A new cocktail bar has opened in Manchester this week, transforming a disused bank vault into a sleek underground drinking den.
Appropriately named Sterling, it comes from multi award-winning Bury brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield and is accessed by its own entrance on Norfolk Street, just behind the city’s busiest shopping district.
Found beneath Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange Hotel, inside it all feels rather glamorous. Floor-to-ceiling wood panelling sets the tone, with low, low lighting making it acceptable to guzzle fiendishly strong cocktails no matter the hour.
Inside, time stands still. There is no signal or natural light, just a list of dangerously smashable cocktails, and a handful of small plates to carry you through to dinner. At one point, I emerge outside for a cigarette and am startled to discover it’s still light outside.
Breezy servers float by to take our order, refill water, and check back on drinks (all exquisite). Rocking up at 5pm on the dot, the tequila-based Fuji-San, a refreshing mix of Silver Patron, cucumber, shiso and lime, makes for a refreshing sharpener.
The cocktail list here is split into two, with Sterling’s tried-and-tested classics on the left, and a list of house signatures on the right.
Elsewhere, there’s a fantastic wine list curated by leading expert James Brandwood, and a tempting bar snack menu, developed by Lush by Tom Kerridge, the two-Michelin starred chef responsible for the acclaimed Bull & Bear restaurant upstairs.
Sterling is the next Manchester chapter for the award-winning trio – the third bar in the city from the Schofield brothers who recently won Bar of the Year and Best New Bar for their first opening in the city, Schofield’s Bar, at the Class Bar Awards 2022.
The team have unrivalled experience from across the globe winning International Bartender of the Year and working in some of the world’s most applauded bars, including Little Red Door, The American Bar at the Savoy, Singapore’s Tippling Club and Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney.
Joe Schofield said “We have been planning this new bar for a long time and the doors are now open. Stock Exchange Hotel is a particularly meaningful venue for us as our mother used to work at the Stock Exchange.
“Our grandmother also learnt to swim in the old pool at the basement in our original Schofield’s Bar location. As we continue to evolve our operations in Manchester, it’s warming to have a connection to the past, as that very much reflects our approach to our offering.”
Gary Neville, owner of the Stock Exchange Hotel said: “From the moment I walked into Schofield’s Bar some 8 or 9 months ago and met Joe and Daniel I felt like I was walking into an international quality destination but with a local feel and an understanding of the spirit of Manchester.
“We spoke about how we had grown up in Bury and the times we had there! I genuinely can’t wait now for Sterling to open in Stock Exchange Hotel and develop this partnership with the Schofield brothers.”
One of Manchester’s first vegan restaurants has closed its doors for good
V Rev is the latest victim in a spate of closures announced this year by popular vegan restaurants.
Vegan eateries JJ’s Vish and Chips, Chorlton takeaway Zad’s and Liverpudlian concept Frost Burgers have all been forced to close their doors this year, all citing rising costs as a reason.
Now V Rev, one of Manchester’s original vegan restaurants, has followed suit – closing its doors for good on Sunday 25 September.
The Northern Quarter restaurant first opened in 2015 and is widely considered to have paved the way for vegan junk food, serving what was then considered a game-changing menu of plant-based jumbo hot dogs, fried ‘chicken’, loaded fries, burgers and mac balls.
Initially launched in 2011 by Manchester University graduate Dom Moss as a vegan grocery and record store, in 2013 a small menu was introduced before V Rev eventually became the subterranean diner we’ve known and loved for the past seven years.
In that time, it’s quietly carried on whilst other similar concepts opened on its doorstep. Now, owners have announced that their time has come to an end.
In a statement shared on social media on Sunday, the V Rev team wrote: “Unfortunately, today (25/09/22) will be tour last day open.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us over the past 10 years.
“The past few years with lockdown and restrictions brought us to a point where we’re not able to financially recover and stay operational.
“Obviously, this isn’t how we wanted things to end – this is now out of our hands and we’re absolutely gutted.
“We’ll continue serving today – we are running out of stock so pop in while you can to say your goodbyes and cry intro your loaded fries.’
After the shock post appeared on social media on Sunday, comments flooded in thick and fast as fans shared their heartache that the restaurant was closing so soon.
Amassing over 1,000 comments on Instagram alone in the last 24 hours, the post has been shared widely as loyal vegans commiserated together.
Yorkshire-based vegan restaurant group Doner Summer wrote: “Pioneers of the vegan food scene in the North, you will be missed”
Mnbvegan added: “Oh my god, we’re so sorry folks. Proper sad to see you go. You guys were one of the first totally vegan places we know of, and it was so exciting! One of the proper originals, you will be missed.”
Whilst JJ’s Vish and Chips Manchester, who was also forced to closed this year, simply said: “Sending love.”
Feature image – V Rev Manchester
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away free music lessons
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away a host of free music lessons next month in a bid to inspire people to learn a new instrument, or pick up an old one.
The store is giving new and returning musicians a chance to receive a 10–15-minute free music taster session as part of its Music for All Learn to Play ’22 event.
Taking place across 8 and 9 October between 10am-5pm (8 October) and 1130am-30pm (9 October),short taster music lessons will allow all ages and abilities to have a musical experience that could turn into a lifetime of enjoyment, or even a new career.
Speaking on the free music lesson initiative, Emma from Forsyths said: “The past two years have shown how important music is to all our lives and how it can bring people together even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We aim to help as many people as possible understand the unique joys and benefits of learning an instrument (or taking part in a choir).
“Anyone interested in learning to play an instrument or looking to pick it up again, should come and join us for this two-day celebration of music making.
“We’re delighted to be part of Music for All’s Learn to Play ’22 event, and we can’t wait to get started.”
OBE Jools Holland, Patron of Music for All, said: “Making music is very important to me. It’s my work, my pleasure, my friend, companion and therapist.
The charity Music for All believes passionately in the unique power of music to change lives and that is why it runs Learn to Play.
Music for All believes everyone should have equal access to music making.
The charity supports disadvantaged music makers by providing cash grants for tuition and instruments and by donating instruments directly.