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Five Bars...for late finishers

Liverpool has hundreds of restaurants, but do the workers go home in the wee smalls? Not if they're like Thomas Byrne

Written by . Published on December 15th 2011.

Five Bars...for late finishers

The restaurant and bar worker's wont is to while away the hours between clocking off and shut-eye with a quiet beverage or two.

The hope is that the nerve endings that make up the mind will be dulled enough to bring about speedy sleep, rather than to be left with a pillowed brain that can't stop itself thinking through ever more efficient ways of adding tonic to gin.

Dscf0235Tequila, Bar Cava's USPWe're a picky bunch, feeling like we know the workings of the trade better than most, and this makes for high standards, and cynicism abounds. The search for Hemingway's Clean, Well-Lighted Place may well be a futile one, but what does Liverpool have to offer to the city's small army of night time caterers, all wired up and nowhere to go after midnight.

Here are five joints that I can just about handle when most have called it a day.

The Magnet
Hardman Street's recently re-opened soul den serves a purpose beyond offering weekend clubbers a more intimate refuge than the dives down Seel Street.

Not much has changed in the period of closure, brought to an end in September when they 'found the keys', but that doesn't represent a problem. More of the same is a good thing, and through the week the Magnet's fridges are adequately stocked with continental bottles and Caribbean cans.

On the right night the atmosphere remains chilled, with the funky soundtrack kept quiet enough to talk shop.

Let down only by its unreliable opening hours and the occasional thudding permeating from the basement, the Magnet, with luck, will continue to offer sanctuary to those who want a slice of town without actually having to go to town.

Tips Hit: intermediate.


The Grapes
There are many reasons why this Roscoe Street boozer is probably the best pub in Liverpool right now.

Little Grapes
It hardly needs any more championing but it certainly deserves mention. Unassuming from the outside, the interior sports myriad fairy lights that nestle alongside, upon, in and around the miscellaneous pub paraphernalia that clings to the walls (the autobiographical sort, none of that job lot cladding you'll find in the Shipping Forecast).

The real bonus is that it stays open late enough to offer real pints to thirsty workers way past Cinderella's bedtime.

Other winning points include the consistently low nark count and a yard that resembles your former-hippie aunt's conservatory. Not forgetting a quiz machine that gives you a dreamer's chance of adding some bullets to the cash-in-hand that your boss swears goes through the books.

Tips Hit: mild.


Studio 2, Parr Street
“Looks like some sort of Alpine ski lodge," says the kitchen porter I've dragged along with me on this particular night. It's an unconventional space, but the look is well supported by the ale selection: Trappist numbers by the bottle and through the pump are offered at reasonable enough rates.

Studio 2 Parr Street
Pick a small corner to brood in over a lonely Chimay (answering the barman's “You want the strong one or the stronger one, mate?” rarely needs second thought), or spread out on a big table with your colleagues to indulge in some post-service bitching.

They even let you stash your bike in the back. More of the Belgian stuff, my good man.

Tips Hit: upper-middle.


Santa Chupito's
Parr Street's other trendy outpost offers little by way of dynamism and much in the way of darkness: pitchers of piña coladas take the place of pints (not a pump in sight), and the small inside space and overbearing iTunes shuffle soundtrack hardly make it the ideal place to forget you exist.

The darknessThe darknessHowever, if you're chancing your arm with the girl who only started last week and doesn't yet know how much of a buffoon you are (or indeed what you really look like) Santa's is the place to score points.

The cocktail selection is impressively long and well-executed, and a swift Tuesday visit won't provide the same sardine-like feeling you get on a Friday or Saturday night.

As long as it's not the last week before pay day and your love-interest doesn't take a shine to one of the boho bar tenders, it makes for an adequate enough spot to blabber about your made-up charitable endeavours in between blasts of whatever's hot in the NME that week.

Tips Hit: weighty.


Bar Ça Va
From peach to paprika, Ça Va, in Wood Street, offers more flavours of tequila than your one-dimensional taste buds could possibly comprehend.

But if you're in here then you're hardly going to need your little book of tasting notes: any thoughts of the Government's daily unit intake should be left at the door, your sole aim to create blanks in your memory bank.

£1 shots mean you're more likely to have to put up with student types in the wade through the cramped space between the magazine-plastered walls to the citrus-sticky bar. Draught beer is also wishful thinking, and don't think about asking for a wine list. A shudder-inducing side order of lemon and salt will soon see even the staunchest of republicans making toasts to our King.

Tips Hit: good, soft in places.

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Absinthe & TurksDecember 15th 2011.

“Bar Cava”? I thought it was Bar Ça Va?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Editorial fairyDecember 16th 2011.

I haven't got a cedilla on this machine. You have, though, so I've cut and pasted it into the story. Cheers Ab, that's fab

AnonymousDecember 19th 2011.

I love the Grapes

AnonymousDecember 21st 2011.

Back in 1995 a shot of tequila was also only a £1 in ca va. Amazing to have maintained its inflation busting price. OH, it only came in two flavours back then - Cuevo gold and Cuevo blanco - both were evil.

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