The Curve Fashion Festival is less than a month away, and I know that many lovely people I’m connected with via the Internet will be traveling to Liverpool to enjoy some plus size fashion. I’d originally planned to write a detailed, exhaustive, and organized post of all the different things to see, do, eat and drink in this city I’ve called my home for eight years. But I am neither detailed nor organized, and I’m more exhausted than exhaustive, so I thought it’d be more fun just to tell you about my favorite independent places in the city.
Word on the street (a.k.a TCFF Instagram stories) is that the Christmas markets will be in full swing outside of the festival venue which, excitingly, is St. George’s Hall this year, so I’m sure there will be loads of food stalls, sweets and mulled wine to choose from.
But if you’re looking to get away from the crowds or the cold for some food in the evening (or at lunchtime!), my number one recommendation, hands-down, is Maray.
Maray on Bold Street • 91 Bold Street Liverpool L1 4HF • https://www.maray.co.uk/
I love Maray so much that it might be the reason why I’ll never, ever leave Liverpool. My friends and I even have a standing monthly PayDayMaray™ date. The restaurant is small and cozy, the staff is awesome and hip (but in, like, a nice and attentive and friendly way), and the cocktails go down really easily. Serving small plates of middle eastern-inspired cuisine, Maray offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. (I’m gluten-free myself, and Maray is one of the few places where I don’t worry about accidentally being served the wrong things. But more on that in a bit.) The restaurant’s cauliflower is somewhat legendary here in Liverpool, but, for me, the tenderstem broccoli is where-it’s-at. And it’s very walkable from St. George’s Hall. (According to Google, it’s 10 minutes. But if, like me, you’re the world’s slowest stroller, it might take a little longer. Also, make sure you go to the Bold Street location instead of Allerton Road. Otherwise, you’ll be walking for a very, very, very long time.)
Bakchich, Williamson Square • 3 Brythen St, Liverpool L1 1LG • http://www.bakchich.co.uk/
If you’d like something quick and easy a little closer to the festival venue, another option is Bakchich in Williamson Square, which offers delicious and affordable Lebanese Street Food. It’s only around the corner from St. George’s Hall. The baba ghanoush is so, so good, and you can get a wrap for a fiver or less. (I also recommend checking out the range of juices on offer – they’re delicious!)
Lovelocks Coffee Shop • 6 Old Haymarket, Liverpool L1 6ER • http://www.lovelocks.coffee/
In the mood for something a bit sweeter? Lovelocks Coffeeshop is less than a five minute walk from St. George’s Hall. Lovelocks is seriously ADORABLE. The décor is cute as heck, and the coffee is delicious, but it’s the baristas that make this place the best. It seems to be woman-owned and operated (although I might be wrong about this – don’t sue me!) They’re seriously lovely, and they play great music. There are veggie, vegan and gluten free options (on the food menu AND the cake menu…!), and I swear that every single time I’ve ever visited, I’ve had the opportunity to pet a random dog.
Ropes and Twines • 70 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4HR • http://www.ropes-and-twines.co.uk/
Another great place for coffee during the day is Ropes and Twines on Bold Street. It’s decorated like an Instagram-lover’s dream, and the staff is lovely and helpful. An added bonus is that it also serves a huge selection of gorgeous wines (without the side of snobbery that normally accompanies wine bars), and it’s a great little haven in the evenings if you like going out but prefer a quieter setting on a Friday or Saturday evening. (Because, let’s face it, the rest of Liverpool is pretty bumpin’ on a weekend night.)
Just a quick little note: If you have a food allergy, there are two places I would NOT recommend. The first is Down the Hatch. This place is really popular in Liverpool for vegetarians and vegans, but if you have specific dietary requirements – avoid, avoid, avoid!! The same with Greek Taverna on Bold Street. I’m sure both of these places are fantastic if you have no allergy issues (though the service is questionable), but I’ve had really awful experiences as a gluten intolerant customer on multiple occasions here (and was even fat-shamed at one of them, but that’s a story for another blog post).
Utility Design • 86 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY • 8 Paradise Place, Liverpool, L1 8BQ • https://www.utilitydesign.co.uk
While I doubt you’ll be doing much shopping in town when a whole world of plus size fashion will be at your fingertips in St. George’s Hall, it might be worth checking out Utility Design if you’d like a little Liverpool trinket or even some ‘boutique, unique or quirky gifts’ . Full disclosure: I worked at Utility for two years, and prior to that, I was a dedicated customer there. Stationery, chocolates, candles, cushions, jewelry – there’ are loads of fun things, the staff is fantastic, and there are several locations in the city centre. The greeting cards alone are worth checking out if you’re in the mood for a little giggle.
Mary Mary Florals / Root Houseplants • Bluecoat Chambers, L1 3BX
This shop has only recently opened at the Bluecoat, but if you love fauna and flora, it’s worth checking out the beautiful colors and creative ways the owners handle floral and botanical aesthetics. I’m borderline desperate to hire them to arrange flowers to brighten up every stage and mundane event of my entire life. (But at this point, I’ll probably have to wait for a special occasion instead.) But a bouquet of flowers or a house plant might be a lovely way to cheer up the journey when you eventually have to head out of Liverpool after the Curve Fashion Festival is over.
This is obviously not an exhaustive post. Liverpool is full of amazing places to check out. If you have any questions or want some further recommendations on places to visit or things to do (especially if they’re Beatle-related!!), feel free to drop me a line!