Beloved Manc drinking spot Font is reopening as a brand-new music venue and Irish bar

It's back - just not as we know it.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 24th May 2024

A former legendary Manchester drinking spot and popular student bar, The Font, is reopening this summer under a new name and a new concept.

Font sadly closed its doors back in January 2023 after sitting as one of the most popular pubs in the city centre and go-to destinations amongst students for more than two decades.

Like many, we were gutted to see it go and relieved to see its sister site in Chorlton survive, but we’re now pleased to confirm that the former watering hole and food spot will be reborn as a new music venue and Irish-themed bar.

Set to be called Mother Mary’s, the former Font venue is set to burst back onto the Manc hospitality scene by mid-June.

The venture, which is being headed up by nightlife veterans Greg Dwyer, Joseph Finegan and Chris Sharp, will see a complete refit with brand-new bars, a bespoke KV2 audio setup and a stunning lighting system that will illuminate two epic stages. The once familiar space is set to look rather different.


With the two stages split across both floors, music is set to be at the very centre of Mother Mary’s business model; this isn’t just Font 2.0, it’s a whole new space built to spotlight live bands and wonderful performances whilst providing a platform for new and upcoming DJs and performers.

However, they’re still sticking to their food and drink roots, don’t you worry.


Set to serve an impressive food menu headed up by Chef Andrew James and his Blackbird concept, as seen in Stockport, the residency at Mother Mary’s will see the menu feature all-day breakfasts, brunch, hearty Irish favourites and some American classics too.

Can’t go wrong.

When it comes to booze, they haven’t lost their touch over here either, promising a dedicated cocktail menu, not to mention some of Manchester’s best beers, wines, cities and craft ales.


The menu will also pay homage to its history by serving a signature cocktail called ‘The Font’ with the ingredients and inspiration to change every three months, all for just £2 in a nod to the old gaff being one of the most affordable places to drink in town.

Mother Mary’s is also set to host a weekly event schedule including local and touring bands, curated entertainment, a jam-packed brunch every Saturday split across two floors, an open mic approach every Monday, stand-up comedy and more.

Greg, Joe and Chris have over 25 years of experience in hospitality, combined both with working in live music and concert promoting.

Greg has toured with some of the world’s biggest bands and worked with Manc nightclubs and music venues; Joe is instantly recognisable on the local music scene through his work with Gorilla, The Deaf Institute and South on some of their largest events, while Chris boats a similar background and pedigree.

Read more:

Dwyer said of the new project: “Mother Mary’s is all about providing a space for grassroots live music. I started going out around here, I was in here all the time and I was even fortunate enough to play records here a long time ago, so this is an unbelievable opportunity and to do it with two good friends that I’ve met along the way is incredible.


“We’ll be taking good care of the former Font site. The three of us have a wealth of experience and a bunch of ideas to make this a sustainable live music venue. Our tagline for Mother Mary’s is strangely familiar: ‘We’re a home away from home’. The old Font Bar is there, it’s familiar but strangely different.”

Finegan added: “The Font Bar has been a staple on the Manchester bar scene for almost 20 years so to come into such an establishment was a daunting feat. We knew people would be coming in and saying I used to come here 15 years ago, ‘What have they done to the place?’

“We had to consider how to make quality changes that would matter to the customer. Mother Mary’s as a concept has a number of moving parts but still keeps the heritage of the bar utilising old antique furniture and paying homage to former traditions. We are super excited for the launch in June and to bring our vision to life.”

We, for one, are just excited to see what the team delivers and we’re just glad to see the old spot on New Wakefield Street not just reopen but reborn as something hopefully even bigger and better.

For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Images — Supplied/The Manc Group