Cocktails, Italian cicchetti and the best panoramic bar view in the city
In days gone by when you fancied a drink with a view, options in Liverpool were limited to The Pumphouse, Hannah’s Bar (RIP) or the Chung Ku Chinese. Architects knew that the sky was the limit though, and in 2008, Panoramic 34 blew everyone else out of the water.
Stepping out of the lift onto the 17th floor, you’re instantly drawn to that breathtaking 360 view
Panoramic 34 designer, Richard Eastwood, said Britain’s highest restaurant would help make the city the European Capital of Cupid. There’s no doubt that Panoramic has its wow factor - and at 300 feet above sea level on the 34th floor of West Tower, it can certainly be attributed to many a knee-trembler, in one way or another.
But having boasted the ultimate Liverpool vista for 13 years, there is now a mighty challenger to Panoramic’s crown. And as well as the best bar view in Liverpool, it might just be the best drinks experience on the planet.
We love Liverpool, so yeah, we do kind of have to say that. But from first hand experience, I can honestly say that the brand new INNSiDE Liverpool hotel is in a world of its own, and the 360 sky bar on the 17th floor is the cherry on top.
95 Old Hall Street was constructed in the early 1970s in a Brutalist style and home to the Post & ECHO newspaper publisher until 2018. If you lived or worked around Old Hall Street in the last 20 or 30 years, then you’ll know how much the area has changed.
Where once your lunch options were the corner chippy, a Boots meal deal, or a trip to Sam’s Bar & Grill, now you’ve got a combination of independent restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, and hotels. The team behind Duke Street Market are also in the process of transforming the nearby Plaza building into a restaurant, bar and coffee shop.
Progress goes nowhere without a Tesco Extra, but it’s reassuring to hear that INNSiDE has a commitment to local creatives. INNSiDE Liverpool has collaborated with local lifestyle and plant store concept A Slower Space, creating a green-inspired takeover of the entrance area of the Old Hall Street hotel. With the flagship store located on the iconic Penny Lane, this will be A Slower Space’s second Liverpool location.
The hotel has also partnered with independent local art gallery, dot-art, with a showcase of collections from local artists across the hotel’s suites and public spaces. A collection of local artists’ works including David Gilligan, Kirsten Todd, John Petch and Bexy, will be showcased in the bedrooms for guests to enjoy and to purchase, if you wish.
Both the sky bar and hotel restaurant come under the Gino D’Acampo brand - the celebrity chef already has a restaurant on Castle Street - and the food and drink menus at INNSiDE Liverpool are everything you’d expect from the successful restaurateur.
Cocktail enthusiasts will find an impressive mix of classic and signature drinks available, including a Bellini (£12); Aperol spritz (£12); Hugo spritz – a blend of Fiorente elderflower, lime, mint and Prosecco (£12); Negroni ‘Sbagliato’ – Campari with Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Prosecco (£13); and the Italian chef’s own personal favourite, a Negroni (£13).
Bar snacks include cerignola olives (£5), freshly baked Italian breads and basil pesto dip (£6), and a selection of Italian bruschetta (£20). All baked items are made from scratch by Gino’s in-house team of pastry chefs and bakers. Afternoon treats include panna cotta with blackberries and honeycomb (£7), bombolini, (£7), affogato (£7) or Gino’s own personal favourite, tiramisù (£7).
Aside from all the polish and shine; the stunning bedrooms and the immaculate restaurant; the funky meeting rooms, clever signs and retro quirks - and the absolutely massive amount of money which has undoubtedly been thrown at the new INNSiDE Liverpool development - at the end of the day, it’s a really, really nice space to just be in.
Stepping out of the lift onto the 17th floor, you’re instantly drawn to that breathtaking 360 view. Looking across to New Brighton lighthouse, Stanley Dock, Anfield stadium, two cathedrals, Exchange Flags, the museums, and of course, the River Mersey; it's like having an enormous interactive map in front of you.
The overwhelming feeling up there is calm; a peaceful haven above the hustle and bustle of the city streets below. It's sophisticated but not stuffy; fun without the fuss. Love is in the air, but look out for Banksy’s heart-shaped trail down below, the only remaining part of the street artist’s Love Plane.
European Capital of Cupid? To the guests at Panoramic 34 and the residents of West Tower - please draw your blinds. You don’t want to see this.
Gino D’Acampo Old Hall Street is now open at INNSiDE Liverpool for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7am - 11.30pm, every day. The 360 Sky Bar will be open from 12pm daily and open until midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends. For bookings call 0151 832 4517.
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