Posted: Jul 10, 2023

Ministry of Testing’s Guide to Liverpool

If you're attending TestBash UK 2023, you're in for a treat! Liverpool is a vibrant city in the North West of England, known for its rich cultural heritage, bustling nightlife, and friendly locals. During your stay, you'll have the opportunity to explore and discover all that Liverpool has to offer. 

To help you make the most of your time in Liverpool, we've collaborated with the renowned food and drink blogger “EatDrinkLiverpool” to bring you a guide that's tailored for you. With years of experience exploring Liverpool's vibrant culinary scene, EatDrinkLiverpool has handpicked the top ten eateries, watering holes, and must-see sights you won't want to miss. So, get ready to experience the best of Liverpool, both inside and outside of the conference, and let's dive in together!

Top Ten Eateries

  1. Madre – Albert Dock 
    Madre is a collaboration between the people behind London’s Breddos and Liverpool’s Michelin Guide awarded Belzan (South Liverpool Restaurant). Think tacos and margaritas in the sun at their stunning Albert Dock Site, which includes outdoor dining in a shared courtyard area. Their menu isn’t just restricted to tacos, either. Also, on the pass: 
    • Mexican Cola Ribs
    • Patatas – twice-cooked crispy potatoes
    • Calamari – Mexican style with chipotle mayo
    • Queso Fundido – hot melted cheese with caramelised onions and tortilla chips for dipping
  2. Burnt Milk – Albert Dock
    Burnt Milk are neighbours to Madre, they have a small site, but they share the same (quite large) courtyard area as Madre. Burnt Milk has some of the finest natural wines in Liverpool, but, as well as slinging out natty wines, they also do a great coffee, which would be my recommendation if you plan on staying within the vicinity of the Albert Dock area. They also have a bottle shop, so worth a thought if you plan on taking any wines back home with you.
  3. Maray – Albert Dock and Bold Street
    Inspired by vibrant experiences in the melting pot of Le Marais, Paris - Maray serves food inspired by the flavours of the Middle East alongside incredible wine and bold delicious food. This is a small plate, sharing portions restaurant which caters very well to vegans/vegetarians; think falafel, flatbreads, fried aubergine with nutty tahini and the fire of harissa sort of flavours. There are meat options, too. I usually go for the fried chicken with pickles, sweet potato and their famous Disco Cauliflower!
  4. Rudy’s – Albert Dock // Castle Street // Bold Street
    Famous for their original Ancoats site in Manchester, serving up fresh Neapolitan Pizza. Rudy’s has since expanded across the UK, including 3 sites here in Liverpool. The Albert Dock site is the smallest of their 3 venues, so I would suggest a short walk over to their Castle Street site, which has a stunning original ceiling lantern to the rear of the restaurant. I can quite comfortably say it’s the best pizza in Liverpool, although it’s worth mentioning the honourable Little Furnace at Baltic Market and in South Liverpool on Smithdown Road.
  5. Queens - Queens Avenue
    Just off Castle Street (and next door to Rudy’s) is a little passageway – Queens Avenue. This is one of the most picturesque locations in Liverpool and a bit of a hidden gem. Queens is a bistro and wine bar offering simple, seasonal produce which is carefully prepared and cooked by a team of talented chefs. Probably slightly above the mid-range price bracket, but they do have some good lunchtime offers. Their ever-evolving wine list is supplied by their associated business (and neighbours) R & H Fines Wines.
  6. Nord – Ground Floor of The Plaza, Old Hall Street
    Nord is certainly the most extravagant listing I’ve chosen in terms of cost. However, the larger steak and fish options can be shared by 3-4 people, the highlight being the John Dory on the specials priced at £45. Nord is part of Liverpool hospitality heroes Graffiti Spirit Group which you may recognise from the Million Pound Menu. The Executive Chef for this restaurant is a Liverpudlian, Chef Daniel Heffy, who returned to Liverpool after a stint in Stockholm, most notably working at the 3-star Michelin restaurant Frantzen.
  7. Bold Street Coffee – Bold Street and Old Hall Street (Ground Floor of The Plaza)
    Bold Street Coffee has the best coffee in Liverpool. Again, part of the Graffiti Spirit Group and their latest site is located on the Ground Floor of The Plaza, Old Hall Street, next door to Nord. Bold Street Coffee offers a range of speciality coffee with rotating blends on the menu. Their menu includes a selection of famous buoys, all-day breakfast and lunch dishes and delicious, sweet treats, including doughnuts and pastries.  
  8. Mother Espresso – Ground floor of the Tea Factory, Wood Street
    Mother is one of my favourite places in Liverpool! I’ve tried my best to keep you all around the Albert Dock/Business District, but I think this one is worth the short walk up to Wood Street (just behind Bold Street). Everything here is made from scratch – jam, flatbreads, coffee liquors, cakes, ketchups, and all things fermented, including kombucha and pickles, which you can purchase for takeout. Their breakfast is excellent, and their coffee is up there with the best in town; Bold Street Coffee, Thoughtfully Café and Coffi.
  9. Buyers Club – Hardman Yard, Hardman Street
    Buyers Club is what I describe as my ‘go-to’ place. It is a space that I have recommended more than any other because it offers so much. Located down a mural-painted alleyway, down the side of the Old Blind School (trading as The Florist). It is here you will find one of the most impressive outdoor spaces in Liverpool – a sea of benches, plants, and string lighting and on the inside a chilled interior with great vinyl music, local art adorning the walls, great wine, craft beer and a pasta kitchen. Lamb Ragu Pappardelle or Cacio e Pepe Butter Beans would be my dishes of choice, paired with a glass of good low-intervention wine.
  10. Duke Street Markets – Duke Street
    If you’re struggling to decide on the type of food you all fancy, then a food market could be a good option. Duke Street Markets is home to six kitchens:
    • Kelp – Fish & Seafood
    • Bone & Block - Steak
    • Cahita – Cubanos/South American street food
    • Ginger – Asian Bowl food concept
    • Big Lolas Taqueria – Tacos, Burritos
    • Cucina Di Vincenzo’s - Italian

 Also, Duke Street has a Speciality Coffee & Wine Kiosk, a bar to the rear and an independent restaurant on the first floor – Paul Askew’s Barnicle. Paul Askew, whom you may recognise from cooking programmes on TV, is also the owner of Liverpool’s The Art School Restaurant, which is another exceptional restaurant.

Top Ten Watering Holes

  1. Present Company - School Lane
    Present Company is the standout cocktail bar in Liverpool. Featured in 2022 GQ Bar of the Year Finals and, most recently, the 2023 UK’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars – coming in at number 20. Music is a big theme here, often hip-hop in the day (tribe called Quest, MF Doom) and 90s indie tunes by night. They even have their cocktail menus placed inside record sleeves. The Bischoff Old Fashioned and Mango Margarita are my drinks of choice.
  2. The Oracle – Duke Street
    The Oracle is the only 1800s-style cocktail bar with magicians in the UK. It is a speakeasy with a ‘knock to enter’ policy - a side door located just to the left of The Monro. Once inside, you’re transported to the 1800s, all original interior; it’s like being sat in a warm Victorian living room. Each member of staff has a back story - think hustlers, brawlers and gypsies who have all one way or another deceived and now owe a great debt to the Oracle. I promise you; you’ll be talking about this one for days! Drink of choice Amaretto Sour.
  3. Ropes & Twines – Bold Street
    Ropes & Twines is a speciality coffee shop and wine bar which also serves breakfast, sandwiches and bakes. Chilled vibes and conversation whilst drinking wine, and enjoying a cheeseboard is how I spend my time here – ask for the ‘cheese of Gods’; you’re in for a treat if they have it in! They also have their very own on-site chocolatier - Table Chocolate, which is the first bean-to-bar chocolate concept in Liverpool. Book in advance to get on to one of their classes.
  4. Bunch Wine Bar – Berry Street
    A small, friendly wine bar and bottle shop specialising in natural wines, which you will struggle to find online. The owners have taken inspiration from their favourite places to drink around Europe and beyond, finding interesting and delicious wines, which they are delighted to offer as a drink in service or takeaway. Sitting on the bench outside, people-watching with wine and cigarette in hand, is usually where you’ll find me. Wine of choice - usually anything by South Australian winemakers Yetti and the Kokonut.
  5. Dead Crafty Beer Co – Dale Street
    Specialist award-winning Craft Beer bar and bottle shop - winners of the SIBA UK Best Independent Craft Beer Bar. Easily the best craft beer bar in Liverpool and one of the best in the UK - YES, they’re that good! Twenty taps and the famous ‘Fridge of Dreams’ loaded with over 200 cans/bottles. Beers from all over the world, which you will find nowhere else.
  6. Manolo – Slater Street
    Santa Chupitos, home of the famous Five Dollar Shake, closed its doors for good after 13 memorable years. Now, the same Slater Street site has reimagined itself as a classic cocktail bar with a Caribbean Twist. Think jazz, salsa and Hispanic music beating away in the background, and bar snacks, including nuts and olives, with exceptional service. This is a 5-star service bar, so expect it to cost that with cocktails priced around the £15 mark.
  7. Azvex Brewery and Taproom – King Edward Triangle
    For so many years, I waited for Liverpool to have a brewery of the calibre to neighbouring cities. Azvex is that brewery, and they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the best UK breweries; they are that good. Owner/founder Adam Henderson has an interesting back story, too - he was a Rolls Royce engineer before he was a head brewer at Neon Raptor. It was Adam’s experience in brewing, and engineering meant that he was able to add to the design and even modify the brew kit at the Taphouse.
  8. Kazimier Garden – Seel Street
    Kazimier is basically what survived after a former nightclub was demolished to make way for student accommodation. A small plot of land remained and was transformed into a sheltered garden/bar that serves a great little selection of craft beer, cocktails, and street food. It feels a lot like those magical hidden bars you stumble across when travelling in Eastern Europe, very much like the ruin bars in Budapest is probably the most accurate description.
  9. Botanical Garden – New Bird Street, Baltic Triangle 
    Very similar ruin bar vibes going on at Botanical Garden, only this venue is larger and has more of an emphasis on gin. Hot Mess Pizza Co is currently the food vendor here, and they sling out delicious Detroit-style pizza in all its cheesy crust glory. The owner, Heather, has to be one of my favourite hospitality legends in Liverpool. She can also be found serving up breakfast, sandwiches and pots of Scouse just down the road at Camp & Furnace. 
  10. Arts Bar/ Arts Bar Baltic – Hope Street and Parliament Street
    Arts Bar gives local creatives a platform to showcase and celebrate their work. They hang and sell local artwork, host live events that promote fresh and original music and support the creation of exciting theatre. This is the place where you find local emerging talent performing live. Another cocktail bar with live music worth a mention is Petit Café Du Coin on Berry Street – think Paris vibes with cocktails and Jazz music.

Top Ten Sights-to-see

  1. The Three Graces: Liverpool Waterfront
    The Three Graces on Liverpool’s waterfront are captivating architectural symbols of the city’s maritime history. Comprising the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port of Liverpool Building, each structure exudes charm and grandeur with striking facades and intricate detailing. You can admire these majestic buildings while enjoying stunning views of the River Mersey.
  2. Albert Dock and Tate
    Albert Dock is a vibrant waterfront complex blending history, culture, and entertainment. This 19th-century dock is now a lively hub for tourists and locals. You can visit the Tate Liverpool, a renowned art gallery exhibiting contemporary and modern art. While the collection is free to visit, special exhibitions like JMW Turner: Dark Waters and Rossetti will have admission fees. You can also visit the Walker Art Gallery, which holds a stunning collection of paintings and sculptures.
  3. Cathedrals: St James Mount and Mount Pleasant
    The Liverpool Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Christ, showcases stunning Gothic Revival design, featuring soaring towers and intricate stained-glass windows. For £7, you can ascend the tower and enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view from the UK’s highest cathedral rooftop. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, nicknamed by Scousers as “The Wigwam”, impresses with its modern circular design and beautiful interior.
  4. St. George’s Hall: St Georges Place
    St. George’s Hall is a grand neoclassical building with majestic Corinthian columns, ornate statues, and a stunning concert hall, it is a must-visit destination. The interior boasts intricate mosaic floors, a grand organ, and an impressive Great Hall.
  5. Liverpool Central Library: William Brown Street
    Liverpool Central Library is a captivating haven for book lovers and history enthusiasts. Its striking architectural design seamlessly blends the old and the new, with a historic facade and modern interior. Explore the stunning old Picton Reading Room - think Harry Potter, enjoy panoramic city views from the rooftop terrace and admire the famous rare books in the magnificent Hornby Library and Oak Room.
  6. Cains Brewery Village: Stanhope Street
    Cains Brewery Village, a historic landmark, now houses a bustling complex of bars, restaurants, and event spaces. You can drink locally crafted beers, enjoy live music, and take brewery tours to learn about the beer-making process. It's also a creative hub, hosting independent businesses, studios, and galleries. Explore unique shops, art exhibitions, and catch performances by local artists. For vintage enthusiasts, the nearby Red Brick Market is a must-visit, offering stalls with vintage clothing, antique furniture, and handmade crafts. This is also the home of Liverpool’s version of Crazy Golf - Golf Fang.
  7. Baltic Market – Cains Brewery Village
    Within Cains Brewery Village is the Baltic Market. If you are looking for a lively scene, then visit the Baltic Market, a street food haven where you can indulge in delicious treats like gyros, frozen gin slushies and bubble waffles. I recommend trying the kebab from Middle Eastern Hafla Hafla, pizza from Little Furnace, and any of the tempting treats from Midnight Delivery.
  8. Views of Liverpool
    The rooftop garden at OhMeOhMy is a relaxed space (known for its Afternoon Tea and weddings) that offers stunning cityscape views (a great view of the Liver Building). Other notable rooftop bars in Liverpool include Tempest, a restored 1970s industrial building - great for co-working, and Mamasan urban rooftop bar, known for its fantastic Thai cuisine and floral floating staircase.
  9. The Radio City Tower - or known as St. John’s Beacon: Houghton Street
    The Radio City Tower is an iconic landmark in Liverpool, offering a stunning panoramic view of the city from its 138-meter observation deck. This is the tallest building in Liverpool, and currently, it broadcasts live from the top of the tower with Leanne & Scott on Radio City and Rossie on Greatest Hits Radio. Tickets cost £7.50.
  10. Liverpool Town Hall
    Liverpool Town Hall, near Castle Street, is a magnificent Georgian building with classical and neoclassical styles, opulent rooms, and guided tours that provide a captivating journey through its rich history. It is referred to as one of the finest surviving 18th-century town halls. Note their impressive council chamber is worth a viewing.

With the vibrant city of Liverpool as its backdrop, TestBash UK 2023 promises to be an exciting multi-format conference filled with valuable software testing insights, engaging discussions, and unforgettable experiences. So, mark your calendars for 20-21 Sep 2023, book your tickets, and get ready for an incredible learning journey at TestBash UK!

Share this news:
Stephen Donaldson's profile
Hello, I'm

Stephen Donaldson


Liverpool-based father/husband/dog-dad food and drink blogger. A self-taught photographer who loves to photograph architecture, good food and great craft beer. My Instagram page EatDrinkLiverpool started with my passion for craft beer and showcased my culinary skills at home. Then it organically moved onto reviewing some of the best restaurants and bars in Liverpool and surrounding areas, with an occasional photo of my dogs and my 3-year-old! Think dirty burgers, pasta and natural wines with my favourite craft beer finds.