So, the birthday celebrations are over. Friday wasn’t the night i’d hoped for. We went for a family meal to an old favourite restaurant of mine, ‘Damons – The Place for Ribs’. We first discovered this amazing place in Florida many moons ago and have often visited as a family (mainly on birthdays as the birthday girl /boy eats for free!) So I wanted to again to sample the delicious ribs – always taste better when they’re free. It started well… happy hour was on so I ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri. We were enjoying the complimentary chicken wings (extremely salty to no doubt increase bar sales!)
And then she started crying.
Forty minutes and two large glasses of wine later she stopped.
A screaming baby topped off by a sulky 7 year old who wouldn’t sing Happy Birthday and declared that I looked like i was having another baby.
Happy Birthday to me.
I wish we’d stayed at home. Chinese in my PJs sounded so appealing.
But the ribs were good and the waiter clearly felt sorry for me as he gave me a free birthday glass of wine.
So Saturday night had a lot to live up to.
For my birthday present this year I asked for a night-out in Liverpool to visit our favourite cocktail bars. My other half loves cocktails just as much as me and we just love a night on the tiles, pretending we can afford drinks where each round is minimum £15. Having spent the last year pregnant it has been a LONG TIME since we went out. Gone are the, ‘Let’s get the bus to Liverpool’ spontaneous days. This night was pre-planned with four bags packed and a whole load of expectation. The night became the day…yes we are hardcore… going out on an all dayer. But the honest truth is we went out in the day so that we could get the last bus home! Hardcore!
We ceremoniously handed over the baby in Wetherspoons. (Met my Mum for a birthday drink) Had a swift Desperado and plate of Nachos to line our stomachs aka went straight to our heads – we’re not match fit! My Mum gave me the look and the age old phrase, ‘Don’t get too drunk!’ Yeah right.
As we waved them off with the baby for the night (Gulp…) I couldn’t do it… it was too soon… yeah right… We waved them off and ordered a Jager Bomb and toasted the start of our baby free night. CHEERS!
So I was out in heels (that rubbed my bloody toes to death) wearing my new Primarni dress and fully made up complete with false eye lashes (which made me want to rip my left eye out most of the night). We were out! I was out with a fellow grown-up. My other half. No baby and lots of cocktails. For 8 hours the world was my oyster… (Yes we went home at 10pm but hey… can’t pass up a baby free early night can you? and we did start at 2pm!)
So, here is my run down of the best places for Cocktails in Liverpool.
This is NOT one of the best places for cocktails in Liverpool. BUT it is only ten paces from the bus stop and cocktails were 2for1 and so added to a terrace in the sunshine it was the perfect spot for a mojitio… or two. Served in a Havana Club tin can… why does a can make a drink so much more exciting? Probably because it makes you forget that the mojito isn’t actually that good, but it’s served in a very trendy can so you should at least order one more!
Palm Sugar – Liverpool One
If you have shopped in Debenhams, are wearing a jump suit or a jacket and jeans then I can only assume that it is compulsory to visit Palm Sugar on Liverpool One. We managed to snag a seat in the trendy lounge and recline amongst the other people who were obviously as cool as us ,as they were out drinking cocktails at 4pm in the afternoon. The bar is a cool blend of Thai themed paraphernalia with classy tack – chandeliers cascade from the ceiling and Buddhas stare at you from the bar. The music was a non-invasive blend of ‘up-to-date’ and classic (aka Mum and Dad) tunes… Lionel Ritchie meets Amy Winehouse with a blend of Elton in the middle.
That’s when it hit me.
We were surrounded by people ‘of a certain age’. In fact, I’d say we were the youngest couple in there. Well I suppose at practically £10 a cocktail you need to have a bit of money, or at least be pretending to like us on our ‘once a year splurge.’
The cocktails were good. Their USP was the Thai theme which ran right through to the drinks. Basically your traditional cocktails with a snazzy Thai name to make it sound foreign and alluring and worth an extra £5. Things like the Phi Phi Bellini… basically a normal Bellini (Prosecco and Mango Vodka with Peach puree)but with an Orchid floating in the top giving it that ultimate Thai twist and making me shriek with excitement. It was actually a pain and kept sticking to my lip as I sipped my birthday Bellini but who cares? After all, a glass of prosecco is compulsory being a birthday celebration!
Second was a Cosmopolitan… not much to say really. But in a ‘I still want to be Carrie Bradshaw and now I’m writing a blog I’m practically her’ kind of way it was imperative that I had a Cosmo. SATS (Sex and the Scousers… doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?)
Strawberries and Bloom was a delightful surprise and had two, yes TWO flowers floating in it AND a strawberry. Yes there was another whoop. It was Rum based with pureed strawberries blended with basil…sounds strange but it was sensational.
We enjoyed several lovely hours in Palm Sugar. The leather sofa was so comfy, table service was so good we almost forgot we had to pay! And the ultimate luxury… there were even false eye lashes and a miniature bottle of Burberry perfume for sale in the toilet vending machine…only in Liverpool. SATS at its best! No sign of Mr Big though, more like Mr Big Wig Wannabe.
Santa Chupitos – Slater Street
Our favourite Cocktail bar and home of the Five Dollar Shake. When I was pregnant I used to yearn for our carefree nights in Santa Chupitos, so it had been a long time coming.
The Cocktail bar is worlds apart from the perfection of Palm Sugar. It is rough, ready and downright dirty. And we love it. From the outside it is a small, non-descript corner pub and you could easily miss this little gem without a scouser to show you in. (God bless my scouse mate who brought it into our lives.) The bar staff are bearded, tattooed, real men (my other half has beard envy and let’s face it a man crush). These men know their cocktails and they serve with such pizazz and style that they make Tom Cruise look like Justin Bieber.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a student bar with the darkened, candle lit ambiance and the graffiti adorned across the walls; which is in fact the Cocktail menu. But at up to £9.50 a drink, these are certainly not student prices. The Indie classics just keep on coming, meaning that you can sit back and enjoy a trip down memory lane listening to Space ‘Female of the Species’ and Jamiroquai ‘Cosmic Girl’ and then be transported back into the present with a bit of Sean Paul and 50 Cent. (Spotify is great isn’t it?) They do have a DJ on at 10pm – but we were well on the bus home by then!
We have whiled away many an hour sampling our way around the board, so I will share with you some of our favourites. It is highly worth setting aside your full months’ going out budget (or even your food shopping budget) to spend a few hours sampling these unique, grungy and mind blowing cocktails.
The famous Five Dollar shake has to be done. A blend of vodka, chambord with blueberries and ice cream. Served in a milk bottle with lashings of whipped, squirty cream.
Better. Than. Sex.
But don’t be a slut. One is enough, it can get a bit sickly and there are plenty more to try.
The Passion Fruit Zombie will blow your head off and leave you like the walking dead if you have too many. I have no idea what is in it as I tend to lose all concept of time and space after having one of these, but it tastes amazing and they set it on fire so it is definitely worth an extra few quid.
**Health Warning – always distinguish flames before drinking**
**Disclaimer – I stupidly tried to drink it whilst on fire once**
(Yes, I am that stupid)
The Frozen Pineapple Pina Colada… does what it says on the tin… or the pineapple as the case may be. Served in a hollowed-out, iced pineapple this is the cocktail extraordinaire, All of the finishing touches really give it the X Factor (it’s a yes from me) But be warned. Serious brain freeze can result when drinking with too much gusto. Ouch… my brain is literally screaming… But it tastes good and it is in a pineapple and everyone looks at you like you are famous, as you can afford the most expensive one on the menu, so it’s worth a bit of brain freeze isn’t it?
There are so many more but I won’t spoil the fun…GO and try them yourselves. If you’re not from Liverpool, book a hotel, go to the Beatles tour, see the Liver Building and then find Santa Chupitos and that’s basically Liverpool done!
I dare you to try the Hand Grenade…. Pull the Pin and Hit the Deck! Go on I dare you!
** Please note – if paying by card, please discard all receipts so that a paper trail cannot be found the following day.**
Brooklyn Mixer – Seel Street
We always seem to stumble in here after a few too many in Santa Chupitos. They have a DJ (playing songs with no words) and it seems to attract a younger, much cooler crowd. By this time we didn’t really care… Hand Grenade… need I say more.
For us, their signature cocktail is called, ‘Don’t Believe the Hype.’ and it is worthy of the hype. We discovered it two years ago on a drunken tour of cocktail bars by my new trendy scouse mate (who knows all the best places). By the time we got in there we were so drunk that in our memories, this cocktail was like a mirage. We kind of knew it was real, but could never quite get back to it. Every time we go to Liverpool we seem to forget the name but then like a mirage it appears and thankfully it is real. It’s a long, refreshing zingy, cinammonny, apply number and it is well worthy of the hype (and hours spent traipsing round looking for the bar!)
Alma de Cuba – Seel Street
Next door but one to Brooklyn Mixer. Alma de Cuba is the ultimate sacrilege. A bar in a church. It is pretty sensational (and also a bit freaky, especially if you get a seat on the altar.)
They have kept the beauty of the traditional church building and blended the colourful excitement of Cuban design. It really is a wonderful place to enjoy a drink. You can eat there too, but I have so far not sampled the culinary cuisines… watch this space.
The only drink that i could possibly order is a Mojitio. A proper, Cuban Mojito. Quite possibly the best cocktail of the day. (sorry I feel like I’m cheating on the Five Dollar Shake) But it was just perfect. So perfect we had two.
By this time it was knocking on for 9pm… (wow we are usually well tucked up in bed by that time! ) The night time masses were out (complete with scouse brows, perma tans and lashes) and we just managed to grab a pew (literally). It gets really busy in the lead up to 11pm when they have a stunning Petal Drop and Cuban show… That was it… we were staying ’til 11pm… for definate… we could still make the last bus.
As I looked around (somewhat bleary eyed by now) part of me was jealous of the young, carefree, gorgoeus people but the other part of me just wanted my bed. My mind had been wandering back to our little baba. Wondering how she was getting on. I had managed to draft a reasonably sober sounding text and she was doing fine. I had glanced at her photo on my phone about a hundred times and we did talk about her (although not that much). I didn’t miss her in a way that had any impact on my night, but I always knew I was away from her and my thoughts were with her. I suppose that’s what being a mummy is all about. I had the best day. I felt like me. We felt like us. We laughed, laughed and laughed some more.
Surely it was nearly time for the petal drop… I checked the time… 9.40pm… Enough was enough. Home time. We left the young, carefree revelers to it. I was so happy to grab a slice of pizza and get the bus home. (Ripping of my false eye lashes in delight as we walked/limped to the bus stop.)
So that’s us for another year. We have no money for food and will have to prioritise formula and cat food, whilst we will be living on supernoodles.
But we had a great time. And it was worth every penny. And for that day of release, I released myself. I went back to me and it felt amazing. But even so, I was very happy to return to my new self and I gave my baby a super big cuddle when I picked her up.
And then she cried for two hours straight.
Welcome to motherhood!