Manchester’s reputation for accessibility is about to get a whole lot better thanks to new opening 53Two.
Here, all bar staff are trained in basic sign language skills and can take orders and explain the menu to hearing-impaired guests.
Tactile card reader pads have been installed for partially sighted customers, and all of the bar tables are designed at a level that allows wheelchairs to fit underneath comfortably.
There’s also a lowered bar space and till for wheelchair access, making this new bar and arts hub the most accessible venue in Manchester by a mile.
Bar food here comes from Droylsden’s HM Pasties, with a big focus on chunky pies, whilst beer is supplied by a mix of breweries with a choice on draught and further vegan-friendly bottles and cans provided by Manchester brewery Brightside.
A really special venue, 53Two bar has tables of all shapes and sizes made from reclaimed wood that the team have stained by hand.
There’s been no snazzy design team brought in here, rather it’s all been created by the 53Two independent theatre team themselves – making use of upcycled materials and furniture wherever possible.
There’s also a gorgeous vintage baby grand piano (which you’re welcome to play) and plenty of cosy book-lined nooks to tuck yourself away in.
As well as operating as a theatre bar, 53Two will also run an ‘artists members club’ – meaning that, after 11pm, those working in the cultural sector will be able to enter via a secret ‘members entrance’ for a late night post-work drink.
But the real star of the show has to be the theatre room in the second arch, which is in the processing of becoming the city’s first fully accessible theatre space.
Due to open fully in 2022, it will be open for use as a studio, rehearsal area and private cinema room as well as hosting live streams of performances and plays.
The team here also plan to broadcast a live-recorded podcast every month to give voice to local artists within Manchester and delve into the city’s art scene.
With room for as many as 150 guests, independent theatre bar 53Two has been designed with inclusivity at its heart. There’s even a house dog in residence, Albi, who’ll be there most of the time chilling in his bed.
Speaking on the new opening, Direct Simon Naylor said: “We’re really proud of what we’ve created here and hope that it will be a hub for artists, drinkers, thinkers and absolutely anyone who supports independent theatre and hospitality.”
General Manager Alexandra Maxwell added: “The bar is just the first step on our journey to creating an incredible new arts venue for the city – at a time when it is needed most. We’ve ensured that the bar embodies our values of inclusivity and will offer a warm welcome to everyone ahead of the theatre opening later in the year.”
53Two bar is open from 11am with coffee and pastries, right through to 1am at the weekends. Dogs are also very welcome – and we hear Albi’ll be happy to say hello, too.
Whenever it gets cold and rainy (which is at least 75% of the time here in Manchester), there is nothing we like more than slurping on a steaming hot bowl of noodles and broth, so it’s a good job we’ve got some of the best ramen places in the country.Yeah, we said it.
For many people, ramen still conjures up images of Pot Noodles and packet food you simply ping in the microwave or stick the kettle on for, but the truth is that the Japanese comfort dish with roots in China, Korea, Indonesia and all over the world is a deeply rich cuisine has decades of culture behind it.
It isn’t just a case of dumping any old carbs in a bowl of soup and sprinkling a few bits and bobs on top: the very best ramen chefs in the world pride themselves on the expert craft of slaving over broths for days, perfecting homemade noods and fine-tuning the dish into something more gourmet and special.
Fortunately, there are plenty of people who take ramen seriously here in Manchester and serve up bowls made with just as much finesse as love — here are some of the best:
Starting off with a noodle bar that has been duking it out for the top spot on Manchester city centre’s ramen scene for years now, Tokyo Ramen is and always will be one of our absolute favourites.
Being the first place responsible for introducing us to fried chicken in our ramen and experts at tweaking their broths with various types of tare, there’s a reason this place is walk-in only because not only does it pride itself on its informal setting but it would be booked out all year-round otherwise.
Known not only for a small but superb menu of four different bowls of broth, noodles and toppings but popular Japanese sodas, twists on classic cocktails and an absolutely banging playlist (we couldn’t not shout it out), for many people Tokyo will always be one of if not the best ramen place in Manchester.
2. Maki and Ramen – Central
Next up is a relatively new addition to 0161: Maki and Ramen. Starting out with one restaurant in Edinburgh before going on several more and then sister sites in Glasgow, Leeds and now Manchester, we have literally no complaints about their start to life in our city. Even their takeaway containers are ace.
From founder Teddy Lee‘s time studying the art of both ramen and sushi making in the heart of Tokyo to being welcomed through the doors with the banging of a drum as all the staff shout a traditional Japanese greeting, you get that feeling of authenticity right from the off.
The sushi, side plates and other mains are all genuinely delicious too but we all know what you’re here for and while the classic tonkotsu never misses, the steak tataki is lovely and creamy and the salmon miso one is a nice light take on things, we’ve never had anything quite like their black garlic ramen. Wow.
The 2.0 site has all the charm of its parent pop-up and is still ordering in the freshest and most sustainable Japanese ingredients available. You can get your standard miso and shoyu ramen, but specials like the chicken and meatball are so lip-smackingly umami we can never get enough, and the spicy lamb Tantanmen is just unreal.
We won’t lie, it helps that the new place is literally right around the corner from The Manc office but we’ve been enjoying their hearty bowls for a hot minute and now they’ve even got ex-CBRB chefs working in the kitchen for all you former ‘Girl Gang’ members (guilty as charged).
Formerly known as Wasabi, which itself was already a popular and budget-friendly little city centre spot for a good while, this Faulkner Street gem is basically the same ramen and sushi restaurant just levelled up, open six days a week and, once again, walk-in only.
Offering some of the more unique concoctions we’ve stumbled across in Manchester, including the likes of roast duck tonkotsu, ramen filled with nothing but broth and gyozas and the Chef Special packed with all the best proteins, this place unsurprisingly gets a lot of Chinatown footfall.
In at number five is Lucky Ramen which is based out of the Mule coffee shop over in Ancoats and only comes out when the intimate little spot tucked away into the side of a building on Blossom Street turns into a cult favourite ramen and sushi bar in the evenings.
Chiming perfectly with the immaculate and stylish design of the interior, this place promises clean and complex flavours served in colourful bowls topped with the freshest ingredients. We’ll say one thing, though, don’t expect ladles upon ladles of broth here: it’s all about savouring things — and you can always fill up on sushi.
6. Samsi – Central
As we cross the halfway mark, we’re going aiming for smack bang in the middle of the ramen experiences here in Manchester and one of the longest-standing places on this list: Samsi.
Situated near the Gay Village and not far from Piccadilly Station and Oxford Road, Samsi has been sitting as a go-to food spot for all things ramen and Japanese cooking not only thanks to its central location but because of its reputation for delivering no-nonsense but traditional and incredibly tasty food.
It might look somewhat unassuming from the outside but the second you step inside to see the cherry blossoms and red accents, you’re already transported. All that being said, their beef and Jagoki chicken ramen are the stuff of legend and the ‘Kinoko’ might be one of the best veggie ramen we’ve ever had.
Stepping out of the city centre and into the reaches of Chorlton, we’re heading to another ramen place that prides not only on its authenticity but being one of the best when it comes to price point.
Boasting queues that went all down the road and around the corner after Sacha Lord chose to pay for everyone’s billin August 2023, Shogun Ramen went from feeling like one of our best-kept secrets and instant recommendations to friends out-of-town to one on everyone’s list of must-try food spots.
We can’t speak highly enough of this place but we have tried in the past, and if we can tell you one thing is that more people should make and eat chicken teriyaki ramen. They even do kid-sized portions — though we assure you they’ll be asking for more.
8. Mr Su’s – Oxford Road Corridor
Ok, getting to the business end of things now and if you’ve not jumped on the Mr Su‘s hype train yet, what are you playing at?
Joining the ever-growing list of food and drink units at Circle Square, Mr Su’s is flying the flag for the Chinese side of the dish and while it might be simply listed as ‘noodle soup’ on the menu, there can be no mistakes as to the rich tradition you’re enjoying here.
With over 20 different types of noodles, five different broths and 30 different fresh and authentic ingredients to choose from, you can essentially build a different and potentially perfect ramen, noodle soup, hot pot or whatever you want to call it every time you visit. A real interactive experience.
From one Leeds fave to another, House of Fu is our penultimate pick and another newbie here in Manchester, but it inserted itself into the top 10 places to go for ramen the second almost immediately.
It might have started out in Yorkshire but we couldn’t give these lot a warmer welcome as the noodle bar serves up some of the nicest scran you could ask for when the weather’s a bit crap. If their trademark ‘Spicy Fu’ or incredible kimchi and cheese ramen doesn’t sort you out, nothing will. Their broths are also thicker and creamier than most and that can only be a good thing.
This place also has the bonus of not only a wide selection of other non-noodle-based items, as well as some pretty banging cocktails, but it also has private rooms and a karaoke bar downstairs after you’ve finished fuelling up. Ramen, booze and a sing-song — what’s not to like?
Last but not least, this list of the top 10 ramen spots in Manchester wouldn’t feel like we’d done it right without adding in another relative newcomer which has quickly become one of the most popular in The Manc office, and that’s Suki Suki.
Chuckle at the name all you like, these lot know what they’re doing and after trying virtually everything on the menu at their Great Northern site, we can confirm the ramen is up there with some of the very best stuff they do — and they do a lot really well.
From soft-shell crab, prawns, karaage chicken, char sui pork and more to choose from as your toppings as well as four different broths — miso, shoyu, tonkotsu and their take on a curry ramen — we promise each bowl is the umami bomb you’re hoping for and you’ll neck every last drop.
And that’s it, that’s your list of the top 10 ramen places in Manchester — or at least what we believe is the best we’ve had from the region’s budding scene.
Thankfully, this is just a drop in the MSG-infused ocean of noodle spots across the various cuisines in the city overall and there are literally too many of them to mention, so we’ll all have to go away, do our research and reconvene when it comes to the best Chinese hot pots, bowls of pho, laksa and so on.
GMP explains why we’ll see more police on Greater Manchester’s streets next month
The streets of Greater Manchester are set to see an increased police presence over the coming weeks of this festive season.
With December only a day away now, and ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ nearing closer and closer, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has issued a statement informing residents and visitors that police patrols will be stepped-up over the busy Christmas and new year period as part of the ongoing ‘Project Servator’.
‘Project Servator’ is a national policing tactic that aims to “disrupt a range of criminal activity” and provide a “reassuring presence” for the public in areas of large footfall.
This means that we’ll be seeing an “increased and visible police presence” on the region’s streets for the next few weeks.
This police presence will be made up of additional neighbourhood police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), as well as specialist police officers – including plain clothes, and firearms officers.
On top of this, ‘Operation Dasher’ – which is GMP’s own operation for policing the Christmas markets – will also be running in the city centre during the festive period.
“Christmas and new year are busy times for any city,” explained Sergeant Lee Keefe, who is GMP’s Project Servator co-ordinator, “but Manchester is particularly busy at this time of year because of the Christmas markets, Christmas shoppers, and more people enjoying a night out.”
Sergeant Keefe said the “unpredictable deployments” of both plain-clothes snd uniformed officers as part of ‘Project Servator’ can happen “at any time of the day and night”.
But GMP reassured this is “nothing to be concerned about”.
“Project Servator’s deployments are highly visible, but there is nothing to be concerned about if you see one in your area,” Sergeant Keefe continued.
“It’s normal police activity and isn’t linked to any specific intelligence about a threat to the area.
“Officers are experienced and specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone is planning or preparing to commit an act of crime, and will also talk to the public and local businesses to let them know what they’re doing and remind them to be vigilant, trust their instincts and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour.”