Visiting the Philharmonic Dining Rooms Liverpool
I had been planning to drop in on the The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, L1 on my next visit to Liverpool but after watching Paul McCartney on the James Corden Carpool Karaoke I decided it would make my visit even more interesting.
‘The Phil’ as it is known locally has been described as as ‘the most ornate pub in England’.
Dazzling and flamboyant, this magnificent hostelry takes its name from Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall opposite.Commissioned between 1898 and 1900, it is a showpiece in the style of a Gentlemen’s Club.
With the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Choir and Society so close,it has long been a favourite with concert-goers and performers alike.
It is not just an architectural beauty though, it is a traditional local pub with loads of unique character.
It is respected locally for its superb range of real ales and quality pub food, which are all served with a splash of true Liverpudlian hospitality.
But back to the Carpool Karaoke with James Corden driving Paul McCartney around his home town of Liverpool and what appeared to be an almost impromtu performance gig at ‘The Phil’.
As a homecoming gig for one of the world’s biggest rock stars go, it was a fairly low key event, Macca appearing from behind a curtain with a small collection of musicians in front of a surprised and elated group of lunchtime drinkers.
For the drinkers who popped into the The Philharmonic Dining Rooms for a quiet drink and perhaps a bite to eat, seeing Sir Paul McCartney perform live in the pub was probably one of the best gigs of their lives.
On entering ‘The Phil’ I was keen to see where Macca had performed and found myself in the Grand Lounge, this must have been the room in which it took place but there was no bar!
I made my way upstairs to another dining area but decided it could not have been this room as I had remembered seeing faces peering into the pub behind McCartney through the windows.
I spoke to a barman and all was revealed to me. Yes, the show took place in the Grand Lounge downstairs but the television company had constructed a bar at the back of the room.
I asked about the punters sitting quietly supping their beers and eating their lunchtime meal. How come they were not aware of the gig which was about to take place?
The barman pointed out that they were extras again provided by the television company. He did say that a little later into the show some people were allowed into the pub. They are the excited number of people shown running into the pub shouting and screaming.
The gig was organised with a high level of secrecy as it was pointed out to me that if it had been known in advance that Beatle McCartney was going to perform at the pub, the traffic on Hope Street and Hardman Street would have been at a standstill because of the large number of people wanting to get in.
Whether Paul McCartney is there to provide the live music or not, ‘The Phil’ is a fantastic pub to visit for food or drink.
‘The Phil’ is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
The exterior of the building is constructed in ashlar stone with a slate roof in an “exuberant free style” of architecture.It has a combination of two and three storeys, with attics and cellar. There are ten bays along Hope Street and three along Hardman Street.
Its external features include a variety of windows, most with mullions, and some with elaborate architraves, a two-storey oriel window at the junction of the streets, stepped gables, turrets with ogee domes, a balustraded parapet above the second storey, a serpentine balcony above the main entrance in Hope Street, and a low relief sculpture of musicians and musical instruments.
The main entrance contains metal gates in Art Nouveau style.
If you thought the outside is stunning wait until you see what it has on the inside!
The interior is decorated in musical themes that relate to the nearby concert hall. These decorations are executed on copper panels, plaster work, mosaics and in mahogany and glass.
Two of the smaller rooms are entitled Brahms and Liszt.
You should also find a way of visiting the gentlemen’s urinals which are of particular interest, constructed in rose-coloured marble.
‘The Phil’ is the most richly decorated of Liverpool’s Victorian public houses and “it is of exceptional quality in national terms”.
It is simply one of Liverpool’s “architectural gems”.
Why not check it out next time you are in Liverpool?