Liverpool and music have an overtly feverish relationship and with a new location in the Bluecoat, Probe Records (open since 1971) lives on as a Liverpool music legend. This independent record store buried in the heart of the city is a den of weird, wonderful, obscure and experimental records with particularly friendly (if intimidatingly knowledgable) staff.
Nook and Cranny is but one from the handful of independent boutiques tucked in and around the Bluecoat. Run by brother/sister duo John and Jen, the shop mainly showcases the work of Liverpool based designers selling everything from notebooks, cards and typography postcards to prints. There’s always a “print of the week” from a local artist keeping stock fresh and a bespoke framing service to serve all your framing needs.
Home to the UK’s oldest biennial, Liverpool’s 8th biennial dotted in locations across the city doesn’t disappoint. The core exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack, is a group show exhibited in the Old Blind School, a building derelict and closed to the public for years. The work focuses on disrupting the way we assume our habits and experience our habitats through many different media – from animation to ice cubes.. Open until 26th October 2014.
This artist led gallery lies in an business park on the edge of the city, and forms a hub of some of the UKs best emerging artists and curators. Well worth venturing slightly off the beaten track to discover its critically acclaimed exhibitions, talks, events, collaborative projects and pop-up galleries. The Royal Standard is also currently exhibiting works by artists Rob Chavasse, Sam Smith and Joey Holder as part of the Biennial.
This independent coffee shop serves cup after cup of the best coffee in Liverpool in an unpretentious and effortlessly debonair space. Think wooden chairs and white walls, sofas and outmoded lampshades; it’s not comfy but you find yourself never wanting to leave. Bold St Coffee reminds you that coffee lovers do actually come in all shapes and sizes, not just in the form of bearded Mac owners with thick-rimmed specs.
The words “Falafel, Cocktails, Small Plates” are etched on the front window of Maray, Bold St. The falafel matches – if not tops – the falafel served from every other window in the 4th arrondissement Paris’ Marais, from which it takes its name, but the vibe is less Parisian chic more your re-vamped old classroom. And it works, really well. Food is served in metal camping plates, and school chairs line one long unfinished wooden table down the middle of the ambiently lit room. Simplicity stops short of the cocktail menu though, with an array of in-house devised wonders to chose from, most of which involve the citrusy delight Ting. It’s the perfect place to start your Saturday night or spend your lazy, hungover Sunday afternoon, or both.