Is This Liverpool Bar The Most Ornate Gin Palace In England?

The Philharmonic Dining Rooms aka The Phil, specialises in ale and gin. Its gin lists boasts 24 beautiful bottles and perfect serves! But that’s not all this gin palace has to offer. Their toilets are the most talked about in the city. The venue began as a gentlemen’s club and has managed to keep it’s men toilet exactly how it was designed in 1898.

For a genuinely historic dram or two, head to the iconic Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Liverpool. This Grade II listed building is one of the few remaining buildings built in the style of gin palaces, ornate pubs dating back to the Victorian days, when gin drinking was a downright luxurious affair.

With wood-panelled walls and stained glass windows, this gin joint is every inch a time machine back to the era in which it was constructed. Built in 1898 for the brewer Robert Cain, its architecture has remained largely untouched, even as the city around it swelled and changed.

While not an original gin palace, The Phil, as it’s called locally, is a perfect example of the late 19th-century style that these intricately decorated palaces of pleasure would have embodied. Designed throughout to echo musical motifs – as a tribute to the nearby concert hall – you can see hints of the theme on copper panels, plaster work and decoration in mahogany and glass.

All of this craftsmanship would have been illuminated by new gas lamps. As Charles Dickens wrote, gin palaces were “perfectly dazzling when contrasted with the dirt and dust we have just left.”

But this pub’s most unique architectural feature is accessible only to half the population: the men’s toilets! The urinals in The Phil’s loos are carved out of rose coloured marble, and truly a sight to behold.

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So, too, is the gin list at the modern incarnation of this historic haunt. Staying true to its roots, The Phil specialises in ale and gin. Its gin lists boasts 24 beautiful bottles and perfect serves – including the original City of London Gin, paired with aplomb with pink grapefruit and juniper berries.

Pair your pint or perfect G&T with classic pub food like fish and chips and scrummy pies. It’s classic British dining in truly historic surroundings – and the perfect way to celebrate the long and varied history of gin!