‘Growing madness’ forces flurry of Manchester restaurants to close early for Christmas

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 22nd December 2021

There has been a spate of sudden temporary restaurant closures in Manchester this week as Covid-19 once again wreaks havoc on hospitality.

Some of the city’s most well-known venues have decided to shut their doors earlier than planned.

Many businesses are struggling to operate after staff members have tested positive for coronavirus, while others are battling with the drop in trade caused by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Hospitality businesses have reported waves of cancellations and a decimated December trade after people were advised by Chris Whitty to limit social contacts ahead of Christmas.

It’s left many our city’s bars and restaurants operating at a loss at what should be their busiest time of year.

Credit: Facebook, The Sparrows

And now many have decided to call it a day until the new year.

Posting that the ‘Big C has cancelled Xmas’, renowned Green Quarter restaurant The Sparrows wrote: “Sadly due to members of staff testing positive for Covid -19 we are making a decision to close The Sparrows until 1st of January 2022. 


“We are very sorry to cause any inconvenience to anyone’s festive plans, but customers’ safety and our team’s wellbeing are the priority. 

“For the Love for Spätzle we will be looking forward to seeing you all in a New Year! Please stay safe! Take care of yourselves and the ones around you this Christmas.”

Credit: Instagram @iscawines

Independent wine bar Isca, in Levenshulme, has also had to switch up its offering in a bid to keep its team Covid-free for Christmas.


They wrote: “As the madness returns and grows around us we have decided to close Isca for sitting in until next year.

“We are doing all we can to keep everyone safe, and want our team to be able to enjoy Christmas without catching Covid.”

They later added: “It really saddens us to not be able serve you some delicious wines + food at Isca in the run up to Christmas but we think it’s for the best in our small space.”

The Stockport Road bar remains open as a takeaway and as a shop, selling wine, gifts and cheeses.

Credit: Dust Dogs MCR

Back in the city centre, Northern Soul’s new hot dog venture Dust Dogs has had to shut temporarily just weeks after it launched.


They said it was down to ‘current Covid news, staffing issues and a short Christmas week’, promising to be back 2022 ‘bigger, better and proper’.

A separate post highlighed the struggles facing hospitality right now.

They wrote: “F*** I WE WISH WE COULD BE OPEN !!

“We should be absolutely flying in the new place but the reality is, hospitality has been hit for 60% of lost trade.

“It turns out we made the right decision, too many factors at play to push the last week.”


Kala, part of Gary Usher’s Elite Bistros empire, won’t be reopening until after Christmas either, saying that it has ‘too many staff isolating’.

Student favourite The Font is facing a similar situation after a positive Covid case in its team, saying that the decision to close early ‘wasn’t taken lightly but is the best one as the physical & mental wellbeing of our team & customers is priority’.

Enormous Swan Street venue Ramona has closed its kitchens and reverted to a drinks-only venue as it winds down for the Christmas break.

Read more: ‘It’s not a package. It’s an insult’ says Sacha Lord as the Treasury unveils £6k-per-venue hospitality grants

They said: “Due to everything that’s going on at the moment and to keep all our team and guests as safe as we can, we will be offering bar / drinks service only until midnight on 23rd December.


“Pizza From Detroit will return as soon as we can and we’ll let you know on here first of all. Sorry to everyone who was coming to eat with us.

“Stay safe and Merry Christmas. Ramona x”

There’s also been a flurry of restaurant closures down in London, with dozens of well-known operators shutting up shop.

Featured image: Instagram, @kala_bistro_manchester