BLOG: Supporting my favourite businesses during lockdown

With England still in the tight grip of a third national lockdown, Liverpool feels still and quiet once again, as it has done for much of the last 12 months. Many of us are missing the vibrant businesses that make our city a great place to live.

We thought it would be interesting to hear from you, about what you are missing.

Here LJMU Masters student Laura Mehers tells us about her favourites places and how she is managing to support some independent businesses online or through click-and-collect.

NOMAD, Smithdown Road

This cosy coffee shop on Smithdown Road describes its business as: “Coffee, Bites, Nights”, and whilst the nights have been suspended for now, they have plenty of coffee and bites.

Close to Sefton Park, NOMAD has been my go-to for takeout coffee on my daily walks. They are open 7 days a week to fill the cafe-shaped hole in my life for which I am grateful.

The NOMAD team bravely opened during the first lockdown back in May 2020 and have become an insanely popular spot for fresh coffee, baked goods, deli food and takeout wine.

A Slower Space, Penny Lane

A Slower Space on Penny Lane is a dreamy combination of coffee shop, florist and gift store. I love A Slower Space for showcasing so many handmade, local brands from the Liverpool area. Over the last year I have bought earrings, bath salts and a plant from their lifestyle online store and I have been delighted every time.

I can’t wait for them to open their doors again, so I can enjoy their lovely shop space and grab a coffee.

Potts Coffee, Slater Street

Another fairly new face in the city centre, Potts Coffee has recently reopened for great takeaway coffee and vegan food after being closed for a while. Couple Jonny and Danielle opened Potts in 2019 to combine their enthusiasm for good coffee and brunch, a mix that I also love.

Everything on the menu is plant-based and incredible and even their reduced takeout menu is packed full of options for breakfast and lunch. My favourite is their club sandwich and I plan to try another one soon.

Potts Coffee is open for collections and available on Just Eat at weekends now which I’m so happy about after seeing them closed for so long.

The Wild Loaf, (previously) Hardman Street

2020 saw The Wild Loaf permanently close their tiny bakery tucked away off Hardman Street next to Buyers Club. But I don’t need to fret any longer as they are now operating online!

They offer deliveries and collections (from their production space on Arrad Street) and I can’t wait to make an order. They are selling their famous sourdough, as well as other bread and sweet treats. Theirs is the best sourdough I’ve ever tasted and I used to like picking a loaf up from the bakery on my way home. Now they’re online, they always sell out fast and I keep missing out. I’m determined to get my hands on one soon.

The Dead Crafty Beer Company, Dale Street

The Dead Crafty Beer Company is one of my favourite drinking spots in normal times, with its selection of craft beers and tucked-away tables. They are also (very) dog-friendly so there’s usually some great pet company too. I was gutted when they closed their doors but their home deliveries business has really taken off and I’m glad I get to support them still.

They had to think fast when the pandemic forced their doors closed. Almost immediately they turned the bar into a bottle shop and launched home deliveries. Not only do they sell a crazy range of bottles and cans, there’s also crowlers of fresh draft beers available. My fridge is regularly full with Dead Crafty beers nowadays.

R&H Fine Wines, Queen Avenue

Another boozy one here and my favourite place to buy a bottle of wine when I’m feeling fancy and wanting a treat that extends beyond the supermarket selection.

Situated off Castle Street on Queen Avenue, R&H is a beautiful little shop that feels exactly  like being in a wine cellar. Their organic, handmade wines are understandably popular and surprisingly affordable. There’s a huge range packed into their tiny space at a range of prices and arguably there’s too much choice. That would be my only criticism because making decisions is hard.

I managed to fit in a visit before they closed for the third lockdown to get a selection of Christmas wines, but they are still open for collections so I’ll have to pay a visit again soon.

Liverpool Cheese Company, Woolton Street

One that most people are surely familiar with. But if not, Liverpool Cheese Company is a lovely specialist cheese shop based in Woolton Village selling gifts, alcohol and lots and lots of cheese.

This is a popular one in my inner circle, loved feverishly by my family and boyfriend. Therefore it has been a go-to for a long time for me, to buy for other people, if not for myself. It’s also a great excuse in more Covid-secure times for a nice trip to Woolton Village for some shopping and a walk.

Liverpool Cheese Company are still around with their brilliant online site where you can fill up your basket with endless cheese, chutneys and biscuits. I will be placing an order if they don’t reopen soon for in-person shopping.

Maray, Albert Dock and Allerton Road

For my takeaway considerations, Maray is one of the best options out there. Delivering from both their Albert Dock and Allerton Road sites, and available for collections, it has never been easier to get their amazing fresh, seasonal food to eat at home.

I’ve actually never eaten at the Allerton Road or Albert Dock sites as I always favour the Bold Street venue for its small size and cosiness. I always recommend Maray to anyone unfamiliar with the food options in town as I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy their menu.

It is such a saviour that I can still enjoy their food from home because I could never recreate it in the kitchen, no matter how much I like to cook. Their ‘Disco Cauliflower’ is too superb (if you know, you know).

News From Nowhere, Bold Street

Established in 1974, News From Nowhere is the oldest business on this list but still relies on local love and support. Now many of us have more time than ever to whittle away with a good book, this independent bookstore has become a great local for me and hopefully for others too.

They are a not-for-profit and community-led shop with local interests at heart and well deserving of my support during this lockdown. I had actually never been in prior to the pandemic which is ridiculous as I have lived close by for years and always wondered what it was like inside. Now I am glad I have another place to visit when restrictions are lifted and we can enjoy a peaceful bookstore again!

Utility, Bold Street and Liverpool One

Now some people may argue that Utility is not a local business as there is now a site in Manchester too. But this gorgeous gift company was born on Bold Street and lived exclusively in Liverpool until 2019 so I definitely think it counts.

If you’re talking “last minute gift panic” this is where I always end up and it never fails me. If you’ve never ventured inside, Utility sells so much that it is hard to condense all the choice down. They sell jewellery, candles, plants, homeware, stationary, cards, lighting and so much more.

When it comes to window shopping (but from inside) this is one of the places I am missing most now that casual browsing has been suspended. When it is safe again I am sure I will be back in Utility’s aisles having a great time.

Ropes and Twines, Bold Street

I’m finishing off with a place that reminds me most of life before Covid and all the small but great moments that I miss. The latter part of this list may seem Bold Street heavy but there is really no other street that captures Liverpool and its local businesses quite so well. Ropes and Twines are a fairly recent but well-suited addition to the street that I love so much.

Before March last year I was practically living inside oRopes and Twines as it became my favourite spot. I think what we love most about coffee shops is their flexibility. You can sit in alone with a slow pot of tea, reading or working whilst making your drink stretch. Or sometimes you’re in with friends knocking back lattes, having a chat and getting caffeine shakes.

Ropes and Twines is such a welcoming environment with its comfy chairs, fairy lights and friendly faces. The coffee is still there for takeaway but the experience is not the same. For me, Ropes and Twines captures what I miss most locally and what I am looking forward to returning to.

If you would like to tell us about your favourite Liverpool businesses and how you are managing to support them, please get in touch.

Liverpool Waterfront