It might be complacency but I never seriously thought the Roscoe Head was at risk, but if the Lion can close then nothing is sacred.

I’d visited the other four ever-presents in the Beer Guide, in London (two of them), Cambidgeshire and Purbeck, and found them all in rude health, fully justifying a Beer Guide place and retaining a real pubiness.

The Roscoe Head is probably the most ordinary of the five, and therefore my favourite. It really does operate as a community back-street local, without ale-house or gastro pretensions. On my first visit Roscoe Street looked like a back alley rather than a proper road, and a bit of street art hasn’t made it any less uncompromising.

It’s still a multi-roomed, traditional seated gem though.

I must have had a good time as some of my photos were a bit “wobbly”, so these two are courtesy of the wonderful WhatPub.

Roscoe 1

Gorgeous, and very friendly, even by northern standards. The young barman did actually laugh when I ordered Landlord though.  Some folk would have gone straight on to Trip Advisor to tear a strip off the pub; I just thought it showed a bit of life.

Landlord is a beer I’ve found increasingly dull in the smart gastropub that dominate north London these days, usurped by Peroni and Camden. So why wouldn’t I go for the Roscoe’s house beer (who drinks Tetley ?), knowing I’d at least get a pint someone else had had that day ?

Landlord makes sense suddenly

It was a good decision (NBSS 3.5),though it did make me hope I find a good reason to visit Keighley again soon.


Sensing the Formby IPA was the beer you’re supposed to order, I had a half of that, which the lovely barman even brought to my table.  This was challengingly dry, and quite wonderful (NBSS 4), drinking well above its 4% abv.

Pubs aren’t really about beer, of course, and the chat here was very Liverpool.  Plumbing, French Olympians, the gigs at the Kazi.  Very little beer chat, though a group next to me were doing the “Beer Paddle” and clearly working through the MerseyAle pub trail.

As I returned my glass I got a “Aww, thanks very much” the sort of courtesy I get less and less these days. These things matter.

Reality beckons

Still a wonderful pub, in a wonderful city.


  1. Brilliant pub, excellent beer and Carol Ross is a wonderful landlady. Pubs don’t get better than this and if they do I’d like to know where they are please?


      1. Exactly – a pub with good beer, as opposed to the other way round. All sorts of people at all times of the day. Everyone willing, nay seeking, to pass the time of day with like minded souls.


  2. Great pub and a great city. Liverpool was one of our finest pub crawls in England. We have never been in a more welcoming city. Liverpool is the only place where we had locals join us on our pub crawl. Almost every pub we visited was well used and welcoming. Pretty amazing place.


      1. Interesting to hear. Manchester is our next visit. Hard to believe anything can surpass Liverpool. Looking forward to Manchester even more now.


  3. We are in Stockport starting on December 27. Stockport for six nights. Using it as a base for the area. Would love to stand you some pints for your blogging efforts.


      1. If it works would love to meet up. Poland sounds awfully good too! The blogging comments and articles have certainly led us to Stockport. We do appreciate the pointers.


    1. I’d be happy to meet up for a few pints in Stockport over the Christmas/New Year period if you’re interested.


  4. When it was sold to New River I never really thought it was likely the Roscoe Head would be turned into a convenience store, but that’s one case where the concerns fully justify an ACV.

    While the building is Victorian the interior is very much inter-wars from the look of it.

    All the best pubs serve a wide range of customers, not just beer enthusiasts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s