Manchester’s pubs, bars and hospitality professionals will be celebrated in a huge awards ceremony later this month.
Now in its fourth year, the Manchester Bar Awards picks out the very best operators in the city – with 2022’s categories championing the city’s Best Restaurant Bar, Best Speciality Bar, Best New Bar, Best Food Offering, and Bartender of the Year.
Further categories pay homage to professionals within the industry, with awards given to the best bar backs, front of house staff and rising stars.
Run by a group of Manchester bartenders and hospitality professionals, the awards were set up by the admins of a local Facebook group in 2018 to champion local people working in the industry.
First created in 2012 to help fundraise for Movember, today the Facebook group is a decade old and one of the country’s leading hospitality-focused groups – boasting over 17,000 members.
The shortlist for the 2022 awards has just been revealed, with members of the city’s bar community now being encouraged to vote for their favourites.
Hawksmoor, Cottonopolis, 10 Tib Lane, CBRB and newcomers Namii are all shortlisted for the Best Restaurant Bar category, whilst the Best New Bar award shortlist features Schofield’s, Junior Jackson’s, 10 Tib Lane, Ramona and Lost Cat.
In a nod to the quirkiness of the city’s bar scene, this year’s Best Speciality Bar Award names wine bars Flawd and Salut, The Briton’s Protection (for its epic whiskey collection), brewery-owned bar Northern Monk and gaming bar NQ64.
Shortlisted food offerings, meanwhile, include three businesses launched by local bartenders during lockdown – Bada Bing, Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria and Kong’s Chicken Shop – alongside Wolf At The Door and Parmogeddon.
Elsewhere, rising stars and MVPS have their own categories, whilst an outstanding achievement award highlights those who’ve done good for the community – picking out a Manchester bartender who hosts a yearly ‘Orphans Christmas’ for staff with nowhere to go, alongside others including mental-health focused organisation So Let’s Talk.
This year’s event ceremony will be held on 15 March at First Street dive bar Bunny Jackson’s, an industry favourite amongst many of Manchester’s bartenders, and promises to be a raucous, fun-filled affair.
Speaking on the upcoming awards, Manchester Bars admin and organiser Nate Booker said: “We’ve waited a long time for this moment, but the shortlist is finally here. This list was built by the crowd-sourced thoughts of over 100 hospitality professionals from Manchester (and a smattering of the rest of the UK)! We believe this is quite possibly the best shortlist we’ve published, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry.
“We have new faces and venues hitting the list amongst some old favourites, which show how dynamic and tenacious our industry is. Now we’ve just got to wait for the people of the group to vote on their winners!
“With the Northern Restaurant & Bar Show in the city, every year Manchester is full to the brim with our hospitality peers from across the country. Hosting an awards ceremony on the first night seemed serendipitous, rewarding the hard work and passion so prevalent in the city (when our friends can join us!).
“The awards have become incredibly important to the community and we are proud to organise it, but ultimately it’s an event based embodiment of what Manchester does best, and that is have a whole lot of fun.
“We want to say a massive congratulations to all the nominees, and a huge thank you to the panel, the sponsors and of course Bunny Jackson’s. “
In just seconds, the entire ceiling is ablaze, with terrified customers scrambling for the exit.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service released the video in a bid to raise awareness and prevent any similar incidents at hospitality venues in the city-region.
The shocking incident occurred in a shisha bar in Rusholme, in May this year.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but several people were taken to hospital with suspected burns.
In both this instance and in the One Eight Six incident, the cause of the blaze was determined as being ‘indoor fireworks igniting decorations, which then burned rapidly allowing the fire to spread’.
GMFRS is now working with licensing teams from the 10 councils in Greater Manchester to offer free information and advice sessions to owners and managers of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants in advance of the Halloween, World Cup and the Christmas party season.
Leon Parkes, GMFRS’s director of prevention and protection, said: “Hospitality venues have a responsibility to keep their customers and staff safe and at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service we want to help businesses to understand their legal responsibilities and take action to protect their property, staff and customers from fire.
“We have seen a couple of instances in the past year in Manchester where fires have broken out in venues caused by indoor fireworks setting light to decorations.
“While fortunately fires don’t occur very often, the impact of a fire can be devastating and many businesses don’t recover.
“Pubs, bars and other venues will be very, very busy during October, November and December. It’s important that staff prepare by getting trained in what they need to do and that they don’t inadvertently create a fire risk.
“We know that the last two years have been really difficult for hospitality businesses and hopefully the forthcoming World Cup and Christmas period will be a boost for them. We gave out fire safety advice in May last year as Covid-19 restrictions eased and we are now working with our partners to help hospitality businesses be safe and stay safe.”
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.