Waterloo: Where to eat and drink in the North Liverpool hotspot
South Road, and the area surrounding it, is fast becoming one of the hottest spaces outside of the city centre for food and drink.
With the beautiful Crosby beach at one end and the wonderful community-led old school cinema the Plaza at the other, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming a go-to destination. Peppered with plenty of bars and places to eat, it’s easy to get to as well – just hop on the Northern Line and get off at Waterloo Station, which is conveniently located at the heart of the action in the middle of South Road.
Tapas Tapas combine Spanish products – imported from independent suppliers from Castilla y Leon, Barcelona and Andalucía – and fresh produce from local family businesses to create hearty, mouth-watering tapas. There really is something to suit all tastes: seafood lovers have to try the calamari and prawns (the best you’ll find this side of the Channel), their veggie options are second to none, and there’s loads of choice for meatlovers too – from cured meats to pork belly to ‘Estofado’, or the Spanish version of Scouse (a filling lamb, morcilla and chorizo stew). After you’ve finished, you can head to their cosy bar downstairs and wash everything down with one of their cocktails. Friday night plans sorted.
Step into The Volunteer if you fancy harking back to a simpler time of proper pubs. Officially called The Volunteer Canteen but known affectionately as The Volley by its regulars, we can’t think of a better place to buckle down for a cosy pint on an autumn evening. Dogs are welcome, they stock plenty of board games, the quiz night is always heaving and their crisp and nut selection is extensive. Words don’t do this haven justice, go along yourself and revel in its old timey goodness.
American Pizza Slice
Long before its Bold Street brethren popped up, American Pizza Slice has been serving Waterloo’s South Road with their ample, doughy delights. Part of a triple entente of pizza outlets (the third being the original Whitechapel location), American Pizza Slice is a staple of Liverpool’s independent food scene. You’ll find less queues at the Waterloo outlet but familiar topping combinations and deals (any two slices for just £4? count us in) so it’s the perfect place to hit up early evening or at the weekend. You’ll be spoilt for choices for flavour combinations too, with a whole gamut of meat and veggie options on offer. Our favourite is the Roasted Vegetables and Goats Cheese – thank us later.
If a true Turkish feast is what you’re after, then it’s Tulay you have to try out. The South Road establishment has been delighting customers for years with its charcoal grilled delights. Choice-wise, it’s really hard to wrong with a menu of such quality meat and fish cooked to perfection on their traditional charcoal grill. You might be expecting a meat-only feast but their veggie options are varied too – from veggie or halloumi kebabs to hearty moussaka. They’re known to run special nights with belly dancing, but this Turkish delight is an ideal place to frequent for a more relaxing meal too – whether lively or more subdued, you can be sure their staff will be some of the friendliest and most helpful you’ll meet.
Roast Coffee And Kitchen
The folks behind Roast Cofee and Kitchen have got their game nailed. From brunches (the salt beef hash is very celebrated, as is the eggs benny), to healthy options (superfood salad, we’re looking at you) to the all-important coffee, this NYC-inspired haunt on Crosby Road North (a brisk walk around the corner from South Road and Waterloo station) is flying the flag for independence in Waterloo. As well as offering excellent coffee and breakfasts, they’re not adverse to the pop up phenomenon. Once a month they have a pop up burger kitchen chock full of pulled pork loaded chips, monstrous burgers and shakes (keep an eye on their Facebook page to stay in the loop). It’s a bring your own booze affair too for a small corkage charge. And if that not enough, they also run regular book and arts clubs – inviting anyone and everyone to get involved with some hands-on arts and crafts or discussing literature.
Trap and Hatch
A new addition to South Road, this Micropub and Smokehouse is making waves in Waterloo. Cool and comfy (and with a quaint outdoor area around the back), this place has a ginormous selection of beers and ciders (always a good excuse to come back), and, refreshingly, great wine options too. This place is tiny but it’s such an ace bar that you won’t miss having a seat if you can’t find one. They also have a very friendly resident dog, Boo, patron of the pub, who’ll come and say hello too. It’s a great place to go for a catch up with mates, or a relaxing pint (or three) after work. Keep an eye out for their live music over the weekends too – definitely worth heading along to.
If you’re after tasty Mexican food and a party atmosphere, La Parrilla – towards the beach end of South Road – is just the place for you. You’ll be spoiled for choice with their extensive menu – all the classics like tacos, enchiladas, chimichanga and fajitas are there, the portions are phenomenal and the cocktails are potent (in a good way). From the starters, we have to point you towards the taquitos – chicken or vegetable strips slathered in spices, herbs and cheese, wrapped in a tortilla, deep fried and served with salsa and BBQ sauce for dipping. Say. No. More. Our top tip? Let the staff know if you’re celebrating a birthday – we won’t give too much away but there’ll be a surprise in store for you involving some sombreros and a sing-song.
The Little Macaron Shop
A whole shop dedicated to macarons? Sounds très bien. Set up by pastry chef Stephen Maddock – also the inventor of the maclair (a macaron/éclair hybrid that tastes even better than it looks) – this petit establishment on St John’s Road (just behind South Road) is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Maddock has perfected the art of hybridising sweet things – oreo cheesecake éclair? Check. Donut choux rings? Check. Crunchie macarons? Triple check. Not feeling so exploratory? There are plenty of classics on offer too. Trust us, everything tastes delicious.
If sports and wholesome, American-influenced food is your drill, then Champs is the place for you. Suitably close to Crosby beach, the sports bar and grill boasts a great value menu covering breakfasts, burgers, ribs, wings, pizzas and more. Being sports fans, they know a good deal when they see one – visit them Monday through Saturday for some tasty half price offers and 2-for-1 specials. Ideal for sports fanatics, they boast unrivalled coverage with plenty of Sky Sports, BT Sports and Racing UK boxes. Also home to two beer gardens, it’s a great haunt for making a day of it. Great food, plenty of football and drinks aplenty. Match day plans sorted then.
Write Blend Books and Coffee
This super cosy café is one of South Road’s hidden gems. Tucked away above a book shop, this place is an oasis for book lovers, coffee connoisseurs and anyone looking to take a bit of time out to catch up with themselves or with a loved one. This relaxed café does all day breakfasts (with veggie and vegan options too, although our top tip is the omelette – one of the fluffiest you’ll eat). What we love about it most though is how relaxing this space is – no one will rush you here, and when you need a bit of headspace, it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours in your own company. Keep an eye out for their events too – they often host book signings and writing courses. Oh, and definitely try a homemade cake.
If you’re after a mix of cuisine with a flavour of the Mediterranean, look no further than Nicola’s Ristorante. With an ample menu of pasta and pizza options, not to mention their famed steaks, kebabs, chicken and lamb dishes, there’s something to satisfy everyone – especially meatlovers. Great for groups, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to ordering. It’s really hard to pick a favourite, although the creamy tarragon linguini with smoked salmon and king prawns comes close (did we mention their seafood options are also excellent? Well they are). Great for kids too, littl’uns can team up with the chef to make their own pizza or choose another scrumptious option. They also have a wide range of gluten free options – all bases covered then.
For real ales and real music, get yourself to Stamps Too. Opposite Waterloo train station, it’s one of the liveliest places on South Road of a Friday and Saturday night. A real hit with locals, its warm atmosphere and quality selection of real ales will have you captivated in no time. They’re keen to champion local brewers too so much so that they’ve previously won the prized pub of the year accolade from Campaign For Real Ale. Friday through Sunday they have plenty of live music on offer too (dancing shoes encouraged but optional) – if you’re looking for the best beers and a warm, lively atmosphere, we can’t recommend this place enough.
Get to South Road with Merseyrail
Whether your in the mood for some tasty tapas or just fancy a coffee get there by train. Our return tickets start from just £2.50 and you’ll never pay more than £9.95 for an off peak ticket. Train travel is cheaper than you think!