Liverpool restaurant closes due to ‘robber barons’

A popular Liverpool city centre restaurant closes its doors after just two years with owners blaming inflation and ‘robber barons at the utility companies’. Tony McDonough reports

Bouchon in Castle Street, Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


Liverpool çity centre restaurant Bouchon is closing after just two years of trading.

Red & Blue Restaurants, owned by local entrepreneurs Paddy Smith and Jonathan Poole, opened Bouchon in Derby Square on the corner of Castle Street and Lord Street in 2021. It was at the same site as their previous brand Rocket & Ruby.

However, similar to many hospitality outlets, the restaurant has had to battle high inflation and soaring energy costs. On social media site ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Bouchon announced its closure with immediate effect.

It said: “Good morning! We’ve unfortunately had to take the difficult decision to close Bouchon from today…despite it being a great little restaurant the headwinds of inflation and the robber barons at the utility companies has made it financially unsustainable.

“Fortunately we’ve been able to offer all our colleagues jobs in our offer sites in Liverpool. We’ll be in touch with everyone who has a reservation and try to move to our other restaurants, anyone who has paid a deposit who we can’t accommodate will get a full refund.

“Finally, thank you to everyone who has dined and supported us over the last two years.”

Paddy and Jonathan opened Red & Blue’s first restaurant, Hanover Street Social in 2011. This was followed by Salt House and Bacaro and, in 2018, the duo opened Rocket & Ruby in Derby Square.

In an interview with the Baltic Triangle Podcast in 2021, Paddy spoke about how the pair made mistakes with Rocket & Ruby and closed the venue in 2019. They opened Bouchon on the same site, creating 30 new jobs.

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He said: “What we have created is four different restaurant brands with real identity and uniqueness. We have been able to create them in a fairly small city which is Liverpool.”

Paddy’s roots as a restaurateur go back to 1997, when he opened Chez Jules Chester in 1997 which he refers to as “the original Bouchon”. This kid to another successful brand called Ego.

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