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The Head of Steam, Liverpool

Pub added by elizabeth mcgraw
85-89 Hanover Street
L1 3DY
Phone: 01517085688

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Pub SignMan left this review about The Head of Steam

I have to say that I was slightly stunned to discover that I’d actually visited this pub previously, in a former guise, as I recognised nothing of the old pub in this fancy new enterprise from the Head Of Steam chain. You enter into a front lounge space with small tables and tub chairs either side of the front door and large windows out to the busy street outside. A parquet floor walkway leads you down to an elongated island servery with brick tile frontage, lots of exposed pipes, a large metal frame gantry and a very pleasantly presented bar back. Some very comfy banquette booths run along the right-hand wall, whilst basic banquettes can be found to the left under a grill-fronted display cabinet full of pump clips. The pub opens out to the rear, with plenty of tables and chairs arranged under high windows and a raised seating area behind the servery. The whole pub has an industrial feel beloved of such bars, thanks to timber clad walls, high ceilings, corrugated iron vaulting and plenty of exposed utilities. A few bits of breweriana have been put on display, but on the whole, the decor was pretty plain, with a TV screen listing the draught range and detailing customers’ Untapped check-ins providing the best form of visual distraction. Loud dance music was playing on our late Saturday night visit and there was a modest crowd in, with seating still available at all times.
On the bar, five operational handpulls offered a choice between Black Lodge A Better Land, Thornbridge Lucaria, Camerons Lions Pride, Hawkshead Bitter and a Lilley’s cider. I took a pint of the Bitter for £4.20 and thought it was okay - maybe a touch flat towards the end of the pint. The staff seemed nice enough and busied themselves to ensure prompt service and clean tables.
I usually enjoy these Head Of Steam pubs and thought this one was a decent enough example. I liked the bar area and comfy banquette seating, thought they had an interesting ale selection and liked the chilled atmosphere, despite the blaring music. An improvement on my last visit and a good option if your crawl wends its way through this part of the city.

Date of visit - 15th July 2023

Original review as The Abbey, 23rd May 2017. Rated 6

This large sports oriented pub close to Liverpool Central station, made it into the 2017 Good Beer Guide, so I decided to pay the place a visit when I found myself in the city in early February. However, upon arriving I was confronted with a sign at the bar explaining that ale was no longer available due to supplier issues, so I left without buying anything. Two months later and I was back in Liverpool again and figured I should give the pub a second chance, and I'm pleased that I did, as this time round there were two beers on the five handpulls - Sharps Sea Fury and Conwy Clogwyn Gold at a very respectable £2.50 a pint. I gave the latter a try and it was perfectly drinkable, if a little way short of top quality. There was a reasonable number of other customers in on my midweek visit, but they all seemed to be on the lager, so turnover may be an issue - at least they didn't have all five pumps on the go.
The pub is deceptively large, stretching back a long way from the entrance, and has an overwhelmingly corporate feel to it, with little warmth or charm. Steps take you up through the entrance and into the long but fairly narrow main bar with the servery along the right hand wall. A good deal of comfy seating is arranged under the front windows and walls have a garish floral pattern wallpaper which is quite off-putting. Some high tables and stools run along the left hand wall before the bar appears on the opposite side with a padded counter front and plain mirror bar back decked with fairy lights and topped with some even worse wallpaper. Further back to the left is a raised, two-tier seating area with long banquettes and standard chairs plus a few low backed banquette booths. A smaller raised seating area can be found to the right, past the end of the bar whilst high tables and stools resume their way through the centre. At the far end there is a large split-level space which was roped off for a private event during my visit. The pub is notably bereft of interesting decor but is furnished with a great many TV screens, all of which were showing a documentary about the Grand National which was due to be run that weekend. Music played in direct competition with the TV screens which were not muted and I noticed a cheap and cheerful pub grub menu which a few punters were taking a chance on.
This is a pretty basic pub with no real character which is pitched at those wanting to drink in large groups whilst watching some televised sport. The presence of a couple of ales was a welcome sight and I can imagine there would be times when a bar like this would come in handy, but it all felt very mediocre and I was happy to move on after a quick pint.

On 22nd December 2023 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3093 recommendations about 3093 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blue Scrumpy left this review about The Head of Steam

I made my first visit to the Head of Steam in almost 2 years on a recent Saturday. It is just as popular as it was pre-lockdown with its central bar and plenty of seating all around.

Cameron's Strongarm is the regular ale. Guests on this Saturday afternoon visit were Green Duck Revolution, Top Rope Vanilla Monsoon, Vocation Heart & Soul & Brew York Maris the Otter. Ciders were Lilley's Tropical Cider & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. In addition, there are many craft beers on draft.

My Vanilla Monsoon and Tropical Cider were both very enjoyable and so was the CAMRA discount you can get here. Live sports are shown on the TV and food is also available.

A solid 8/10, one of the best pubs in the city and in reference to the last review, it is so much more reliable than its previous incarnation at Lime Street station.

On 5th October 2021 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2416 recommendations about 2415 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rob Hunter left this review about The Head of Steam

I never made it to the original Head of Steam in Liverpool, so was glad when this one opened and welcomed the opportunity to include it on a crawl. It reminded me of the Birmingham venue in terms of interior décor. As you come in the real ales are to the back of the right hand side of the bar, with 10 hand pulls, including a cider.

There seems to be a rear area which can be sectioned off and has its own bar (not in use at the time of my visit) which I assume is where private functions can be held.

A good selection of styles on the real ale front and another good example of an outlet from this chain.

On 11th April 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 750 recommendations about 598 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about The Head of Steam

Liverpool's first Head of Steam was at Lime Street Station, where Wetherspoons is now situated. Cameron's have certainly spent a lot of money fitting out this large space. The pubs theme is of the golden age of steam as are the majority of their outlets. I especially liked the timber clad wall opposite the bar which was made to look like parcel wagons. Another railway feature was found at the rear of the pub, which was the train carriage style booths with luggage racks above the seats. Another large feature in here was the high, curved corrigated steel ceiling finished in dark grey, which looked as though you were in a railway arch.
Eight handpumps on my visit with a fairly uninspiring choice of ales, so I went for the Higsons Winter Ale 4.3% at £3.80 a pint, which was in excellent condition.

On 24th December 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3342 recommendations about 3342 pubs]

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Brainy Pool left this review about The Head of Steam

I have heard a lot about this chain without having ever visited any of them. I was a tad suspicious of it but actually I quite liked it. comfortable and relaxing inside if a little short of atmosphere on a Tuesday afternoon. not sure what it's like later on. didn't inspect too carefully but ale selection seemed decent to me (9 were on, by the way). pint of Saltaire blonde perfectly kept. there's a really good range of Belgian beers from the monks etc so great if you like that stuff too. please-all food menu also available but nothing inspiring enough for me to indulge.

On 28th August 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1030 recommendations about 996 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

ROB Camra left this review about The Head of Steam

This is a huge pub, much bigger than you would think from the outside. A load of booths just inside the entrance near the bar and loads of other areas to both the side and rear of the bar. It's very nicely decorated and is obviously pretty newly refurbished. The barmaid was very chatty and friendly. It wasn't very busy on a Monday night as you might expect, but there were quite a few people dotted about. The ale selection was almost totally Camerons, so I had a Motorhead Road Crew which was OK and then a Kirkstall Ignore The Ignorant, which I hadn't had before, so overall I was quite happy. Ms CAMRA like the red wine, which is why we stayed for two. We'll happily call in again next time we're here.

On 2nd April 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3200 recommendations about 3111 pubs]

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Al Bundy left this review about The Head of Steam

I'm afraid the initial expectation of this place has somewhat subsided. If you're coming here as a one off it is a good place. However, it has been open for a while now and the beer selection is virtually the same as when it opened. What you see is probably what you'll get in 4 months time, give or take a couple of beers. And for something this big is a bit rubbish. 9 down to a 6. But hey! You may think its great.

As noted this is now called The Head Of Steam. The interior has been totally rearranged with the bar now centrally located. The bar is an island bar so obviously the seating circles the bar. All the handpumps, draught fonts etc are on the right side of the bar. There are 10 handpumps and at least 18 taps for lagery beers. There is also a small bar at the rear of the pub. Seating to the right consists of low tables and chairs at the front, booth seating in the middle and in the raised areas to the back more low tables and chairs. Seating to the left consists of benches and tables. Beers available today were Chapter Brewing Parabola, Neptune Abyss, Liverpool Organic Josephine Butler, Rock The Boat Fab Four, Camerons' Strongarm, Ahopalypse Now and Road Crew, Leeds Brewery Hell Fire and Best. An excellent place

Not too bad a pub. A large open plan pub with a long bar to your right. A tiered area to your left. Real ales available. Formerly The Barracuda. Formerly The Old Monk.

On 13th November 2017 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3487 recommendations about 3390 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

custodian 42 left this review about The Abbey

Surprizingly decent, given the area. Some halfway acceptable ale at 5.0%.

On 14th October 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1693 recommendations about 1691 pubs]