Liverpool, England: A man in a trench coat pointing to city sign

Is Liverpool a 24-Hour City? I Tried to Find Out

From raves in an old submarine to the world’s biggest Hooters, we went out till 6AM to see if our magical mystery tour can go till sunrise.

In March, VICE photographer Yushy Pachnanda and I knocked years off of our life expectancies on a mission to solve one of the great mysteries of the Northwest of England: “Is Manchester still a 24-hour city?”

What followed was a dusk till dawn journey through chip shops, casinos, and into the dark and depraved heart of a Fallowfield student party. It was a punishing experience – the likes of which we vowed never to try again. And this time we really meant it…


But then the Scousers got in touch, literally tens of them, asking the same question: 

Why are you melting your brains in some stinking warehouse in Salford, when you could be exploring the great musical city that gave us the Beatles, the main bloke from Wings, and the lesser known but no less loved, Plastic Ono Band? 

And that’s how we ended up here: waiting outside John Lennon’s childhood digs with a coachload of American tourists and an itinerary the length of the River Mersey. So, is Liverpool a 24-hour city? We stayed up all night to find out... 

Liverpool, England: A man in a trench coat next to Penny Lane sign

The famous Penny Lane.

It’s 10AM. We’ve arrived in Scouseland bright and early to claim our spot on a Beatles sightseeing tour. A Magical Mystery Tour, if you will... Because while Liverpool is famous for many things (hello, European capital of culture 2008!!) all of them are overshadowed by Britain’s most successful skiffle band. I know, I know, there’s more to this city than the Beatles… That’s why I’m getting all the obligatory Fab Four references out of the way ASAP so we can get to the part where I have a narcoleptic episode in a McDonald's toilet. 

Our magical mystery bus pulls up in the suburban badlands. Its first stop? Penny Lane. Lennon and McCartney’s namesake song is the most remarkable thing about this road by a million miles. Put it on the record that I like “Penny Lane”. It follows in the great musical tradition of songs that are basically just a long list of things (see: “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and “Mambo No 5” for other classics of the genre). 

A man shrugging outside Submarine Bar in Liverpool.

Outside Submarine Bar in Liverpool.

Next up: Strawberry Fields. My opinion? Don’t bother. There’s not a strawberry in sight and it’s nowhere near as trippy as the track suggests. These days, it’s a school for young people with learning disabilities, and I’ve got nothing glib to say about that. With our quench for Beatles-things satisfied, Yushy and I head into town in search of some traditional Liverpudlian scran. 

As well as being the name of the distinctive local dialect, scouse is the city’s signature dish of meat, potato, and veg that fuelled the dockworkers for over a century. And although it looks like something you’d be served on the Western Front, it’s exactly the kind of thing I need to keep me going for 20-odd hours. We slurp down the stew and head onto our next stop. 

Liverpool, England: A man in a suit eating scouse stew

Eating scouse.

As well as beige food and the Beatles, this city is known for its football teams. After all, this is the home of England’s all time most successful club, Liverpool FC. The Reds don’t have a game today and neither do their cross-town rivals, Everton FC. But we don’t let that stop us, and catch a train across the River Mersey to watch the mighty Tranmere Rovers. 

Before any quick-witted Scouser points it out – we’re well aware that the Wirral is not in Liverpool. But when you’re handed lemons, make lemonade. (Any further complaints, take them up with the Premier League fixtures committee.) The League 2 clash ends in a numbing 1-1 draw. At one point I have to shake Yushy awake, a bad omen, as it’s not even 4PM. Back to Liverpool proper, then…

Liverpool, England: A man in a suit admiring the view from Radio City Tower

Admiring the view from Radio City Tower.

We return to town as the sun sets over the Irish Sea. I’d booked for us to go up the 138m tall Radio City Tower to get a shot of the skyline during golden hour. Unfortunately we’re in Liverpool, and the sky is greyer than Jurgen Klopp’s beard. Oh well… At least we’ve got a reservation at the hottest, new restaurant in town. 

Hooters is a chain of American sports bars. But you know that already, don’t you, because sex sells and this place has a stronger brand awareness than Nike, Apple, and Disney combined. Why the company decided to open “The World’s Biggest Hooters” in Merseyside is beyond me. But they’re doing something right. Tonight, the place is so full that groups of wide-eyed lads are being turned away at the door. 

Liverpool, England: A man next to the kitchen of he world's biggest Hooters

The world's biggest Hooters, apparently.

Yushy and I take a seat at the bar. The ethics of eating in a boob-themed restaurant are as sticky as the wings. The whole thing feels weirdly out of time, a throwback to the 00s era of American Pie and ironic sexism. And there’s nothing like The Refreshing Taste of a Cold Coors Light™ to make you long for a sip of literally anything else. We finish our food and get the fuck out of there. 

11PM. My guts are churning from the fried chicken and beer. The obvious fix? A triple espresso. We make a stop at Melodic Bar, a cafe and bar inside an old shipping container that’s beloved by local club kids. The barista tips me off about a techno night inside a yellow submarine. I know, I know… I said no more Beatles things, but a rave in a sea of green beneath the waves!? What would you do in my position?!

Liverpool, England: Silhouette of a man drinking in a club

In the club.

We step onboard at midnight – it’s too early for the club rats, but the venue is at least what it purports to be: an actual club inside of an actual submarine. Or an actual prop submarine, at least. The barman tells me that before this was a nightclub, it was used in the 1990 film Red October starring Sean Connery, a piece of trivia that’s guaranteed to win you any pub quiz in Merseyside. Thank me later. 

Liverpool, England: A man holds his head inside Submarine Bar

Inside Submarine Bar.

After a few drinks at the weird Beatles rave, we’re ready to hit the club. Along with 24 Kitchen Street and Invisible Wind Factory, Meraki is a fixture of the Liverpool clubscape. And for good reason. It’s got a big soundsystem, a nice smokers, and a 6AM licence. What more could you want? Tonight, the lights come on at 4AM, giving us a chance to sample the city’s late night takeaways. 

Nabzys is Liverpool’s answer to Morleys, a local institution built on cheap chicken and red countertops. The only discernible difference between the two? Nabzys never ever seems to shut. At 5AM there are still dozens of blotched faces underneath the fluorescent lights. 

Liverpool, England: A man slams his head against the wall of a club

Motoring towards sunrise.

We’re motoring towards sunrise, really in the graveyard shift now, at this point even Grosvenor Casino turn us away, so we head to just about the only bar that’s still open. Don’t know when to call it a night? Hell bent on self-destruction? Then head to Beer Engine, ruining lives until 6AM.  


Even at this time, the sports bar is chocka inside. The crowd is a strange mix of hospitality workers, here for a nightcap, and pissed-up lads, here to watch the UFC fight and scream at each other. I order a giant goblet of G&T and slope off to a booth in the dark. Fifteen minutes later the lights come up: That’s it. It’s over. Everything’s shut. Finally defeated by Scouseland, we hail a cab back to our hotel. And that’s the last thing I remember… 

Liverpool, England: A man leaning asleep against wall in club smoking area


I awake to Yushy slapping me on the cheek. The sky outside the window is a pale blue, and I can hear the sound of breaking waves and choking gulls. We are, in fact, not back at our hotel. We’re out by Crosby Beach. A mix up with the cab driver. The bloke tells us he’s clocking off; we’ll have to call an Uber. In my head I weigh up the pros and cons of drowning myself in the marina. 

So is Liverpool a 24-hour city? With takeaways and bars open until silly o’clock and a population of half a million mad scousers, this might be the most nocturnal city I’ve visited yet. Manchester? London? Kid’s stuff. Liverpool broke me. Someone call me a cab??