Back from a Drink at the Brink...
By Paul Littler
When a friend told me about a cafe called The Brink, which had recently opened in Liverpool city centre to help recovering alchoholics, I envisioned a street corner cafe cloaked in drab blue paint with grimy windows shrouded in vinyl lace, furnished with an array of wobbly old tables and inhabited by a selection of disheartened unfortunates sat sipping weak tea whilst being lectured on the saintliness of sobriety by a stout bosomed sally army volunteeress who looks like Ena Sharples.
However when I arrived at number 15-21 Parr Street what I saw was a rehash of the old Jump Ship Rat Art Gallery. I was agog at it's transformation from a basic space that once hosted works by ex Sex Pistols, Situationist and Never Mind The Bollocks logo creator, Jamie Reid, to this slick, middle management, groovy kind of place.
Arriving outside, you're greeted by big blue letters on white washed walls, announcing The Brink's arrival on the Liverpool scene. Stepping inside, you are bathed in camouflage greens and aqua marines, wood panelled walls with a selection of modern paintings that are well hung. There's a gaggle of firm looking bright red and yellow legged tables in the middle of a long hall shaped room and around and about are peppered an array of comfy sofas, designed to please the lounge lizards amongst us.
At one end of the room is a raised stage with proper floodlights and a projector screen. At the opposite end is a long bar. There are displays of fancy packets of posh tea and a proper coffee making machine. Above that is the menu, a great long length of black chalk board adorned with lists of meals, snacks and sarsaparilla, with not a sniff of intoxicants anywhere to be seen.
The main room is flooded with natural light from several skylights, paying homage to the modern warehouse trend. Hanging from the metal skeletal roof structure dangles a plethora of electric lights, bare bulbs at the end of flex, interspersed with flora and fauna, hanging basket plants. Along one side of the interior wall are wooden plaques with rhymes whose text has been routed out, perhaps to illustrate how hollow words can be when it's deeds indeed that get you in the end.
What about the food? Well, Tom Gill is the Chef. He used to work at the Everyman Bistro which was renowned for it's fine cuisine - it certainly can't be denied that there is a tasty spread available. Sandwiches and soups and hearty food that's designed to please the belly and the bread and butter clientel. Coffee starts at £1.50 in a fair size cup and if you want a big breakfast it costs a fiver so it's city rates and it's not really the sort of place where the afflicted could frequent, so only workers and those on the mend who have money to spend can afford to be patrons.
There are many other reasons to visit The Brink beside a requirement to quiet a rumbling stomach. Their mission is to provide the same forms of entertainment found in licensed premises, so as well as film nights and live bands, the Brink hosts poetry nights and cultural events. It's a bright and hopeful place and is a much needed facility for those who seek solidarity with others who have made the decision to choose life instead of a grim and ugly death.
For more information: http://thebrinkliverpool.com/
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