Berry and Rye, Liverpool

Berry and Rye was once a well-kept secret, a haven from the mainstream, but now the cache has gone is it still as good?

Review by Mary Kate Menear | 08 Dec 2014
  • Berry & Rye

Tucked away amid an array of trinket stores and noodle bars on Berry Street is an unassuming black shop front. Knock on the door; wait nervously. A stern-faced, broad-shouldered man will demand how many are in your party and after stuttering a response your fate will be decided. If they have room and ‘the man’ feels kind, you will be granted entry into one of Liverpool’s most poorly kept but well-respected secrets.

Probably about 50 people could fit inside, maximum, and that’s with several peeps perching on others' knees. As you enter, there’s a lot of detail to take in for such a small space. While you’re digesting the exposed brickwork, salvaged church pews, well-thumbed books, candle-corked bottles and the generally rustic aesthetic of the place (not to mention the whosits and whatsits galore behind the beautiful bar), two lovely and efficient servers will greet you, seat you and gift you an old, antique, book inside which treasures untold await your perusal.

Take a look at their drinks list by candlelight or ask the advice of the well-informed staff who will endeavour to enrich your experience as much as possible. Berry and Rye offer table service, which immediately sets it apart from the establishments of Concert Square, merely a stone’s throw away, though this seems more of a practicality given the confined quarters.

They specialise in whiskey and gin cocktails, as well as blues and jazz music, and they boast enough bottles of Scotch to make Hemingway sweat. It'd be remiss not to order the classic Whiskey Old Fashioned, which comes served with an orange peel and, un-classically, a ‘dock off’ ice cube so as to keep your drink cold rather than dilute it. For something sweeter try the Clover Club; for something refreshing, a Mint Julep. When your drink arrives, sip it as slowly or as fast as you’d like and absorb the live bluesy piano, Billie Holiday or Muddy Waters, as you are transported to a chic speakeasy in 1920s New York or Chicago.

Three Old Fashioneds into your best Don Draper impression and you’ll be wanting to sink down into your seat, make a blanket out of bar napkins and stay the night. But sadly, you cannot. When you’re done you’ll emerge back into the Liverpool night air with a yearning desire to return. Attention to detail, individuality and inclusivity set Berry and Rye apart from the rest.

Walk by this inconspicuous place the day after and marvel at how unremarkable it appears. Berry and Rye is the reason why you should never judge books, or bars, by their covers. Unless it’s a Yates’s. Always judge a Yates’s.


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If you like Berry and Rye, try:
From Dusk Til Pawn, Manchester
Some Place, Liverpool
The Gaslamp, Manchester