The idea of a ‘secret bar’ is pretty much dead these days, with the rise of social media revealing any and all hidden gems across Manchester.
But a brand new bar that’s opening its doors this weekend has done its level best to keep an air of mystery about it.
Dear Sailor has kept its Instagram account private, only accepting follow requests from a select few.
It’s teased details like its inspiration (prohibition-era jazz speakeasies in Tokyo), and its menu (championing flavours of South-East Asia like yuzu and shiso), along with blueprints of the bar design.
It describes itself as ‘The whisper of the town’.
But otherwise, there have been no press releases, no star-studded parties, and no sneak peeks. It’s not even listed on Google Maps yet.
That’s all about to change, with Dear Sailor ready to host its launch weekend from Friday 24 November.
And despite its efforts to keep things under wraps, it’s aroused a fair bit of interest over the last few weeks.
For as much as Dear Sailor might be trying to arrive in Manchester with an air of mystery, it’s in a prime location with plenty of footfall.
It’s opening its doors directly across from Sexy Fish in Spinningfields, taking over the former Wolf Street Food space off Spinningfields Square.
The space divides into two areas – a covered outdoor terrace with long banks of seating (they’ve built a large extension, with a wooden cube now jutting out onto The Avenue), and the main bar space.
It’s been completely transformed with a towering, illuminated bar at one end and a golden wave of fabric hanging overhead.
The walls inside are painted with blue waves while a brown leather banquette twists all the way around the bar.
Another unusual feature about Dear Sailor is its list of house rules, which forbid any name-dropping, any loud behaviour, and hats.
The view from the terrace through to the Dear Sailor main bar. The bar will open this weekend. Credit: The Manc Group
‘Gentlemen’ are also not allowed to approach ladies inside the bar, with women encouraged in the house rules to ‘lift your chin slightly and ignore him’.
Dancing on the furniture is allowed as long as you take your shoes off first, and punters are asked to leave the bar quickly and silently.
One of Dear Sailor’s rules also states: “Do not bring anyone unless you would leave that person alone in your home. You are responsible for the behaviour of your guests.”
Dear Sailor is open in Spinningfields now and bookings are live here.
Dear Sailor in Manchester’s full list of house rules
No name-dropping, no star f*cking.
No shouting, or other loud behavior.
No fighting, no play fighting, no talking about fighting.
Gentlemen can remove their hats. Hooks are provided if necessary.
Gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies. Ladies, feel free to start a conversation or ask the bartender to introduce you. If a man you don’t know speaks to you, please lift your chin slightly and ignore him.
Do not linger outside the front door.
Shoes off when dancing on the furniture.
No sports wear/caps.
Do not bring anyone unless you would leave that person alone in your home. You are responsible for the behavior of your guests.
Exit the bar briskly and silently. Please make all your travel plans and say all farewells before leaving the bar.
The Failsworth pizzeria with queues of delivery drivers and mac and cheese pizza
There are a lot of contenders vying for the title of the best pizza in Greater Manchester – but judging by the endless stream of delivery drivers traipsing up to Failsworth, Corner Slice might be up there…
This little pizzeria has carved out a niche for itself serving Detroit-style pizzas, and though some have attempted the same, no one comes close to this quality.
These deep-dish rectangular pizzas are made with a lighter, spongier dough than the sort of chewy Neapolitan you see a lot of these days.
They’re baked in a dish so that the edges crisp up perfectly, and with toppings and cheese spread right to the edges, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Corner Slice has just raised the bar again with its menu of creative toppings, including – and brace yourself here – mac and cheese pizza.
The Lord Lane local clearly looked at its normal thick-based pizzas and went ‘hmm, no, not enough carb. Add pasta’.
The result is their oozy, gooey mac and cheese pizza called Mr Mac – a béchamel base with macaroni, smoked mozzarella, a cheese blend, and a pesto crumb. Oh lordy.
Corner Slice’s Mr Mac pizza dipped in fermented hot sauceThe cheese pull on that…Pasta on pizza
Other menu highlights include the Red Wing (nduja, jalapeños, pepperoni and hot honey) and Sunrise (Korean BBQ cauliflower, gochujang mayo, kimchi onions and pickled cucumber) – the former leaving you with streaks of bright red chilli honey up your arms, the latter so packed with flavour that you find yourself staring down at your slice in amazement after each bite.
And if you just can’t decide, you can always go half-and-half on your pizza topping.
It’s not just about the pizzas either.
Half-and-half Detroit-style pizza at Corner SliceParmesan waffle fries and buffalo chicken
Corner Slice also has incredible sides, like Korean BBQ popcorn chicken, parmesan waffle fries, and garlic dough rolls with rotating flavours.
There are dips too, made on-site, like the fermented hot sauce that’s probably most closely related to Buffalo sauce (but infinitely more interesting) and BBQ ranch.
The whole time we’re there (which is midday on a Friday) there’s a constant stream of delivery drivers coming to collect orders. The phone never stops ringing.
At one point, they take an order that’s fit to feed an entire American football team.
It looks like the future is bright for Corner Slice. And thank god – we’re already lusting after those crusts.
Corner Slice in FailsworthA spread of pizzas and sides at Corner Slice in Failsworth