Jennie Macaulay on the best places to eat and drink in the Baltic
LIVERPOOL is split up into so many districts it's hard to keep track, and the maths on the number of “quarters” that council officials talk about would have Carol Vorderman stumped. Perhaps that’s why The Baltic has chosen to take an angular lean for its identity. It’s hip to be square but even hipper to be a triangle.
A hub of creativity, independent business and fabulous nights out
Nestled between Parliament Street, the dock road and Chinatown, the Baltic Triangle offers coffee, alcohol and nights out to the good people of Liverpool in a slightly different fashion to the city centre. A few years ago a visit here certainly wasn’t on the to-do list of many but over the past decade the area has reinvented itself and become a hub of creativity, independent business and fabulous nights out.
You’ll find loads of things to do in the Baltic and could easily spend a day and night here, whether that be a gig by a little known niche group at District on Jordan Street, a night dancing to Sonic Yootha’s uber-energetic playlist at 24 Kitchen Street or a round or two of crazy golf under neon lighting at Ghetto Golf in the Cains Brewery Village.
Camp & Furnace on Greenland Street is still as popular as ever for its club nights, live shows and themed singalongs, as is the Baltic Market, a busy food and drink hub with an ever-changing line-up of pop-up traders and night-time entertainment.
The Cains complex has come a long way since the industrial Victorian brewery was given a £150m makeover and reopened in 2016.
Today, Cains is something of a magnet for visiting stags and hens, but it’s also home to businesses run by people who are passionate about what they do and invested financially and emotionally in this community - Dockleaf, Ryde bicycle cafe, Lu Ban restaurant, Red Brick Market, and Content, a shipping container park that’s home to legendary madcap club night, Bongo’s Bingo.
Venturing off the beaten track, here are just a few of the places you should check out within one of Liverpool’s coolest neighbourhoods.
Chapters of Us on Simpson Street is a lovely place where coffee, alcohol, food and smiles are offered in abundance. The staff are, without exception, a friendly and accommodating bunch who make their human and canine visitors equally welcome. The interior decoration with exposed brickwork, luscious plants dotted round the bar and stylish mid-century influenced furniture make it Instagram friendly. Marry that with the obligatory cool playlist and the hours here fly by.
Sundays at Chapters of Us are done right: Good Liverpool holds its market every few weeks hosting independent businesses in the room next door. There are tasty guest food outlets and tunes come courtesy of Coffee and Turntables which all help to make it a home from home (with nicer furniture and a ready supply of cake). Lunch here is healthy and delicious - vegan parsnip and kale pesto soup anyone?
The Baltic Triangle branch of 92 Degrees is housed in a co-working space on Jamaica Street where it roasts its own coffee. Along with your flat white, you can grab a range of delicious pastries and tasty treats. It’s an interesting place to sit, enjoy a brew and people watch as various creative looking types appear from the working space at Baltic Creative and pop to the counter for their caffeine fix.
Fancy a pint of a local beer accompanied by a shot of whimsy? Then the Hobo Kiosk is the place for you. The iron doorway on Jamaica Street leads into a wondrous world where a warm welcome is extended. It’s a small and quirky bar where conversation, music and good times flow. Every city should have a place like this and this centre of Liverpool bohemia is a laid back place with its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Oooh fresh tinnie drop today from the guys @glenaffricbrew 🥰 thanks for the delivery @Glenaffric_Joe xx Keep your eyes peeled for more new tinnies arriving later this week xx pic.twitter.com/3WMDzoeSMj
— hobokiosk (@hobokiosk) November 23, 2021
A must visit for everyone is The Baltic Fleet pub on Wapping. Its fortunes have reflected the changing fate of its environment: it’s gone from being the only sign of life in a near derelict dock area before the renovation of the Albert Dock in 1984 to a welcoming hub for serious ale drinkers and the students and young professionals who inhabit the ubiquitous newly built boxes which have sprung up nearby. Its knowledgeable staff offer a range of real ales and craft beers and there’s an outside seating area which can be delightful on a sunny day and from which patrons can keep a close eye on Liverpool’s foremost A road. The Baltic Fleet is a welcome contrast to some of the louder and more modern pubs in the city centre and certainly worth the slight walk out of town.
While Dorothy is a purveyor of neither food nor drink, it is very much worth drawing attention to. It’s a design studio with a difference; it’s famous for prints, posters and postcards which are influenced by music, film and modern culture and which are all designed with a meticulous eye for detail and a wicked sense of humour. It clearly cherishes popular culture and has been involved with Liverpool’s Light Night and has hosted an exhibition of local legend Mark McNulty’s photographs of the local club scene over the years.
Stamp Books: Classic Edition 💥💥💥 One of two NEW prints for book lovers featuring 42 of the most influential, widely read and much loved books from the 17th century to the first world war. Available now from https://t.co/teYWFUFDnk pic.twitter.com/JUIscV5NW2
— Dorothy (@Dorothy_UK) October 22, 2021
The menu at this place might feature a cracking selection of butties, burgers and bowls, but what Baltic Social is really about is the Punk Afternoon Tea. Packed with mini burgers and deep fried things instead of sandwiches and cakes, this afternoon tea is loud and brash and OTT, and people can’t get enough of it. There’s a vegan and veggie version too and you can go bottomless. Lord, help us.
If bread’s your thing, and who doesn’t love a fresh loaf, then Baltic Bakehouse is a place of alchemy and magic. Compact it may be, but the floor to ceiling window ensures that any sun the city sees floods in and even on a cloudy day, a visit here brightens things up. As soon as you walk in, you’re met by the sight of fresh pastries, doughnuts and different types of breads stacked high which have all been made on site. The staff are a friendly, informed and super helpful lot which means that return visits to this Bridgewater Street spot are guaranteed.
Located on Brick Street, another firm favourite for a pit stop coffee is Coffee and Fandisha. Based on the Ethiopian tradition of serving freshly brewed coffee alongside popcorn and other "little bits and pieces", it’s a welcoming hub of specialty coffee and yet more cake, along with delicious lunches and a cheeky glass of wine. It’s hidden away from the main thoroughfare of Jamaica Street but a cracking mural of a coffee plant branch by Paul Curtis on the outside wall acts as a beacon to all coffee connoisseurs.
Speaking of Paul Curtis, his murals in Liverpool have become so popular that he’s even started his own street art walking tour. “For all Liverpool’s Liver Birds” - aka the Liverpool wings - is one of the most popular murals in the Baltic, and a must-see. But it’s also well worth hunting down Paul’s Abbey Road work on Grafton Street, as well as "Klopp" by Manchester-based French artist Akse, Italo by Brazilian artist Liam Bononi, All You Need Is Love by Dave Bonzai, and "The Beatles" by John Culshaw. While you’re wandering, don’t miss a photo op with Liverpool's Bob Marley statue opposite 92 Degrees Coffee. Jamming.
So the first art walking tour was quite well received,q despite the terrible weather! The consensus was that it is worth doing another. I can't make it a regular thing but I can probably do it every 3 or 4 months, so keep watching my social media#walking #walkingtour #streetart pic.twitter.com/tGY3A6dW5w
— Paul Curtis (@paulcurtisart) November 8, 2021
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