A magnificent Liverpool drinking institution has become the first Victorian purpose-built English pub to be given Grade I listed status.
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, known locally as ‘The Phil’, is considered a ‘cathedral among pubs’ because of its spectacular architecture and highly ornate ‘gin palace’ interior.
A favourite haunt of The Beatles, John Lennon once said the biggest drag about being in the Fab Four was ‘not being able to have a pint in the Phil’
Built in 1898 for local brewer Richard Cain by architect Walter W Thomas, the pub aimed to reflect the wealth and ambition of the Age of Empire.
Millions of pints later, it has now been upgraded from Grade II* to Grade I on the advice of Historic England, joining the likes of Buckingham Palace, Chatsworth House and Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in the top 2.5% of England’s protected historic buildings.
Though other inns and taverns have Grade I status, it becomes the first purpose-built ale house erected during the ‘golden age’ of Victorian pub-building to achieve the highest status.
McCartney performed a piano rendition of When I’m Sixty-Four.
He revealed that he would write songs, along with John Lennon, in the back room of the pub. He described one of the toilets in the pub as his old ‘acoustic chamber’ where he would sing and play guitar.
Built in an exuberant free style, the Phil boasts stepped and shaped gables with obelisk finials, tall chimney stacks, turrets with copper ogee domes, and a corbelled balustraded balcony that wraps around the second floor.
The decorative entrance gates are widely considered to be among the finest Art Nouveau metalwork in England.
Inside, the horseshoe public bar and snugs feature eclectic decoration by Charles John Allen and Henry Bloomfield Bare, with elaborate plaster work and ceramics, repousse copper work, finely detailed stained glass, mahogany fireplaces and intricately carved woodwork.