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Queues down Hope Street as The Pen Factory opens

It's good to be back home, says Bill Leece

Written by . Published on December 4th 2014.


Queues down Hope Street as The Pen Factory opens
 

NEVER go back, the saying goes. But what if you never really went away?

Many were the tears when the old Everyman Bistro closed nearly two and a half years ago. It was, said those lucky enough to get through the door on the last night, the end of an era.

43-Penfactory_0077_Edited-1But out of the old Bistro has sprung not one, but two successors. There's the shiny new establishment underneath the theatre, and the not-so-shiny but even newer Pen Factory, open in the basement of the former theatre annexe door under the watchful eye of Paddy Byrne.

Paddy, for those who've been on planet Mars since the 1970s, was co-founder of the original Bistro over 40 years ago and is now father-figure to just about every informal cafe and bistro in the city.

The Pen Factory is a team effort, but it's very much Paddy's project and in the eyes of the HSVs - that's Hope Street Veterans - the true successor to the Bistro of old.

10-Penfactory_0016_Edited-1

Which is why the buzz on Wednesday night was along the lines of 'Did the last two and a half years really happen?' Had people really woken up and discovered they had been moved from one basement to another while hibernating? It felt like it.

Ah yes, the buzz. Close your eyes and listen. The background hubbub of conversation, more than anything else, is exactly the same. Open them and the room is much the same shape as it was, but with added windows.



Close them again and sniff the air. Nothing's changed. The tempting aroma of fresh food and real ale. What more does Liverpool want?

Barely a single official invite went out. But word of mouth was enough to ensure that on Day One the place was heaving. It's good to be back.

Now, Freedom of the City, anyone?

08-Penfactory_0012_Edited-1

 

16-Penfactory_0024_Edited-1

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Absinthe & TurksDecember 4th 2014.

I feel homesick for the place and I haven't even been there yet!

London RoadDecember 4th 2014.

So do I and I was in there last night

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Absinthe & TurksDecember 4th 2014.

Are you on the pictures? I recognise a few of them but I can only name a handful.

Absinthe & TurksDecember 4th 2014.

Mind you, since the Bistro closed I've been virtually teetotal...

London RoadDecember 4th 2014.

Your red nose would suggest otherwise. Anyway when is your birthday do in there?

AnonymousDecember 4th 2014.

Roll on Friday night

AnonymousDecember 4th 2014.

Great to see somewhere new for all the youngsters to hang out and get them off the streets........shurely shome mishtake?

AnonymousDecember 4th 2014.

Norman!

mickeydrippinDecember 4th 2014.

Will the Everyman Folk Club move back there?

Hope SweetDecember 5th 2014.

The pear and ginger cake they were handing out on Wednesday night was just fantastic. A Claudia special, if I am not wrong. It bodes very well for the rest.

Reader XxxDecember 5th 2014.

Good to hear that the Pen Factory is not so shiny. Lots of us stopped being shiny some years ago, but we still like good food and the Bistro buzz. We should feel comfortable there. Good luck Paddy and colleagues.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 6th 2014.

Reader XXX you make it sound like an old people's home, LOL! Was in there last night and it really was like going home. We have been meeting up in Mello Mello and the Kazimier Garden for the last couple of years because of it's easy atmosphere and interesting people in the crowd. Mostly under 40 and very comfortable! would say it's more about that than the feeling "comfortable". Paddy has rightly picked a young management who seem clued up.

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