Take the time machine back five or six years and teetering along the cobbles of Liverpool’s bustling Wood Street, you’ll stumble upon one of the city’s guiltiest pleasures: The Camel Club. Many a night did I spend here, bumping and grinding to '90s R&B bangers like an extra from the bloody Wu Tang Gravel Pit music video. Meet me back here in 2018 and the inconspicuous venue has now transformed into something quite different and it goes by the name of Dirty Little Secret.
Venue & Atmosphere
Dirty Little Secret is the kind of place you can roll up to on a Friday or Saturday night after dinner in the city and enjoy a comprehensive selection of hand-crafted cocktails. Stay much after 12am and the vibe will certainly be alive with electricity but we’re talking more prancing about to Prince than slut dropping to Sean Paul. Forget tooth-rotting alcopops, questionable budget spirits and dirty pint glasses overflowing with flat beer; Dirty Little Secret is for the cocktail connoisseur, the gin slinger and those who like to keep their filthy side classy.
Maintaining the North African-style boudoir aesthetic but with a swanky, modern update, DLS (as I’ve fondly come to refer to it) is a cosy bar with private booths and sizeable bar space. Lights were dim, deep-set seating was upholstered and the charming cave-like space felt like the perfect destination for intimate date nights and larger groups of amigos alike.
Food & Drink
There’s no hiding the fact that this place puts its emphasis on the beverages, with the edibles a well thought out bonus. It prides itself on being ‘Liverpool’s newest, most intimate cocktail bar’, so of course the liquid offering is going to steal the limelight.
From the assorted cocktail list we went for the Cereal Thriller (£8) – a novelty cocktail that, if Instagram is anything to go by, has already garnered itself quite the cult reputation. It’s the city’s must-have mix right now and is made up of vodka, Frangelico, vanilla liqueur, cacao brown liqueur, cream, Nutella, all poured on top of a portion of Coco Pops and served in the box. Boozy breakfast cereal - genius and every bit as delicious as it sounds.
For round two, we ordered a Secret Sailor (£7) and a Dirty Old Fashioned (£7) in order to get a good idea of the spectrum of drinks on offer, from sweet and indulgent to short and classic, to long and fruity. The Secret Sailor is a recipe of Sailor Jerry’s, vanilla liqueur, passion fruit, strawberry, coconut and pineapple – a pimped out piña colada if you will. I really, really enjoyed this one and I know my drinking partner thoroughly enjoyed her DLS take on the traditional Old Fashioned. I was hankering after the Ribena Daiquiri (£7) but sadly the slush machine was kaput for the evening.
As far as food is concerned, the offering is modest so I wouldn’t advise turning up here with a rumbling stomach. However, if you’re after a bar snack or something to munch on while you sip the night away, there is a choice of two pizzas to choose from: Margherita and Dirty Pepperoni (both £5). The menu didn’t state the size, and I left my pizza measuring tape at home that day, but I’d say it boasted the same approximate circumference as a Domino’s medium and was just as tasty too.
If like me, you’re somebody who prefers to sip on something that has been muddled together by expert hands and be back in bed with a takeaway pizza before 2am then you’ll love this cushy cocktail bar as much as I did. The drinks are unique, well mixed and averagely priced and well, who can snub their nose at a big old pizza for five quid?! I reckon these guys have hit the nail right on the head with Dirty Little Secret and I’m guessing it’s not going to be a secret for very long.