17 Edward Pavillion, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AF. Tel: +44(0)151 709
I had an extremely unpleasant and downright frightening experience at the Blue Bar and Grill. My friend had booked a table for Sunday night, and my partner and I went along with my friend and his wife. I knew the Blue Bar by reputation and was looking forward to dinner. We were approaching the stairs to the restaurant when I heard a snarling noise behind me. A bouncer, his face twisted with aggression, snapped, "no trainies!". Although we were two smartly-dressed couples (in our thirties), I had made the "mistake" of wearing some walking shoes. I explained we had a table booked for dinner, but the bouncer just snarled, "c'mere, or I'll lash you out!". A check at the front desk confirmed our table reservation. I told the bouncer he should be more polite when dealing with customers. He replied, "right, I'm going to lash you out!". Before he could carry through his threat, we all left, rather than be physically harmed, or give money to an establishment that takes such a disgraceful attitude towards its customers. The incident was made all the more embarrassing by the fact that it was my partner's first visit to Liverpool, and I had told her that in contrast to London, she could expect a warm welcome everywhere. Thankfully, Blue Bar was the one black spot in our weekend. Perhaps other Liverpudlians planning to entertain guests from out of town should take note.
Blue Bar & Grill is owned by Lyceum restaurants who own the Pan American and Baby Blue in the Albert Dock. There website is http://www.lyceumrestaurants.co.uk/ with a variety of trinkets of information and online booking operating soon. Where is it? Blue Bar and Grill is an approximately 150 seater restaurant and bar in the Albert Dock down by the waterfront in Liverpool overlooking the dock directly with stunning views of the old Victorian grade I listed architecture. It is a two storey bar with cement flooring and all the old ceiling features of an old dock building with great red brick work, and grill with outside seating. The upstairs is used solely for the restaurant and the downstairs bar area is for drinks and light snacks during the day. In the summer tables are laid outside and you can watch Fred (from This Morning) on the floating weather map if you are early enough! It is really easy to get to because the Albert Dock is sign posted from all round Liverpool - just follow the seagulls. Food & Drink I have eaten at Blue at least a couple of dozen times now and I have never had a bad meal there. The menu changes every couple of months depending on the season which is fantastic as you know you won't pick 'the same old thing again'. There are good vegetarian options such as pasta, tofu, soya, vegetable dishes- my favourite is deep fried vegetables with hoi sin sauce in a chinese wrap. Fish options are also great my favourites being the tuna and the red snapper with onion marmalade. I ordered the tuna stake last time with cajun seasoning and it was delicious. Meat dishes are also plentiful ranging from tip top steaks done to perfection - the chef will take note of whether you really want it rare or well done. The sweets menu is superb too - watch out for the dime bar cake and the jaffa cake (not the biscuit), or if you simply want cheese and coffee they do that too. The bar is good for flavoured coffees eg vanilla, hazelnut or mocha; good for cocktails of which there must be a couple of dozen to choose from; lagers are mostly bottled but you can buy anything from cobra to stella. The wine list is great as is the champagne list - all you could want from £12 to £300 (yes I did say £300!) a bottle and they even sell oxygen for a couple of pounds a bottle (I did not buy one of those!!). The prices are a little pricey for Liverpool but if you compare like with like across the trendy Liverpool bars then this is well priced and still half the price of a drink in London. Ambiance There are some brilliant comfy couches downstairs, in you guessed it - blue, the tables are set out as I like them, not too close that you can hear your neighbour's darkest secrets. The chandelliers are a little naff but then you can't have it all can you. During the day families are often in there having snacks and coffee and it isn't too full. In the early evening local business men and women pop in for after work drinks and later on the place - especially Thurs - Sun gets heaving with loads of people. If there has been a football match on Liverpool and Everton players are seen frequenting the bar along with many other actors from the area. So if you like Brookie, Hollyoaks, Merseyside football then this is your place to spot the stars. Unfortunately this has caught on with a few young girls who want to marry a rich bloke - but this is also good for people spotting and having a laugh at their expense (I am heartless I know!). The toilets also deserve a mention as they are communal when it comes to hand washing (obviously the loos are still private though!!)- I reminis about the time when I was washing my hands with a drunken friend who saw a rather famous Blackburn player coming out of the loo and decided to introduce herself rather embarrassingly - he took it well though. Dress is smart, except in the day when anything goes. Service Excellent. Staff are very friendly, clean and smart. They also do not give precedence to famous customers which is refreshing. If you fancy something that is not on the menu then they will also try and get the chef to knock up your requirements with no fuss. Prices Comparable to other bars in Liverpool. As an example I have had a coffee and sandwich for a fiver, but I also spent £50 per head on a meal of four courses with a couple of bottles of wine and after dinner drinks. Not bad I think! Parking is free too so you can work that into your price as well. Recommend Yes I have to really, I have eaten in many bars and restaurants round the UK and I really do think this place is value for money.
Blue is a bar and a restaurant, and is indeed one of the places you should visit if you want to spot local celebs from Brookside or Hollyoaks. The decor is very good, light wooden tables, and plush sofas. The upstairs restaurant area is also impressively designed, and located on the Albert docks, the far end of the bar has huge window which make the most of the attractive view. On paper, the restaurant menu looks good, although priced a little at the high end of the market. But in taste and presentation it is disappointing. I have only eaten here once with a couple of friends, but we were all so disatisfied that we haven't repeated the experience. It wasn't that the food was bad, just it was pretty tasteless and frankly you want more for the money. A slightly novel experience are the toilets which are sort of communal, separate cubicals for boys and girl, but same wash basins. Still mirrors in the girls ones though, so this doesn't prevent a ton of women ajusting their make-up, hair, whatever. But it does mean that those of us who want to wash their hands and go, can do so with the boys. The bar itself fits in with the look of a wine bar, with a very showy display of alcohol, and yes, the prices do match the look of the place. I don't find that getting served here is usually a problem, and if you're not in the mood for alchol they do ofer hot drinks, which can make a refreshing change...although you can look a bit of a freak drinking a cup of tea on a saturday night. They also serve cocktails here, and although I haven't sampled any myself, I sent my unwitting parents in there a couple of weeks ago with some of their frinds, and they came back slghtly outraged, but having liked the cocktail...slightly outraged because when my mother had asked the bar tender what a specific cocktail tasted like she had replied, "well if you've ever had sex on the beach it is like that". ehe rm my mum didn't know this was a name of a cocktail.
Having just read the review slating Blue Bar at the Albert Dock I feel that I should write. Though I agree with the fact that, like many new restaurants trying to get in the 'yuppie market', Blue Bar has stepped up its prices a bit out of my usual range, I find it difficult to believe that the food was any cause for complaint. Being a student in Liverpool I am permanently on the lookout for restaurants that I can try to get my parents to take me to when they visit and Blue Bar has become a lunch-time favourite, offering a wide choice of extremely tasty tapas and side-dishes. I have never felt the service to be anything other than good (if not excellent) and the staff friendly at all times. Though there are better restaurants in Liverpool (Life Cafe being one of the more popular ones) I would reccomend the lunchtime menu at Blue Bar to anyone not concerned at paying a little more for the quality.
Blue Bar positions itself as being the sophisticated bar and restaurant for the more discerning "Wallpaper" magazine reader. A lovely venue, overlooking the Albert Dock, with an award winning staircase and sumptuous couches, it certainly looks the part. Of a weekend you can see many Liverpool B list celebs and lesser known footballers mingling with the crowd. Unfortunately, the quality is only skin deep. Spend any amount of time there and you will find very mediocre, but overpriced food, accompanied by some startlingly bad service. The staff have perfected a wonderful "Who the hell are you" stare which they practice with great fervour when they are not busy ignoring you completely. Personally I wouldn't eat there again. The bar service is marginally better, but the prices are a bit OTT and its cetainly not a bar where you could relax, or even enjoy yourself, unless you liked posing or hanging around with surely some of the most pretentious people in the city. By all means pop in for a drink and marvel at the amount of people who go there, not because they like it but because they think it is the "in" place to go (I have yet to meet anyone who said that they had had good food or service in Blue, and believe me, I've asked around!)- and then go to Bar Monaco a few doors down, which has won no awards for its staircase but where the food, atmosphere and service are completely superior in every way.