So, what did we do last summer? We stopped, and we let the city soak into our bones again. Along the way we delved into some of its current best bits – some new, some old. Here they are. Oh, we’ve also forgotten how to write intros to features. Thank you. It’s nice to be back.
Alan McGee’s monthly soiree (named after his label) has found the right place, and the right time. Jayne Casey’s multi-disciplinary District playroom is fired up, and Casey’s the Queen of the Baltic. All is well in the world. Clubbing’s not dead. Clubs are.
It’s on fire at the moment – great reporting, strong business and culture, and Marc Waddington getting jiggy with Joe. Here’s to its continued un-dumbed-down future (fingers crossed).
Illustrated collections adorning bright white T-shirts, framed prints, cards and collectibles – Caldwell’s joyous roll call of characters come with a warm fuzzy feeling, guaranteed. Yes, even for the SevenStreets sour-puss collective.
Yeah, we know, the world is full of vintage schtick. But the Birkenhead twist is that it’s cheap, it’s beautifully curated – walnut-cased clocks, dressers, crisp Art Deco and gleaming glass pieces, all lovingly displayed. It’s like the Brontes have just nipped out for tiffin.
This Hannah Peel and co LP slipped out a couple of years ago, but like a fine old Scapa malt, it just gets better with age. And there’s something very autumnal and golden about it. Check it out.
For cheap? Yep – direct flights between here and the Danish capital means we can all go lie across the middle of that bridge. Or, perhaps, just stock up on nice vases.
Even if it didn’t have Free Cake Fridays we’d still love this homespun arts cafe – a beacon of civility in the outer reaches of Renshaw Street.
Strident, multi-layered and eye-popping canvasses and T’s. Sequins, darkness, lipstick and evil beauty. So, that’s Grand Central’s customer database covered, then.
There’s nothing ethereal about Joe Cornwell’s twitchy, euphoric future garage (above) – as current track Laid to Rest emphatically proves. He’s been working with Ragz Nordset for NuNorthern Soul, too. That will be interesting.
Yes, they’re a bit silly. Maybe even dangerously Electric Sixish. But it still didn’t stop us grinning a lot at their chip-music meets social-media mash ups. And they know how to handle a vocoder. Which is, in our books, always a good thing. Unintelligent Dance Music definitely has its place. Listen here.
Every Thursday The Dovedale Social makes our weekends 33 1/3 longer, with DJ’s, must-watch new bands and acoustic acts beneath the bouncing-again rafters of Penny Lane’s Dovedale Towers. It’s free, it’s fun, there’s not a cynical post-modern bone in its body. And it’s all home grown produce. More of that, please. (Image: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
The best way to remember one amazing summer? Spread it on your toast – Andrew Hubbard’s genius postcode honey preserves the city’s nectar in these glowing amber jars. But what’s your favourite? L25, L8, L9? Available at Baltic Bakehouse.
Liverpool’s first Lebanese restaurant doesn’t serve burgers. That would be enough to be included in this list. But its authentic tabouleh, foul moukalla, and moutabal, and its charcoal grills seal the deal.
Still our favourite Liverpool blog – for its wide-eyed (and open-hearted) explorations of the place we call home. if you’ve not spent time with Sarah Horton and Ronnie Hughes’ postings and pictures, honestly, you’re in for a treat. Exquisitely done.
Pudding Club at Berry and Rye, Berry Street
Because it’s what Sunday evenings are made for. A six-course blowout to keep those Monday morning blues at bay, organised by Laura’s Little Bakery, putting the pudding first. And second. And third…
Always on the money, Simon Pursehouse’s ear for a knockout Swedish pop tune never fails (even if his predilection for shouty men with guitars sometimes causes our ears to smoke). He’s not too cool. And he’s not in school.
Acoustic reworkings of your favourite local soundtrack. It’s a simple, stripped-down aesthetic that suits these misty October nights. As does the prospect of seeing what Coffee and Cakes for Funerals make of the chance to take it back to the bone, this Thursday. With Little Rivers and Demi McLeod.
A dive bar with decent cocktails? Who knew? Well, Rob Gutmann, for one. Now with added Dirtblonde night – F*ck Club – promising local acts playing stripped down sets, film projections and resident DJ Ivan Hell. It’s more Bates than Crossroads, we guess.
It’s not just that it’s a welcome return of a great, lost, cauldron of a theatre space – but that its programming has been incendiary: from the Matchbox to recent outing, A Day of Pleasure, this is theatre at its visceral, bloody best.
The Portuguese know a thing or two about pastry. And their egg custard tarts are elevated to almost mythical status. But don’t go to Lisbon, go to Cafe Porto, they’re every bit as good (especially hot, with a dusting of cinnamon).
You can walk all the way down from Pier Head to Cressington along the banks of the Mersey on so many tonnes of reclaimed land – several miles of Mersey boulevardiering. Along the way are the Albert Dock, marina, festival gardens and Otterpool Park, but the sunsets over the river have been enough to keep us coming back all Summer.
We wrote about it when it launched (above), and it’s turned into a handy addition (although beware: it doesn’t run late). Hop on at Liverpool One or any number of stops in town, pay £1.20, and get whisked to Jamaica Street pretty swiftly. It’s a circular, so you’ll never end up in the leafy ‘burbs by accident.
With the weather not exactly sitting-outside-with-a-drink friendly now, we’ve started to enjoy making our way back indoors. The Royal Standard’s new exhibition The Narrators looks to be the highlight of their year, we’re thrilled about the Walker Gallery’s imminent David Hockney exhibition, and the Tate’s DLA Piper Constellations series, which opened in spring, is well worth a visit. As is the new caff at Birkenhead’s Williamson – great cream teas!
Yes, we’re including ourselves in this list. Deal with it. We’ve not had a big hoo-hah about it, but, as you might be able to see, we’ve redesigned our website and rebranded after our summer break. We’re a bit faster, and a bit simpler, and we’ve got less stuff clogging up our pages. The site’s now fully smartphone and tablet responsive, so you can read us hungover on the bus, and we’ll be changing even more stuff over the next few months to make a better, faster experience. Stay tuned.
BonBon Bakery, Berry Street
For the char-siu pork buns alone, this Renshaw Street bakery is worth a detour. But then again, its chicken curry buns and its gooey gateaux are worth an extended stay.
Fry ups at the Red Kitchen, Wood Street
There are a surfeit of great fry-ups to be had in town (and fancy pants places like the always great Moose) but we’ve just discovered this little place, tucked down Wood Street. A plate full for £4? What’s not to like?
Having just bought a Giant bike, we can confirm – it’s a belter. And the staff go the extra mile (oops, unintentional bad pun) to make sure you get the wheels that are right for you. Jonny Trigg and the team, take a bow. And we recommend the Giant Escape hybrid, too.
Cafe Latino, Bold Street
We love it when we stumble upon a new restaurant that’s only been open for, ooh, 15 years or so. We’ve just discovered Cafe Latino, on Bold Street’s upper deck. And we’ll be back – for its simple, honest-to-goodness Italian classics. Grab a window seat for a great Bold Street panorama.
R Jackson and Sons, Slater Street
We’ve taken to dabbling in gouache. Well, someone has to fill the void in Rennies window since they took down their Rolfs. We love this unassuming portal into another retail world altogether. Great selection of papers, oils, brushes and, in all probability, magic wands.
3am Wonder, the Bluecoat
Independent curator Angela Kingston was invited by the Bluecoat to curate 3 am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night. The exhibition features 22 UK and international artists, probing ‘night’s darkest hour’. From snogging clubbers to somnambulant freaks, this is an illuminating journey into the darker side of life.
St John’s Market
First we wrote about it, then we fell in love with it. From Prescott Farm’s delicious steaks, to the brilliant brekkies at the cafes, this huddle of stores forms not only the core of St John’s Centre, but arguably the true heart of the city. But it’ll only keep beating if we show it some love.
Living in the city, it’s easy to think no-one cares about you. But Gerry Proctor’s Engage does. They care in the way that enlightened, European, cities care – about ensuring city living really can be about those ‘distinctive neighbourhoods’ we’re supposed to be living in. Engage joins the dots between residents, landlords, management agencies and developers. Because, well, someone had to. In doing so, they’re making the city a little more liveable.
The Crown, Lime Street
Manager, Stewart Hemus has his eye on returning this grand old, moulded-ceilinged beauty back on the map. He’s making all the right moves. This oft-overlooked palace of a boozer is the only glittering prize along Lime Street’s sorry route. Don’t pass it by.
The combination of intense Iberico ham with sourdough bread and fat caperberries you could cosh someone with still lingers in the memory. But the croquetas were stunning too, and the morcilla and the hamburguesa. And we didn’t even get onto the churros…
The Berry and Rye touch now reaches to Studio 2, relaunched as a dedicated live Jazz and Blues venue. They’re focusing on creating a stripped down but sure-footed cocktail service, sharing food platters and a programme of jazz, blues and soul shenanigans. Could be your new favourite place.
You know how much we love The Italian Clubs, well, it was a natch that we’d love their third opening: Club Pizza. And, yeah, we do. Simply great pizzas for around £7-£10 – fresh from their wood fired ovens. Eat in, or takeaway, it’s the bomb(bolini – with shredded ham and mushrooms).
Annie’s Tea Rooms, Crosby
Fortifying breakfasts, delicious cakes, warm paninis and warm, engaging service. Another reason why Crosby’s looking like the place most likely to. Or maybe it already has.