The hottest movers, shakers and new openings this year (so far)
Liverpool certainly does not sleep on keeping the spark alive and spicing things up a bit. And nope, that isn’t some sort of horny analogy because we’re getting close to Valentine’s Day.
We’re talking about the new bars, restaurants and cafes that just keep on popping up all over town to keep us on our toes. Well, look lively because we’re here to hit you with yet another 20+ brand-new and coming-soon places to stick on your radar this year.
From expanding old favourites to new kids on the block, we’ve got the scoop to keep you in the loop (in no particular order)...
If you’re looking to impress with an elevated dinner date of rather boujie proportions, make yourself a sought-after reservation at this new international fine dining spot on Hope Street. The concept menu features courses from around the world, including cutting-edge dishes like "Tomato Tea" with aromatic focaccia and soft cheese.
Rudy’s needs no introduction as some of the best Neapolitan pizza in town, celebrating the craft of traditional pizza-making (and scoffing). What does need bringing to your attention as a matter of urgency though is that you’ll soon be able to get your fix down at the Royal Albert Dock too.
The lovely lot behind The Little Shoe have turned their hand to fine dining, bringing their own informal interpretation to the big bright (festoon) lights of the Baltic Triangle. Fresh, locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients are the order of service, with a focus on fine wines to complete the high calibre experience. You can still wear your Nike Dunks though, don’t worry.
Casa Roni welcomes another taste of Italy to Liverpool and we’re here for it because our motto says you quite simply cannot have too many carbs. The limit does not exist. Keep it classic with wood fired pizza, pasta or risotto, or go rouge with a burger 'n' fries or something off the grill.
If you love yourself some Petit Café Du Coin then you’ll already be mad for Petit Café Du Quartier by default. Du Coin’s little sister will be opening her doors on Allerton Road soon, ready to embrace visitors with good wine, great jazz, damn fine coffee, even better cocktails, brunch and small plates.
Guess who’s back, back again? Nope, not Shady. He seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. Spanish tapas joint Neon Jamon is making a comeback though after a post-Berry Street hiatus, popping back up Whack-a-Mole-style in the old TriBeCa venue on Smithdown Road. It’s time to make BIG plans for your favourite small plates.
Harrison’s Bar & Kitchen has become part of the furniture in Liverpool but this year the team are levelling up, launching their very own premium accommodation. Kick back, relax and make yourself at home at the central venue that has been developed in partnership with party apartment aficionados, iStay Liverpool.
If you should happen to fancy a trip back in time, to the decadence of the art deco era when life was all glamour and no Boris Johnson, get yourself down to Hummingbird. This place used to be a music shop, but is now an elegant cocktail bar serving hand-crafted drinks, plus a refined selection of bar snacks, in opulent and nostalgic surroundings.
Goodbye, Que Pasa Cantina - hello MINNA. Breakfast? Check. Brunch? Check. Coffee? Check. Cocktails? Check. Fresh pastries? Check. Dogs (on the guestlist, not the menu)? Check. What more could you want? Cool, minimal decor inside and toasty heating outside? These guys have got that too. MINNA, MINNA, chicken dinner.
Trains can be pretty bloody unreliable these days and there’s nothing worse than dealing with a delayed train when hanger strikes. Well, you can now curb your appetite and grab a few bevvies, if you find yourself in this particular conundrum, at new Greene King venue, Lime Street Central.
Back to what we were saying earlier about eating your way around the world via Liverpool… At Belgica, get a taste of Belgium with your fill of great Belgian food and beer - and a side of good vibes, electro indie, funk and R&B. Belgium inspired interiors feature throughout with playful nods towards its culture, including a 1980 road cycle bike complete with Smurf village.
If you’re one of those mad bastards who likes drinking frozen cocktails all year round then you’re going to feel right at home at Ophelia’s. Classic and "new era" cocktails also join the frozen beverages, alongside a roster of beer and wine so if you’re looking for something to put hairs on your chest after a stroll along Crosby Beach, you know where to go.
A moment’s silence please for Santa Maluco, which will be sorely missed by many... Now that’s out of the way, it’s time to get hyped for what will be its replacement - tapas dishes from cuisines around the globe, from family-run independent, So Salsa. The Castle Street gaff will be second in line, succeeding the popular Crosby venue.
Neapolitan brings yet another excuse to swing by for a slice of wood fired, artisan pizza to the city, alluring further with the promise of authentic Italian pasta, award-winning luxury ice cream and 2 for £12 cocktails all day every day. We certainly want a pizza that action.
Dust off your Converse and dig out your shag bands because your inner-emo is about to be resurrected. This (heated) rooftop bar and terrace in the Fabric District will play host to a weekly emo, pop punk and rock night, with all the great classics making an appearance on the playlist. The rest of the week you can expect a lineup of open mic performers, great cocktails and "sound bartenders."
Being touted as "a place to free your mind from worry", this progressive new social space encourages visitors to eat, drink, dance and disconnect from the world. The "gastro club experience" will bring with it an Asian-inspired food menu, signature cocktails and shisha in the outdoor Zenn Garden.
In January, Individual Restaurants annaounced that they would be replacing five Gino D'Acampo restaurants with a new Italian brand. The result is Riva Blu, which promises to bring "style, glamour and sass to modern Italian dining". You probably already know Gino's on Castle Street, so all that we really need to tell you is that the Riva Blu menu includes sharing plates, bruschetta and antipasti, salads, pasta, risotto and ravioli, pizza, and steaks. Our survey says?
Since moving out of Duke Street Market last year, Pilgrim is keeping its new location top secret until the final hour. We had all our money on a certain spot not too far away from the market, only to be told this week that we were barking up the wrong tree. Managing director Jamie Duffield says that they're getting ready to announce soon. "Still keeping details close to our chest for another week or two," Jamie told Confidentials. "There's not enough intrigue in the world these days!"
19) Renshaw Street Food Market
When you visit Liverpool, you can eat around the world in one day, never mind 80. If you fancy a trip to Asia, head down to the new food market on Renshaw street, brought to life by Shanghai-based brand, Jidong Bubble Tea. Other vendors include Dagu Rice Noodle and Ndo Sushi, all set in neon surroundings designed to mirror the technicolour hustle and bustle of Asian nightlife.
Coming soon - 85-97 Renshaw Street, Liverpool L1 2SP
If you find yourself on Lark Lane, you certainly won’t be short on places to locate great cocktails, boss beers and live music; but Blondie’s has joined the mix to spoil us for choice even more. See you at the bar for a signature Atomic Blonde. Ohhhhh, your hair is beautiful.
Blackstock Market will add yet another food and drink market to Liverpool’s ever-expanding portfolio but what makes this one different is that it will also become home to the Hot Water Comedy Club. Expect a roster of independent food vendors and cocktails, as well as a whisky bar, sports bar, live music and award-winning comedy.
Just when you thought life couldn’t get any more bizarre, Liverpool goes and opens a prison-themed bar complete with 10 cells, a visitation area, laundry room and warden’s office. "Inmates" are to expect cocktails made from "illicit" liquor, to be enjoyed wearing their very own orange jumpsuit. I mean, the jury’s out on this one - read our review of Alcotraz in Manchester.
Read next: 'A real charmer' - Sōlō, Ormskirk, reviewed
Get the latest news to your inbox
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!