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Bar Essentials: The Little Grapes, Roscoe Street

What's black and white and red all over?

Published on November 18th 2008.

Bar Essentials: The Little Grapes, Roscoe Street

What's the story?
A freehouse and a tenanted pub on and off down the years, The Grapes, in on the corner of Knight Street is a mere spit roast from Chinatown, and just far enough off the beaten track downhill from Ye Cracke to have retained its dignity. To any serious drinkers planning a rendezvous, it is known as the Little Grapes, simply in order to make the distinction between it, Peter Kavanagh's and the Mathew Street Grapes.

Built in 1785, it is almost as old as the world's oldest Chinese community around the corner. It is now owned by Punch Taverns, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is just another ghastly, faceless chain pub with fixtures, fittings and layout designed by a computer programme.

If it were it wouldn't be so red: red lights, red seats, red glass abound. Unless Punch has branched out into bordellos without telling anyone, and someone back at the office excitedly pressed the wrong button.

Perhaps the “raffish” touches are down to licencees Anna Slater and Paul Agoro, ex teachers, fresh back from Chile, who took the tiny watering hole over in 2003 and gave it a new leasehold of life,

Who goes there?
These days, people of all ages. Musicians, artists, hardened drinkers, the odd student, and a lot of local residents who have perhaps tired of the alternatives within striking distance. “Typically, very interesting people come here,” says barperson Jim.

What's the crack?
It's a warm and safe-feeling little bolt hole where nobody appears to bother you, if that's what you want. And yet, there are no shortage of takers if you need a conversation at the bar. Just the place to go blowing into on a cold night, it also has one of the world's tiniest beer gardens, a verdant back yard which is perfect to hide out in on summer days. It's a gin palace (more later) with something happening almost every night of the week. It's also open until 1am Sunday to Thursday. Oh, and it doesn't smell of disinfectant. I

What's yours?

The speciality of the house, however, is a very classy little number. Take a Hendrick's gin, already infused with cucumber and rose petal essences, serve it up in a tall glass with lots of tonic and ice. For the slice? Cucumber of course. Delicious, different and refreshing, and just £3.75. Next time you are off out on a posh restaurant trip, stop by here first and treat yourself to one, or two, as an aperitif. With the money you save on Hope Street G&Ts, you'll be able to stretch to a pudding.

Lots. Thursday it's Cuban salsa live music, Friday it's a curry night with DJs - although not all at the same time. Saturday, more Djs playing funk, soul and ska, Sunday night it's jazz with Martin Smith Trumpet and pals playing cool vibes until the small hours into Monday morning.

An understated little gem

60 Roscoe StreetLiverpool
L1 2SX
0151 709 8617

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Susan BristowAugust 30th 2011.

I own The Grapes in Mathew Street and it appears that you are not reviewing this pub, however that fabulous picture at the top of this review is in fact of my pub The Grapes in Mathew Street?!?!?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Angie SammonsSeptember 16th 2011.

That is because some inexplicable nonsense has been taking place! And my pictures of the gin cocktail have vanished too!
You are now gone, Susan - and we may be in sometime soon to Bar essentials you!

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