Most Prestonians will be aware of the considerable and relentless amount of roadworks being carried out around Preston City Centre in order to encourage people to have a go at balancing a teetering tower of shopping on their bicycle handlebars, Dr Seuss style, and to encourage whomever isn’t able to cycle into and around the city to give up going there altogether.Advertisement
Unfortunately, the constant disruption has had a huge impact on many of our City Centre’s shops and restaurants; none more so than those located on Friargate North. Small, independent businesses have been hit hard by the lack of footfall due to dust, dirt, fumes, traffic jams and poorly placed “diversion” signage that force drivers to join the non-aerial dog-fight of the Adelphi Roundabout Experience as they attempt to access local parking.
Vyne Bar and Kitchen has temporarily closed its doors after opening just three months earlier, explaining that “the street has become more undesirable, uninviting, not accessible, unattractive and impossible to work with”.
Read more: Vyne in Friargate blames roadworks for closure
There are a number of shops and restaurants on Friargate North that add character and uniqueness to our City Centre, so here’s a quick rundown of some of the businesses that enrich the area and are a pleasure to visit.
Town House Coffee and Brew Bar
A dog-friendly award winning coffee shop serving brunch, lunch and cakes, with plenty of vegan options available.
A bustling restaurant popular with students, offering excellent kebabs, falafel, chops and other hearty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fayre, served at a counter in a casual setting.
Winner of the Lancashire Tourism Awards; Pub of the Year. A four level ancient gin distillery that has been beautifully renovated to showcase the historical architecture, including a roof terrace and a 40 foot mediaeval well capped with glass in the underground bar floor.
Read more: Preston restaurant Fino Tapas relocating to Plau this weekend
Lost Bar and Pizzeria
Located with the entrance just behind Plau, Lost has an outdoor seating area set around a beautiful cobbled courtyard, whilst inside there is a heated glass roofed conservatory. Lost’s Pizzaiolo is Charlie Kenworthy, who creates Neo-Neapolitan pizzas, freshly making the dough on site and leaving it to cold ferment for three days, which gives the pizzas a lovely airy quality and patterned crust. He tops the pizzas with a range of high-quality ingredients.
Chain House Brewing Company and Taproom
Accessed through Lost’s courtyard is Chain House Brewing Company and Taproom. For five years, Ryan Hayes gained an excellent reputation for brewing his beers from his garage in Longton, before relocating his brewery into the building next to Lost.
Coco’s Soul Food
A high energy, often packed-out family owned and run eatery set over three floors featuring Caribbean, Mexican and Bob Marley themes. The kind of place with unassuming decor you’d discover packed with locals when you’re on the last day of a city break, and kick yourself because you could have eaten there every night.
Using locally sourced ingredients and produce, Coco’s Soul Food offers a wide range of flavours from around the world. From Mexican burritos to Jamaican jerk chicken, it’s easy to see why Coco’s Soul Food has been voted one of the best restaurants in the North West, Lancashire, and why it remains a forerunner in Preston with it’s adventurous menu.
Fireaway Pizza Preston
Fresh toppings, hand made dough, sauce made in-store and a 400 degree fire oven. The family’s Nonna’s came over from the Amalfi Coast of Italy in the 1950s, and brought a pizza recipe with her that foodies can’t get enough of.
Tom & Jerries
A dessert cabin with funky decor and neon lights that offers a large selection of home made hot and cold waffles, doughnuts, cake and milkshakes, using fresh, high quality ingredients.
Shahzaad Tandoori Restaurant
A classic curry house with welcoming staff, that’s open into the early hours of the morning. It’s been on Friargate for many years and gets consistently good reviews on social media. If you haven’t ended up in Shazaad a little the worse for wear at some point in your life, you’re probably not Prestoning right.
A spacious restaurant offering a huge selection of authentic Szechuan food as well as Chinese hotpots and tabletop Korean barbecue.
Other places of interest include:
Tattooing and Piercing Studio 81: A clean and reputable studio with friendly staff and talented artists.
Oodles: A recent addition to Friargate, Oodles is a family-owned food brand serving authentic Indo Chinese food.
Himalayan Monal: Authentic Nepalese and Indian Kitchen serving up the likes of chilli chicken momos.
The Old Black Bull: A historical pub with live bands.
Thai Royal and Itsy’s Street Food: Both excellent restaurants serving Thai food.
The Sun Inn: An old fashioned pub with plenty of regulars.
Softys Adult Shop: Buzzing, ironically named purveyors of fun stuff for use during special hugs.
Dog and Partridge: 1500s inn with an ornate stone fireplace, for hearty local fare.
And that isn’t even everything!
Take a stroll down Friargate and you’ll see it’s packed full of independent businesses that are a credit to Preston. They need as much of our support to stay afloat during the ongoing road and traffic access issues as possible. Otherwise the cycle lanes will just be leading all the fit and able-bodied riders through a city full of boarded up restaurants amongst bookies and pawn shops. As my Nana used to say, use it or lose it!
In June, Lancashire County Council said: “We really appreciate how patient our business community has been and we ask that you please bear with us while we navigate this final stage of construction.
“It will be worth it once complete, making Preston city centre an ideal place to work, live, visit and enjoy as a revitalised public space.”
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