Can you keep a secret? Only Liverpool’s most clued up drinkers make it into this speakeasy-esque haunt, as the ultra-clandestine Ex-Directory bar makes its clientele work hard to earn their delicious cocktails. Punters must track down clues on Twitter, find their ambiguous red phone box and obtain the secret phone number to tiptoe their way into this hidden, underground bar.
02. Goodness Gracious Roof Garden
Within the bustling business district of Liverpool, Oh Me Oh My is a fabulous spot for lunch. But, take your lunch up to a higher level (the eighth floor of West Africa House, to be precise) – in their new, secret Goodness Gracious Roof Garden – boasting beautiful views over Liverpool and the famous Liver Building. There’s even complimentary towels and sun cream. Who needs The Bahamas?
03. St John’s Beacon
Towering above the city at 138 metres tall, in the central Houghton Street, St John’s Beacon isn’t really hidden. But, what most people don’t realise is that the home of Liverpool’s premier radio station can be climbed seven days a week, and provides some of the best views of the city. You can even see Blackpool on a clear day. And, at just a fiver in, we think this is a secret worth keeping to yourself…
04. Berry and Rye
Cloaked in secrecy, only those in the know will find this one (it's 48 Berry Street - you’re welcome). Berry and Rye is a media-shy, completely blacked out pre-prohibition bar on Berry Street, rustling up arguably the best drinks in the city, with a side of seductive blues tunes.
05. Dig Vinyl
With no shop front and no doors, this basement record shop on Bold Street is the epitome of hidden gem. Celebrating the history of music (where better than in Liverpool?), in days way before iTunes and Spotify, Dig Vinyl believes the four building blocks of the universe are ‘fire, water, gravel and vinyl.’ Drop that needle, things are about to go old school.
06. Furnival’s Well
Oi, you’re nicked. Step back in time, as you enter Campbell Square's cool, nostalgic and bluesy converted Victorian police station, sipping on cocktails in the cells (yes, really) ‘til the early hours. This rustic cocktail lounge may be living in modern times, but maintains a Victorian heartbeat.
07. The Brink
Whether it’s dry January, or you’re just on a detox, The Brink is a secret spot seriously worth finding. This revolutionary venue on Parr Street is Liverpool’s first dry bar and restaurant, with everything from desserts of the day, to edible flowers. They host live music, poetry, plays, performances, open mic evenings and even screen local football matches – with all profits going to supporting those who’ve suffered with alcoholism and addiction. It may be off the beaten track, but once you’ve stumbled across it, we can guarantee you’ll want to go again.
08. Prince Albert Hotel on Lark Lane
If we placed you on Lark Lane (just out of Liverpool), you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a quirky street in London - with its independent cafes, bars and boutiques. But, what’s not commonly known is that Adolf Hitler stayed in Lark Lane’s Prince Albert Hotel, when visiting Liverpool during WWI and WWII.
09. Whisky Business
Run by the same owners as Berry and Rye, Whisky Business is the Diagon Alley of Liverpool. Located in The Old Ropery on Fenwick Street, the mysterious emporium offers an intriguing selection of tipples – including ‘imperial and old fashioned’ and ‘rum, rye and dry’. This truly is the Aladdin’s cave of whisky that you need to know about.
10. Ship in a Bottle
Keep your eyes peeled, as this is a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it spot. Located in 45A Whitechapel, this venue may appear small, but is jam-packed from wall to wall with the good stuff. The tiny shop sells over 400 bottled beers, along with craft beers from countries including USE, Japan, Denmark and Australia.
11. Botanical Garden
Animated in brightly coloured graffiti and creeping ivy, Liverpool’s botanical gin gardens are an urban wonderland in the centre of town (49 New Bird Street, in fact). Open midday ‘til late, you can chill in the sun, or take to the sheltered greenhouse and order your drinks from a converted VW campervan. If you’re hoping to use Google Maps to locate this gem, it’ll show a closed garage – so keep your eyes peeled.
12. Little Macaron Shop
Whilst the masses travel into the city centre for coffee and cake, the wise few venture to Crosby’s Little Macaron Shop. This Macaron Mecca is home to not just any pastry chef, but the pastry chef who invented the ‘maclair’ (the macaron-éclair hybrid) – who has now gone on to craft Oreo cheesecake eclairs, Crunchie macarons, berry chocolate brownies with salted caramel and tiramisu eclairs to name but a few. If you fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, get yourselves to 42A St. John's Road in Waterloo.
Located in a disused warehouse at Cains Brewery in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool, you’d be forgiven for passing this site. The geometric, prism shaped structure houses a restaurant with a constantly changing, internationally influenced menu. But hurry, this pop up restaurant is movable and won’t be in Liverpool's Mann Street for ever.
14. The Bagelry
Dedicated to the holiest (literally) guise of bread, The Bagelry on 42 Nelson Street rustles up every kind of bagel you could possibly dream of. Using less yeast for a superior flavour, this doughy den offers everything from American and Jewish bagels, to gourmet and seasonally flavoured bagels. We’ve said bagel too much and now it means nothing. Bagel.
15. Reid of Liverpool
Extra, extra - Reid all about it. The only surviving, purpose built Georgian shop in Liverpool is pretty special. Like stepping into Narnia, these tiny and independent premises are home to thousands of books – including everything from intriguing paperbacks to rare finds. Head over to 105 Mount Pleasant to see for yourselves.
If we’ve sufficiently whet your appetite for uncovering Liverpool’s surreptitious side, why not come and see for yourself? Check out our Liverpool hen weekend and stag do pages for more information.