Thank you CAMRA members

From Carol, Suzanne, Lynn, Mark, Molly, Julie, Theresa, Debbie and Bill:

We'd like to thank the many CAMRA members who dropped in for a pint or two at the Roscoe Head over your AGM weekend in Liverpool.

It was a real pleasure to meet you all, we truly enjoyed your company and hope you visit us again soon.

In true CAMRA spirit not a pint was spilled nor an elbow nudged - we didn't have to get the mop out once!

Delightful as it was to welcome so many of you, it was so darned crowded you might not have been able to appreciate our little gem of a pub in all its pristine glory.

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You can sign our petition here:

https://www.change.org/.../liverpool-city-council-save...

Carol Ross at Westminster April 2015

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Greg Mulholland (second from right) our Pub Hero after making history in our fight for Pub Company Reform outside Strangers Bar in House of Commons.

The House of Commons Bar

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Our Hero, Greg Mulholland, with a beer named after him in the House of Commons Bar.

Vince Cable visits the Roscoe Head

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Greg Mulholland, Gareth Epps, Carol Ross, Jo Swinson (Pubs Minister) Vince Cable (Business Minister) in The Roscoe Head.

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Carol Ross receives Roger Kirby Award

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The Roger Kirby award was presented to Carol Ross, from the Roscoe Head, for her campaigning.

Why the Roscoe Head is Liverpool pub of the year

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CAROL ROSS was lost for words when asked what made her petite pub so special. Luckily, her regulars were happy to do the talking.


On Monday, the Roscoe Head was named Liverpool’s pub of the year at a boozy shindig so packed that ale lovers spilled out of the tiny tavern into the street outside.

Next night, just a few regulars were in the house. It may have been a quiet night in a small music-free pub, but they were happy to make a big noise about their favourite hostelry.

Just as landlady Carol Ross was telling me about her family’s three decades in charge at the Roscoe Head, Niall Bannon walked over, beaming, and handed her a congratulatory card.

“Not only do you consistently serve the best drinks in Liverpool,” he had written, “but it is also done with professionalism and friendliness. It is always a pleasure to visit your pub.”

Glowing words indeed – but there were more to come as I sought the secret of the Roscoe Head’s success.

The pub, named after poet and anti-slavery campaigner William Roscoe, sits tucked away off busy Hardman Street. The warmly wood-lined inn boasts a snug and two lounges, all packed into a tiny space smaller than the glass collecting area in bars more lavishly endowed with floorspace.

If it’s beer you want, then this place has as good a pedigree as you could ever wish for. It is, after all, one of only seven UK pubs to appear in every single edition of the Good Beer Guide since it was first published in 1974.

It even serves beer in third-of-a- pint portions, meaning drinkers like me can unleash their inner nerd with a wooden platter of three tiny sampler glasses.

Carol, a former manager of the opulent Philharmonic pub up the road, took over in 1997 after her parents, Nicholas and Margaret Joyce, hung up their aprons.

“I’m absolutely delighted at winning pub of the year,” she said. “Who wouldn’t be?

“We’ve won it in my parents’ day. But in my day it’s always been a runner-up. Until now.”

What’s so good about it, I asked.

“The clientele,” she said, after a pause. “The good beer. And the standards – the cleanliness.”

Sensing her hesitation, a neighbouring drinker couldn’t resist chipping in.

“It’s got its own unique ambience,” said Carl Davis, who visits regularly to savour its friendly quietness. “There’s no telly blaring down.”

Carol added: “There’s no music here, and people like it that way.

“When we did a refurb a few years ago, we gave customers the option of having music. They gave us a firm no.”

And the pub proudly refuses to show football on its little-used televisions.

“We got the tellies for the World Cup,” smiled Carol. “We didn’t get any business from it. It’s not a football pub.”

And at that point, Niall handed over his card.

“I’ve been coming here for 31 years,” he told me as Carol read his words with pride.

“I’m not one of those Camra types,” he added, pointing at my sampler. “I don’t drink real ale. But the staff are brilliant. It’s a great pub regardless of the beer.”

In the snug beside the bar, a suitably small space a London estate agent would doubtless call “bijou”, perched a trio of regulars – Karl Harrison, Andy Pattinson, and Sam Holden.

“I’ve got a mate from London who comes here every time he visits Liverpool,” said Karl. “He gets his sampler, then he chooses what’s going to be his wobbling water for the rest of the night.”

“I used to be a bitter drinker,” said Andy, a regular for 30 years. “But now I’m an ardent Guinness drinker. And this is the best Guinness in town.”

The pub looks ageless, its 1930s woodwork still in fine fettle, but it has been touched up every now and again. Andy wistfully recalled when there was a couch squeezed, somehow, into the snug.

“One Christmas, he mused, “there were 28 of us in this snug.

“Everyone was like this,” he said, miming a man with elbows pinned to his side and his pint glass under his chin. “But nobody spilt a drop.”

In the front lounge, frosted glass softening views of the backstreet outside, sat Simon Macaulay and Graeme Edwards.

“I’ve never had a bad pint here,” said Simon.

“The staff are always ready to make recommendations,” noted Graeme. “They know what you usually like, and they always say ‘I know what you’d like to drink this evening’.

“But that could”, he added with a wry smile, “be a bad sign that we’re in here too often.”

We gazed around the Roscoe Head’s spotless interior. “It’s a proper pub,” said Simon. “The only theme is that it’s a pub”.

I returned to the rear lounge, and my tasting platter. I quaffed my tastily bitter Liverpool Organic 24/7, savoured my Adnams’ Sole Star, whose floral citrus toppled into a lemony sweet finish, and relished every drop of the savoury cakey richness of the Lytham Brewery Epic.

As I put away my platter, one of the regulars sidled up.

“Would you mind,” he said with a smile, “telling people it’s rubbish here? That way we won’t get too many people coming in.”

Good effort. But no.

Roscoe Head named Liverpool’s top pub by Campaign for Real Ale

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ONE of Merseyside’s longest-serving real ale haunts has been named Liverpool’s pub of the year.


The Roscoe Head, on Roscoe Street in the city centre, was honoured last night by members of the Liverpool and Districts branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

The pub is a longstanding favourite among Liverpool drinkers. It is one of only seven pubs in the UK to be named in every edition of Camra’s Good Beer Guide since the book was first published in 1974.

The tiny pub packs in two lounges and a snug around its central bar.

And it’s a family pub, as the current landlady is Carol Ross, who took charge in 1997 after her mum and dad retired.

Camra’s branch chairman, Geoff Edwards, said: “It’s a fantastic pub. It ticked all the boxes – good beer quality, friendly staff, and a nice environment.

“It was a tight competition this year. Half a dozen very good city centre pubs did very well. But our judges felt the Roscoe Head just edged it.”

Telegraph Pub Review

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The Roscoe Head is a Liverpool institution where past and present comes together in a glorious whole.


I’m first through the door at opening time. Early doors indeed, and why not? The Roscoe Head is a Liverpool pub institution — the only one on Merseyside that’s featured in every edition of Camra’s Good Beer Guide since the book’s debut in 1974.

Given the attritional rate of pub closures and takeovers over the years, this is no mean feat. I might be first but I’m not alone – not by a long shot.

The man behind me has a newspaper tucked under his arm like an RSM’s baton and he makes purposefully for the snug — wood panelling, wooden floors, framed prints on the wall … dare one use the phrase “man cave”? A stool is pulled out and he asks for his pint of Tetley’s Bitter.

I’ve got my beer already — Barnsley Brewery’s Apollo IPA, orange marmalade on the nose and palate; a creamy texture leading to a punchy bitter finish — and head for the parlour-like front lounge.

There’s an indefinable sense of comfort about this space: banquettes line the wall, above which old brass bells still hang.

Landlady Carol Ross, who took over the pub from her parents, tells me that the bells worked until recently. Framed pictures and posters of breweries decorate the walls and add to the intimacy and seductive allure of the room.

Others obviously feel the same, as a trio colonises an adjoining table and plans an early lunch. Work gossip floats over in my direction – “He works a lot from home…” “Yeah, apparently in the company of a bottle of red wine.”

I tune in and out of the conversation but also find myself melting into the traditional and comforting surroundings. I could stay here all day.

The Roscoe Head serves wholesome pub grub — baguettes and toasties are joined by the likes of chicken curry and steak and kidney pie with chips. I plump for the latter and consider another pint.

There are six real ales on display at the bar. As well as offering comfort and joy, the Roscoe is also celebrated for its support of microbreweries, both local and farther afield. Adnams’s New Zealand Pale Ale is a zingy, refreshing pint and an excellent consort to the pie.

Even though it feels like it has been around forever, this gem actually started life as a private house in the 1870s. And if you stand still and catch a quiet moment, it’s easy to sense the ghost of the house that once was (the family around the piano on a musical night, perhaps).

Some pubs have ghosts in the shape of a former local or licensee, but at the Roscoe Head, past and present come together to form a glorious whole.

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