While everyone’s ruminating on the city’s sudden sad glut of closed venues, we thought it fitting to take a moment and pay our respects to the great bars we’ve loved and lost. We’re not talking pubs – that could fill a book (actually, it does) – but bars. What’s the difference? Usually some kitch retro stylings, a kickass music policy and a man in the toilets with a rack of eau de cologne and wet wipes.

The city’s independent bars are the cornerstone to any great night out. And, while we might have been (relatively) late to catch on, we’ve hosted some seriously ace spaces over the past two decades. Some have been wiped from the map altogether, some favour the aint-broke-don’t-fix formula like LaGo, Blue and PanAm, some have had intravenous soft furnishing injections (Igloo), some have had soft furnishing lobotomies (Mello Mello). Some have had more filler and retouching than Joan Rivers (Heebies) and some have morphed into new ventures which, sadly, all too often show that the theory of evolution can sometimes work backwards. And yep, we are talking about The Kiosk/Modo (although, encouragingly, evolution can work just the way it’s supposed to. Take Plummers/Bumper for example).

Here are seven we still remember with misty eyes and disturbing flashbacks. We bet we’ve missed loads. Do tell us.

Korova: The original, and still most missed music bar in town – this Ladytron/Rob Gutmann joint venture was a Fleet Street phenomenon, loosely based on the EVOL nights, and was (briefly) reason to make the trip uptown to Hope Street too. Often imitated, never bettered. We miss you and your day-glo portable TVs.

Dragon Bar: Isn’t it a shame that, in the year of the Dragon, the Dragon Bar is no longer with us (well, not as it was). This slim slither of a bar was a Berry Street hidden gem. Cosy, not posy. Great music, a whiff of the Orient, and a place run on passion. If only we had more of them these days.

Beluga Bar: The place to head before Le Bateau, circa 1995. At least, it was for us. Great subterranean bar with a nice, mixed Wood Street crowd. We once bumped into Terry Duckworth here, and he bought us a pint. What more can you ask of a bar that it turns a nasty soap star into a generous celeb?

Fab Cafe: True, it wasn’t really around long enough for us to form a lasting attachment, but this spin-off from the always-excellent Manchester venue was as fizzy and flippant as a media studies student on WKD. Candy pop, trash TV and movie memorablia gave an instant head rush to the nether reaches of Hope Street

Tea Factory: Comfortably showing that indie bars could be a touch swanky, this was a forerunner to the confusion of style over substance ventures that now line the upper reaches of Wood Street. We loved their huge wall paintings of the tea trade routes (the building was the old Mantunna Tea warehouse).

Metz Bar: Sort of gay, but sort of mixed, in that effortless, all-welcome way that Liverpool has, Metz was a Mathew Street outpost of sanity, soul, big wooden tables, and actually rather ace food. Ah, remember the days when this corner of town was still somewhere you’d happily wander through after dark?

Metropolitan: Yeah, it was big and it was messy, and sometimes it didn’t get things right. But it was the home to the breaks and electro goodness that was Lemon Lounge, sort of. So Berry Street, on the whole, is poorer for its loss. Mind you, we preferred it when it was the Black Horse and Rainbow, complete with its gleaming copper stills in the window. A brew pub to be proud of.

David Lloyd

So, come on. Where have we missed? The Milky Way Bar? Bar Three? The original Baa Bar? BabyCream? Symphony? It’s your round…

66 Responses to “Seven Bars We Miss”

  1. Really, somebody like Brewdog should get their backsides into the city and open up the old Brewery as a proper brewpub again. Or someone equally good with a decent amount of capital. These days it’d be a draw, surely?

  2. I miss the Liver Bar in the Guild of Students. It was pink and quite hideous. We always intended to take one of the pints to one of your mates who did chemistry so we could prove the Carling was watered down. It sold little pizzas and had a good jukebox. We called one of the barmaids Vanessa Felch.

    15 years later I’m missing the Bier Keller. Rather odd all told, but a great selection of continental beers and lagers.

  3. SaraNewton

    Irish Centre that had Guiness for a pound a pint on a Wednesday and Totem every month. The Magnet back in the day when their door staff weren’t animals and the DJs knew the difference between classic tunes and any ald shite. This was all pre internet though so not sure it counts.

  4. Tony Collins

    Those seven bars have got about as much history as a new born child ! What about the British Legion Bar on cramond avenue,and too many bars took over by POO bars.

  5. Fenton Bell

    Bar Fresa when the camouflage netting was on the ceiling <3 Shoot the messenger nights & Sahara nuts coupled with 80s infused girls living in 2002 dancing to the Cure & Kate Bush followed by the Rapture's 'house of jealous lovers'.

  6. I miss Plummers and I know you’re going to shout me down for this but The Old Monk and Howl at the Moon! Cheesy late 90s fun at its best, populated by people with even cheesier chat up lines! Also miss Charmers, the hidden gem on the international student scene.

    I’d love to write a feature for Sevenstreets- 7 restaurants we miss! Is there room for me on board? @vindalooqueen

  7. @Robin Brown OMG the Liver Bar! Forgotten all about that place- think I might know which barmaid u mean, are we talking 2002ish? I left Liverpool yrs ago, can’t believe they closed it, what was that grotty bar in the basement called?

  8. Louise McCAbe

    The Big Easy or The Big “Cheezy” as it was affectionately known. It was where the fancy dress shop Lilly’s Bizarre is. But by far the best for me was the original Baa Bar when Liverpool Palace was still there.

  9. Korova was brilliant for a time and is greatly missed. Great music policy and went to a few great gigs in there. Its highlight being the twin peaks influenced back room!

    I also thought Geisha on Myrtle Street, now Baa Bar was a great concept for a bar, although maybe just a bit too far out of the way.

    I miss Hannahs when it was a bit rough round the edges too!

  10. eek!

    This sounds terrible.. is there anything left now?

    (I still miss Brian’s Diner by the way… those were the days .. when The Living Brain were still playing around the city…)

  11. alan ward

    I feel so very old and decrepit,we lost half the decent pubs when the town centre was developed in the 70`s.You`d have loved Cases Street it was lined with pubs and a sex shop that also sold surgical supports and stuff for fallen arches.Paradise Street had the Eagle opposite the Nautical Catering College and was always full of seafarers.The Sportsman used to have a F1 car upside down hanging of the ceiling and all the pubs in Williamson Square,like the Clock run by `Miss`Fonteyn.I once asked for a Manhattan in the cocktail bar at the Stork and was told`There`s no ice`by a white coated waiter `OK` I said `I`ll have a whiskey sour`,`I`ve told you there`s no fucking ice`Liverpool was always a magic place in which to drink and still is,ask the crowd at the Ave Maria on Seel Street!

  12. smigger82

    The Met always made for a fantastic night out. Sad to see it lying dormant nowadays. On the more commercial/cheesy side of things, Mood used to be quite fun on student nights. To be young and naive again…

  13. Wendy Donnelly

    Wilson’s (Wood Street), Milo’s (the precinct) and Slater’s (Slater Street). Wilson’s and Slater’s were dives, but the feeling of community there was fabulous! Miss it all SO much :'(

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