Liverpool is one of the most eclectic, forward thinking and bohemian cities in the world and underneath the iconic heritage listed buildings and world class cultural sites lay some of the coolest and quirkiest places to eat, drink and play in the UK! Here is your local guide to some of the best, coolest and most eclectic nightlife, bars, restaurants and entertainment spots in Liverpool.
Maggie Mays Cafe.
Start your day off right with a cup of tea and a solid breakfast at this local legend. Quirkily and traditionally decorated, Maggie May’s is both archetypically British and quintessentially Liverpudlian, with perfect home cooked food and traditional fare. This is also the single best places in the city to get a steaming hot bowl of scouse, our national dish!
Sugar And Dice.
Like cake? Like board games? Then you will love this board game cafe in the heart of Liverpool! A huge board game shelf has dozens of board game classics like Uno and Trivial Pursuit and more modern games like Adventure Time Card Wars and Exploding Kittens! Bring your friends, grab a huge plate of nachos and choose your game!
Videodyssey, located at Toxteth TV just a short taxi drive away from the city centre, is a little hard to find at first but is well worth seeking out as the very definition of a hidden gem in Liverpool! Want to find some classic arcade games like Alien vs Predator and Donkey Kong? Well look no further, because this independent gem has what you are looking for in a truly unique space! And this is not only the UKs last video shop and a great arcade to spend an afternoon in, they have the city’s smallest private cinema!
You can literally hire your own private room with a big screen, a comfy sofa with enough room for a small group and a projector for less than a trip to the cinema! It takes movie night to a whole new, epic level! So instead of going to the mainstream cinema, spend an afternoon playing some awesome arcade games then book a private 80s movie screening with your mates and take your pick from a host of video classics!
The Brink is something special in Liverpool, a revolutionary venue that serves amazing, healthy food and non alcoholic drinks, designed to be a welcoming space for creatives to relax and socialize with regular events from local artists, poets and performers. But the Brink is so much more than just a healthy and creative space to grab some lunch, it is also a social enterprise run by the charity Action on Addiction, and all profits go directly back into the community to fund support for those with dependency issues.
The Baltic Market.
Liverpool’s now famous Baltic Market is located in the historical Cain’s Brewery Village, a repurposed and regenerated area that retains a lot of it’s vintage style and is already an iconic home to independent bars and restaurants. The Baltic Market is Liverpool’s first real street food market purely for local independent foodies and micro breweries making it the ideal mix of delicious food and quirky atmosphere, and since exploring Liverpool will work up one hell of an appetite this is a place you should become acquainted with very quickly! There really is no better place to satiate that hunger than here! Welcoming vegans and meat lovers, gluten free and eat anything available people alike, the Baltic Market caters to everyone with a range of home made food from around the world like wood fired pizzas and my favourite, Korean BBQ (although the authentic Malaysian Nasi Lemak comes a close second), as well as craft beer and gourmet coffee, there really is something for everyone!
Arcains is a great place to recapture your youth pumping coins into arcade games and beating the hell out of Rocksteady, BeBop and the Shredder on TMNT (or TMHT as it was known in the UK back then for all the major geeks out there!)
Basically Arcains is a huge gaming hall filled with retro arcade games that will take you back to your childhood faster than a souped up DeLorean! There are three floors all filled with different vintage machines, and the best part is you just pay on the door and then all the games are free to play.
The big unsung hero here though is the old Cain’s Brewery building it is set in, you just cannot replicate a building like this and it helps create an amazing retro atmosphere that is just a joy to be in and explore. And of course it wouldn’t be an arcade without the traditional American cuisine of hotdogs and nachos!
If you want something more filling there is also the Punch Tarney’s pub next door (which also serves as the entrance to Arcains). My favourite time to go, as someone who is far too old and tired to keep up with clubbing anymore, is a Friday or Saturday evening, when it is over 18s only, the 80s mega hits get cranked out and the cocktails flow until the early hours of the morning!
Cain’s Brewery Village.
Opposite the Baltic Market and home to Arcains which I have already singled out, Cain’s Brewery village deserves a mention all on its own because there is nowhere quite like this epic building. Once a huge industrial complex at the height of Liverpool’s industrial revolution and left to fall into ruin, this unique and stunning building is now home to an array of unique independent restaurants, a crazy golf course and a vintage shop or two, and just like Arcains, part of the charm is in the unique architecture of the building itself, so if you are looking for some unique dining options, an afternoon playing some arcades or a bit of crazy golf or are just looking for a cool place to hang out, you can’t beat Cains!
Escape Hunt, Liverpool.
One attraction that will get your brain cells ticking over and your adrenaline going is being locked into a themed room and having no choice but to escape! Get ultimate bragging rights and defeat the puzzles to escape!
FACT is the UKs leading media arts centre and often hold an array of creative international exhibitions based around media, film, arts, digital culture and technology. The exhibitions are often free and is a very different but no less impressive alternative to the Tate Modern.
Hatchet Harry’s is one of the more unique offerings in the raft of independent activities that are popping up throughout Liverpool. Instead of the usual bars, movies and standard entertainment options everyone else does, why not call on your inner Viking, grow a manly beard and chuck some sharp axes at things instead? Who can say no to that?
Urban axe throwing is an increasingly popular sport and is well worth having a go at! Expert staff are on hand to give lessons and pointers on the basics of axe throwing as well as teaching a trick shot or two, and there are competitions, games and even a leader board for the best tossers!
Peaky Blinders Bar.
After exploring the city all day you are going to need a refreshment or two, and where better than in a period Gangster bar? Any fan of this period Gangster epic knows that a lot of it was actually filmed in Liverpool due to the iconic Victorian architecture, look and iconic design of a lot of the city’s buildings, and the Peaky Blinders Bar keeps that tradition up with a vintage look and staff done up in almost period dress. So do up your shirt and waistcoat, grab yourself a fancy cocktail and imagine yourself a turn of the 20th Century gangster!
PINS Social Club.
PINS Social club is Liverpool’s own answer to making a night out a one stop, action packed, fun filled, epic event. Anyone can just go for a drink in a bar on a Saturday night, but PINS gives you specialised cocktails on a rooftop bar coupled with some epic hand stretched pizza and snacks, all while you head to the lanes for a game of bowls or check out one of their table top games. Who wants to settle for just going to the pub and standing around any more?
Only Fools Bar.
Play it cool, Trig, play it cool! Take a trip back to the 80s with Liverpool’s only Only Fools And Horses themed Bar! I cannot stress enough just how amazing this bar is, full of reproductions of actual TV sets that you can take selfies in and a menu of cocktails with names like ‘Don’t Call Me Dave’ and ‘Uncle Albert’s Disco Nap’ you just have to order one of Del’s famous yuppie cocktails!
This bar is the ultimate fan service to one of the best British TV series ever, and started as an absolute labour of love from genuine fans! You can even recreate Del’s famous bar fall (complete with a safety crash mat of course)!
Not only is it a fun place to come and have a cheeky Chateau Nerf De Pap, but it is also one of Liverpool’s newest live act venue as well, with live bands playing on the stage most weekends and even a few open mic nights where you can perform your very own rendition of ‘Cwying’, sans Raquel, of course! So get down here, check out iconic props and sets and have a drink down the Nag’s Head. Don’t be a plonker, you know you want to!
Balls Deep Cocktail Bar.
No, this isn’t a description of what happens after a night on the pull on Mathew Street, so stop sniggering at the back! Balls Deep is the only Liverpool speakeasy with its very own ball pit! Hidden behind a secret entrance (kind of given away by the big neon signs pointing to it) this cocktail bar is a huge grown up playground! So if you fancy getting your lips around a mouthwatering cocktail and a drunken fumble on a sea of balls then this is your place! But more than that, Balls Deep also has a couple of retro arcade games for anyone who tires of the ball pit! What better way to finish off an awesome trip around Liverpool’s quirkier spots?
Balls deep is also home to El Taco’s, a pop up Mexican themed restaurant and take away with a cartel inspired menu! (You’ll pass it on the way to the secret entrance!) Let’s just be clear for any Narcs watching though, the chicken is the only thing that comes in Kilo’s here!
Luna Winter Cinema.
Now this one is a little bit of a cheat as it isn’t on all year round, but when it is it is spectacular! The Luna Cinema is an open air and venue cinema that holds specific themed events and shows classic movies throughout the year all over the UK, but my favourite time of the year is when they show their Christmas selection in the magnificent St. Georges Hall! You just can’t beat watching Elf in surroundings like this! Bring a blanket, stock up on snacks and enjoy some Christmas magic in one of Liverpool’s grandest settings!
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