We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Best real ale quality in Liverpool” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Dispensary

The Dispensary
Ranked #92 of 195 Nightlife in Liverpool
Attraction details
Quepos, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Best real ale quality in Liverpool”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2014

There are lots of good pubs in Liverpool and I recommend that you visit more than a few of them, but for quality of beer alone (real ale) the Dispensary is consistently the best in the city. The landlord is rightly proud of the cellar and won't serve beer that's not up to scratch (not afraid to send it back to the brewery) - and he also ensures there is a good range of beers on (so not all dark, all strong or all pale etc) so all in all it's pretty much guaranteed you'll find something you like.

There are often beers on from Yorkshire and Shropshire (e.g. Ossett, Ferndandes, Rat, Salopian) and the lakes (Hawkshead) and further afield (Darkstar, Fyne Ales, Oakham). And obviously some local ones too (George Wright, Liverpool Organic).

There is music on when there's no sport on, usually unobtrusive. It is a popular place to watch the Liverpool and Everton games (so when they are on be warned it's standing room only!).

There is no food here, other than crisps and nuts, but there are plenty of places around here to get a bite including some good Indian's and it's only a five minute walk to China Town.

There are lots of good pubs within a five minute walk from here, including the Roscoe Head, Fly in the Loaf and Philharmonic, so it's a great place to start or end a little pub walk.

If you like your english ales try not to miss this pub.

Visited February 2014
Thank Zevonesque
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“I thought it was great (female age57)”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 February 2014

Best beer in Liverpool, Ship and Mitre was good but not a patch on here. The manager/owner was in and obviously very proud of his ale and rightly so. Its an alehouse...no frills but beer in perfect condition Great atmosphere but if you want a soft drink go to Wetherspoons or another chain, It too small for the make a pint last two hours brigade to be welcome as seating is quite limited but still would go again next time on Merseyside.

Visited February 2014
Thank Rowan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
41 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great small pub”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 February 2014

Visited with my son on a quiet sunday afternoon. Really friendly staff and excellent beer quality. There is something unique in this place. Highly recommendeed.

2 Thank Tailgunner75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Real Ale pub with attitude”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2014

We visited this real ale pub on a visit to Liverpool, my friend had a Titanic double coffee porter, complete with sprinkled choc, I had a Titanic plum porter, Both were excellent!!!, there were several real ales on the pumps, The pub were full of people, young and old, men and women, The pub also has kept some of the old characteristics of the old chemist, which is wonderful. A "must" for any real ale taker.

2 Thank sally-ann99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Psychotic, Belligerent Manager!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2014

My friends and I were on a Christmas pub crawl and The Dispensary was our third stop. First impressions were positive: Erdinger on tap; match on the screen... but then we encountered the manager, Dave, and his apparent audition to be landlord of The Queen Vic!

Drink purchased, leaning on the bar watching the match, I sang four words jokingly to a friend, "And if you know...", when Dave’s fist slammed down on my hand with great force. Gasps of disbelief rang out from my friends. Shaking the pain away our eyes met, “None of that in here!” he snarled. Rushing from behind the bar, Dave knocked a drink over my friend’s shirt, gripped me from behind and shouted, “Get out, you’re barred!”

Despite presently being shoved in the back and head, I tried to reason with him:
“Can I finish my drink?”
"Down it and get out!"
"Can I down it though or are you going to shove my teeth into the glass?"

Here's where it got weird! An onlooker had started recording the incident on his phone: presumably trying to capture the impossible feat of drinking a pint whilst being prodded intermittently in the head. Realising his lunacy was being captured, Dave channelled his energy into grabbing the evidence.

Picture the scene: a bald, fifty-plus bar manager and a lanky student wrestling on the floor of a busy city centre pub. Dave started with a bear hug from behind, but the student valiantly resisted and managed to sit down on the floor. Both having two hands on the phone, Dave proceeded to drag the student across the floor in his attempts to pry it from his hands. Eventually obtaining the phone, he rushed to the door and raised his arm to throw it. Luckily, a friend of the 'de-phoned' stepped in and grabbed Dave’s wrist just in time.

At this point I thought the bizarre events were over: the phone would be returned and I would finish my pint and leave... wrong! Queue a mass argument in the doorway and the introduction of a second, more significant, bystander. Dave, now backed by a second bald man, stood in the doorway refusing to return the phone. The student and his friends gathered on the pavement demanding its return.

Out of nowhere came the cry, "Police!" Everyone froze! Fortuitously, an off-duty policeman had quietly witnessed all the events transpire whilst attempting to watch the match. Finally losing his patience, he took charge:
"This has gone too far! I don't care about what's happened; I care about what happens now. Dave, return the phone... and lads, move on."
Dave, embarrassed and emasculated, handed the phone over and warned, "You better delete that video!"

Returning to his pub, Dave realised that my friends and I were still stood by the bar.
“I thought I told you to get out!”
“We’re not leaving our drinks!”
“You can drink them on the street... and make sure you leave the glasses!”
Having witnessed the previous events, we accepted this compromise.

I was motivated to write this entry after reading multiple reviews from people with similar experiences, highlighting that this sort of behaviour from the manager is not out of character. None of the events that occurred during my visit were necessary: they resulted from Dave’s intrinsic aggressive nature and senseless actions. Had Dave asked me not to sing, I would have, and the subsequent madness would not have followed.

I strongly advise that you avoid The Dispensary at all costs, unless you are actively seeking a confrontation with the infamous Dave!

Visited December 2013
38 Thank dapretz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed The Dispensary also viewed

Liverpool, Merseyside
Liverpool, Merseyside
Liverpool, Merseyside
Liverpool, Merseyside

Been to The Dispensary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing