Today, “freedom” is technically upon us. But for Manchester’s bars and restaurants, things feel less “free” than ever – with the industry caught up in the midst of what’s being referred to as a ‘pingdemic’.
With many hospitality staff forced to isolate even with negative tests and no symptoms, questions are being asked if there’s a better way to run things – especially as other guidance is being dropped and new test programmes are piloted as an alternative to isolation.
This week, pub giant Greene King has had to close thirteen sites due to staff shortages.
But amid the chaos, there is a silver lining, at least. From today, you’ll be able to go to the bar with no need to sign in at venues or order via an app. And there’s some good news close to home, too.
Gary Usher’s Kala is finally reopening its doors after a prolonged period of closure – and we’ve tipped the restaurant as one of our places to go this week for that very reason. They’ve recently launched a fab new bar menu, but haven’t really been able to serve it much yet.
Keep reading to find out more about what they’ve got going on, plus our other top picks for this week.
A Northern Quarter record store that moonlights as a bar
A new craft beer and wine bar in the Northern Quarter that also sells records? Or a record store selling booze? Either way, we’re here for it.
Recently opened by the duo behind Manchester record label Small Moves Records (including Jez Kerr, of A Certain Ratio fame), the drinks selection here is actually pretty extensive with European breweries like Paulaner, Siren and House Party on draught, plus some rarified craft bottles and a decent wine and Japanese whiskey collection.
Find Movement Bar at 84 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG, open Wednesday to Saturday.
King Street favourite Kala emerges from isolation
Gary Usher’s Kala has been beset with track and trace problems of late, having to close repeatedly – or so it feels.
As of this Wednesday, the team is back with all the usual menu favourites – plus a new bar snack menu that includes some mouthwatering additions, like £10 peppered feather blade steak sandwiches served inside a sesame roll.
If you visit, make sure to get the pistachio and raspberry Bakewell tart too. It’s a revelation.
Find Kala at 55 King St, Manchester M2 4LQ. from midday on Wednesday 21 July
Black forest gateaux martinis and sexy charcuterie from the Alvarium team
Brand new opening The Mews comes from the team behind the popular NQ spot Alvarium. They are collaborating with The Crafty Cheese Man, aka Jonathan Pearcey, to produce some super sexy charcuterie and cheese boards – creating a new killer food and drink combo in this often forgotten section of town.
Think nibbly treats like whipped goats cheese and mascarpone with chilli jam, served alongside top-quality seasonal cocktails like black forest gateaux martinis and a Japanese ‘forest bathing’ inspired Old Fashioned with Nikka and fennel syrup, plus a banging wine list and beer selection.
Tucked away on Deansgate Mews (on the elevated walkway between Deansgate and the GNW), if you’re looking for a chilled spot to enjoy a few quality drinks in the sun you can’t go wrong here.
Find The Mews at The Mews Bar and Charcuterie, Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN.
A natural wine pop-up from the team behind Higher Ground
Flawd Wine is a new concept from the team behind Higher Ground. Serving low-intervention wines and small plates of British cheese as well as charcuterie and ferments from the award-winning Curing Rebels based in Brighton, it is set to open a new home in New Islington this September.
Ahead of that, though, the team – which includes Joseph Otway, formerly Head Chef of Where The Light Gets In – is running a series of pop-up events at Pollen throughout July and August to give the neighbourhood a taste of what’s to come.
Find Flawd popping up at Pollen every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 23 July until 15 August, before they open their own space in September.
A new Tex Mex bar in the former Walrus site
Named by the owner’s daughter, Man With Fish is influenced by America’s southern saloons and is being opened inside what was formerly Walrus.
Brought to Manchester by the same team that brought us Quarter House on Stevenson Square, think Tex Mex-style food with a big BBQ pull courtesy of charcoal grill nerd Jason Latham, plus a whopping 17 different beers on tap.
Find Man With Fish at 78-88 High St, Manchester M4 1ES from July 19 at 5pm.