What’s the story?
THIS is an old time boozer in every sense: the builing is early Victorian and drink has been served here since way before even the oldest regular was born.
It is hidden away anyway, but in recent times it has been buried almost completely by the clutter of roadworks and commercial developments. The Grosvenor and Primark and Bling Bling projects have all resulted in School Lane being used more as practice for crane drivers reverse parking and making that whining noise. Or was that just Yoko singing in the newly refurbished Bluecoat over the road?
Fortunately the road signs and Primark lorries haven’t scared off the regulars. Come lunchtime, you’ll still be hard pushed to bag a seat.
This used to be a Post Office, aptly enough. Nowadays it’s run by Stan and Marie Jones, whose previous pubs include The Goat, on Great Howard Street, and the much-loved and missed Vernon Arms on Dale Street.
Why go there?
The sizzling steak menu is a good reason as any, plus the specials which often include a lamb shank roast dinner and curries. And for around a fiver you can’t go far wrong.
The Liverpool Confidential team can in particular recommend the steak and scampi mixed grill but don’t however advise lifting the hot plate (which is the temperature of the sun) with bare hands.
As well as the good food, the pub’s also within a chewing-gum's throw of Church Street and its (rapidly relocating) shops, making it an ideal spot to recharge the old batteries post-shop, before making your way home post-pint, Post Office.
If the place were to have one criticism, it would surely be the distinct lack of cask ales. However Marie informs us: “With the amount of vans and lorries going up and down School Lane, the vibrations would make the beer go off in the cellar.” Another interesting repercussion, in every sense, of the Big Dig.
But, in a way, the most admirable thing about the OPO is the lack of fancy beers - the lack of ostentatious yuppies. The lack of tossers. They sell shedloads of Carling. And Tetleys. And unpretentious and simple John Smiths.
Don’t fret spirit lovers, there’s also a popular doubles bar, Marie assuring us that an afternoon double vodka or two is particularly popular.
Who goes there?
There’s a loyal base of older regulars who have been the backbone down the years, all eating lunch at a leisurely pace or travelling into town “because it’s a drinking environment that they feel safe in”, says Marie. Don’t also be surprised to see the odd manager type from neighbouring Next or M&S, an arty type or two from the Bluecoat, and a few men in hard hats.
“We don’t do any. The pub’s too small”, says Marie. But surely a pub needs karaoke and live music to be half decent? This is, of course, a load of old rhubarb. What’s the saying? You make your own entertainment. Or is that luck? However that all goes out the window on St Paddy's night, and if you’re after karaoke, get yourself down to Woody’s. Our words, not Marie’s.
What’s the crack?
There may not be the “famous” faces you'll find at “concept bars” with bouncers elsewhere in town, or the unnecessarily loud students found everywhere else, but The Old Post Office is a warm and welcoming city centre watering hole to get lost in.
The Old Post Office gets our stamp (sorry) of approval. And for those still mourning The Vernon Arms, Stan is putting the finishing touches to a book about his and Marie’s time there, no doubt relaying fascinating tales of Militant politics, magistrates and men of renown.
Liverpool Confidential's operative left his wallet in there and he swears it was returned with more money in than when he left it. But then it is an Old Post Office.
The Old Post Office, School Lane, Liverpool 1. Tel: 0151 707 8880
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