One the corner of two streets in Liverpool’s sometimes-bohemian, sometimes-beautiful, sometimes-rough-around-the-edges Georgian Quarter is one of the best pubs in Liverpool, The Caledonia.
It was not always like this. Go back a decade and it had washing machines stacked at the back of it. Novel, but not a place you’d venture into unless you had to. Around the same time it found a sort of fame for staging nightclub pre- or after-parties. We forget which.
The pub is named after one of the first three ships to be commissioned by local shipbuilder Cunard, they were launched in 1837 and were Post Ships with accommodation sailing between Liverpool, New York and Boston. Look very carefully and you can see the pub’s interior featuring in Ken Loach’s 1968 film The Golden Vision.
Now, with very little difference to the naked eye, The Caledonia is a very different pub altogether. Serving excellent real ales from breweries around the region, the Caledonia has put beer back at the front of its offering.
The Caledonia is a great example of a Liverpool pub made good and landlady Laura King has been behind the second life of this venerable Liverpool corner pub. When it was threatened with closure due to a nearby development Liverpool came out in force to save its beloved real-ale pub. When we asked her to sum up what the pub meant to her and her punters she told us this:
“The Caledonia is an institution, dragged up from the dregs three years ago and grown into the thriving hub that it is today. I wanted to run a real pub, one that is not just a business but a home, a place for people to share their lives and build a community. It’s been my privilege to plant the seeds, tend the plot and watch it bloom almost organically into what it is today.”
Don’t expect fruit machines, juke boxes or Sky Sports News, but do enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, dogs, a board game and a chat with a pint of good beer. Oh, did we mention there’s a community library? Of course there’s a community library!
Music and More at The Caledonia
The Caledonia also offers wonderful homecooked food for a fiver(ish) and has become famous for Sunday night music events, with the Loose Moose String Band or Blind Monk Trio (amongst other bands and outfits) taking up residency and making this small corner of the city-centre outskirts a busy hub of friendship and fun. The amount of gigs at the pub is frankly a bit ridiculous.
John Dalglish of The Loose Moose String Band, the closest thing the Cali has had to a resident band, reckons the pub is unique in the city.
He said: “I think the first words Laura said to me were “when I get my own pub you’re having a regular gig” – and in what seemed like no time at all it happened. We immediately felt at home and have spent the last few years making friends, playing and listening to fantastic music. We’ve made nuisances of ourselves on more than one occasion, but have always been welcomed back.
“When the Foghorn Stringband from Portland, Oregon had a gap in their schedule, Laura agreed to put them on – with five days notice – on a Monday night. The night was such a success that when they toured again, they insisted that they had to play at the Caledonia again.
“That is what the Caledonia is all about – it’s become a local for people from far and wide. We are the Caledonia, and long may she sail.”
Food at the Cali
Food at the Caledonia is courtesy of the Cali Vegan Kitchen, serving meals 12-9 daily.
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As the name would suggest everything on the menu is plant-based – and there’s a gluten-free menu to boot. Expect vegan fast-food: burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings plus tasty sides and desserts. It’s a bit like Guac’n’Roll Kitchen, only it’s in town.
Can’t make it in? Never fear – you can order from the Cali Vegan Kitchen through Deliveroo.