Secret bars, garden areas and street food - but where have all the goths gone?
There was nay a skull, bondage boot or a bride of Dracula in sight. And the only pierced tongue was the sort being barbecued on a metal skewer.
For all the goths have flown from their long dark roost in Renshaw Street’s Central Hall. In their place there is light as dozens of restaurateurs and food traders have set out their stalls in what is described as an 'eating experience like no other in the UK'.
They are calling it Grand Central Food Bazaar. It opened at the weekend in the gaudy, Grade II listed landmark which has undergone a massive refurbishment programme over several floors. There was a big party, a live jazz band played. One could safely wager that the hundreds of people who turned up had never set foot in the building in their lives.
Oh, another food market you say. And yes it is true that such enterprises have become a “thing” in the last twelve months. And following on from the success of Baltic Market, everyone seemingly wants to have their pulled pork sandwich and sell it.
However Grand Central Food Bazaar is rather different. For a start it is open every day, not just the weekend, from breakfast time until late.
On the first floor the 1,200 capacity Dome space has been lovingly restored by the building’s owner, Maureen Bramwell, the woman behind Smoky Mo’s, with its sprung dance floor (she apparently sanded and varnished the lot single handed over a couple of nights), grand illuminated organ and stage ready for entertainment action.
Within the one area we have secret bars, outdoor garden areas, street food and extremely high-quality restaurants...
Its real name is the Roscoe Room, after the Victorian slavery abolitionist who is buried out the back in Roscoe Gardens facing Mount Pleasant. For years, this has been a badly neglected spot, filled with needles and worse. Now, however, it is set to come under the jurisdiction of the new regime at Central Hall as an outdoor drinking space. It already is, I hear you shout, but not like that.
Way ahead of his time Roscoe insisted that education should be a right for girls and according to Ben Gorry, one of the people behind the scheme, there are plans afoot to stage events in the Dome space that give profits to disadvantaged women’s groups.
You can stay and do all of the above, if you like, after all there’s a 50 room hotel.
Co-owner Kurt Wilson said: “People can expect to find something totally unique, there’s nothing like this in the UK. People will be able to choose from a fantastic selection of restaurants, watch some of the best chefs in the region produce food directly in front you, sit down and eat from a plate and enjoy the truly magical surroundings.
“Within the one area we have secret bars, outdoor garden areas, street food and extremely high-quality restaurants serving food.”
Castle Street’s Izakaya restaurant is “curating” the food hall in the former Quiggins area of the building with the people behind SKAUS, and Waterloo’s Little Macaron among the familiar faces.
The building, a nervous breakdown of architectural styles - art nouveau, byzantine, classical gothic and Jacobean - was developed as a central chapel for Liverpool’s Presbyterian community. Since then, it has had numerous incarnations and has served as a cinema, a theatre and a place for independent traders to sell goods and services.
In the right hands, it could now be just what Renshaw Street, the poor relation to buzzing Bold Street, badly needs. Not to mention Mount (un)Pleasant. Liverpool is lucky it is still standing.