People choose to study in Liverpool for various different reasons; the standard of the university; the culture; and the nightlife (not necessarily in that order). Liverpool could definitely be called a tourist city, thanks to the likes of the Beatles and the city’s extensive heritage. Obviously, such a city is bounded to be full of hidden gems, but it’s difficult to know what exactly makes a ‘hidden gem’. Perhaps it’s subjective to our own experiences. With this in mind, I’ve collated a list of all my ‘hidden gems’ in Liverpool, places that are special to me, and I’m sure soon will be to you!
I know what you’re thinking; how is The Raz a hidden gem? But beneath its grim and sweaty surface is one of Liverpool’s most iconic student nights. Whether you’re a ‘Raz juice’ drinker or you’re more partial to a ‘fat frog’, you can’t deny that Raz Monday is a bucket-list night out! Located below the Blue Angel pub you wouldn’t think there’s a club underneath, but once you get past the bouncers and merch table (yes, they sell merch!), you will find yourself being hit by that infamous Raz smell as you descend into the basement filled with cheesy hits, students and God only knows what else. Raz Monday is a guaranteed cheap and messy night out, making it a place that holds some of the craziest memories so far at uni. Once life returns to normal, you should definitely pay them a visit!
2. New Brighton Beach
This one’s a bit more wholesome, especially when compared to The Raz. Although not strictly in Liverpool, New Brighton definitely deserves a place on the list because of its magnificent view of the city as well as how easy it is to get to. Naturally, one of the first things we did upon returning to university was go to the beach. Just a short train journey away, New Brighton is such a cute little beach town where you and your mates can swim in the sea, have a picnic and then finish off the day in Spoons near the waterfront. As a day out, New Brighton feels like such a fun adventure and leaves you feeling tired and happy at the end of the day – for bonus points, have a barbecue when you get home!
Describing themselves as ‘the very best live comedy in Liverpool’, Hot Water Comedy Club is a must-visit as soon as it can open again. Located on Hardman Street, the venue is a short walk from Campus, and you can sometimes even get free tickets, making it a perfect student night out. Be warned though: if you’re sat on the front row you will be made fun off throughout the evening, and the comedians are harsh. They’ll make fun of your hair, your name, where you’re from, and literally anything you say to them, but as long as you’re with your friends and can take a joke, we can guarantee it’ll be an evening you won’t forget.
Bringing it more local to Smithdown, Maggie Fu is my current favourite restaurant in Liverpool. Inspired by Asian street food, Maggie Fu’s extensive menu has something even for the fussiest eaters; whether you want to go more basic with a Katsu curry, or build your own ramen bowl they can do it! The restaurant manages to create a cosy and intimate atmosphere, while also keeping it in line with COVID restrictions, making the perfect spot for date night after lockdown. Meanwhile, you can order from Uber Eats or collect from the restaurant to fulfil any crispy chilli chicken cravings you may have before December!
If you’ve ever found yourself dreaming of sitting outside a café in Paris instead of being stuck in a sweaty seminar room, then this one is for you. Located on the iconic Hope Street, Papillon delivers the Parisian café vibe whilst only being a short walk away from campus. Their menu completely matches this vibe, serving breakfasts including Eggs Benedict, pancakes and avocado on toast; as well as having the main menu and special Sunday menu. They also serve insta-worthy cocktails so you can make a full day of it and go crazy! As life hopefully returns to normal in the new year, a visit to Papillon will be ideal for a well-deserved weekend treat or midweek study break.
Okay, so this is not strictly a hidden gem, given that it takes you all over the city. However, the open-top bus definitely deserved a mention. The tour starts at Royal Albert Dock, and takes you from there, all around the city centre and even up to the University of Liverpool campus in the Knowledge Quarter. The tour was so informational, with a tour guide on the top deck giving her own personalised commentary of the city, which she was clearly very passionate about. You’ll never learn so much about one city in such a short space of time! The bus tour makes for a quirky and fun day out whether with friends or if your family come to visit in the New Year.
Last but certainly not least is my favourite takeaway in Liverpool. Obviously, everyone has their takeaway that they’ll fight for to the death, but, Pronto’s is elite. You can keep your Nabzy’s, and your Hot and Tender, Pronto’s cheesy chips and garlic mayo are like heaven in a little foil tray; and it’s on Bold Street, so is ideal when you leave Concert Square! Perhaps what makes Pronto’s feel most like a hidden gem is the interior décor; by eating there, you avoid the bright, harsh lights of most greasy takeaways, meaning that no one can see how ropey you look after dancing the night away at Shindie.
So, please take my (perhaps slightly unconventional) hidden gems, and start exploring this beautiful city as soon as Lockdown is over, you might even find your own gems along the way!