'Thriving' village loved by footballers and TV stars comes alive at the weekend

Birkdale village is one of the thriving parts of Merseyside.

The village has come alive in recent years and is regularly full to the brim with people quenching their thirst with some of the finest drinks Southport has to offer. Not only is it often a popular spot for weekend regulars, almost all the bars and businesses in the village are owned by local residents.

The ability to give back to the community every time you buy yourself a pint of IPA or a glass of wine, or, if you're sensible, a refreshing soft drink, adds to the novelty of spending a summers evening in the sun or a wintery afternoon under the heaters.

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In my opinion, Birkdale has a lot to offer, more so than your ordinary village, as you often walk past a former footballer or TV star. Just a stone's throw away is one of the most sought after roads in Merseyside, Selworthy Road.

The change in direction from a hearty pub to a more sophisticated bar is more a microcosm of society and the everchanging landscape of the hospitality sector, as traditional workman's pubs slowly lose their appeal. That's not to say I don't enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, please see the Upsteps on Upper Aughton Road.

But as you start your sunny Saturday off in Cafe Bar N'ista, soaking up the rays with an ice cold glass of Estrella, it's hard to ignore the appeal of these types of drinking dens that seem to have taken over parts of the country. After a jar or two in the sun, sat across the road from Birkdale train station, just the second stop on the Northern Line, you only have to walk yards down Weld Road, closer to the rail tracks, to find its sister bar Coast.

The newly opened venue which lends its hand more to a sophisticated food menu, also boasts live music come summer and has an array of enjoyable drinks to cleanse the pallet. With an extensive choice of wines, this is your best chance to stop and grab some early food during your foray into the village.

After one or two sat in the sun, if you're lucky enough to get a seat in front of the bar or on the balcony upstairs, you can simply cross the tracks where you can stop off at Barrique on Liverpool Road. The bar has been open for a few years now and has managed to seemingly grow their clientele with every year they are open.

It has a lovely outdoor seating area that is perfectly placed for a warm evening outside of the sun and, similar to Coast, has an excellent choice of wine. Now, once you've managed to squeeze in here on a Saturday night, you might have already bumped into a Liverpool legend or two - and you're feeling the buzz of the night.

After a couple of drinks in Barrique, this is your opportunity to walk across the road to Tearooms. The bar has recently undergone a refurbishment and has really shone with its breakfast offerings, often full from the moment it opens its doors in the morning to when it closes at night. It is also owned by the same people who have recently opened Purely Slice, an excellent pizza takeaway round the corner which delivers to the bar for you to enjoy alongside your drink.

Now, after I've gone across the road, managed to grab a seat under the heaters outside, maybe enjoying a slice or two of pizza, I often face a fork in the road, as might you if you follow this bar crawl. You can either head to No. 4, sitting proudly on the corner next Birkdale train station and turn your hand to the karaoke, assuming you're Dutch courage has kicked in at the point, or you could head into Birkers for some upbeat music and more reasonably priced drinks.

Rachael Laisney at Barrique in Birkdale
Cafe Bar N'iista in Birkdale

The brightly decorated and tightly packed No. 4 offers its own experience, with the karaoke providing an brilliant bit of entertainment for those who are well oiled heading into the depths of the night. On the other hand, Birkers provides a chance for people to have a dance and a chat, both offering well priced pints, wines and soft drinks towards the end of the night.

Here comes yet another choice to be made. With little walking and many drinks, you can either face the taxi rank and get your ride home, or you have Southport town centre around the corner, boasting a number of late night bars which can extend your night to the early hours of the next day.

You can hop on the train for five minutes to Southport train station, grab a hackney or even face the 15-20 minute walk - depending on how many drinks have been sunk - into town. This will certainly be the decision as to whether you go for that run in the morning, so tread carefully.

My adoration for Birkdale has definitely been rejuvenated since moving away briefly last year, and you can often find me propping up one of the bars I have mentioned above.

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