Great pub, sad times.

It’s the late 90’s on Seel Street and Pogue Mahones, which translates to “kiss my arse”, have just opened their doors. Seel Street today is bustling with bars and it’s the place to go amongst the revellers of the night. A long the strip you can find steins and brines, queues around the block for Heebies and a dark and unassuming pub called Pogue Mahones. Known affectionally as Pogue’s to their many drinkers, short of a flight to Ireland, you’d be hard pushed to find a better pint of Guinness in the city. Not just that, it was much more than a place for a drink. A place for quiz nights, Paddy’s nights and steak nights. A place for live music, live sport on the big screen and late nights. A place for the weird and wonderful, English and Irish, black and white. It was truly a place for everyone.

The news broke a couple days ago and the whole city has been in mourning since. After 20 great years of business with lots of craic along the way, Pogue’s is sadly over. It came as shock to many, especially ourselves. It isn’t closing due to lack of business or evolving into something else, the lease is just over and they’re calling it a day. The crackling warm fire is dying out, the Guinness is empty and the guitar is being left untuned. Immensely sad as it’s always hurts a lot more when it’s a great pub as they’re so few and far between. What most people loved and will miss about Pogue’s is how authentically Irish it was. It wasn’t loud, in your face with Belle of Belfast City on a loop – it was subtle, warming and quintessentially Irish. From the accents of the staff to the far-too-easy-to-drink Guinness, it was a place for the people and one filled with laughter. Pogue’s formulae was simple and the offering barely changed for the two decades it was open – testament to a time where trends and novelty are at an all time high. Maybe that’s what made it so special. Pogue’s was comfortable with who it was and it was refreshing. 

Liverpool has a very special connection with Ireland and we’re blessed to have such great Irish pubs on offer but there will be a Pogue shaped hole in all our lives from now on. First off, St Patrick’s night will certainly never be the same. You’ve not lived if you’ve not left the house stone-cold sober and woken up with a melted Irish flag you can half remember being painted on your face at Pogue’s at some ungodly hour in the morning. Oh, if those walls could talk. We speak on behalf of the whole city when we say this Pogue’s but we will miss you. Many places have closed in the city but none has quite hit us like you. In typical Irish form, it only feels right to end this love letter with one of our favourite Irish blessings: “Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one.” Farewell Pogue’s, thanks for the nights we can’t remember and the memories we’ll never forget.