MA500: hitting the Mersey

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Captive audience: CPL Training boss Daniel Davies set the Liverpool scene for MA500 delegates
Captive audience: CPL Training boss Daniel Davies set the Liverpool scene for MA500 delegates

Related tags Greater manchester

The latest MA500 business club saw the sights and sites of Liverpool and heard from operators inside and outside of the trade before pounding the streets for a study tour.

Liverpool – the birthplace of iconic band The Beatles – is also home to many different independent and multi-site operators.

An MA500 business club meeting hit the city last month (Thursday 18 May) and former licensee and now boss of Liverpool-based CPL Training, Daniel Davies, set the scene for delegates.

Are you in the club?

The MA500 club is open to multi-site pub operators and runs three nationwide events a year that include business-focused presentations from top experts and owner-operators.

Each event is followed by an evening networking study tour of new and exciting venues in the area.

To register your interest in attending the next MA500 meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 September, email

Davies highlighted how the city being named a European Capital of Culture in 2008 gave its economy and infrastructure a huge boost.

He said: “The biggest change for the city in recent times was the Capital of Culture’s massive investment. This brought in a whole host of new venues and was the green light for more investment.

“There have been lots of new hotels and other ventures, and a rise in tourism. Tourism brings around £3.6bn a year to Liverpool and having things like big ships coming in has added even more.”

But it isn’t just money from afar that helps out the city’s economy; development has turned it into a dynamic and fast-paced patch.

Davies paid particular attention to the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool’s Creative Quarter, which he claimed had been recently developed into a “rapidly evolving hub for creative enterprises”.

“Though it is a 15 to 20-minute walk outside of the city centre, the Baltic Triangle was once home to Liverpool’s rundown and largely empty warehouses and factories. Now, a lot of them have been converted into design agencies, advertising agencies and venues such as Camp & Furnace.”

Leading delegates back towards the city centre, Davies also highlighted how the addition of the Echo arena and conference centre was massive before he turned his attention to the investment in Liverpool’s huge shopping and leisure complex, Liverpool One.

“The complex, which opened in 2008 and is owned by the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Group, boasts a number of great bars and restaurants. The project itself was worth more than £500m, then there was further investment that took the total up to £920bn.

“Liverpool One has been a huge pull to get people into the city as has the arena. There hasn’t been one single thing that has done it, but since the Capital of Culture, the traction that created has put the city on the map.”

Keeping with the investment theme, Davies highlighted evolving developments. “There are a couple of big developments going on now by the same company that designed Manchester Airport and the Trafford Centre – Peel Holdings,” he added.

“There is £5bn of investment that will be coming in over the next decade, which will be developing the north area of Liverpool, on both sides of the River Mersey. The planning application is being passed now and there are huge investment opportunities for those who want to open concepts there.”

When summarising, Davies pulled together Liverpool’s best bits and how it stands out from other northern cities. “It has good entrepreneurial spirit, a vibrant economy with a large amount of investment coming, including the continuing, huge, Peel development project.”

So, while The Beatles are no longer playing in Liverpool, Davies made it clear that the opportunities for operators were endless with a variety of areas to cater for all audiences.

CPL Training Group CEO Daniel Davies outlined the key areas of Liverpool that are notable for operators:

The Georgian Quarter
Boasts the largest collection of terraced Georgian houses and Grade II-listed buildings outside 
of London. 
A variety of fantastic bars and establishments including the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, which has won a number of awards for 
its interior.

Rope Walks
A bohemian area around Bold Street with an eclectic mix of independent cafés, restaurants and bars.

Baltic Triangle
Formerly quite rundown and home to empty factories and warehouses, but has been transformed into a creative hub.

The Waterfront
Plays host to the Liverpool Echo 
Arena as well as the Albert Docks, which includes iconic venues such as New World Trading Company’s Smuggler’s Cove.

Liverpool One
Opened in 2008, the 1.65million sq ft open-air leisure complex hosts more than 170 outlets alongside a cinema, indoor golf course and five-acre park.

Cavern Quarter
A mix of bars and nightclubs are set in the Cavern Quarter and is one of the hearts of Liverpool for eating out and drinking.

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