Lesser-known places to grab a bite, a coffee or something stronger away from the crowds
Liverpool is a complete and utter bonanza of rooftop bars, outdoor tables and beer gardens galore. A bird’s eye view of the city centre could easily be mistaken for drone footage of Glasto when the sun has got its hat on (kinda). Sound like fresh hell to you? Say no more.
If you want to beat the crowds, enjoy some elbow room at the bar and take a breath without inhaling a cocktail of vapes, we got you. Here are more clandestine bars, outdoor dining areas, terraces and sun traps that aren’t quite so easy to stumble upon, with plenty of room to swing ya cat.
Fancy an aperitif or a local gin under the twinkling ambiance of festoon lighting? Well, you’ve reached your destination. The Buyers Club backyard is an outdoor extension of the ‘neighbourhood bar, kitchen and garden’, oozing with immaculate vibes and urban wisteria. The courtyard is a total sun trap when the weather’s gorge but equally appealing after dark. Eat alfresco from the Italian-influenced menu and sip from a roster of local beers, spirits and frequently-changing wines. Orange wine lovers, this one’s for you.
Buyers Club, 24 Hardman Street, Liverpool L1 9AX
The word ‘abditory’ means a place for hiding articles of value, so it’s no surprise then that this covert bar on Queens Avenue is one of the city’s most precious gems. Alongside fresh coffee and local beers, you’ll also find one of Liverpool’s most coveted cocktail lists here, featuring a Banana Bread Old Fashioned and a Honey Margarita. The subterranean terrace is undercover and kitted out with plenty of bench seating and outdoor heating so it’s a great shout whatever the weather.
Abditory, 22 Queen Avenue, Liverpool L2 4TZ
Retreat from the chaos of the city centre into The Bluecoat gallery’s well-kept garden—a tranquil oasis that not everybody knows about. Soak up the sun or find a shady spot with a barista coffee, a glass of wine or a beer. Refuel for the rest of your day on a hearty lunch and a slice of cake made from locally-sourced ingredients. The garden itself is maintained by a small gaggle of green-fingered volunteers, with artist, beekeeper and Gardener in Residence, Andrea Ku at the helm.
Bluecoat, 8 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX
Free State Kitchen
Free State Kitchen is the home of epic burgers and contemporary twists on all-American classics like wings, nachos, ‘dogs and sandwiches. It’s also home to one of the best secret gardens in the city, complete with (real) grass to sprawl out on, picnic benches to sit at and large umbrellas to escape from the rays when you’ve had too much sun. The space gets transformed into a winter wonderland snug during the chilly months so it really is a year-round hidden gem.
Free State Kitchen 1 Maryland Street, Liverpool L1 9DE
Salt Dog Slim's
Salt Dog Slim’s is no great secret. In fact, this dive bar has been hosting some of the most boss parties in Liverpool since it opened back in 2012. However, not everybody knows it’s party out the bag as well as the front here. Beyond the bar, which services ‘steins, brines and good times’ is an astroturfed outdoor area where one minute it’s 3pm and the next it’s 1am and the last train home is nothing but a distant memory. Psst… did you know Salt Dog’s is also home to a secret speakeasy, 81 Ltd? You do now.
Salt Dog Slim’s, 79 Seel Street, Liverpool L1 4BB
The Pen Factory
Go beyond this bustling bistro’s interior and you’ll find yourself in an intimate secret courtyard surrounded by the red bricks of Liverpool’s gorgeous Georgian Quarter. Retreat into the tangle of greenery, pull up a bright yellow chair and feel like you’re kicking back at a friend’s house, alfresco, to share a few beers or a bottle of wine. It’s rustic and laidback—all part of the charm. Look out for the fabulous wall mural by local artist, Jazz Stan.
The Pen Factory, 13 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BQ
What makes this modern Mexican taqueria even more irresistible when the sun’s out is the outdoor seating area in the Royal Albert Dock’s Anchor Courtyard. It’s still a fairly well-kept secret for the time being but maybe not for long so get there before everyone and their dog wants a spot. Expect some of the best tacos in town, 10/10 margaritas, a contemporary Mexican menu and an eclectic soundtrack to sip and scran to.
Madre, 6, Atlantic Pavilion Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AE
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