I'd gone down to London to pick up a car that a friend was gifting me. Free car - all I had to do was to get down to London from Belfast. What I wound up doing was taking a flight into Luton and then busing it down to Londinium. My friends were leaving the UK (on their own accord, they weren't being forced) so I took them to the airport in the car. They also had a two week old baby, as well as a dog, Mandy. When they got to the airport they discovered that they were missing a vital piece of paperwork for Mandy. I volunteered to rush out and get the paperwork, and promptly got lost on the M25. Mandy eventually got her paperwork, but the airline had to put them on another flight. And they wound up having to transfer instead of a direct flight.
But they finally made it. And I retired to wake up for an early start. But, before that, on the way home, I managed to sideswipe one of the cars that were lining the street of this quaint little English village and knock one of the mirrors off a very expensive car. Whoops.
I finally got off the next day without incident. My plan was to try to make it to the Beatles museum in Liverpool, which closed at like 6 or so. I would barely just be able to make it from London to Liverpool with some museum time.
The drive was fairly uneventful. I stopped for lunch in Birmingham and then continued to make my way north. Liverpool was a pretty big city. Even bigger than I thought it was going to be, so I was a little lost when I first got there. I eventually gave up on the idea of the Beatles museum and decided to check into the hotel, which was smack dab in the middle of the city. Not too shabby.
My first stop was the Philharmonic Pub. Not only because John Lennon used to drink there, but also because it has a historically listed bathroom!
Check it out. Yep. Those are marble urinals. Pretty damn swanky.
The place was more like a church than a pub. Chandeliers and stained glass were everywhere and - something you'd never see in an American pub - books on the walls.
The beer was excellent and they had a bunch of local flavors. I just noticed that some people have rated this place horrible on Tripadvisor. Dude, are you kidding me? LOOK AT THE BATHROOM.
It was probably someone trying to order food or, even worse, someone who didn't drink. I don't mind if you don't drink, just don't go into a pub and start bitching about the experience.
After the Phil, the next stop was a quick bit of some delicious Indian food, then then made my way towards the City Center. Liverpool is a pretty walkable city, and it didn't take long for me to walk across the length of town to a section known as the Cavern Quarter, after The Cavern Club, where a little band called The Beatles used to play.
The original Cavern isn't there anymore. They have a new Cavern Club, which is right next to where the old one used to be (and built from some of the same bricks!) but it's not the same club.
I went into the fake Cavern and hung out for a bit. It was dark and dank and musty smelling, so I figure I kinda got the original Cavern experience. But not in the Original Cavern. And without the Beatles.
The highlight of the trip, however, was wandering into the famous Grapes Pub, located right across the street from the Fake/Original Cavern.
Because of it's convenient location, musicians who would play in the Cavern would stop in Grapes first for a quick pint, as I don't think they served alcohol in the Original Cavern (they sure as hell did in the Fake Cavern and charged an arm and a leg for it).
One of those groups is the four young lads you see in the picture at the top of the page. That's the Beatles along with their original drummer, Pete Best.
Here's a picture of the seat they were sitting in when the picture above was taken. I sat down in the seat (I think I was approximately where Pete Best was) and sipped on my beer.
I wasn't there in time to see the original Cavern Club where The Beatles played, but at least I got to see the original booth where they did their gig pre-gaming.