Liverpool is brimming with culture and interests tailored for every taste. Constantly developing, it continues to accommodate the most eccentric and unusual shops. From record stores to modern design, from vintage to alternative fashion, here’s a list of the best Liverpool can offer in terms of quirky boutiques.
Bursting with idiosyncrasy, Quiggins is the palace of indie and alternative fashion. Located in Grand Central Hall, the Grade II listed building was previously home to a cinema and later the Philharmonic Orchestra. The ornate repurposed building adds to the special nature of Quiggins, juxtaposing old and new, traditional and modern. With 20 independent stores within, Quiggins is central to Liverpool’s Bohemian culture. The stores range from vintage to gothic to wonderfully outrageous and romantic-hippy, spanning all the eras. To those unfamiliar with the space, Quiggins may appear a maze, yet as you delve deeper, tie-dye tops, funky accessories, and terrific playlists will open up a whole new world.
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The Beatles Shop
You can’t go to Liverpool without seeing something Beatles related – it would be a crime against the Liverpudlians. What makes The Beatles Shop on Mathew Street quirky is its sheer dedication to its heroes. T-shirts drape across the ceilings and posters are up on every inch of the walls. There isn’t a Beatles souvenir you can’t buy in the store – fancy a George Harrison dollar bill? What about a Beatles baby grow? Endless possibilities await an ardent fan. This is only the tip of the Beatles iceberg, Liverpool also offers a stay in the Hard Day’s Night Hotel nearby, a visit to the Beatles museum, a trip on the Magical Mystery Tour Bus, and later that night, dancing in the famous Cavern Club.
Kernaghan Books is a second hand bookshop situated inside the historic Bluecoat building— the oldest building in the centre of Liverpool. The interior of the shop is decorated with antique furniture and bookcases filled with fine literature. Many of the books in Kernaghan are rare and the shop prides itself on keeping a range of great literature. Browsing in Kernaghan evokes a feeling of a Victorian gentleman’s club, with beautiful books, rich leather and dark wood.
Utility’s success has led the company to open its first London store in 2011, yet the shop will always be Liverpool’s home of dynamic design. If a unique present is ever needed, Utility will no doubt hold something in store. Although some of the gifts may seem quite expensive, Utility ensures the total individuality of the design. The shelves are crowned with quirky books and funky designer gadgets. The shop also has a great collection of zany cards and jewellery.
Established in 1971, Probe Records flourished with the Punk era. The store immediately transports its customers back to before the digital age to the wonderful time of vinyl. Probe still manages to provide for all music tastes, spanning the decades right up to the modern era. Like Kernaghan Books, Probe Records is located in the Bluecoat, the hub of cultural activity in Liverpool. The walls are plastered with colourful LP covers and stacks of CDs mount up in corners of the shop – however vinyl is what makes the shop most characteristic. Probe leaves the music lover spoilt for choice as it ushers in new records whilst still treasuring the well-loved second hand classics.
Another quirky shop on Bold Street is Dr Hermans, which specialises in selling legal herbal remedies. The shop has a very bohemian feel to it, staying true to the hippy vibe of Bold Street. Available to buy are a selection of herbal combinations. Nothing is illegal about Dr Hermans and the shop stands firm to this concept. Overall, such a unique experience cannot be found anywhere else in Liverpool.
Landbaby is located in the Bluecoat and from humble roots has developed into a business stocking over 30 designers. The shop sells vintage fabrics, buttons, broaches and beads in muted, earthy tones. Landbaby is very open to new work from designers and all the products must be hand-made – which makes it so distinctive. As an extra dimension, Landbaby caters for private parties and baby showers as well as running arts and crafts workshops taught by qualified tutors. Customers can learn how to embroider, or make vintage lace dream catchers. In this way Landbaby has expanded itself (and still is expanding) into much more than just the normal arts and crafts shops.
Situated near the Cavern Club, Beatwear’s showroom specialises in men’s sixties boots and clothing. The family run business has been providing the public (particularly musicians) with high quality Italian crafted suits and shoes since the mid-1990s. Their bespoke suits are perfect for formal occasions and they also sell replicas of the Beatles’ Chesterfield and trade-mark collarless suits. Chelsea boots are a favourite of Beatwear – they house a huge variety of colours and styles to suit all. The showroom is definitely worth a visit to gaze on the masterful design and craftsmanship.
News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere isn’t your average book shop. Another Bold Street classic, this radical bookshop opened in 1974 and has been selling revolutionary books for decades. The shop is dedicated to its customers, hoping the literature they stock ‘empowers and inspires people to make positive changes to the world’. News from Nowhere is quirky because it breaths on powerful content. If you ever want a life changing story, this Liverpool store is the place to go. News from Nowhere is a portal to a new and equal working world – staff have equal pay with no hierarchy, the community is at the heart of the business, and the shop welcomes absolutely everyone.
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