the story

The Art School Cellars
Champagne, Fine Wines and Pinchos

Next month sees the opening of our bespoke Champagne and wine cellar, The Art School Cellars, where Chef Patron Paul Askew and the team want to share with you our handpicked selection of premium Champagnes, fine wines, British cheeses and artisan Charcuterie. All of which can be enjoyed in an environment of comfort and relaxation.

Inspired by the Pinchos of the Basque Country and the Delis of Italy, we wish to encourage the culture of ‘gastronomic grazing’ in the hospitable city of Liverpool.

We have over 300 different wines on offer and an extensive cocktail list coupled with fresh bread and small dishes available to order. All prepared daily by The Art School Restaurant team.

As part of this exciting new addition to Liverpool, we also have our private Tasting Room. Suitable for up to ten guests, you can enjoy a journey through matched foods and wines, whilst our Sommeliers are on hand giving detailed explanation for each pairing.

Our hope is that you enjoy our Liverpudlian warmth and friendliness whilst experiencing world-class food and drink consumption in sumptuous surroundings.

Speaking of the imminent arrival of the Art School Cellars, Chef Paul Askew explains how the new project came about and what guests can expect:

“I wanted to expand on the Art School brand and the realisation that our lovely little restaurant bar is simply too small to accommodate all of our guests pre- and post-dining. It also highlighted the fact that a bar like this was needed in the city – a feeling that we needed a Champagne bar version of the Art School to continue the gastronomic journey and the food culture in the city.”

“My other passion, apart from food and drink, is travelling to find out about more food and drink and discovering food culture around the World.”

“For example, at Peck in Milan, there is every possible cheese, piece of Charcuterie, mushroom, desserts. It is just astonishing, their wine cellar and every level you go up reminds you of the depth of culture and food knowledge and desire that there are in countries like Italy.”

“Then you go to the Basque Country, San Sebastian or Biarritz and there are little Pinchos on the bar that you could win a Michelin star for and a little simple glass of wine but when you put the two together, the sun comes out, the clouds part and everything is wonderful. So, for me, it was trying to capture some of that and put it into an environment that offered that but in a Liverpool way and also in a ‘come and try what this is.’ When you taste that scallop with an Albariño for example, how different it is and how it compliments each other.”

“Of course, finding the right person to run this vision was the key. It could only be for me, an Italian or Spanish person, someone who has Charcuterie in their DNA. It’s not part of British food culture. It also required someone who is passionate about Mixology and that is where Gianfranco comes in. I’ll never forget that when I asked him in his interview what his favourite bar was in London. There was only two I wanted him to say, it was either The Dorchester or the Ritz and Gianfranco said ‘The Dorchester’ so I was more than happy with that answer.”

“Just as I want the restaurant to be Le Gavroche of the North, I want the new bar to be the Dorchester or Ritz of the North with the style of service. An international standard of service with food, drinks, product knowledge and environment. We want it to be an exemplar of what the Liverpool food and bar culture can be and I think people want that. The restaurant has demonstrated that the market is there if you do it properly.”

“The key thing is that yes, of course it is for pre and post dinner drinks at The Art School, but we do have a front door so if you’re going to see a show at The Philharmonic you can pop in and have a glass of wine and a plate of cheese or Charcuterie. These are smaller dishes, the Pinchos are basically miniatures of what we create in the Art School. This gives Gianfranco the opportunity to demonstrate downstairs what we do up in the restaurant. We hope this will lead to guests trying the Tasting Room to sample them with five different wines and Pinchos or try the full Tasting Menu upstairs.”

The new Tasting Room is where we will run our WSET Courses from, our next one starts in September. What more could you ask for with a walk-through cellar? It is the first one in the city and deliberately so, it’s not only needed but will be loved by many.”

Gianfranco, our new Manager for the Art School Cellars, is looking forward to taking the helm and hosting our guests:

“I’m of an Italian background where family cuisine is key to the family environment. Growing up with the taste of the simple food made by my Mum and of course a glass of wine. I want to develop a different kind of skill from a new country, especially the U.K.”

“My aim downstairs is to give this experience to the customer. I am extremely honoured to be part of this project with Mr Paul. Before I came here I did my research about him and saw how respected he was so it is a privilege to be part of this. I want to give an educational experience to our guests about the food and the wines. Introducing them to different type of Pinchos and flavours of wine with the combination of the Charcuterie. It is quite an interesting and sophisticated business and everything is in the right place to do it so I’m more than happy to deliver that.”

The Art School Cellars is open Tuesday – Thursday 2pm – Midnight, Friday -Saturday 2pm – 2am.

No booking is required, just turn up to our subterranean sanctuary and enjoy.