One of the small plates served at The Pen Factory in Liverpool city centre
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The Pen Factory


The Pen Factory specialises in the kind of Middle East-meets-Spanish creations you’ll find at Volta or The Refuge in Manchester, where small plates are par for the course.

Everything is reasonably priced, perfectly presented and made for sharing. This is food to enjoy with friends – much as it was at owner Paddy Byrne’s previous outfit, the Everyman Bistro.

You can feel the love in the drinks list too. The pleasingly compact collection resides strictly in the realm of enjoyment; German Rieslings, fashionable txakoli and a cluster of French bottles, chosen with care. There’s an award-winning selection of regional and national craft beers on offer too.

Looks-wise it has all the accoutrements you expect of a contemporary bar/restaurant in the provinces: open kitchen, exposed ducts, chairs, that sort of thing. Atmosphere abounds, and it even has its own secret garden. The very definition of a hidden gem.

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