The Old Bank Alehouse, a reinvigorated real-ale pub on Aigburth Vale, is situated in – you guessed it – and old bank building and on one of the busiest crossings in South Liverpool – in a Grade II-listed building to boot.
Around a decade ago the underpass that connected Lark Lane with St Michaels was demolished and a nice pedestrian crossing installed. This was better for everyone, as it was safer, actually more convenient for pedestrians and rather more pleasant than the concrete scar with its flickering yellow lights.
Further down the road, past the Fulwood Arms at Aigburth Vale, there’s still a grotty, sinister concrete underpass that connects the Jericho Lane side to the Ashfield Road side, although it has been improved with the addition of some pleasing murals relevant to the area (Doctor Who fans will notice a lovely representation of Lis Sladen, who played Sarah-Jane Smith). Pass a couple of closed public conveniences that look like something out of Silent Hill (and Eddie and partner) and you will find something worth the journey: The Old Bank Alehouse.
Not so long ago a Barclays Bank, then Sullivan’s Bar – a kind of 80s or 90s wine bar that seemed out of place – then The Old Bank Bar, the pub has reopened as an independent ‘Alehouse’ and serves a range of bottled beers with six handpumps. That means several different beers, with an emphasis on locals during our visit.
Over the years we’ve spotted spotted Speke brewery Big Bog’s Morast, alongside Hinky Punk, Tim Taylor’s, Beartown Bearnskinful and a couple of Liverpool Craft – the excellent American Red and the very drinkable Viking session bitter. We went for the Liverpool Organic Pale Ale and William Roscoe; both are hoppy and quite bitter, lovely for a summer’s evening.
It’s great to see Liverpool beers from the cask in independent Liverpool pubs such as The Old Bank Alehouse. If you’re not a particular fan of ales or bitters there are loads of bottles too. We noticed Erdinger, Bacchus, Paulaner, Budvar, Estrella and Lindeboom and would suggest there’ll be plenty more as the weeks and months go by.
There’s only one area inside the pub; it’s fairly large with the bar dominating and a raised area. There are flatscreen TVs if you’re after somewhere to watch the footy and there are Irish music sessions every Thursday night and a quiz on Monday. The beer garden is an interesting space ringed by a zig-zagging iron fire escape, when two lads come out from the bar. We had a quick chinwag with the landlord, who knows his beer and is happy to chat. There’s a book swap too.
We like The Old Bank Alehouse. It’s not complicated but there’s a real feeling that it’s about beer. Beer, as we’ve discussed before, is important. And so are our pubs. This one doesn’t even have a brewery behind it. By all rights it shouldn’t work, especially in the financial climate.
But a price policy that means real ales cost well below what you’ll stump on the likes of Lark Lane and Allerton Road is great news for Liverpool beer drinkers and also good for the area. With Pi a good mile’s schlep up to Mossley Hill, there aren’t many other places to go for a decent pint in Aigburth.
The visit to The Old Bank Alehouse is well worth the journey through the Clockwork Orange underpass; a welcoming light at the end of the tunnel.
The Old Bank Alehouse301 Aigburth Road,