The outside of this building is a stunning example of how serious the Victorians were about drinking establishments, a purpose-built pub that is as lavish as a museum. A set of elaborate Art Nouveau-style gates lead into a pub filled with mahogany carvings, elaborate fireplaces, and an intricate tile mosaic bar. But for many, the real draw is the gentlemen’s toilets.
In Notes From A Small Island, Bill Bryson wrote, “there is no place in the world finer for a pee than the ornate gents’ room of the Philharmonic.” The floor is covered with another mosaic design, and the urinals are carved out of rose-colored marble. The Liverpool Philharmonic Dining Rooms, commonly known as “the Phil,” was built between 1898-1900 and designed by the local architect Walter W. Thomas. The richly-decorated drinking establishment has been called a “cathedral among pubs.” In 2020, the pub was granted Grade 1 listed status, Historic England’s highest honor. (For reference, other Grade 1 buildings include Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Windsor Castle.)
To make sure you don’t accidentally impose on a local utilizing the toilets as intended, the bar’s staff are happy to check if it’s safe for visitors to enter. The marble urinals and tiling are so stunning that they can distract from that urinal smell. Unfortunately, the women’s facilities are “nothing to write home about,” according to at least one visitor.
Beatles fans may also recognize the pub from a surprise Paul McCartney gig that James Cordon arranged.In a pub with so much history, it also won’t be a surprise to know that the locals not only consider it haunted, but that it is the home of a banshee.