Famous building featured in Taylor Swift music video to open as restaurant

One of the oldest streets in the city centre, Castle Street has retained much of its beautiful architecture.

And now one of its famous buildings, which previously featured in a Taylor Swift music video, is set to open as a new restaurant. Earlier today, the ECHO reported how Elif's Turkish Bar & Grill will open in the former Natwest site in July.

Elif is a popular restaurant in the city, with other venues in Bold Street, Lark Lane and Childwall, and will become the first business to call the Castle Street site home since 2017. For over a century, the building has been a familiar site on the historic street.

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The Castle Street building was built for the former Parr’s Bank from 1898 to 1901. It was designed by Richard Norman Shaw, who was considered one of the leading architects of the 19th century.

Shaw's other works include the massive Cragside country house in Northumberland. Anyone who has ever been in the building will know its centrepiece is a circular banking hall - and while its furnishings have been modernised, it retains its grand pillars, dome and gold ceiling detailing.

Initially operating as the Parr Bank in the late 19th century, it went on to be acquired by National Westminster Bank. But by 2017, it was announced that the historic bank had closed its doors to make way for a new hi-tech banking centre.

At the time, the ECHO reported how NatWest’s newest branch would be on the corner of Church Street and Paradise Street, where the Select shop used to be. Michael Burrow, Managing Director North Region at NatWest, previously said: "Our new Liverpool branch is our first completely digitally focused branch in the country and we are delighted to welcome customers through the doors."

Do you have any memories from inside the building? Let us know in the comments section below.

The site lay derelict for a few years, but in 2021, the site was bought by JSM Group. Soon after, plans were submitted for the site to become a hotel, restaurant and bar.

A spokesperson for JSM previously said the developers were continuing to work with heritage organisations and Liverpool City Council on the plans. But more recently, the historic building captured the attention of 14-times Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift.

Earlier this month, Taylor Swift performed three incredible shows at Anfield on June 13, 14 and 15 as part of her record-breaking Eras Tour. But it wasn't her first time visiting the city.

Look inside the former Natwest Bank building on Castle Street, Liverpool
The former Parr Bank on Castle Street

Taylor previously showed off the beauty of Liverpool and some iconic buildings in her music video, I Can See You, following the release of her re-recorded album, Speak Now. Taylor was spotted filming in the city at the start of April 2023 as she took a short break from the US-leg of The Eras Tour, the ECHO previously reported.

The video features actress Joey King and Twilight actor and Swift's ex-boyfriend Taylor Lautner, who along with writer and musician Presley Cash work together in the music video to free Taylor Swift from a vault, which appears to be located inside the Cunard Building, the ECHO recently reported. In 2010, Joey and Presley starred in Taylor Swift's music video for single Mean, also from the Speak Now album.

The Cunard Building features, but the interior was filmed in the old NatWest on Castle Street. In a nod to Liverpool, Taylor sang I Can See You as one of her surprise songs during her first night at Anfield.

In July 2023, it was announced that Elif would be moving into the former NatWest unit. Fans of Elif or anyone interested in trying somewhere new can expect authentic Mediterranean, Turkish and barbecue dishes, ranging from charcoal specials, spicy salads and a range of tasty seafood classics.

In January, we also got a sneak peak at how the new restaurant could look. A planning application for the Castle Street restaurant was submitted in November 2023 and included CGI images of what the restaurant could look like inside the former banking hall.

What Elif on Castle Street could look from submitted plans
Look inside the former Natwest Bank building on Castle Street -Credit:Photo by Colin Lane

Under the plans, the ECHO reported how the interior of the banking hall would be returned to its former glory with the removal of "inappropriate modern interventions" and replacement of "lost finishes with ones of an appropriate design." The application stated: "The listed building has been vacant since 2017 following NatWest Bank's decision to close its store at this site. Without sustainable use, there is a significant risk that the condition of the building will quickly decline.

"This application proposes a new use which follows the wider trend along Castle Street which has seen the ground floors of buildings converted into restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The proposals contained within this application do not seek to subdivide or make any significant changes to the layout, spatial qualities or character of the building."

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