HAVING WATCHED THE OLD BLIND SCHOOL BEING TRANSFORMED FROM A FORGOTTEN ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE TO ONE OF LIVERPOOL’S BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK, I ASKED THE OWNERS FOR THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE TOBS STORY.
Today, the Old Blind School provides a chic, understated base to eat and drink in the heart of Liverpool. Nothing about this place tries too hard – from the pared down decor to the discreet service and fuss-free menu, this is a venue where you just know that you’re in safe hands. The bar is incredibly well stocked, the food is exceptional and the staff really know their stuff. If you’d like to revel in this, you can be whisked upstairs to dine. However, if it’s a simple hangover-busting breakfast or casual drinks with friends that you desire, the Old Blind School team are happy to oblige.
Co-owners Paul Newman and David Mooney clearly both obsess over the details. Paul mentions the pressure he felt to restore The Old Blind School to its former glory impeccably, doing justice to the building’s impressive architectural features, while David mused that although he has a two Michelin star background, he fixates just as much on ensuring that if it’s bangers and mash you want, it’s the world’s best bangers and mash that you get as he did over “the fancy stuff”.
Built between 1851 and 1931, the venue was the city’s original school for the blind, which later moved to Church Road in Wavertree.
Paul commented: “How could you look at this building and not fall in love with it? I first started to come to this part of the city in the mid ‘90s and I remember going to 60 Hope Street when it first opened. I have seen this area develop with the likes of the Quarter and HOST opening and today this feels like a real destination area for restaurants.”
He added: “I’ve been in this business for 30 years now and this is the seventh venue David and I have opened. We want to offer quality at the right price – the modern answer to the gastro-pub.”
The Old Blind School has only been open for a few months, but already has a loyal customer base. The 200 cover restaurant feels bustly throughout the week at most times of the day and Paul and David’s decision to model the venue on their hugely successful Old Sessions House in Knutsford has clearly been a wise one.
David said: “I want people to have a great experience whether they’re coming in for a pint of beer or for a special dinner. To make that happen Paul and I work really hard to ensure that all the little things are done well. We have a fantastic team, which helps!”
Paul said that he was incredibly proud of The Old Blind School, which has gained a loyal customer base not just for the great food, but also for the fine ales, impressive wine list and the cocktails on offer.
It’s an incredibly easy venue to warm to and there are signs that this is just the beginning of Paul and David’s Liverpool invasion. With experienced Liverpool-based PR, Holly Wood, on a mission to spread the word about the venue both regionally and nationally, there are hints that a second Liverpool venue will open within months.
Having asked (or more accurately begged) Paul, David and Holly to reveal the location of their next site to His & Hers, I have sadly accepted that like many others in Liverpool, I’ll just have to wait and speculate on likely looking sites. All I will say is that The Old Blind School will be a hard act to follow. If you haven’t already paid it a visit, I really would recommend it, whether it’s for casual drinks, a special occasions or simply the ultimate recovery breakfast. It’s a friendly, versatile venue with a welcoming team – and I have a feeling it’s already both the cause of and the cure for many of the city’s hangovers!
Editor’s note: Since we published this article, The site of The Old Blind School has changed management and is now The Florist.
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