One of England's most significant ports from the 17th century onwards, Liverpool has always enjoyed a reputation as a city with a world view.
It's cultural identity has, however, more recently been shaped by the Merseybeat. Economically depressed in the 1970s and '80s, Liverpool has now begun to recover and, after being named European Capital of Culture in 2008, is in the midst of a huge urban regeneration scheme, with Scousers riding the crest of a new wave of capital investment.
A tier of legendary bars has opened and closed over the last decade reflecting the volatility of the economy and today it would be hard to describe the city's bar scene as one for serious drinks aficionados, with mixed drinks coming a distinct third after a bevy of second-rate pubs and student hang-outs, with glitzy but pretentious 'VIP' venues bringing up the rear. Amid them, there's a good and varied cross-section of bar styles.