From Secret Dining to Speak Easies – Here are some of Liverpool’s hidden hangouts
It’s fair to say that Liverpool has no shortage of tourist attractions. From famous music venues to famous footie clubs, the docklands to the Cathedrals and everything in between, Liverpool will not let you down when looking for something to do.
However, for those of us that have experienced these things a million times, or just fancy something different, there is a small world of underground events and attractions on offer that you might not otherwise hear about when trying to plan something that little bit different.
Sofar Sounds, ‘Songs From A Room’, is a grassroots, live Music Company that put on intimate acoustic concerts in weird and wonderful places. We’ve seen shows in people’s living rooms, office spaces, penthouse apartments and churches. Sofar Sounds is a global franchise, and Liverpool’s edition of the live music experience keeps up with likes of London, New York and Paris. All you have to do is sign up at www.sofarsounds.com for your city, pay a small donation, and then you will be personally invited to a secret venue with a secret line-up. It’s the perfect way to experience live music in a different way, as most musicians do something a little different with the acoustic set up, whilst discovering some incredible upcoming UK artists, as the likes of Bastille, Lianne La Havas and James Bay have all come through the ranks.
You can check out the video here.
When entertaining visitors to the city, or just when heading out yourself, the chances are you’ll end up stopping off for a drink. Liverpool, of course, has no shortages of bars, clubs and pubs, however, if you’re in the mood for something off the beaten track, then fear not, as Liverpool has no shortage of hide-away, speak easy bars either. We have the likes of Berry and Rye, a tiny Whiskey Bar on Berry Street for which you have to knock on a very non descript black door in order to get in. Taking things to another level, we have Ex-Directory, a bar based around an old fashioned, red telephone box. You can’t get in without making a reservation, and even getting the number is a task in itself. The whole place is shrouded in mystery, so figuring out the number and location is all part of the fun.Trust us, once you get there and are led to an underground bar through a telephone box, it all seems worth it.
Rooftop bars aren’t exactly the most popular things in UK, for obvious, weather related reasons, however, when done properly they are an unmatched treat during the summer months. OHMEOHMY, on Water Street, and the Carpathia Champagne Bar are the pinnacle of rooftop bars with views of the Liver Bird Building and docklands. On the other hand, places like The Attic, on Parr Street, HUS, and Mexican diner, Wahaca, offer a quainter, more discreet setting, all tucked away amongst the inner city. This summer, why not relax on a weekend, or bank holiday afternoon accompanied by great drinks, picturesque surroundings and the clouds.
Similar to Sofar Sounds, this is another company that is not exclusively in Liverpool but for something a little more on the edge; look no further than Merseyside’s edition on Breakout. So, you and your friends are locked in a room with only your wit and instinct to get you out. The clock is counting down and there is a collection of clues coming your way, each one getting you closer and closer to finding out the code for the door so that you can break out! Located on Sir Thomas Street, this basement bonkers bonanza has a selection of themes for you to choose from, including Horror, Pirate and a Missile Launch, each varying in difficulty. This isn’t one for those who are prone to panic, or arguments with the other half, but it sure is a good laugh for those with a wicked edge.
Head to www.breakoutliverpool.com to book your slot now.
Secret Diners Club
The Secret Diners Club is a relatively new concept venture, but one that has gained a cult following very quickly. 2017 has seen the independent start up put on events for Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, amongst others in 2016, with an array of secret dining experiences planned for the rest of year. For these events, you will be told a secret, pop-up style location for the evening’s festivities. On the night, you will chosoe the type of menu you fancy, stating any dietary requirements, however you will not know the meals on the menu, forcing you to indulge in something new. But, for fussy eaters out there, don’t worry; the food is as delicious as it is classy, sometimes looking so good that you dare not dig in. The only thing that tends to outdo the food on its appearance is the location itself, having recently been at the Love Lane Lock Up and Camp and Furnace.
If you want to be in the know, then join the club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
More on Facebook too www.facebook.com/secretdinersclubliverpool
Backroom and Basement Music Venues
The city’s most famous music venue is a basement venue – The Cavern Club – so it’s not exactly hidden away. However, drawing inspiration from the iconic haunt, there is an array of backroom and basement venues that carry on the theme in to the modern day music scene, with big names like The Shipping Forecast and The Jacaranda leading the way. However, there are some that are lesser known. The Cellar is one that you may only know of if you attend Liverpool John Moores, regularly hosting live music nights and doubling up as student union club, housing mainly DJs. HUS is another, newer addition that has a bar and eatery upstairs, with the intimately cool live space in the basement. The stages yellow backdrop may look familiar if you’ve seen She drew the gun’s latest music video.
Moving on to backroom venues, we have the revamped 81 Renshaw that is starting to make a mark, Maguires Pizza just down the road, predominantly focussed towards Rock music, and Red Brick Vintage tying everything together by hosting independent gigs such as the previously mentioned Sofar Sounds.
When travelling to any city it is obviously fun to do the touristy part. But, there is something special about digging a little deeper to tailor your visit and make it your own. Whether visiting or staying, the secret side to Liverpool is a side that is a must to explore. But sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!