Liverpool

Best friends, hipster coffee bars, trendy pubs and Christmas lights. Surely that’s the recipe for a good weekend? My friend Neil may well be a student for the rest of his adult life. There seems to be something about the extortionate price of dedicating your life to a higher education system that rewards you only with a piece of paper and some letters after your name that has drawn him in. Having recently returned from Yale and disappeared again to the depths of a lab somewhere in Liverpool, we decided to pay him a visit.

The only thing I knew with certainty about Liverpool is that it’s really hard to understand a Liverpudlian on the phone, and that there’s a slightly unhealthy obsession with Steven Gerrard. I didn’t expect to discover a city full of life, trendy eateries and beautiful architecture.

 Friday

We arrived at 10:30pm so naturally I was fully prepared for bed having missed bedtime by at least 60 minutes. We discovered a very excited Neil and friend, ready to hit the town. I put on my best fake smile (it fooled nobody, you can’t act happy with eyes that scream ‘let me go to bed immediately’) and we headed to a bar in town. Long story short, a drink in a bar turned into shots in a club and, for me, a nap in aforementioned club. I have a bedtime for a reason.

Saturday

After walking around for a while and doing a terrible job of deciding where to eat we stumbled upon Yard & Coop: a chicken restaurant with a trendy entrance. (My top three requirements for going to a restaurant other than pizza express: chicken, interesting decor, hipster vibes).

We sat inside a makeshift chicken coop, and enjoyed Oreo milkshakes and tea. My order: chicken breast with BBQ sauce, chips and Mac and cheese. My review: delicious. Also good: the chicken gravy. Not so good: the wait for food, and the cheap brand Cola. Food blogging ☑️

After lunch we did some more walking around, enjoying the Christmas shopping atmosphere, before deciding to stop for a coffee. We popped into Soho’s, a vintage shop in Bold Street, and followed the signs pointing to the basement for a coffee. We found Coffee Cartel, a cafe offering proper coffees (latte art and all), puns and pastries. The owner was welcoming and friendly and it was the perfect place to chill out with a hot drink, with the music from the vinyl shop in the background (who were, of course, playing the Beatles).

Sunday

Breakfast was needed so we headed back to Bold Street to find Leaf, highly recommended by Neil, who, it turns out, had never actually been there.

Top marks go to the patatas bravas, the avocado toast and the fab cup of tea I had. And of course, you can’t have the word brunch without brownie so top marks goes to that too.

Although it was busy the atmosphere in Leaf was still relaxed and cosy, and I really can’t let you underestimate how good that brownie was. If you’re going there, eat it. If you’re not then go there and eat it.

Being in Liverpool was a bit like being in all the cool parts of London without having to get on the stuffy tube or deal with people’s selfie sticks poking you in the back of the head.

Best bit: Laughing a lot with friends. And the brownie.
 Worst bit: There’s a serious problem with homelessness in Liverpool which is especially sad at Christmas time when the weather is so poor and everyone else is celebrating family and prosperity. Although the spirits of all the homeless people we encountered were high; one asked for petrol money for his Ferrari and another asked if I had a spare £50 note going.

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