It’s a thing to name to a restaurant after a pop-culture reference, but in Stonecutters we might have discovered the most obscure – and a new favourite Liverpool hangout in one.
“Why Stonecutters?” we pondered. Until eventually we asked. Is it named after a thinly-veiled take on the Masons from an early episode of The Simpsons (Patrick Stewart is in it, it’s very funny). Yes it is, came an ever-so-slightly bemused reply.
Frankly we couldn’t care less either way. Stonecutters does good food, beer and service but fundamentally it’s a pleasingly laid-back, atmospheric and relaxing place to hang out amid one of the least chilled bits of town. That’s no surprise because Stonecutters comes from the same people that brought Clockworks to Wolstenholme Square, offering good simple British food, beers and vibes.
Wolstenholme Square – Cream gone, but oddball light sculpture Penelope still in place – used to throng with young, noisy people in search of a good time. We should know, we were one of them.
In what feels like a rather rougher evocation of the past, the nearby Concert Square is now the hedonistic capital of Liverpool. Frankly we give it a wide berth – and the same is often true of plenty of other bits of Liverpool city centre on a weekend.
So it’s particularly welcome when we get oases of calm. The nearby Merchant is one; the recently-arrived Duke Street Market is another; Sound is our usual haunt. But Stonecutters offers up something else.
It can’t hurt that the main area – a dining room if you like – is situated on a mezzanine that overlooks the bar. It provides a crucial sense of separation from the brighter, busier bar and Wolstenholme Square outside. This wine bar and pizzeria is built into what was once an odd cut through to Duke Street. It’s fair to say Stonecutters is probably a better use of space.
It also boasts a real sense of sophistication. Unlike other bars that try the ‘cocktails and food’ thing, Stonecutters eschews bright lights, over-amplified bangers and Instgrammable decor (bar the occasional stonecutter motif). The furniture has a whiff of period Netflix drama. There are no screens, no neon, the music is complementary. Stonecutters cocoons you.
But enough of that. The food. Stonecutters is advertised as a ‘sacred pizza society’ and if you make a claim like that you’d better back it up. Liverpool had a weird blind spot for pizza for years, but with the likes of Little Furnace in town there’s no hiding place for imposters. Frankly, the last thing Liverpool’s food scene needs is more mediocre pizza.
Stonecutters feels like a piece of a puzzle Liverpool didn’t know it was missing.
Luckily Stonecutters is up to the task. The pepperoni pizza had a smokiness that lifted it beyond the usual matrix of sauce-cheese-meat. Deep orange and red colours radiate out from the centre. It packs a punch. Stone-baked pizza using local ingredients: It’s simple, but effective.
There are sharing platters too: meat, cheese and veggie at £12 a pop. The latter boasted sweet peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, caper berries, taleggio, a fistful of mozzarella drizzled in olive oil and fresh bread.
Sides never rise above a very attractive three quid: choose from Parmesan fries, rocket & parmesan salad, fresh mozzarella with oil, mixed salad, and artisan bread with olive oil & balsamic.
Cocktails range from £7 to £8.50 and offer interesting twists on identifiable favourites. Beer choices from from Meantime Brewing, a craft brewery in London.
Stonecutters offers good food, a selection of beer and cocktails, top-notch service and a relaxed, sophisticated place to hang out in Liverpool town centre. That should really be a given for any new place but we’ve not always found that to the the case. As a result Stonecutters feels like a piece of a puzzle Liverpool didn’t know it was missing.
Stonecutters is open Tuesday – Friday (noon–10pm) and Saturdays noon–11pm.