I was delighted to see the news that Liverpool’s Philharmonic Dining Rooms, more usually known as the Philharmonic pub or even just “the Phil”, has been awarded Grade I Listing for architectural and historic merit.
Although I grew up near Liverpool and went to university there, I’ve only ever been inside the building once. My family didn’t really ‘do’ pubs and I was too nervous as an 18 or 19-year-old to go in by myself. But when I was finally dragged in by some friends, I found it really was every bit as amazing as the descriptions suggest. Pretty much every surface is covered in decoration of some kind, and the result is luxurious, beautiful, but slightly overwhelming. You do start to wonder why a mere pub was treated to so much opulence.
The announcement is well timed for me since the Phil is just around the corner from St Luke’s church (Liverpool’s famous “bombed-out” church, gutted during the second world war) which appears in my new vampire book Echoes of Blood. I didn’t think to use the nearby pub as a location, but I’m hoping to write other books in the same series so there’s time to put that right.
In the meantime, maybe one of my characters will do something I never got the chance to do, which is visit those magnificent gents’ toilets. In my case, the photos will have to be enough!