July 3rd marks 3…2…1… BLAST OFF for Independents’ Week in Liverpool and being a lover (and one time employee) of the independent scene in old Scouseland, I thought I’d shove my oar in with a celebration of some of my favourite indie eateries about town. Let me tell you a bit about the brains behind Independents’ Week though before I go all Barefoot Contessa on you…
Independents’ Week was the fabulous idea of the Liverpool BID Company who wanted yet another excuse to shout about how incredible the ever-expanding independent business landscape is in the city. The event is set to span over 7 days, until Sunday 9th July and aims to further strengthen entrepreneurial spirit and growth. The celebrations include Castle Street (home of Neighbourhood Liverpool), Old Hall Street, the Cavern Quarter, the Metquarter, Church Street and of course, the epicentre of indie action – our beloved Bold Street.
So while my brother is celebrating Independence Day in The Big Apple this week, I’ll be heading down to some of my local haunts this side of the Atlantic to join in the Independents’ Week festivities. You don’t need to give me too many excuses to perch myself at a table in one of my favourite restaurants or bars but as my other half will tell you, I’m one indecisive little devil so here’s a list of my picks of the moment if you too are looking for places to eat and drink in Liverpool during Independents’ Week.
The Merchant – Nightclubs ain’t for me. I just accidentally typed ‘nightblub’ and was tempted to leave it that way because that’s exactly what the lack of personal space, sticky floors and shitty drinks make me want to do – blub. That’s why places like The Merchant are so refreshing. Cool as can be but without the bumbag-toting rascals and overpriced paint stripper, this is my favourite watering hole in town right now. It’s even attached to Nightcrawler Pizza so you can get your fix post-craft beer binge.
Berry & Rye – Reminiscent of a smokey old Prohibition speakeasy, Berry & Rye is Liverpool’s worst kept secret. Concealed behind a dilapidated facade on Berry Street, this bar is the definition of intimate, only letting a certain number of cocktail chasers and whiskey connoisseurs in at a time. Knock on the door and wait to be beckoned because the specialty cocktails and rustic surroundings are totally worth it.
Abajo – Also pretty pretty low key but not one to miss nonetheless is the contemporary little gin and Cava bar nestled in the basement of Roja Pinchos. Looking like something straight off the Shoreditch highstreet but without the astronomical price tags, Abajo is a little bit weird, a little bit whacky but a whole lot of wonderful. You’ll have to take a trip there to see what I mean but if you like somewhere quiet to slurp your way through something elegant then you’re going to love it.
Salthouse Bacaro – Fulfilling Venetian small plate needs that you didn’t even know you had since it burst onto the Liverpool food and drink scene in style is the beautiful Salthouse Bacaro. I could talk for days about the deliciousness that goes down under this roof but I’d be here all day. Let’s just say these guys put flavour at the forefront in a cosy, casual dining atmosphere. Read my full review of Bacaro here.
Lucha Libre – The place where taco dreams and the dirtiest burrito fantasies come true. If you’re a bit of a pansy when it comes to spicy food then do a sharp turn back onto Bold Street because this fiery little Wood Street Mexican is all about the tastebud tingles. I always go for the Cali Steak Burrito (pulled beef, guac, sweet potato fries and cheese) and the Piggy Piggy Fries. Get in ma belleh is all I’m sayin’.
Leaf – One of the city’s most popular hangouts through day and night, Leaf can be the perfect place for a casual three course meal (dishes often of Mediterranean descent) or just a cuppa with a slice of cake. These guys do a mean breakfast too if you’re looking for a hangover cure after one too many G&Ts in The Merchant and when I say mean, I mean mean. I’m talking halloumi, doorstop bloomer and breakfast croquettes – the lot. You can wash it all down with a white chocolate hot chocolate too if you chose to completely ignore your gastro-limits just like I do.
Maray – If you’ve stumbled across this blog post on the hunt for places to eat in Liverpool, or if you’re a regular Bold Street-er yourself, I’m sure this baby won’t need much in the way of introduction. Recently spilling out into a brand new venue on Allerton Road, Maray is the mecca of small plates and the birthplace of the iconic Disco Cauli. Something unusual if you’re bored of burgers and deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls.
Host – Not always shouted about as much as the rest, probably because it’s a little off the beaten track up on Hope Street slap bang between the two Liverpool cathedrals, Host is a real hidden gem. Described on Google as a ‘Pan-Asian restaurant with bench seating’, I find it kind of odd that they ranks themselves by their furniture when their menu is just so damn delicious. The Thai green chicken curry is an obvious choice but one that I can never resist.
Mowgli – Last but by no means least because you all know by now how much I love this place is little Mowgli. The home of the Yoghurt Chat Bomb, the Himalayan Cheese on Toast and the tastiest Indian street food in town (alongside the beautiful Barton Rouge), Mowgli always has been and always will be an absolute must-go.