby, and there is no team of researchers involved. Many people have helped by contributing pub names and locations, but only a personal visit by me results in a review in the list and I write what I see. I have never accepted any payments or free drinks. All the reviews are my own opinions, and my comments are often based on one brief visit, which should be borne in mind when reading them - I might have received the only duff pint the pub has ever served! You also need to remember that pubs change all the time, sometimes a refurbishment and change of style, sometimes the quiz just moves to a different day of the week. Where changes are known I have noted them, but there must be many of which I am not aware. This is where the readers come in - Updates and corrections are always welcome. (A special warning about places marked as closed - I have noticed that pubs, especially the more down market ones, can spend months closed only to suddenly re-open as though nothing has happened.)

Who Pays? You may already have noticed that there is no advertising in The Merseyside Pub Guide. Research and publication are financed by the author, so that I can proudly boast that this is a totally independent guide, unlike many others on the web. On the rare occasions where staff have spotted what I am doing, I have refused the offered free drinks.

The Database So, down to details - How does the database work?
There are two ways to access the information:

Pub names are as appears on the outside or on the sign, but with the word "The" omitted. If I've called the Queen's Arms the Queen's Hotel I'm sure you'll tell me. Nicknames "in quotes" and previous names (in brackets) are also shown, where known.
The beer list is indicative rather than exhaustive, and it's not always easy to tell whether a beer is a guest or a regular. I have less interest in lager so these are sometimes missing. The hand pump symbol indicates that a hand pump is used, but is not necessarily an indication of quality.
There isn't much to say about the reviews themselves, except to repeat that all opinions are my own.
For the Location, I've tried to put something which you can find on a street atlas, ideally the nearest road intersection.

Feedback Corrections, updates and suggestions can be emailed to report @ merseypub.com. Please remember that all the reviews are my own, so while I am interested to read your views on a pub they probably won't appear in the guide. I am always looking for pubs I have missed, so names and locations are particularly welcome.

Acknowledgements My grateful thanks go to all the people who have contributed lists of pubs, to the friends who accompanied me on many of the visits, to Joe for driving to some out of the way locations and to the people who have contributed information over the Internet. Special thanks to Steve, Tony, Tony and John for keeping me updated during my exile in the United States, now over. Thanks are also due to Andy for designing some of the symbols used in the guide, and providing some of the pictures.

Conclusion Pub collecting has turned out to be a most enjoyable hobby. I have had the pleasure of visiting a wide variety of establishments, from historic gems to sheds. I have been offered everything from cheap bed linen to cheap holidays, and been entertained, amused, ignored and very occasionally frightened by the clientele and the staff. I've received a large number of suspicious looks when I start making notes. I have paid anything from 99p to over £3 for a pint of beer ranging from the disgusting to the perfect. 99.9% of the people, on both sides of the bar, have been friendly.