FEELING FLUSH… It’s been a restorative week in Liverpool as two stylish, albeit very different, refurbishments have both completed. The first, a high-tech safe deposit box facility, has opened in the Royal Liver Building after a £1m investment to fit-out a 1,500 sq ft basement with surveillance technology such as seismic shock sensors, round-the-clock monitoring and biometric identification systems. The Liverpool Vaults provides 1,000 safe deposit lockers and will be operated by Merrion Vaults in its first such development in the region. Meanwhile, over at Liverpool Lime Street, a rather different refurbishment has completed this time to help get rid of things rather than store them. The station’s toilets have been smartened up by Network Rail in a £100,000 upgrade to Lime Street’s facilities, with ageing cubicles and plumbing replaced with sparkly new sinks, mirrors, tiles, and even memorabilia to look at while you’re otherwise occupied.

Santa Maluco

BOLD RETURN… Many of Liverpool’s coffee connoisseurs will be relieved at the news that, after Bold Street Coffee closed due to maintenance issues, the popular independent café returned this week, in a collaboration with Santa Maluco on Castle Street. Bold Street founder Sam Tawil has partnered with Santa Maluco owners Matt Farrell and John Ennis, and there are hints that it could be a long-term venture. During the day customers can expect a menu made up of a range of Bold Street Coffee favourites, and in the evenings Santa Maluco takes over with Rodizio pizzas and cocktails. Good for Castle Street, bad for the students on the other side of town who will miss the benefit of Bold Street Coffee.


Guardiola is pepped up about the launch of a new restaurant…

KING STREET CURSE… Last August, THING noted the sad demise of Suri, a restaurant which had attempted success at 20/22 King Street (the unit formerly known as Quill, formerly known as Duo), but predicted another eatery would soon be on its way to try to steal the King Street restaurant crown from El Gato Negro. And we weren’t wrong – Fazenda Group, a former backer of Suri – has teamed up with Manchester City supremos Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain, Ferran Soriano, and Michelin starred chef Paco Perez, to bring Tast Cuina Catalana to the Manchester market. A heady mix which suggests Fazenda plans to pull out all the stops to make this restaurant a success. But will it stand the Tast of time?

Ashton Hayes Villagers Campaign To Save The Golden Lion

THE LION’S SHARE… A community group in Ashton Hayes near Chester is aiming to purchase the village’s only pub, The Golden Lion, and re-open it as a community-owned hostelry. The residents’ group has set up a not-for-profit business to raise £250,000 to help purchase the pub, which was put up for sale by its owners in October 2017 and has been empty for around five years. A formal share offer was launched by the group yesterday to help get the funding drive off the ground, and the residents hope to raise further money through share match grants, other grants, and crowd funding. If successful, the pub will join a select group of around 50 community-owned pubs across the country – and it’s worth noting that not one of these has closed down since being re-opened. The business plan and prospectus for the pub can be downloaded here.

BEE-NANAS… In what could be Manchester’s answer to Liverpool’s Superlambananas, 85 individually-designed Bee sculptures will be displayed across the city this July. The two-metre-high installations will pop up throughout the city’s streets, public spaces and parks, and a design competition for the statues is now underway, with the results expected next week. Businesses have the opportunity to sponsor and design their own bees, and companies that have signed up so far include Deloitte, Pinsent Masons, Manchester Central, BDO, and Ellis Brigham. The sculptures will be sticking around for nine weeks, and the initiative is supported by Manchester City Council and Wild in Art. All proceeds will go to charity.

DOWN DOG… If you’re a dog owner in Lancashire, and particularly if that pooch is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, beware. The Insurance Emporium has revealed that there has been a 78% rise in the yearly number of dog thefts in Lancashire since 2015, growing from 65 to 116, equaling 286 dog thefts overall. Over that time, only 25% of dogs were returned to their owners. The most common dog breed to be stolen was the Staffy, with 52 being reported stolen since 2015.

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