Friday, 28 December 2012

The Refreshment Rooms, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead

It's always good to see a closed pub re-open especially when it does so with a range of real ales. I have good memories of the Admiral as it was called for many years, now reverting to it's original name. It was one the first pubs in the area to stock Special Cask Bitter when Whitbread West Pennines finally acknowledged the real ale revolution in the 70s and I actually won a few medals playing for the pub football team.

The Refreshment Rooms in the 1880s
The Refreshment Rooms (CH42 1LS) was built in the 1870s to cash in on the trade from the adjacent Rock Ferry when ferries were the only way for the public to cross the river Mersey until the underground rail tunnel was drilled. The imposing Royal Rock Hotel over the road was well known in the region and the prestigious Royal Mersey Yacht Club, whose current patron is the Duke of Edinburgh and members include King Harald of Norway, is just 50 yards away.

However, the construction of the 1st Mersey Tunnel did for the outlying ferry routes. Later in the 20th century the Tranmere Oil Terminal ruined the view across the Mersey, as it still does, and even worse, a late 60s act of planning vandalism, the Rock Ferry by-pass, decimated the adjacent Rock Park estate of 18th century merchant's mansions. The Admiral had previously been 400 yards from the nearest railway station, bus stops and shops but the replacement road bridge over the by-pass took a tortuous route leaving the pub in a backwater.

Not the most inspiring river view even after I've cropped the worst bit.
The pub still  did reasonably well for a number of years, partly because it's secluded position, close to but somehow cut off from the rest of the community gave it a special atmosphere, but it struggled like many other pubs in recent years before it closed, seemingly for good.

Re-opened by new owners who have a track record of rejuvenating tired pubs; a mixture of cask beers, good value food, live music and discouraging unruly elements has worked well and the pub is doing very well. Lees have funded the beer engines and provide three beers, and other beers are usually sourced from local favourites Brimstage and Liverpool Organic.

A recent visit on a Sunday afternoon showed a reasonable numbers of punters at the bar and families dining, with a good proportion of the custom female so the pub seems to be back on it's feet.

By the way, anyone who's aware of Duffy's CD 'Rockferry' may like to know that it is named after this Rock Ferry. She has family in the area and has fond memories of visits here. Her Auntie Mo works for the same company as I do.


  1. I would like to visit the place before Rovers game on Tuesday in the 26th of February.
    Do you know the oppening times?

    Harri - the Real Ale hunter from Finland

  2. It there any other real ale places between Rock Ferry and Prenton Park?


  3. The pub is open from either 11:00 or Noon to 11:00 p.m.
    The Lord Napier in St Pauls Road usually has one handpump operating and continuing up to the top of the hill looking down on the ground the Sportsman pub in Prenton Road East has starting selling real ale again recently. The Prenton Park opposite the ground also has real ale. The best beer quality and choiice is about 10 minutes walk away in the Cock & Pullet: http://birkonian.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/cock-and-pullet-birkenhead.html

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  5. The website for this The Refreshment Rooms is http://www.refreshmentrooms.com
    The pub is open from 12pm everyday and usually has several Real Ales and Ciders on draught and has an excellent menu.