Unearthing hidden Merseyside

Kazimier Gardens. Source: Jamie Taylor

Andy Warhol self-portrait at the Tate. Source: Jamie Taylor

Finding yourself lost among quintessential pop art pieces, flicking through Probe Records to unearth a gem or even sipping a Liverpool Gin at the institutional Jacaranda. There are some attractions in Liverpool that are hard to pass up, no matter how many visits.

The Tate Liverpool is one of the most renowned modern art galleries in the world, I was ecstatic to discover a whole room of Roy Liechtenstein; a pillar of the art world’s coolest genre, Pop Art.  Coming across a self-portrait of Andy Warhol in the galleries Constellations Exhibition bookended the most surprising trip to the Tate I’ve taken.

Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home. Source: Jamie Taylor

It’s very difficult not to mention John, Paul, George and Ringo when talking about Liverpool. Countless bus tours, museums and gift shops could make you a bit sick of the Beatles when in town. Forget the gates of Strawberry Fields or The Cavern Club, there is only one stop that is a necessity for any Fab Four fanatics. The National Trust’s Beatles Childhood Homes lovingly and accurately recreate John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s homes with a level of detail only Beatles academics would notice. So many stories and lyrical inspiration can be found here, a must for fans.

Probe Records at Blue Coats. Source: Jamie Taylor

When on Mathew Street, don’t be fooled by the famous Cavern Club, the real one was filled in with concrete in the mid-70s. The historic site is now an electric substation and The Cavern Club only a mock-up. The Jacaranda on Slater Street was originally owned by the Alan Williams, the Beatles first manager. As younger teenagers they played the basement, still open today with three floors and a record shop, the Jacaranda is an easy alternative to Concert Square.

Any music fan in Merseyside, past or present, will be familiar with Probe Records. Now in Blue Coat Gardens, their stock and selection are second to none. Once a label of bands like Half Man Half Biscuit, with even the late Pete Burns and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Paul Rutherford working behind the counter in the mid-eighties. It is a staple of Merseyside’s record scene.

It’s always good to know a diamond in the rough. Liverpool has no shortage of hidden bars and restaurants. At one time, Kazimier Gardens was only for those in the know. Hiding behind scaffolding and an unassuming backyard gate, this overgrown hippy beer garden is Liverpool’s best spot for Belgian wheat beer and vegetarian barbecue.

Merseyside has so much more to offer than Concert Square stag/hen dos and Anfield and Goodison Park for Premier League fans. A current and thriving underground scene is supported by alternative venues, historic bars and hereditary sense of counterculture.    

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