Beer Station is located over in Freshfield opposite the train station on the Northern Line and is well placed to provide a stop between the station and the Freshfield Hotel, which has won numerous awards for its provision of a large range of cask (and more recently keg). This will hopefully pass on some additional business to Beer Station, because the remit and the beer stocked are both admirable and competent. Step forward father and son team, Ian and Keir Walsh, the former who was a member of Formby brewery, Red Star up until the decision to push forward with his own micropub venture.
The second of he bars under discussion is the characterful Hard Times and Misery, opened by couple Jen and Greig on Maryland Street. The location they have chosen has been ill fated for previous tenants, seeing a Spanish delicatessen and more recently, a beauty salon, come and go. The pair have put a lot of thought into their bar and stock and no shortage of hard work into the premises. Indeed, the tales of painting repeatedly over walls stained with fake tan reminded me of the episode in 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4' and the farce of trying to hide his outgrown Noddy wallpaper ("Went over hat bells with black felt-tip pen, did sixty-nine tonight, only a hundred and twenty-four to go" to "Finished last bell at 11.25 PM. Know just how Rembrandt must have felt after painting the Sistine Chapel in Venice."). Again, the bar is furnished with some new stools, seemingly reclaimed furniture, plenty of wood and a tip to the current fashion of exposed brickwork and wood, lit with Edison bulbs. It's a warm, familiar and a relaxed friendly environment.
The bar stocks a range of artisan gin, which the couple have obviously spent a great deal of time studying, there are some excellent spirits on offer and I even had a dab at creating my own (though I doubt it has made the menu yet, you can try and ask for a 'Ossa Nauta'). The garnishes for the gin and tonic are also well thought through, with dried fruit, herbs, fresh citrus and spices all regularly replenished, you won't want for much. The beers stocked are predominantly local, with up to six cask lines being gravity dispensed from a stillage behind the bar, but kept in good condition and regularly rotated. Rock the Boat, Connoisseur, Red Star, Neptune, Liverpool Craft, Mad Hatter and Ad Hop all making an appearance in cask or bottle. The bar itself is on two levels and small, but well formed, pretty much perfect for a pit stop of two, maybe three or four drinks post work.
Tel: 01704 807450
Hard Times and Misery
Tel: 0151 345 6841