From oyster bar to historic Liverpool pub, Ma Boyle's Alehouse & Eatery has remained one of the city's staples for drinking and dining since 1870. Their mantra? Food that's 'just like Ma makes it'. So, I popped over one blustery day to see if their bottomless brunch lived up to the name and the venue's long 'ol history.
Retaining the old school feel through crimson leather booths, wooden floors and panelling, Ma Boyle's feels like a step back in time with a contemporary twist. The ornate wallpaper might be the kind your nan wouldn't turn her nose up at, but I actually mean it as a compliment. This is the kind of boozer that's aged with grace, while remaining in tip-top condition, and welcomes all visitors with its familiar-feeling open arms. The service, too, only continued the home-from-home vibes.
Although bottomless brunch probably wasn't around in Ma's day, this cosy pub has cottoned onto the hype. Turning the classic full English, all kinds of eggs and stacks of pancakes smothered in toppings into a boozy affair sure is a crowd-pleaser. But the best bit is yet to come... they're serving it up seven days a week. Who needs to wait for the weekend to roll around? Not us.
I ordered the vegan brunch (large size with a poached egg added, £11), while my SO went for a very tasty eggs benedict (£6.50). While I'm usually a sucker for a bit of avo, mine had gone a little brown. However, the rest of the accompaniments - baked beans, field mushrooms, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, wilted spinach and 'doorstop' toast - were perfect. The highlight of my dish was Ma Boyle's homemade falafel sausages and hash browns, though; the former being super moist and beautifully flavoured, leaving any plant-based foodie or meat muncher satisfied, and the latter soft on the inside with a crispy outside.
As for our top picks from the unlimited drinks, there were a fair few. A longer menu than a lot of other offerings (a huge ten to choose from), we were keen to give most of them a try. Yup, here you can chop and change your tipples too, rather than having to stick to what you chose first. But, then comes the classic worry when you go bottomless: are our drinks going to be replenished as fast as we can neck them? In short, they definitely will be here.
With replacements ordered and whisked over even faster than they were being washed down the hatch, you certainly get what you pay for. Our standout sip was the gorgeous unicorn fizz bellini, mixed up from 'secret unicorn magic' and prosecco (pssst, gimme your recipe Ma Boyle's because I want to make this my pre-drinks staple). Although, others worthy of a mention include the delish Ma's Queen of Liverpool pilsner and the mahoosive fruity gin spritz.
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Yes, this is the kind of traditional gaff that still serves an English breakfast or brunch eggs without loads of unnecessary fuss or fancy additions - just good quality produce cooked up into a hearty meal. But, it does it with an air of sophistication, backed up by the sexy jazz soundtrack, dimly-lit ambience and a little sprinkle of unicorn magic. Ma Boyle's do themselves justice here, meaning I'd happily wolf down their homely fare any day of the week.
💰 The damage: £17.50 for food, plus £35pp person for bottomless drinks.
📍 The location: 7 Tower Gardens, The Strand L3 1LG.
👌 Perfect for: a frills-free brunch that delivers on flavour and drinks volume.
⭐ Need to know: Saturday evening jazz nights are a big hit here too.
Want more from Liverpool? The city's best bottomless brunches are here.