There is never a dull moment in Liverpool, but 2018 is set to be a particularly exciting one. The city has come leaps and bounds since being titled Capital of Culture in 2008 and a number of events are taking place to celebrate this milestone. Publications like the Guardian and The Times have also flagged Liverpool up as one of the top to visit and the coolest to live in. Best of all, Liverpool is known for its supportive and ambitious community. Actor and Liverpool native, David Morrissey, summed it up nicely in his interview with the Guardian back in 2011: ‘Liverpool has made me brave, choice-wise. It was never a city that criticised anyone for taking a chance.’
Here at Launch22, we couldn’t agree more. We’ve been lucky enough to witness and work with some of the innovative startups and businesses that are popping up and growing across the city. We also sit in the centre of Liverpool’s Commercial District alongside some of the best local businesses. It was a tough call, but to give you a taste of the Liverpool we know and love, we’ve gathered our favourite independents in our very own guide to the city.
Across the road from us is this hidden gem, Panna Artisan Café & Eatery. It’s the perfect quiet spot if you’re looking for a homely feel, fresh quality food, and a proper cup of coffee. Panna sources ingredients grown by local producers and is decorated in a traditional Scandinavian style. The owners took inspiration from their travels and their sandwiches and coffee are some of the best in the city. Further afield, but in less than a 10 minute walk away, you can find Lovelocks café which is ideal for eating out whilst sticking to that healthy eating resolution (although resisting the cakes might be tricky). Lovelocks is a small oasis away from the hustle and bustle that offers reasonable prices and friendly vibes. They serve coffee roasted in Merseyside and fresh, homemade food using local ingredients, catering for vegans, veggies, coeliacs and meat eaters.
As much as we love to eat out, it’s good to catch up with everyone at Launch22 during the lunch break. We often come across the odd napkin or takeout box from Pasta Cosa or Chop Chop in our communal kitchen. These two are definitely the local favourites for takeout lunches. There’s nothing worse than someone walking into the kitchen with a box from either one of these, whilst you unpack your own sad sandwich. Pasta Cosa offers fast, fresh, tasty and cheap pasta dishes to go. You can find it on Castle Street and choose your pasta, sauce and add any extra veggies or meats. For a taste of Korea, Chop Chop is just a few streets over near James Street Station. The portions are generous for a great price and you’ll be going again and again to try everything on their delicious menu.
Veggie and Vegan
Just a 2 minute walk up Brixteth Street sits Sanskruti, Liverpool’s go-to for nutritious and delicious Indian cuisine. It’s also pure vegetarian and vegan with gluten free options, so if you have any friends that doubt the goodness of meat/dairy free food, send them there for a true taste of India’s vibrant cultures. Over on Castle Street, a couple of doors down from Pasta Cosa, you’ll find 18 inch Brazilian pizzas made from scratch at Santa Maluco. This one’s a crowd pleaser and great for keeping group outings simple. They offer a diverse selection of pizzas, including vegan and vegetarian, and also host Vegan Mondays for an entire day of 100% vegan ingredients.
The Best Coffee
A favourite amongst our members, Leather Lane Coffee is home to quality coffee and pastries. It’s ideal for grabbing on the way to work or taking a quick break from your desk. It’s tucked away just around the corner from us and has a very European feel to it. Well worth skipping your Costa or Starbucks and supporting local businesses.
After Work Drinks
Santa Maluco also deserves a shout here for providing a cocktail menu like no other. The Launch22 team often head over for happy hour from 4pm - 8pm, where they even give you a free slice of margherita with your first cocktail. Nothing says well done for a good day’s work like free pizza. If we’re heading further afield, we’ll also visit their sister, Santa Chupitos over in the Ropewalks area. You’ll also find us in Jenny’s Seafood Restaurant along Fenwick Street. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, nor does it actually sell seafood, or even food for that matter, but hidden below is a 1920s style bar that offers a chilled atmosphere. Perfect for jazz and disco lovers.
If you’re feeling a little stressed and need a change of scenery away from the buzz, turn left at the bottom of Castle Street and you’ll find refuge in Rococo, an elegant, Victorian-style coffee house that sits atop an EE store. They serve their own blend of fair trade coffee as well as a fuss-free breakfast and lunch menu. It’s a labyrinth of plant-filled, quirky rooms with comfy seats and cosy corners to get a bit of peace and quiet.
We don’t even need to leave the building to visit one of Liverpool’s best hangouts for food, drink and events. On the bottom floor of Temple sits HUS, an all-rounder that falls under each of our chosen categories. The atmosphere is relaxed, the staff are welcoming, and they offer a diverse and delicious menu. HUS can accommodate everything from a quick solitary coffee, dinner with friends and evening drinks, to live gigs and art exhibitions.
Words by Jessica Greenall