I mentioned elsewhere that I was a bit disappointed with The Guardian’s top ten list of Liverpool craft beer pubs. Mainly because a lot of them were just pubs that sold some progressive ales. Club 23 definitely was a craft beer joint and you can read about that in another post.
So what did I think of The Grove? Hidden away down Seel Street. It tok a bit of finding, because it’s tucked away down an alleyway called Concert steps and has it’s own postmodern, well 1990’s anyway, court yard, so you don’t actually see it until it’s right under your nose.
In terms of styling, it’s impressive. Lots of glass and wood and open spaces. A bit like Sir Terence Conran going on the razzle with Sir Thomas Pilkington in down town Liverpool.
There were quite a few nice touches, fresh flowers on the tables and some bits of art work. The stand out bit has to be the ladies toilet door, or maybe it didn’t? It fooled quite a few while I was sat watching. Talk about trompe l’oeil.
In terms of beer, all free flow dispensers, bottles and cans. No real ale here cock. Not much craft beer neither, unless your idea of craft beer is Flying Dog, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn and the like that are uniformly available in your local supermarket. I had the local Liverpool Craft Beer Co. Love Lane which was very pleasant, if not a little on the dear side. I didn’t ask, but personal knowledge tells me the majority of the beers were pasteurised in aluminium kegs and not living beer in key-kegs.
As well as a beer establishment, they bill their selves as a Tap and Grill and at 4pm on a Thursday, the majority of people were eating and were a mix of young and old, mainly tourists like ourselves and there was no sign of any regulars or hipsters – I don’t think they will get any. I reckon there must be something else upstairs too, as a stream of people entered and exited a lift (that’s elevator if you are reading in US, which my stats are telling me is more and more the case). Now where they were going in this elevator was not obvious. The lass behind the bar said the company offices were up there. All I will say is, it’s a very big company then. Very interesting corporate dress code too.
I worried about the beer side of things for a while. Okay, there were some decent, but run of the mill beers on, plenty of bottles, but nothing so exciting as to entice the checky shirty guys in. I pondered this while I stood at the space ship style urinal, in a gents that was so dark there were no obvious facilities, just black holes. I got a bit of shock when in the wall in front of me, I saw the reflection of a lady hoovering. Now where I come from, you don’t generally hoover up in toilets and I was even more shocked to turn round and find she wasn’t there? Perplexed, I peed on, until I realised that she was actually hoovering up in the night club next door and the shiny black wall was obviously an obsidian type creation of aforementioned Mr Pilkington. Hopefully this fenestration was the one-way sort?
It was only then that the penny dropped, night club, continuous stream of people going somewhere in lift. That unused floor space. I know lets make a craft beer bar out of it. Sadly there is even more, very useable, unused floor space that would be instantly snapped up anywhere else, on the other side of the court yard.
Verdict, nice place to spend an hour in that’s centred on the Seel Street, NTE area. Craft beer? No idea what it is, but you don’t generally find it in Morrisons’s, who are adept at cashing in on any trends just like this spot.