Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review: Ex-Directory, Liverpool

Ex-Directory Liverpool phonebox entrance

I am very easily drawn in by hype, I'm not going to lie. I also love going to new bars, so when I heard that a new, hidden, bar had opened in the City Centre, I was game.

Ex-Directory opened to the public little over a week ago, and has been the subject of much intrigue since. With having to figure out the telephone number for the bar to arrange a booking, and then having to find the place itself, Ex-Directory really make you work for the resulting cocktails. I'm a fan of places like Berry and Rye and similar 'speakeasy' bars, so this sounded right up my alley.

If you're lucky enough to work out what the number is for this underground gem, you can make a reservation whenever you please. Without a reservation, even if you do stumble across the entrance, you'll be refused entry.

With nothing to do on Saturday evening, I decided to make plans for Sunday to visit the 'El Dorado' of the Liverpool bar scene. I hate to be smug, but literally the first number I dialled got me through to an automated message, telling me to call back during their opening hours to make a reservation. It was a long shot calling at 9pm on a Saturday to make a reservation, but whatever. I called back Sunday afternoon, and they managed to squeeze us in at 4pm. I thought it was very peculiar that they ask for your card details over the phone, but apparently they only do that because they've had a lot of people make reservations and not show up. But either way, we were now booked in. And so, the hard part was over.


Picture me and my boyfriend wandering around Liverpool City Centre for literally an hour and a half at 3pm, with me getting increasingly hangry, and Dave becoming less and less tolerant of my snapping. Finding this place was such a pain in the ass, I considered calling it quits, cancelling, and accepting my fate of forever frequenting The Railway. We were desperately searching Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for photos with any kind of clues to the location of this place. The most we got was that it was in an alley, with a view of the Anglican Cathedral, which narrowed down our options to a few hundred alleys. Just when we were at our breaking point, there it was. Like a beacon of light in an otherwise murky day, the bright red phone box entrance.

Ex-Directory has table service, and the waitresses are all very lovely. When you get seated, they give you a little bowl of salted popcorn, and a carafe of chilled water. It does not take much to please me, and I was stupidly thirsty after our treasure hunt, so I was made up to get the water. The cocktail menu is extensive, and worth every penny. Cocktails range from around £8-£12, which is a little above average, but I wouldn't have expected anything less. This isn't your average Sex on the Beach that costs £4 in your local Wetherspoon's.

Ex-Directory Liverpool cocktails

The cocktails are painstakingly crafted, and presented fantastically. They're split into different sections, including a list of fruit based cocktails, and dessert inspired drinks. They also have a selection of beers and spirits, if cocktails aren't your thing. Dave had a The Man from Del Monte Daiquiri, and I had a Dunkin' Doughnuts. Dave's came with popping candy, half a passionfruit, and looked quite delicious. The last time I was in the USA, my Aunt Renee took me to Dunkin' Doughnuts a bunch of times, and I fell in love with their iced coffee. The Dunkin' Doughnuts cocktail did not disappoint, and even came with a little doughnut on a skewer. Looking around at other tables, I spotted a table with a cocktail that came in a Tiki style jar, that was on FIRE, and one with a giant tower of candy floss.

Ex-Directory Liverpool bar

The whole place was very relaxed and inviting, yet with a distinct air of exclusivity and refinement. It was a lovely place to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I'm already planning my next visit. The founders of Ex-Directory also have a similar bar in Manchester, The Washhouse, which I will absolutely be visiting after our annual visit to the Christmas markets.

Ex-Directory Liverpool

If you're ever in Liverpool, Ex-Directory is definitely worth a visit. A word of warning though - don't leave it to last minute to try and find it, thinking it'll take you a few minutes. Unless you've cheated, it won't!

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1 comment :

  1. Just tell me it's not near the cathedral, if it is I'm way out