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.