A new Deep South-inspired dive bar is tipped to open its doors in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, bringing more late-night rock and roll antics to Oldham Street.
According to a licensing application submitted by Leeds-based bar operators The Mean Eyed Cat, the team has got its sights set on the home of former Michelin-recommended restaurant District.
The application shows that the bar is proposing to take over the basement space and ground floor at 60 Oldham Street, suggesting that District may be shutting its doors for good – although, with consultation remaining open until 23 February, nothing is confirmed as of yet.
Described as a ‘Deep South-inspired bar with an ode to the rock n’ roll legend Johnny Cash,’ the proposals state The Mean Eyed Cat will be serving ‘food and drinks including specialist cocktails’ and that the premises ‘will also comprise of a small outside area at the front.’
Open until 3am in the week and 4am on weekends, if successful it will offer an all-day service with hours from 11am every day, plus live music, film and entertainment.
Already a popular fixture amongst the bars on Leeds’ Call Lane stretch, its owners have been looking for a Manchester location for some months – even offering a generous finder’s fee to anyone who could help them find a new site.
Known for serving up free pizzas and offering its customers a chance to ‘roll the dice’ for free (or discounted) shots, on its website The Mean Eyed Cat describes itself as a ‘little rebellious and a lot raucous’.
Having recently revealed plans to open in Liverpool on 24 February, it now seems that the party bar is coming to Manchester city centre next.
On the drinks front, customers can expect to find its signature Mean Marg cocktail (where margarita meets Corona) on offer alongside plenty more Southern-inspired cocktails to ‘fuel your mischief all night long.’
Pizzas, meanwhile, come in a host of Deep South-inspired flavours including Texas BBQ and smoky chipotle, and are included free with any drink ordered before 9pm.
The news, however, is bittersweet – as it suggests that the end is nigh for Oldham Street’s New Wave Thai restaurant-turned-cocktail bar, District.
Despite receiving rave reviews for its food, last October the Michelin-recommended restaurant closed its doors after its owner sent an email to newsletter subscribers saying the business was suffering from ‘extreme economical pain’.
At the time, the news left fans of the Michelin-recommended restaurant in a panic but when District reopened as a cocktail bar everyone assumed all was well again.
Now it’s not so clear what the future holds for the brand, which has not put out a statement about closing but does appear to have deleted all of the posts from its Instagram account and wiped its website.
The Manc has contacted a representative for District regarding the Oldham Street bar and former restaurant’s potential closure.
Feature image – The Mean Eyed Cat
A restaurant in Ancoats is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel
A Manchester restaurant is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel – and their customers absolutely love it.
Taking game dishes to a whole other level, the wild crispy buttermilk fried squirrel at Ancoats restaurant Street Urchin comes served atop a creamy pulled ham hock cassoulet, with hazelnut bread croutons and nettle pesto and costs £22.50.
Sourced from their game supplier in Cumbria, it might sound nutty but owner Rachel Choudhary told The Manc that the dish has proven incredibly popular – and that the team has been ‘really surprised’ at how much of a hit it has become with customers since adding it to the menu.
She said: “We were looking for something new for the game options on the menu. Kev was speaking to our game supplier and randomly asked if he had any grey squirrels. Happily, he did.
“The whole team tried the dish the day it went on and the majority thought it was really good.
“We weren’t sure if it would sell, but have been really surprised. So many people have tried it and given good feedback. We’ve recommended that they eat it like chicken wings and pick it up, that way you get most of the meat.
“I’d never tried squirrel before and I absolutely loved it, it has great flavour, rich buttery texture, and it’s wild, free-range meat.”
The gray squirrel currently has an estimated population of 2.5 million in the UK according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and is considered a good sustainable alternative to factory-farmed meat.
It is legal to control grey squirrels by shooting or trapping them in the UK in a humane manner and even helps protect the UK’s endangered native red squirrel population.
Whilst some might find the idea of eating squirrels a tad unappealing, many chefs argue it is better to eat them when culling as it means the meat does not go to waste.
English market diner Street Urchin was first opened on Great Ancoats Street in 2019 by husband and wife team Rachel and Kevin Choudary.
Prior to opening in town, the couple ran The Victoria in Altrincham for eight years before deciding that it was time to move on.
Their Ancoats market diner has made its name on being one of the few city centre restaurants specialising in fresh fish, with everything from clams and mackerel to cured chalk stream trout, king scallops, and whole grilled red gurnard regularly available on the menu.