IT may not yet command the same attention that the mortgage or inflation rates do, but the hotly anticipated Hip Hang-Out Neighbourhood Index has finally been published. And there’s good news for Liverpool, as the Baltic Triangle has scooped the coveted fourth spot (even though its score appears to be exactly the same as third-placed Digbeth in Birmingham).
The index has been concocted by the holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket, who says its aim is to “inspire city breakers with ideas for new places to discover”.
According to the company’s Emma Coulthurst: “We scoured the UK to find the most current, independent-feeling neighbourhoods. The destinations on the list are exciting areas, unspoiled by commercialism, where locals love to hang out.”
The Baltic zone: 'Unspoiled by commercialism' according to the Hip Hang-Out Neighbourhood Index
Alas, the list doesn’t record whether the popular Baltic Triangle venue 24 Kitchen Street feels that the area is quite as unspoiled as all that. The nightclub’s current tussles with the city’s planning department and a nearby property developer caused a local social media quake before Christmas, leading to questions being asked about the district’s future direction.
However, if you’re starting to suspect that the index might not be built on solid scientific ground (Manchester's Ancoats, incidentally, took the top spot) Coulthurst is quick to reassure us: “We didn’t base the ranking on beard-to-face and pints of craft beer ratios! Instead, we looked at everything from independent coffee shops and vintage fashion outposts to the local creative culture – the things that set a hip destination apart from the rest of the pack.”
So, with its crack team of coffee shop investigators having made their wired-up way around the UK, where would TravelSupermarket recommend for a slurp of something rich and roasted in the Baltic Triangle?
“Take to the wooden pews of Baltic Bakehouse for a winning combination of artisan bread and independent coffee,” they say, before adding: “As well as a strong caffeine hit, Unit 51 encourages local artists to display their work, while Leaf on Bold Street is a boho tea emporium with virtually every variety available.”
So there you have it, three great places for a decent cup of… hold on. Did they say “Bold Street”?
Could it be that the index’s compilers consumed one-too-many craft ales before putting finger to keyboard?
At the very least, it looks like Ropewalks – at 15th on the list – might have an excellent case for a recount.