Regional report

Why is Liverpool a good place to own a pub?

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Young blood: a chance to capture the youthful exuberance of Liverpool
Young blood: a chance to capture the youthful exuberance of Liverpool
A growing population – made up of many Millennials and Generation Z – is helping drive Liverpool and that is attracting high-profile operators

Liverpool in numbers

  • More than a quarter of people living in the city (26.8%, 125,200 people) are young adults (aged 15 to 29) compared to 19.9% nationally, while almost half (45.4%) are aged 16 to 44. (Source: 2011 UK Census)
  • The average age of people in Liverpool is 38, while the median age is lower, at 35. (Source: 2011 UK Census)
  • There are 439 pubs in the city that employ 8,822 people. (Source: British Beer & Pub Association)

As well as being the home of The Beatles, Brookside and two of England’s most famous football clubs, Liverpool is a vibrant city that has been enjoying a revival in recent years.

Its waterfront was even granted World Heritage status from UNESCO in July 2004, putting it alongside world famous attractions such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

It is a city with a long history and, as a port, has a diverse population. It is reportedly home to the oldest African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in all of Europe.

Done deals

The Tavern, Belper, Derbyshire

Done deals (1)

Asking price: £399,000

Tenure: Freehold

Turnover: £240,000 (inc VAT)

Wet:dry split: 100:0

Landlord: Private

Agent: Guy Simmonds 01332 865112

The traditional inn was sold with an open-plan bar area (55-plus covers) and four cask ales on offer. There is also a games area with central pool table and a laminate wooden floor that doubles up as a dance floor.

To the rear of the property is a Mediterranean style heated and lit covered alfresco area (40c) with booth style seating.


The Spireite, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Done deals

Guide price: £30,000

Tenure: Leasehold

Turnover: £142,000

Rent: £20,000

Landlord: Private

Wet:dry split: 100:0

Agent: Davey Co 0333 200 8788

The pub was offered with the benefit of a new private commercial lease with a potential freehold purchase option. The wet-led freehouse has had a comprehensive refurbishment to provide a single main bar trading area supplemented by a privately enclosed courtyard to the rear with outside bar.

Buzz of Liverpool

With its close proximity to the coast, the famine in Ireland in the 1800s saw more than 2m Irish people migrate to the city. According to, by 1851, over 20% of Liverpool’s population was Irish.

The 2011 UK Census recorded the population of Liverpool at 466,415, a 6.1% increase on the figure of 439,473 recorded in the 2001 census. This was made up of approximately 51% females and 49% males.

The census revealed that Liverpool’s population is a young one, reflecting the popularity of the city among students and young professionals.

Liverpool (1)

Just over half (51.1%, 182,300 people) of Liverpool residents aged between 16 and 74 were in employment in March 2011.

While the city has a vibrant late-night economy, there are 439 pubs in the city area that employ 8,822 people (Source: British Beer & Pub Association).

The buzz of Liverpool has seen some of the most high-profile operators target the city with brands such as Mission Mars’ Albert Schloss and Loungers.

Loungers CEO Nick Collins says it operates in Liverpool in a similar way to its other venues in other cities with “clusters of sites”. This means its Lounge café-bars are in the suburbs while its more formal Cosy Club bar-restaurant is in the heart of the city centre.

“With their relaxed, casual, all-day, value for money offering we’ve found our sites really resonate with our customers in Liverpool,” Collins says.

“Liverpool is a good example where we have five sites. We have four Lounges in Liverpool or on the Wirrall: Milo Lounge on Lark Lane; Brasco Lounge in Mann Island; Otto Lounge in Heswall; and Marino Lounge in New Brighton. Lark Lane is a classic suburb where we know Lounges trades well. Heswall and New Brighton are typical of the towns in which Lounges operates and Mann Island has had the added advantage of benefiting particularly from the nearby tourist attractions, such as the Museum of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool.”

Mix of clientele

He says the key to success in Liverpool has been its ability to engage the local community while its Cosy Club, located in the Liverpool One leisure and shopping complex, benefits from both the strong retail footfall and the buzzing night-time economy.

It would not be Liverpool without a mention of Cains Brewery. The transformation of the site into a leisure and entertainment venue, at an initial cost of £7m has brought new buzz to the city. It is home to venues such as Ghetto Golf, Baltic Market, Peaky Blinders and Tank Room.

Rob Ashcroft, group managing director of Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group, which is the owner of the Cains brand, says it opened its flagship site in the development last year – the Irish pub Punch Tarmey’s, bringing its total number of sites in the city to three and overall to nine.

Liverpool (3)

“It opened well. When we have opened venues in places like Southport, it was quite big news. When you open a site in Liverpool there is a lot more competition,” he admits.

He agrees that the city has a mix of clientele but its pubs trade all day therefore appealing to families and children and then changing in the evening to a more late-night venue. And he believes there is the potential for more of its sites in the city centre.

“We are looking over the next year and the city is big enough to take another of our pubs,” he says.

“We have got the option to develop more venues and we will be doing more in the Cains development.”

Tom O’Malley, senior business agent – Licensed of Christie & Co, says that the city is seeing a “resurgence” with a good level of investment.

“If you are right in the centre of Liverpool there does seem to be a resurgence of investment around that area,” he says.

While the city boasts two universities, it is not just an area for students but there is also a mix of customers of all age ranges.

Liverpool (4)

“Most people don’t live in the centre of Liverpool and travel in,” he adds.

But he admits that as the centre of Liverpool is an area with a large number of licensed premises there is strong competition and not every operator is successful.

“You have got to know your clientele and if you get it right in the right area, you should succeed,” he says.

Most sites are retail-style leases and rents for operators can be high, especially in newly developed buildings.

“If you have a decent site in the L1 postcode, the demand is normally pretty good and should sell pretty quickly,” he added.

To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​.

Related topics: Property law

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