Merseyside was recently identified as being the region in England that is at the top of the cities’ drinking league. That said there are pubs and bars to suit all comers and all tastes, be it a quiet drink in a local to a boisterous night out in a drinking hall. Restaurants in Liverpool have developed at a rapid pace, with an emphasis on moving up market. Again there is a range of places to eat from the usual fast food and curry houses right up to the very best in gourmet cooking. Those two things combined with a tradition of being the city to go to for musical entertainment, make Liverpool a lively and thriving place for a night out.
Bars and Pubs:
If you are after somewhere to party in one of the large drinking halls that are appearing all over the country, then head for the area around Concert Square and Campbell Square. Many of these bars stay open until 02:00am, but some do have an admission charge after 23:00pm. The Baa Bar on Fleet Street was Liverpool’s first ‘style’ bar. Despite now having a lot of competition it retains its position as one of Liverpool’s favourite bars and is often packed out. If it’s summer-time when you’re in Liverpool, have a drink outside on the patio. Hannah’s on nearby Leece Street is popular with the city’s student population. It has a New York bar feel to it and its outdoor patio is also very popular during the summer, but as it’s a covered patio the time of year isn’t too important. Hannah’s is also respected locally for playing good music. The Magnet, on Hardman Street, despite also having a New York feel to it, offers a different type of venue. Spread over two floors, downstairs there are diner style drinking booths with red leather upholstery and a dance-floor, whilst upstairs the bar has a cool and chilled-out ambience. For a truly different drinking experience that is full of style and grace, go to the Philharmonic on Hope Street. Occupying a Grade I listed building opposite the Philharmonic Hall, it was designed by the company that built the Lusitania and the original Queen Elizabeth ocean liners. It still contains many original internal features including its marble toilets, which are listed as a national heritage treasure. Trendy bars in Liverpool include; the Blue Boar which is at the Edward pavilion in Albert Dock. This used to be the favourite place for Liverpool and Everton footballers to relax in. It is said that these days they prefer the private members bar – Baby Blue – which is downstairs. Baby Cream, at the Atlantic Pavilion, is also favoured by the trendy ‘in-crowd’ and is both gorgeous, yet pretentious, in equal measures.
The London Carriage Works in the Hope Street Hotel is currently the place to be seen if you’re taking someone to dinner. A typical three course dinner of say scallops, guinea fowl and rhubarb confit will cost you £55, which considering the quality of the food and the standard of service, is very good. Wines are available from a £15 bottle of house wine, through some very good New World wines and on to a classic selection of French wines in the £40 to £100 range. However, if you’re a wine connoisseur there’s also plenty to choose from right up to the 1986 Pomerol Châteaux Petrus at £850 a bottle. Keith’s Wine Bar on Lark Lane is acknowledged as one of the better mid-price restaurants in Liverpool. Well known for its vegetarian options it has a bohemian and relaxed atmosphere and an excellent choice of wines. Magnet Restaurant, in the Magnet Bar, and the Everyman Bistro on Hope Street both offer a good selection of food at around £7 a meal and wine at prices that will not seriously damage your wealth. Liverpool has a significant Chinese population; two popular Chinese restaurants are Yuet Ben, on Upper Duke Street, which specialises Beijing cuisine and the Far East, on Berry Street, which is one of Liverpool’s oldest Cantonese restaurants.
As the European City of Culture 2008, Liverpool already has several world class venues in place. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra has its own hall capable of seating over 1000 people. The Philharmonic orchestra offers a full programme throughout the year and the concert hall is also used by visiting musicians and artists ranging from poetry readings to tribute bands. The Liverpool Empire is a name just about as famous as the Cavern Club, legendary home of The Beatles, in terms of entertainment in Liverpool. Opened in 1886 as a theatre on Lime Street it has had entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews and Laurel & Hardy play there. It is now used by touring acts of all types from heavy metal rock to classical opera. The main theatre in Liverpool is The Everyman Theatre and Playhouse , which is on Hope Street, and has productions by its own repertory company and also hosts touring productions. The Everyman is also used for concerts, dance and exhibitions and is always keen to promote local talent. Liverpool has no shortage of specialist ‘rock’ venues. Although not in the original building, The Cavern Club has an allure all of its own, whilst mainly a venue for local and tribute bands it does also attract some of the big names from the past. There is a Carling Academy in Liverpool which features up and coming as well as established ‘indie’ acts. The Carling Academy is on Hotham Street, Liverpool also has a BarFly Club, which is not far away on Seel Street. If ‘clubbing’ is your thing then you’ll probably be most interested in Nation. Formerly the home of Cream, one of Britain’s best known night-clubs, this venue has a capacity of 3000 and plenty of room to expend some energy. Entry prices vary according to the night of the week, but range from £4 to £13, Nation is on Wolstenholme Square.