As the only non-North West based member of T.E.A (Midlands, not Southern), I would like to share some of my new found Liverpool knowledge with all and sundry. Since I moved to God’s city, despite there already being a wealth of trendy and delicious treats on offer, it seems a new place opens up every week. My only issue with this is that despite trying my best, I cannot afford to get everywhere to sample everything, though not for lack of trying. Integral to my and many others’ enjoyment of all the delights Liverpool has to offer is ‘Independent Liverpool’, a mysterious group or entity hell bent on destroying our need to ever leave the city. ‘Independent Liverpool’ offer a card (£15 for one, £20 for two, buy one for your mother) that helps with your wallet, and a website http://independent-liverpool.co.uk/ that constantly updates you on how best to enjoy Liverpool without resorting to a Costa and a pre-packaged Sainsburys sandwich. Not only does ‘Independent Liverpool’ showcase the best in bars, restaurants and independent shops across the city, the team also inform you of every event, put on their own events (check website for details) and list new, exciting ways of getting everything you could ever want out of Liverpool. I have my card and I implore you to get yours. I’ve assembled a list in no particular order of my 5 most used places on the card itself. It is a real struggle to list, as by now I have a top 30 in my head, but I see this as a starting point, so get exploring for yourself!
Free State Kitchen: Starting with Free State because it is so close to the John Foster Building, you have no excuse not to try it. 10% off food from the main menu at any time of day ever! The hot wings are akin to watching The Mighty Ducks for the very first time: you’ll never forget it and you’ll repeatedly go back for more even when you’re inappropriately old. Mains is a toss up between the Reuben Sandwich with home made pastrami, or the Double French Onion Burger which, though impossible to eat without a bib, is so good I wept a little bit.
Nolita Cantina: I know I should probably be more diverse than two restaurants leaning towards Americana, but, it’s my list and this place is outrageous. 20% discount off the main menu before 6pm! But also a running offer for all at lunch of £7.00 for any deli sandwich and bottomless fries (never seen anyone order more fries, but still nice to have the option). To be a stand out restaurant on Bold St is a mean task but this restaurant is ridiculous. The burgers are sensational, the big plates outstanding and they do frickles! That’s a fried pickle! Unless I go for the lunch deal I never deviate from the Green Chilli Cheese Burger which comes with fries, two big ol’ patties, and a mixture of sweet potato and home cut potato fries. I’ve had some of my best nights start and finish there, with a belly swollen to its maximum. It’s small and it gets busy, so get there ASAP.
92 Degrees Coffee: Just a short walk from your Uni: very top of Hardman Street on the bombed out Church side. 15% off everything (excluding sandwiches) with your card! For aficionados 92 Degrees is the only coffee shop in Liverpool to roast its own beans: delightful! The coffee is delicious, the staff un-pretentious yet knowledgeable, and the Chesterfields provide ultimate comfort for reading a book, or kicking back with your homies.
Matta’s International Supermarket: 10% off purchases over £10.00 with your card! As students we’re told repeatedly to be frugal with our spending, so that 10% really does add up, especially if you enjoy cooking with fresh, different ingredients. You know it must be good because when you’re in the queue you’ll inevitably be stood behind staff members from half the independents on Bold Street. I recommend stocking up on the huge Tom Yum pot noodle type treats at the back of the shop. I can’t read the label as it is all in Mandarin, but I assume it translates as ‘pour boiling hot water to the line and stir’, and at only 99p a pop they are a really tasty money saver.
And last but not least for my 5-most-used-on-the-card-extravaganza…
Some Place: 2-4-1 on any Absinthe cocktail before 10pm Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday to Sunday two La Fee absinthe serves for £7.00, OR 2 £6.50 cocktails for £10.00. Best discovered when half cut, stumbling past the chaos of Heebie Jeebies and Brooklyn Mixer and noticing a glowing green lamp, follow this to the green lit stairs and follow up to a veritable dream land of opportunity…To drink…really nice drinks. For me, this is the best value for money the card could possibly offer, it almost feels like they’re paying you to drink incredibly strong drinks before 10pm midweek, and it’s a feeling I like to go with. I’m ashamed/proud (depending whether it’s the night before or the morning after) to say that I don’t even have to order a drink there anymore, every time I go in I have the Ernest Hemingway invented ‘Death in the Afternoon’ and never look back. I’m pretty sure it counts as literature research. With a pal you’re drinking for £3.45 a cocktail on week days, it is worth all your time and energy to get there and be looked after by the friendliest bar staff in Liverpool. Just be careful not to go blind.
Lynne will be filling you in on more places to eat in the next post, and as soon as the new year starts I’ll probably do my own part 3, with a whole new selection of treats. Take a look at this blog on the ’36 things you must eat in Liverpool right now’ for a wider array of salivating treats. Follow them on Twitter @IndpndtLiv and keep up to date forever and beyond.