The best under-the-radar places to eat and drink
LAST month we let you in on some of our secrets of the highs and lows of Liverpool’s eating and drinking scene, delving into the depths of basement bars and getting up into the rooftops for our top 10 of the city’s.
This month, we’ve uncovered a whole load more treasures for you to add to your scavenger hunt – with eight new and old places off the beaten track or hidden in plain view well worth sniffing out.
Step this way…
Why did the Mexican guy push his wife off a cliff? Tequila! To-kill-her… get it? Let’s try another one… Why did the chicken cross Slater Street? To get to El Bandito’s underground tequileria, of course. OK, we’ll put a pin in the stand-up comedy for today and skip to telling you more about this clandestine drinking den. El Bandito is an authentic, subterranean cocktail and tequila bar where you can slam tequila and mescal from Mexico and even elsewhere around the world. Open well into the wee small hours every night, it’s easily disguised by its psychedelic graffitied exterior – so definitely a place for those in the know. And well, now you know.
, 41b Slater Street, L1 4BX
If you’re in Liverpool city centre, then this one is so off the beaten track that it does require a short bus, bike or taxi ride – but rest assured, you won’t leave disappointed (or hungry). Tucked away inside the Windmill Wholefoods shop up near Sefton Park, STØCK is an independent deli and coffee vendor dishing up fresh and healthy homemade soups, superfood boxes, hot pots, juices and coffees to go. From duo bean and turmeric potato salads to quinoa chilli and pesto pine nut pasta, these guys have grab ’n’ go veggie, vegan and gluten-free goodness on lockdown.
, 162 Aigburth Road, L17 7BR
Free State Kitchen
Ask any respectable Scouser where the best place to grab a burger is in town and you can bet your last quid that Free State Kitchen would be high up there in the rankings. It’s a tiny little establishment tucked away on Maryland Street (Maryland… the Free State…) with a few seats, a popular beer garden and a mouthwatering menu of all-American delicacies. Think buttermilk chicken with Swiss cheese, Sriracha cheese dogs, bacon and brie burgers, Oreo cheesecake and pulled pork over everythang. Yes, thang. We went there. (Read our review here)
, 1 Maryland Street, L1 9DE
You’d be forgiven for not noticing this one on a casual meander around the city – probably given that it’s 100 metres above sea level, on the 34th floor of one of Liverpool’s tallest buildings, the 40-storey West Tower skyscraper. This one’s for when you’ve got your fancy pants on as Panoramic34 offers one of the most sophisticated drinking and dining experiences the city has to offer. As the name suggests, it offers drop dead gorgeous views across the cityscape and the iconic skyline, alongside a tasting menu, afternoon tea and cocktail lounge small plates.
, West Tower, Brook Street, L3 9PJ
This might be one of the smallest pubs in the whole of Liverpool but its history, personality and rabble of regulars dwarfs many of its more sizeable neighbours. Hiding behind the Royal Philharmonic building, The Belvedere is humble, homely and unapologetic in how it fills the classic pub mould without one single air bubble – wooden benches, blistered leather stools and soggy beer mats to boot. It’s all part of the charm. Here, you’ll find craft ales, beers from local breweries and spirits from some of the North West’s most celebrated distilleries.
, 5 Sugnall Street, L7 7EB
Coffee & Fandisha
Bringing a slice of East Africa to Liverpool’s creative quarter, Coffee & Fandisha is inspired by a traditional Ethiopian ceremony where freshly brewed coffee is served alongside a selection of small nibbles, in this case ‘popcorn and other little bits and pieces’. The ‘speciality coffee shop and luncheonette’ promises an ‘oasis of calm’ and a roster of house-baked goods, lunches made using local produce, and craft beers and wines. Look out for the yellow wall inside which displays the work of local artists while you’re there too.
, 5 Brick Street, L1 0BL
One of the Baltic Triangle OGs, the Baltic Bakehouse is still just as popular now as it was back when this neck of the woods wasn’t yet the hip ’n’ happening hangout it is today. Branding themselves as bread and sourdough specialists, this is the place to seek out if you fancy yourself as a bit of a dough connoisseur. Go for the freshly baked bread and stay for the onslaught of pure pastry-based seduction in the form of croissants, cruffins and giant sticky buns. Oh and let’s not forget those custard stuffed doughnuts; let’s not forget about those.
, 46 Bridgewater Street, L1 0AY
Love Lane Brewing
The Baltic Triangle has famously become a maze of independent cafes, bars, restaurants and music venues over the past couple of years. Do a bit of exploration around the area and you’ll likely stumble on somewhere called Love Lane Brewing, transformed from an old rubber factory in 2016. Step inside the working brewery and distillery with its three bars and kitchen, and taste what one of Liverpool’s proud independent brewers has to offer. These guys have a pooch-friendly policy too so when you fancy a pint of Love Lane, your four-legged friends don’t have to miss out on all the fun.
, 62 Bridgewater Street, L1 0AY