A famous bartender who’s served everyone from HRH the Queen to The Beckham’s has opened a new bar in Stockport.
The brainchild of former Britain’s Got Talent ‘bar wizard’ Neil Garner, its cocktail list features some intriguing concoctions – including a section dedicated to the great town of Stockport.
From the rum-heavy 192 (which promises to ‘hit you like a bus’) to Blossoms and the Queens of Cale Green, there are plenty of fun nods to Garner’s hometown, as well as classic favourites like frozen margaritas, tiki concoctions and summer punches.
Called Cherry Jam, it has opened on Mealhouse Brow inside a former software superstore that Garner often visited with his brother as a child.
Even back then, on afternoons spent poring through new video games for his Amiga, Garner says he thought it was a special place “with loads of personality.”
Launched during lockdown, Garner says it was “pretty much paid for” from the money they made on Cherry Jam’s hit DIY cocktail delivery service.
Inside, the venue is split into two key areas: Bar Cherry, which is open to the public, and The Jam, which is available for private hire parties of up to 30 guests.
Graffiti art walls, disco balls, street art and neons provide a cool and relaxed aesthetic, whilst a mixture of pop, disco, soul and funk plays over the stereo.
As well as serving up a range of great cocktails, guests can also expect to find a collection of drinks and flavours from Neil’s travels around the world – including some lovely craft beers in pretty cans.
Cherry Jam’s team also create some home-grown and foraged gin infusions which are well worth checking out.
After years spent living abroad and setting up various successful venues in London, the former bartender to the stars has already impressed Simon Cowell. Now, he wants to win over his fellow stopfordians.
Speaking on the new opening, Garner said: “I’ve been coming to Stockport market for as long as I can remember. I used to love coming down every Saturday with my Mum, who sadly isn’t with us anymore.
“There’s so much positive change afoot, and real energy in the air. It’s great to be a part of it.
Stockport born and bred, he has competed in competitions as a professional flair bartender and was once crowned World Bartending Champion.
Garner then started his very own cocktail company – the Bar Wizards – who were runners-up on the first series of Britain’s Got Talent.
He later went on to open a bar in Littleborough with his friend and partner Neil Lowry, but this has since closed – with the pair remaining good friends to this day.
“Stockport has always been in Manchester’s shadow, however with Manchester getting bigger and rents going up, it makes Stockport a natural place for independent bars and restaurants to come and set up,” he said.
“It’s only ten minutes from Manchester, and it has a real personality and vibe of its own. It’s an icon in its own right, and without the constraints of big rents and overheads, it genuinely gives independents a platform to set up and follow their dream and passions.
“I want to take the very best of what I’ve learnt in over 100 countries around the world, and bring it home in Cherry Jam.”
Cherry Jam is open Thursday to Sunday and can be found at 4 Mealhouse Brow, SK1 1JP.
Food & Drink
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
A stylish new art deco restaurant and waterside brasserie are coming to Manchester, it has been revealed.
Brought to the city by operators behind brands like Soho House, Isabel Mayfair and Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries, new opening Maya will be situated within an iconic location of Manchester’s nightlife history: 40 Chorlton Street.
It will take part of the ground and lower floors of the early 20th-century warehouse building, which is also home to the newly opened neighbourhood hotel LEVEN.
Split across three floors, Maya will house numerous areas: from a canal-side brasserie space serving modern-European classics to a lower ground-floor, elegantly designed dining room that will centre around an ingredient-led, locally sourced and seasonal menu.
The kitchen team will be led by Mancunian chef Gabe Lea, who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred establishments like Le Manoir.
The interior backdrop, meanwhile, will merge the original industrial nature of the space with inspired details of art deco grandeur references in beautiful and surprising ways.
Menu development for the new opening is currently underway with Lea commenting: “There is a lot of creativity going into the design and overall concept of the restaurant, and the menu development is no different.
“Our approach will be to champion the beauty and simplicity of exceptional produce and, where we can, we will focus on sourcing seasonal ingredients locally.
“By having more than one dining space, we can run separate menus. The brasserie menu will be about long-standing favourites that we know people will love, alongside more creative and ingredient-led dishes in the dining room that will change regularly and react to what’s seasonal and available.”
Maya is scheduled to open in the spring of 2023, with more details set to be released in the new year. For more information and to be the first to hear about Maya’s launch, visit MayaManchester.com, or follow Maya’s Instagram @maya_mcr.