You probably don’t need me to tell you that here in the UK, July marks the start of Graduation season. It’s goodbye dissertation this and OMG I got a 2:1 that, plus you can’t move for mortarboard piñatas and giant champagne bottle balloons in the supermarkets right now. It’s a time for celebration and a bloody well deserved knees up at that.
Now although you might not be able to tell from the chubby baby face I was blessed (cursed) with, I graduated a long, long time ago. I went to the University of Manchester to study film and bid adieu way back in 2013. Ah, youth. I have however celebrated a handful of graduation ceremonies since my own so I’m all about that post-grad partaaay. The most recent being my little bro’ who was kind enough to spend 4 years studying his socks off at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey so we could all hop on plane to the US of A this year and celebrate in true American movie style.
I can’t lie, Jake’s graduation day made our British ceremony seem like a funeral wake – he had Bon Jovi serenading the speeches for god’s sake – but that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t something to sing and dance about right here in Blighty. So on that note, here are a few of the best graduation offers knocking about the Liverpool and Manchester food and drink scenes this month. These two cities might be all fisticuffs when it comes to football teams but they do share some of the best eating establishments on my radar.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’re bound to have seen snaps on social media of roaring flames shooting straight up to the ceiling and heart-shaped scrambled eggs. It’s all part of the Sapporo Teppanyaki experience. As well as delivering plenty of theatre, darling theatre, Sapporo also serves up some of the best Asian cuisine in town all of which is cooked right in front of your wide eyes and watering mouths.
Take your graduate here this month and they’ll receive a free glass of fizz! Check out the Ts & Cs and book your table here.
Famed for it’s experimental mixology and smoking beverages galore, The Alchemist is a firm favourite in both Liverpool and Manchester. Those in the know flock there to absorb the super cool surroundings and copious amounts of bubbling concoctions complete with test tubes, syringes and molecular magic – the lot.
Between the 11th-29th July, these guys will be offering a complementary sharing kettle cocktail for every reservation of four or more graduation revellers but beware, offer won’t be available on Saturdays or after 5pm on a Friday. Spoil sports. Book your table at The Alchemist here.
Ah, Gusto… my favourite place for a creamy cocktail after a long week on the old H2O. These guys have got venues all over the country, all of which are suitably stylish and reminiscent of old town Italy. If traditional Italian cuisine is your thing and you like your salt-baked cod served with a smile from somebody in black tie attire, Gusto is the place to be. They do a mean gluten free pasta too.
Make a graduation reservation at one of the Gusto restaurants this month and you’ll get £10 off every pre-ordered bottle of Prosecco. Oh and psssssst… if you sign up to the mailing list, you’ll also get 20% off your food bill.
Alma de Cuba
Perhaps one of the most consistently a la mode bars and restaurants in Liverpool city centre, Alma de Cuba is a stunning renovated church with a first-class cocktail bar and fine dining menu to boot. I haven’t had chance to dive head first into the brand new Cuban food repertoire just yet but I’ve heard it’s nothing short of heavenly.
Throughout the whole of July these guys are letting graduates eat free (with every 2 paying adults) when you quote FREE GRADUATE with any reservation. Niiice. The promotion is only available Monday to Friday though so get your bookings in pronto people.
Lovely little Lunya is also giving you graduates out there the treat you deserve after years of Supernoodles and beans on toast. As part of a bespoke graduation banquet you can chow down on Catalan breads, Iberico meats, beer batter calamari and traditional Spanish omelettes and all for just £23.95 per person. A right bargain if you ask me.
There are of course plenty of other perfectly fabulous dining establishments to raise a glass to three (or more) years of blood, sweat and tears (and that’s just all the nights out in the Krazyhouse and Concert Square). If you’re not particularly bothered about a bargain, give Neighbourhood Liverpool, The Vincent Cafe and Cocktail Bar or Salthouse Bacaro a shot. I’d take any excuse to try those out if I were you.