How Crosby beach has become the Mersey Riviera thanks to The Bus Yard
6 days ago
A converted double decker bus has helped turn Crosby Beach into the Mersey Riviera, serving up street food, drinks and live music overlooking the famous Iron Men.
The Bus Yard on Crosby Marina began as a lockdown project for Antony Smith, Darren Ryder and Andy Laird, but now it’s become one of the waterfront’s busiest outdoor venues.
Open daytimes and early evenings – perfect to catch the sunset in spring and late summer – The Bus Yard has brought the kind of beach bar vibe that you’d normally find on the south coast closer to home.
And the crowds who flock there can’t get enough of it.
“When we first came up with the idea of the bus we just wanted do have a pop-up that would stand out,” says Antony. “The Crosby location gave us something different to what was already out there because down south everything’s based around the beach but not here.
“We always intended to have food, drink, and entertainment all combined because me and Darren had a chef background and Andy was a DJ so it’s a good team to have and that whole package has just really worked.”
Along with Crosby Marina, The Bus Yard has a second double decker parked at Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE, bringing a similar experience minus the sand and the sculptures but with fabulous views across the Albert Dock and Three Graces.
Antony, Darren and Andy first came together in business in 2020 when lockdown meant they were having to adapt to keep going.
Antony and Darren owned and ran Oh So British street food, selling at racecourses, football grounds and events, but restrictions cleared their work diary overnight.
Andy had taken over the Warbreck Pub in Orrell Park to do pop-up pints, so the three decided to team up.
When that was a success, they approached Sefton Council about finding a location they could make their own and, after looking around Ainsdale and Burbo Bank, they settled on Crosby.
Initially local residents weren’t too sure about the idea but it didn’t take long for them to come round.
“We did a one-month trial and by the end they were complaining to the council that we were only staying for a month and not the whole summer!” says Antony. “So we went back for another month in the August in the first year then we bid for it and got it for another three years.”
Their first bus was bought off eBay and the three spent best part of a year converting it, ripping it out to refit it with catering downstairs and taking the roof off for open air seating. A second one, already open top, came from Aintree coaches and went at first into Cains Brewery before finding a home at Chavasse Park.
Since then they’ve evolved the sites, adding beach huts, an extra container with sheltered seating, a pergola area and wind breaks at Crosby to make it more all-weather.
There’s still a regularly changing street food menu, drinks and cocktails, served from 11am to 8pm, as well as artists lining up to fill acoustic sets.
And, says Antony, between April when they open and mid-September, there’s nowhere better especially on a gorgeous day.
“It’s been so popular, our blueprint now is to try and get more sites by the seaside.
“People just love to be by the beach, it’s lovely even on the colder days as long as you’re wrapped up. At the start of the season and at the very end we get the sunset and everyone’s sitting there watching the sun going down and looking out at the Iron Men and that’s such a nice feeling.”