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.
The new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this month | April 2023
Spring has arrived, and with it, Manchester has ushered in a whole host of new restaurant and bar openings in April.
From a new pasta concept over on Peter Street from the brains behind Gooey to whole loaves of sourdough filled with Full English fry ups in Ancoats, plus a stunning new contemporary Chinese restaurant on the edge of the Gay Village, there are so many new places popping up in the city centre to try this month.
Further afield, Hatch on Oxford Road welcomes three new traders whilst in Chorlton the family behind Barlow Moor Road’s Progress Convenience expand to open their first cafe, and over in Didsbury Village the former Botanist site reopens as new gastro pub The Wishing Well.
Keep reading to discover the best new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this April.
Bread and Bowl at Ancoats General Store
This week Ancoats General Store has welcomed a new kitchen takeover from Bread and Bowl – home of one of Manchester’s naughtiest fry-ups.
Filled with fry-up favourites like high-grade local sausages, crispy streaky bacon, beans, cheese, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and hash browns, they are seriously impressive.
Alongside Charlotte’s famous Full English bread bowls, you’ll also find a brand new sandwich menu featuring breakfast burritos and all-day butties like the brilliantly-named ‘Meat Sweats’.
Onda at Exhibition
From the team behind Gooey and Michelin-trained chef Sam Astley-Dean (formerly of Rise pizza), new pasta concept Onda arrives inside Exhibition – taking over the space left empty by Great British Menu chef Caroline Martin’s recent departure.
Serving up a core menu of pasta small plates from £6 alongside starters of arancini, mixed vegetable fritti, and proper crunchy garlic bread with parsley butter, you’ll also find some giant family-style sharers on the menu here – not least, a huge plate of lumache alla vodka.
Onda’s arrival heralds an overturn to the dining concept at Exhibition, with new ‘approachable’ revised menus also on offer from neighbouring kitchens Baratxuri and Osma. Food is served until 9pm.
Read more:The team behind Gooey has launched a new pasta concept on Peter Street
Rio Mex at Hatch
Having previously wowed Mancs with her fine-dining Sao Paulo Project menus at Blossom Street Social, not to mention starring in the north west heat of the BBC show Great British Menu, Martins is now also dabbling – eloquently, might we add – in the world of street food.
Inspired by her passion for the food of her home country of Brazil, combined with the time she spent living in Texas, Rio Mex sees one of Manchester’s most exciting chefs reflecting two of her favourite cuisines.
Must-try taco fillings include baja fish with biquinho pepper mayo and lime sour cream, ground pork al pastor with pineapple salsa, a five-hour chilli con carne with beef and black beans, and a melt-in-the-mouth barbacoa with cheddar sauce and house pickles.
Home Contemporary Chinese
Newly opened on the edge of Manchester’s Gay Village, Home Contemporary Chinese takes over the old Jasmine Lebanses restaurant space and is serving up exactly what its name suggests.
The menu is large, with a strong focus on Cantonese dishes. Think roasted meats, plenty of dim sum (all freshly-made on site), plus heaps of congee, soups and hot pot, and some interesting twists such as a ‘volcano omlette’.
On the bar, meanwhile, you’ll find a strong wine list featuring several Chinese bottles alongside crowd pleasing favourites, plus a mix of softs and other beverages.
Not exactly a new opening but certainly a new look, Archie’s has just reopened after revamping its Oxford Road restaurant to include an all-pink subway carriage.
The beloved burger and shake bar has just unveiled a ‘subway station’ in the basement as part of the Oxford Road site’s £1m transformation.
Diners can now tuck into their smashed burgers, wings and tater tots from their own train booth.
Progress Caribbean, Chorlton
Chorlton’s Afro Caribbean and European convenience store Progress has just opened its own takeaway shop and cafe, building on the success of its popular in-house hot food offering.
Locals are already raving about the dishes, which include plates of oxtail, fried chicken and curried chicken from £5.50 and patties from £2.
Crumbled at Hatch
Crumbled has opened at Hatch underneath the Mancunian Way selling pots of apple and rhubarb crumble with unlimited custard.
Opened by Manchester-born fashion model Chloe Peers, the stall offers two different types of crumbles with some eye-popping toppings including edible glitter, rose petals, Biscoff crumb and huge scoops of ice cream.
Customers can also opt to pay an additional £1 to enjoy unlimited custard refills, something that is well worth it when you find yourself halfway down the pot.
Suki Sukiat Great Northern Warehouse
A new pan-Asian eatery and bar has opened inside the Great Northern Warehouse from the same family behind Manchester restaurant Namaste Nepal serving up bao, dumplings and steaming bowls of ramen noodles alongside fun cocktails and a selection of craft beer.
Called Suki Suki, it is split over three floors: housed within an exposed brick archway and delicately decked with Herringbone booth seating, high bar stools, ambient lighting and rattan finishings.
The Wishing Well
Taking over the former Botanist site in Didsbury village, brand new gastro pub The Wishing Well is bringing traditional British classics to the neighbourhood.
Think big plates of fish and chips, ham, egg and chips, and a steak pie with proper mash, plus traditional roasts every Sunday in cosy settings with big wooden tables and industrial fittings.
Manchester brewery Squawk has opened a new bar in the Northern Quarter this week, taking over the former Beatnikz taproom site.
Called Pelican, it is the first bricks-and-mortar site for the indie brewery favourite which first launched in Manchester ten years ago.
Now, fans of Squawk’s locally-brewed beers will be able to head down to Dale Street for a taste of its famous fruity IPAs, light lagers and punchy sours.
Phukt at Hatch
Phukt completes the lineup of new food traders at Hatch this March, promising a ‘feast from the East’ with its tandoori gyros and biryani burritos, chaats, salads, dirty burgers and more.
Must-tries at Pakistani and Indian fusion spot Phukt include the butter chicken burger (served with its own pot of incredible ‘secret’ sauce) and loaded masala fries.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
Three Little Words and Seven Brothers Brewery are moving into Kampus this summer
This week, Manchester’s waterside neighbourhood Kampus has revealed that two of Manchester’s best-loved indie drinks producers will be moving in over the summer.
Manchester Gin’s bar and distillery Three Little Words will be taking over the infamous bungalow, whilst Ancoats’ favourite Seven Brothers Brewery will temporarily move into the neighbourhood’s red-brick Minshull Warehouse – previously tipped to house a new taproom from Cloudwater.
This summer, the brewery – first founded in Salford nine years ago by the McAvoy brothers – will open the doors to the warehouse serving up their popular family beers alongside a few Kampus specials.
With seating inside and out, once the warmer nights arrive drinkers can once again enjoy the Manchester neighbourhood’s canalside beer garden.
Set to open officially from the long Easter weekend, for the first time tables and chairs will be nestled throughout the giant tree ferns and palms, with visitors able to sample the delights of the impressive foodie community – including Nell’s, Pollen, Great North Pie, The Beeswing wine bar and Yum Cha.
Elsewhere, in the Bungalow popular local gin distillers and cocktail pros Three Little Words will serve up a sleek cocktail menu – all made up from their portfolio of multi-award-winning spirits from The Spirit of Manchester Distillery.
First opened in 2019 by Seb & Jen Heeley-Wiggins, the founders of Manchester Gin, luxurious cocktail bar Three Little Words has since won awards for its signature menu of innovative cocktails.
Both will kick-start on Friday 7 April, with an Easter Weekender of booze, beats and eats in store – with Nell’s Pizza also joined by guest DJs throughout the weekend.
The season is a major moment for Kampus, the first year when the neighbourhood will have a full force of eclectic independent operators fully trading.
More names are set to join too. Red Light will lift the curtain on the insta-friendly Little David Street LGTBQ+ cocktail den, with the opening date to be revealed in the coming weeks, whilst taqueria and mezcaleria Madre is currently fitting out its space ready to bring its take on Mexican goodness to Manchester.
Seb Heeley-Wiggins, Master Distiller & Co-Owner The Spirit of Manchester Distillery & Three Little Words, said: “We’ve got such a loyal following and we’ve been on the hunt for a spot where people could enjoy our cocktails in a beautiful outdoor setting … spritzes in the sunshine.
“Kampus absolutely fits that bill and will be an incredible summer posting for our team. We’ll be bringing our signature menu as well as some seasonal creations unique to Kampus.
“There’s so much going at the neighbourhood that we’ll be in good company. We’ve already got celebrations planned throughout the summer months, where we’ll be collaborating with incredible brands and creatives, and we’ve got a big surprise in store for next month. We just need a long, hot summer now.”
Keith McAvoy, CEO for Seven Brothers, said: “We’ve been big fans of Kampus for a while so we jumped at the chance to put on a summer-long party and create a new beerhouse here. The historic setting is stunning and we know we’ll create, hands down, the best beer garden in Manchester.
“We’re a family run business, born here in Greater Manchester. Our Kampus run is a fitting celebration for how far the brewery has come with the incredible support of every person who’s ever enjoyed a SEVEN BRO7HERS pint.
“We’ll be in good company with our brilliant independent neighbours and encourage everyone to come spend summer with us.”
Seven Brothers will be open Thursday to Sunday every week all summer, whilst Three Little Words will open Wednesday to Sunday.