St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church (Alma de Cuba)
St Peter's Square / Seel Street, Liverpool L1

Picture by Jonathan P. Neill

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church (not to be confused with St. Peter's Anglican Church, formerly in Church Street) was until recently the oldest surviving church in central Liverpool. It was built by the Benedictine Father McDonald in 1788. It was originally a plain brick box, the rendering - scored to resemble masonry - was applied at a later date. It was also slightly enlarged in 1817 and The Sanctuary added in 1845. It officially closed as St. Peter's in 1976 but then became Our Lady Of Czestochowa under the auspices of Liverpool's then small Polish community. Its working life as 'The Polish Church' lasted only a couple of years (although the signage remained through years of dereliction). It was bought by the developers Urban Splash and opened as the Alma de Cuba bar-restaurant in 2005.

The restaurant conversion by R2 architects retains many of the original features from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries including the upstairs galleries, the king post roof, the altar and the stained glass. Quoting from the Alma de Cuba's own unintentionally insensitive publicity, 'awaken your senses with the spirit of the carnival in Liverpool's oldest church'. It continues 'Indulge yourself with carefully crafted cocktails, revitalising rhythms and mouth watering dishes from the city's premium restaurant & bar'. Whether that follows or precedes the moment when you cross yourself and throw your miserable sinner’s carcass on the floor you must find out for yourselves. Bar with bar food downstairs, restaurant upstairs. Advance booking is essential for the restaurant. The downstairs bar can be astonishingly busy at peak times.

Pevsner Architectural Guides; Liverpool by Joseph Sharples

Alan Maycock 2008

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