Five months after owners bid it a heartbreaking farewell via a letter plastered to its shutters, tiny Oldham Street boozer The Ancoats Lad is being given a new lease of life.
At the time of its closure, landlord Phil Bell seemed firmly set against selling the micropub on or getting someone in to manage it, saying “to be truthful there was only one ‘Ancoats Lad’ and together we made it ours.”
Howver, after being introduced to local lads Joshua Stones and Perry Morrissey through a friend of a friend, it appears all he needed to find the right person to pass it on to. “Someone local, someone of the same ilk,” the pair tell us.
Joshua and Perry will reopen the pub under a new name in July, but are keen to stress that they “don’t want to lose Phil’s crowd” and have been working pretty hard to ensure that it will still cater to loyal regulars in much the same way it did before.
Long known as a place that ‘encouraged awkwardness’ with ‘old-school’ customers, the miniscule pub, sandwiched between Gullivers and Chakalaka, will reopen as The Mancunian next month – with a hyper-local offering to reflect its new moniker.
Drinks will come from the likes of Salford Rum, Manchester Union Lager, Manchester Gin, Shindigger, Seven Brothers and more. “Pretty much everyone you could think of”, Perry and Josh tell us, adding they want to keeping everything as traditional and Manchester-based as possible.
They’ve even spoken with Phil on what they should stock, telling us: “[he] let us know which ones was the big sellers, a bit of what the Ancoats lad used to drink.”
Their attitude of preservation extends to the decor, too, which will only see small changes made – with new murals from local artists Quebek and Dave Draws, a fresh lick of paint and a few new pictures of the city to mix in with the old.
Those who’ve visited the pub before will likely know its former-landlord kept a lot of memorabilia on the walls from over the years.
These will stay as they were, say Perry and Josh, who are working with local photographer Manc Wanderer (aka Nathan Whittaker) to add in more modern images to show “how the city’s changed now.”
Josh and Perry also tell us they have their eyes set on “where all the old pubs and lost pubs of Ancoats are”, adding: “this is our foot in the door to get back into town.”
It’s not their first foray into hospitality. Perry already has another pub The Treeehouse in Bury, which he opened just before the pandemic hit, and his family has a long history of owning nightclubs in the city centre – including the famous Ampersand and Paparrazi.
He also happens to be a cousin of Morrissey’s, who he says he is “trying to get down” to the pub for its reopening.
With a great appreciation for the dying breed of traditional boozers, the pair say that once they get The Mancunian up and running they hope to take back some more of these lost venues – stealing them away from the trendy cocktail bars that have run amock in this part of town for the past however-many years.
God speed, we say. There’s something to be said for a great traditional boozer, and, sadly, they’re becoming a less and less of a frequent sight nowadays – not just in the Northern Quarter, either, but across the country.
The Mancunian’s official reopening date is set for Saturday 16 July.
Feature image – Google
Major property developer criticised for ‘anti-sex worker’ billboard in Manchester city centre
One of Manchester’s most recognised property development companies has faced backlash this week for a ‘disgraceful’ billboard placed beside its newest residential site.
The enormous advertisement was erected beside Capital & Centric’s Crusader Mill and Phoenix developments in Piccadilly East.
On it are the words ‘From red light, to green light’ – a slogan that’s been branded as a ‘discriminatory, anti-sex worker billboard’ by a local charity.
Capital & Centric has now acknowledged that people ‘don’t like the banner’ and said that it will be changed.
MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health) offers support to women who sex work – be it for emotional wellbeing or sexual health – and has its headquarters near to the new billboard.
They wrote: “We’re saddened that a discriminatory, anti-sex worker billboard has been put up nr MASH.
“If we want Manchester to be a welcoming city where all can thrive, this isn’t the way.
“We stand with sex workers, always. Help to counteract the hate by supporting us mash.org.uk/donate.”
On Twitter, one person said: “Disgraceful for a property developer to espouse any kind of morality over sex workers who were here decades before them ~on a literal billboard~. @CapitalCentric you should be ashamed of this.”
Someone else said: “Unbelievably poor taste advertising from so-called social impact investors at @CapitalCentric.”
Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital&Centric, said: “There’s been a handful of comments on social media from people who don’t like the banner. We never want to cause upset, so it’s being changed.
“Anyone who’s followed us will know about our efforts to have positive social impacts on the communities where we work.
“From building new homes and creating inclusive neighbourhoods, to actively supporting those most in need by working with frontline homeless charities.”
A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an advertising banner installed by Capital and Centric in the Piccadilly area.
“We understand that this banner was not intended to cause offence and they have agreed to remove it.
“Capital and Centric play an important role in the city’s development, working with a number of voluntary and community organisations in this area, and have apologised for any unintentional upset caused by this marketing campaign.”
Featured image: The Manc Group
The public will get to have their say on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone – but not until 2023
New reports have suggested that the Greater Manchester public are to be consulted on the latest Clean Air Zone (CAZ) proposals – but this won’t be done any time soon.
The closest thing to a public response from the government on the plan was when environment secretary George Eustice said he believed there was “little robust evidence” that it will work effectively.
Mr Eustace suggested that taxis, vans, buses, and lorries should still be charged in the city centre.
It’s now being reported that, ahead GMCA’s plan for a non-charging CAZ is to be formally-submitted to the government in its final form following a meeting on 16 August, ‘targeted engagement’ is currently taking place on the proposal and an online survey for some motorists is set to launch in a couple of weeks – but this will not go out to everyone.
ITV Granada reports that transport bosses have confirmed the wider public will not be able to have their say on the new proposals until early 2023.
This has already been met with criticism from industry leaders and campaign groups.
Prominently addressing the fact the public will not be consulted on plans until 2023, spokesperson for RethinkGM – a campaign group set up in opposition to the Greater Manchester Clear Air Zone – said: “It is extremely disappointing that leadership of Greater Manchester continue to ignore the public and residents of the region once again, by leaving public consultation on any CAZ scheme until early 2023.
“With a national cost of living crisis currently under way and residents now choosing between eating, heating and survival, GMCA still fail in their duty to residents and maintain their ill-advised attempt to impose further unnecessary limitations on livelihoods.
“It is quite clear that this scheme now needs scrapping in full and consideration given to the poor, low paid, business and those suffering above all else.”