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Far from the madding crowd

It's our favourite waiter Jonny Sanger's night off. So where does he find a sunny welcome? Bar 33-45 of course

Published on January 26th 2007.

Far from the madding crowd

Like Victoria Beckham at an all-you-can-eat-buffet, sometimes it can all seem a bit too much.

Take this evening. I arrive in Central Station, preparing to disembark from the train. The doors open, and along the platform stands a blockade of elderly ladies. A hairnet of hardened octogenarians blocking my exit, slowly advancing into the carriage. An impermeable wall of perm. Only by putting my hoodie up am I able to scare them into breaking file, long enough for me to escape.

Town is little better. Shortly before I moved to Liverpool, a resident friend of mine called to give a helpful nugget of advice.

"When walking around Liverpool, people you have never met before, and may never see again, will approach you and start talking to you. You will not be able to stop this. And you will probably think they are mugging you. They aren't. They are being friendly, in the most no-nonsense way possible. Aggressively. "You will come to love the fact that people are so aggressively friendly."

Not today Benny Boy. Not today. Concert Square looks like a circus in the throws of an animal revolt and some idiot is serving up booze. There must be somewhere calmer than this. And Jesus be praised, there is.

Bar 33-45 is so named because, should Jesus return to pick up where he left off (aged 33), Concert Square would surely terrify him into taking refuge in there for the next 12 years of his life.

This place is a fine example of understated cool. Past punters, your Gwyneth Paltrows and Chris Martins, think so too. Decorated with warm autumnal shades of brown, amber and orange, simple, black, leather seating and black and white photos of various famous faces, it all seems pretty effortless and genuine.Part owned by Liverpool singer Thomas Lang, 33-45 describes itself as "a central social oasis designed for creatives" and is housed inside Parr Street recording studios which has blossomed into the second largest recording studio in the country. "Membership is free to all creatives and each member is allowed up to three guests at a time," says the rule sheet.

The bar itself is actually nothing special. It's not doubles, the cocktail list is insulated with a layer of dust and the beers on tap are all pretty dull : Stella, Cains, Guinness, Carlsberg (probably not the best lager in, well, the room.) Bottles of beer clock in at £2.60.

But 33-45 has one trick up it's sleeve: The mood is unique. Let me explain how.

Ever seen Bladerunner? (if yes, please go to 2. if not, go to 1.)

1. Rent the movie Bladerunner. Watch it. Love it. Go to 2.
2. You remember the moment when the sunrise climbs over the futuristic city, and the sun breathes strange and wonderful life into the neo-urban landscape (call my laureate)?

By having opaque blinds over all the windows and putting orangey lights behind them, 33-45 seems perpetually set in this moment. You feel like you've been on a massive night out, and are contentedly watching the day break. In fact, as you look around at the plasma TVs showing fiery sunscapes, you can't help think that a dose of 33-45 might be just the thing for seasonal affective disorder.

After a crap day, a couple of beers and some nuts here really works. For a few relaxing drinks, or a mellow start to a night out, 33-45 might just work for you too. And the icing on this fruituristic cake? The women's toilet has two toilets in one cubicle. And you thought Bladerunner was great.. (if you didn't think Bladerunner was great, go to 1.)

Jonny Sanger

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