Laid back in Liberty

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WE’VE long been a fan of uber-trendy watering holes As You Like It and Florita’s and co in the Toon.

And we’re in good company – Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas have been known to drop in for a tipple or two.

So when we found out the company behind those venues – the Apartment Group – were branching into Sunderland, we knew we had to make it our mission to attend its opening.

Invite blagged, we donned our highest heels, slicked on our shiniest lip gloss and hot footed it to the VIP opening of Liberty Brown last Friday.

The site’s best know for its days as Quincy’s and more recently Old Orleans, but upon first impressions Liberty Brown looks set to carve its own niche in Sunderland’s eating out and nightlife scene.

Word had got out and the place was packed – even our deputy editor was there, so we had to be on our best behaviour.

In fact, there were plenty of familiar faces milling around – business people, photographers, city hairdressers and the like – all keen to see what had been done to the site on Hylton Retail Park.

It’s not as fussy as As You Like It or as fancy as Florita’s, it’s more laid back than that.

However, what caught our eye was the cocktail menu – it’s cheap as chips.

Most come in at about £3.95 and there’s stacks of choice from a Bounty-based Choconut to a Sloe Gin Mojito.

Our favourite was the Cherry Drop – Midori, Amaretto and cranberry juice – and the tropical-tastic Pina Colada which is served in a pineapple.

For the lads there’s also some unusual beers on offer including Duvel, Leffe and Hobgoblin.

During happy hours – Monday to Friday from 5-7pm – you can take on the bartenders in a coin-toss challenge for half price or free drinks.

There’s no arguing that Liberty Brown is out on a limb, so it would be difficult to make it part of a drinking route. However, as a destination venue, it works a treat.

It’s refreshing to see someone try something a tad different in Sunderland, hopefully it works.