Essex is not the only way – Sugar Hut aims to offer ‘something for everyone’ at famous Liverpool location

Owners of bar/restaurant made famous by The Only Way Is Essex open a new venue in the former home of the Living Room in Liverpool’s Victoria Street. Tony McDonough reports.

Terry Pullen who is bringing Sugar Hut to Liverpool
Terry Pullen who is bringing Sugar Hut to Liverpool

Any kind of advantage that can be gained in a market as fiercely competitive as the bar and restaurant sector is to be grabbed with both hands.

At the same time, the clever entrepreneur won’t put all his or her eggs into one basket.

Terry Pullen, who this week launches Sugar Hut in Liverpool city centre, is well aware of that balance.

Big exposure

His restaurant/bar in Essex of the same name has become famous as the backdrop to the hit TV show, The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE).

Sugar Hut Essex has become a magnet for those with the perma-tans and the gleaming teeth – the shiny people – thanks to the success of the show.

But Terry is also quick to point out that the venue was around long before the TV show was even conceived.

“There is no business in the world that would not want the kind of media exposure that TOWIE has given us – it has been huge,” he explained.

“But it is also important to remember that Sugar Hut has been around for 15 years and was successful for a long time before TOWIE came along.

“It was already established as a strong brand – a quality product offering quality service.”

Iconic location

So it is with this reputation and profile that Terry brings Sugar Hut to Liverpool – a project two years in the planning.

And, it is perhaps fitting that he has chosen a location that already enjoys iconic status in the city’s bar and restaurant sector – the former Living Room in Victoria Street.

It was more than a decade ago that Living Ventures, owned by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, brought the concept of “inclusive exclusivity” to the city – where the ordinary people of Merseyside rubbed shoulders with footballers, models and soap stars.

Sugar Hut is based in Victoria Street
Sugar Hut is based in Victoria Street, Liverpool city centre

Living Room set a new standard for Liverpool and its success spawned a multitude of new venues across the city and helped banish our reputation for terrible food and sub-standard service.

“We are aware of the history of this site and it was one of the reasons we decided to acquire it” said Terry.

“We know that this is a landmark venue in Liverpool.

“The more obvious route for our expansion was London or Manchester, or abroad, but we felt Liverpool had a similar community spirit, culture and demographic as our site in Brentwood in Essex.”

Accesible to all

He also aims to follow in the footsteps of Living Room by offering an exclusive, upmarket feel but also “accessible for everyone from five to 75”.

Terry added: “The key thing for us is to truly offer a venue that can cater for customers seven days a week, early until late – with food, drink, corporate, music dancing. There really is something for everyone.

“People say to us ‘oh you are very exclusive’ – in reality we are entirely accessible.

“We have full-on facility for corporate events and hospitality. We never really did that in Brentwood but Liverpool is a fantastic, commercial city and we want to welcome local businesses in.”

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