Contender ready? Vicky Andrews visits Liverpool’s newest sports bar
As a food and drink writer and general know it all, I quite often get texts from friends asking for recommendations of places to go. "Where is good to eat on Castle Street?" "Where can we go for a drink before the theatre?" "Gonna go see Molly UFC fight tonight with some girls from the gym. Do you know of a bar?"
Probably the best French dip I’ve had this side of La Manche
This was a new one. What the heck was a Molly UFC fight? I had the feeling it wasn’t something that I wanted to eat. And so it was that I ended up in The Long Shot on a Saturday night, eating a “monster” sandwich, sipping on fine cocktails, and watching live TV coverage of two Scouse MMA fighters - “Meatball” Molly McCann and Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett - punch, kick and wrestle their way to victory at UFC Vegas 36.
Whooping along with the rest of the room as the two Scousers brought absolute scenes to the cage (I stole that line from somebody else) certainly felt like good wholesome fun.
“Go on Jason!” I shouted at the giant screen as the camera panned around the arena. For future reference, nobody really bothers to cheer for the ref. Sport clearly isn’t my forte, so let’s talk about something I do know about - food and booze.
The Long Shot opened its doors at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool in July and has earned a reputation for innovative cocktails, craft beers and monster sandwiches, served up with the best live sporting events from around the world.
Founded by Simon Thompson, owner of Present Company bar on School Lane and previously at Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, the 200+ capacity venue is set over two levels, with an upper mezzanine floor, and outdoor space with 8 tables.
British racing green interiors and stylish wooden cladding run throughout, with a large LED-lit bar taking centre stage on the ground floor. Colourful artwork from a mixture of artists dress the walls, including a series of drawings from artist, Sean Ryan, who has made a name for himself with his much-loved series of Badly Drawn Models.
Visitors can watch all of the must-see sports games as they happen on 13 giant screens, or enjoy a game of pool upstairs where there’s also a pinball machine and jukebox quiz machine for those who love to play as well as watch.
Simon and his team are serious about their craft, with the high standard of drinks available at Present Company replicated at The Long Shot. Cocktails range from their take on the classic Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s Apple, maple syrup and bitters, to the bar’s signature The Long Shot cocktail; a refreshing mix of Jameson Black Barrel, apricot and black tea soda.
The food is exactly what you’d expect from an American sports bar and includes snacks of cheesy nachos, garlic bread and a sharing board, plus five “Monster” sandwiches to choose from, all £9 and all served with nachos (of course).
A former romantic interest once told me that “more than a mouthful is a waste.” The context is a hazy memory now, and although I don’t believe they were talking about sandwiches, the philosophy does make sense when you think about it. The butties at The Long Shot look amazing but what exactly is the right way to eat a “Monster sandwich”?
My American pal dived straight into her TBLT - turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato - without hesitation. On the other side of the table, a vegan banh mi - charred seitan, pickled veg, lettuce, tomato, coriander and lime mayo - was pulled apart and tackled in a game of two halves.
Me? I went to the bar and asked for a knife and fork. “French dip” was a mammoth baguette, stuffed with roast beef, Swiss cheese, caramelised onion and mustard mayo.
If the chef is reading this then I do apologise, but I used the knife and fork to eat the cheese, steak and onions, then cut the bread up and dipped it in the beef consomme. A win for the red corner, thank you very much, and probably the best French dip I’ve had this side of La Manche.
If there’s one thing that MMA fighting has taught me, it’s that there’s more than one way to bring home the bagels. And as the great Meatball Molly declared after her victory on that special night in Las Vegas; “Lad, I just want a bevvy.”
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