Liverpool restaurant closes ‘with immediate effect’

A restaurant that promised fine-dining at the Royal Albert Dock when it opened less than three years ago has shut its doors for good amid a dispute over a £30,000 debt. Tony McDonough reports

Lerpwl opened its doors at the Royal Albert Dock in autumn 2020


Liverpool restaurant Lerpwl has closed its doors “with immediate effect” amid a dispute over a £30,000 debt and a tough post-COVID trading environment.

Brothers Liam and Ellis Barrie opened Lerpwl at the Royal Albert Dock in late 2020 at the height of the pandemic. The venue had proved a hit with city centre diners but is now shutting for good.

Liam Barrie said: “The business plan for Lerpwl, developed well before any sight or sound of a pandemic, has proved no match for the voracity of COVID nor the challenges of the post-COVID trading environment.”

He added that lawyers for Lloyds Bank had demanded £30,000 to settle an historic pandemic rent debt following an arbitration process.

“It cannot continue that the Lerpwl team over-reach to meet our standards of delivery only for the revenue created to be absorbed in the legal entanglement,” said Liam.

“The losses incurred in the initial phase of launching, having been delayed and disrupted by COVID, depleted vital resources and hindered the ability to react to the different obstacles faced in the periods since.

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“The menus, team setup and formation have been restructured time and time again to navigate the multiple challenges that hospitality has faced since March 2020.  Ultimately the business has never fully recovered.”

Work has already started with members of the Lerpwl team to find them employment opportunities following the closure of the restaurant.

Liam added: “Lerpwl has been highly recognised since it opened its doors in autumn 2020.

“So many have invested so much good will to keep it going across the past three years.  We will forever be grateful for all involved: The team, guests, suppliers and well wishers.”

A spokesperson for CBRE Investment Management added: “We manage the commercial element of Royal Albert Dock on behalf of our client and decisions made are as a result of our asset management, not our clients.

“We recognise that restaurateurs have endured a very difficult time as a result of the pandemic and we have worked with all our tenants to help them navigate that incredibly challenging environment with rent-free periods, structured repayment plans and, where appropriate, helping them to access Government support.

“It is in our interest to work with our tenants to help them thrive. We always aim to collaborate, negotiate and compromise, but for this to be successful, a similar approach needs to be adopted by the other side.”

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