How well do you know this city? Yeah, sure, of course you know it. But we’re all creatures of habit, right? We have our favourite route through town. Our ‘go to’ places. Well, what would happen if you ripped it up and started again? In all probability you’d get a new perspective on the place you call home. And that’s gotta be a good thing, yeah? Chances are you’ve done a couple of these, but we seriously doubt you’ve done ’em all…
Garstang Museum, Liverpool University (pic above)
No, not in Garstang (it’s named after Egyptologist John Garstang), but hidden in that warren of pathways and squares between Oxford Street and Myrtle Street, this is a small but scholarly collection (considered one of the most important in the UK) of antiquities from Egypt, the Aegean, Sudan, Jericho, Anatolia and Great Britain. The museum’s a pocket-sized powerhouse in our midst, regularly lending pieces to the Louvre, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. And you’ve never heard of it?
The Academy Restaurant, Tradewind Square, off Duke Street.
This licensed restaurant is part of Liverpool College, offering trainee chefs an opportunity to serve real people (that’s us). Great, inventive cooking, themed evenings, especially delicious pastries and friendly service. The future of the city’s food offer is safe in these hands, trust us. Open for lunch Tues-Fri, dinners Wed-Fri. For table reservations call: 0151 252 4512
Pilgrims Progress, Bridgewater Street
There are other antiques and restorers’ showrooms, but we love the theatricality of Selwyn’s Pilgrim’s Progress (soon to move next door, to – appropriately enough – a restored new warehouse) Go for the room sets, the Gostins-built 1970’s reproduction writing bureaus, and the possiblity (rare, admittedly) of finding a bargain.
Patsy’s Place, The Grange Centre, Botanic Road
Within this bunker-like warren of rooms, next to Wavertree’s Botanic Gardens, hides sleek G-Plan units, bakelite phones, old valve radios and dramatic 1960s vases – from Victoriana tea sets to strident artwork and costume jewellery, this is a welcome stop off en route to town from Edge Lane. Good coffees too.
Old Dock Tours, Liverpool ONE
Yes, you’ve peered down the porthole outside John Lewis, but how many of you have taken the tour? This is a world-first in our midst: the first ever commercial wet dock. And, by some miracle of subterranean serendipity, much of its original walls remain. For the first time in centuries the actual riverbed of the Pool that gave Liverpool its name can be seen. Amazing. Well, it floats our boat, anyway.
Liverpool Marina Grill, Liverpool Marina, Sefton Street.
Run by the chaps behind Franklins Deli, lunch at the Yacht Club makes for an invigorating change to grabbing a Costa in town. The jangling of the masts, the call of the gull, the lapping of the water against the wharfs. Anyone would think we were a coastal city. Oh, wait… And the food (Thai curry, fish & chips, sirlion steak) fuels you up perfectly for the walk back to the office. Meals served til nine every night.
LIPA Shows, Mount Street
The talented folk at LIPA put on 30 or so shows every year. And, in our experience, they’re always absolutely brilliant (we still rank their production of CHESS as the best musical we’ve seen in the city). Dirt cheap ticket prices, lovely pocket-sized auditorium, and seriously impressive talent. It’s the most dependable show in town. Next up, The Talented Mr Ripley, 13-15 Feb.
Musical Box, 457 West Derby Road
Proudly keeping vinyl alive, through all its machinations, this north Liverpool shrine to the black stuff has seen off CDs, Mini Discs and downloads, and its groaning shelves of Wishbone Ash albums, and rare blues, jazz and prog is a Record Store Day favourite and a must-visit for collectors from here and far.
Liverpool Meat and Fish Market, Prescot Road, Old Swan.
You know we have a thing for markets? This is a firm favourite of ours – tucked between Kensington and Old Swan and, mostly, doing business with trade. But you’re welcome too: go for the great, caught-that-morning fish, meaty sausages (track down the pheasant sausages if you can. Amazing) and farm-fresh poultry. Veggie? Keep driving.
The Piermaster’s House, Albert Dock
Yes, it smells a bit like your great aunt’s house – but that’s because this really is the real deal. The last house standing, this is the only dock residence to survive the May Blitz of 1941. And you’ve never gawped at its painstakingly reconstructed bedrooms, living room and scullery? It’s free, fascinating and only takes five minutes.
Gostins Arcade, Hanover Street
With the best bookshop in town (Bluecoat Books), a couple of great collectibles and vintage stores, the razzle-dazzle of Gostins Gifts and Bedazzled Rhinestones, and Nibbles Cafe, this is Liverpool ONE through the looking glass.
Adam Partridge Auctions, Jordan Street
Recently filmed for an episode of Bargain Hunt, this Baltic showroom is fine art-central, nowhere near as stuffy as nearest rival, Chester’s Bonhams, and always worth a look: especially if you’re in the market for Asian & Oriental Art, Northern & Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments, Silver, Jewellery, Ceramics, Glass…well, you’ve seen Bargain Hunt, right?
Fenwick’s Coffee Shop, Fenwick Street
Our favourite lunchtime haunt recently, Fenwick’s man-sized mat of lasagne, real chips and salad, washed down with a hearty cuppa is just the ticket. Man cannot live on sourdough alone. But, talking of which…
Cow&Co Cafe, Cleveland Square
Now it’s more ‘lovely cafe’ than ‘chic gift emporium’ (but still a bit of both) – go for the vintage cheddar with guacamole, served on wonderful Baltic Bakehouse bread – browse the magazines, doodle away on the free wi-fi. That walk from the Baltic to town suddenly got a whole lot more appetising. Seriously great flat whites, too.
Thistle Hotel bar, Chapel Street.
What’s with this city? Where’ve you gotta go to get a bird’s eye view of that waterfront? Well, don’t go to Matou, wait til it’s a little warmer and sneak away to the Thistle Hotel’s bar. This hotel offers that rare thing – a chance to have a drink, outdoor, with a great waterfront view. The food’s ok, too, but really it’s that UNESCO-approved backdrop (and the fact that you’re acting like a tourist in town) that really seals the deal.
St Bride’s Wednesday Liturgy, Percy Street.
Not for everyone, we know. But the Wednesday morning liturgy at St Bride’s is a way to stop the city for an hour or so, grab some quiet contemplation, enjoy a coffee, and soak up some soul-warming spirituality in this creative, inclusive and magical space.
Fallout Factory, Dale Street
In silent season at the moment, but the people behind this industrious arts space on Dale Street are always cooking something up – so expect a year crammed with little, life-affirming shows, big ideas, a cool soundtrack supplied by in-house band (and current SS favourites) Veyu, and plenty of those ground-up and collaborative cultural things that make us glad to be in Liverpool right now. Head there for I/0, a new Veyu-curated music night on 15 February.
IBS, 72 Waterloo Road
Hey, you – want 235 office chairs in a hurry? How about an army of mannequins? Forest of telephones? Archipelago of angle poise lamps? Or anything, frankly, that you’re desirous of? Chances are this creaky, leaky old warehouse has it. Five floors (which get increasingly feral the higher you climb) of old tat, great bargains, bonkers props and head-scratchingly weird collectibles. Frighteningly addictive.