Yates’ Wine Lodge


In my early days in Liverpool, my Mum and I used to visit a famous emporium called Yates’ Wine Lodge. Sawdust on the floor, spittoons beside the brass rail under the bar, full of sailors and merchant seamen, ladies of the night, and old biddies with surreptitious brown baggies in their shopping bags. You could buy what was known as a dock of Australian White (aka Aussie White) for a few pence, and two of those would knock you into next week. Lots of laughter, clouds of smoke from cheap cigarettes, usually Woodbines (aka Woodies), and general atmosphere of camaraderie. Occasionally, someone would burst into song, and before you knew it, the whole pub would join in and have a great old time. They were open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On my last visit to my home town, I was saddened to see that the chain of Wine Lodges is now officially gentrified, and they have chandeliers, a doorman, modern flooring and furnishings, no spittoons, no smoking, and a menu that included Mediterranean food, California cuisine, flambed this, that and the other, and a multiple of sauces and condiments, the like of which we never saw in the old days. Ah yes, and they call it progress.