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Liverpool entrepreneur Natalie Heywood set up Leaf simply because she loved a good cup of tea and, in a city increasingly enraptured by the arabica bean, she was finding that a decent brew was hard to track down.

Half a decade and three moves later, Leaf is a category-killing venue, straddling that hard-to-win middle ground between daytime cafe and late-night bar with ease.

Perhaps it’s because Leaf is so hard to pin down that it’s such a tonic. Yes, it’s a busy refuelling stop for shoppers en route to town, yes, it’s a hot-desk heaven for officeless city creatives drawn to its ‘have a cup and stay all day’ open-door policy (with free wi-fi), and yes, it’s the perfect post-work hang out for those catching up on gossip with friends.

Leaf is, essentially, what you make it. And, as the sun sets, the tea-leaves mingle with the beers, wines and spirits, the retro lampshades dim, and the music gets cranked up a notch or two (Kraftwerk, Dolly Parton, Hot Chip, Squeeze) and the space is animated with pre-club friends, office workers still hanging on, and partying groups – some en route upstairs to Leaf’s impromptu club space.

Food is great – choose from grilled halloumi club sandwiches to hearty brunch breakfasts, washed down with any number of tea blends (champagne and jasmine, should you feel indulgent). A punky tea shop with bags of attitude, Leaf has given Liverpool’s nightlife a caffeinated jolt of life.