Liam Fray has teamed up with TNQ to launch a brand new all-day drinks and dining venue in Northern Quarter.
The Courteeners’ lead singer has partnered with Jobe Ferguson (TNQ, The Liars Group) and esteemed chef Anthony Fielden for the venture – taking over a vacant building on Thomas Street.
Titled ‘The Smithfield Social’, the cafe-bar’s concept is inspired by the multipurpose work-and-play brunch venues found over the pond in New York City – serving freshly-sourced grub in a laid-back setting from dawn ’til dusk.
Specialising in high-quality breakfasts, gourmet sandwiches and small plates, the venue will open from 8am to 1am every day – doubling as a morning hangout and late-night drinking den.
Just like there’s a story behind every Courteeners song, The Smithfield Social says there’s a tale behind each of their dishes.
The venue has committed itself exclusively to “local, seasonal, ethically-produced items”, with specially-cured butcher’s bacon, brioche buns, organic avocados, and the “Rolls-Royce of eggs” all included on the breakfast menu (which will run until 4pm).
Other plates include top-quality corn-fed chicken wings, lasagne with buffalo mozzarella, meatballs, lamb kofta and smoky Baba Ghanoush.
Fresh-pressed juices, healthy ginger shots, loose-leaf teas, and Indian coffee blends (offered in collaboration with local roastery Heart and Graft) will be available to order in-house for a working lunch or on-the-go.
A newly-renovated bar will also be serving wines from around the world (with owners promising an option for every pocket size) – including a chardonnay named ‘best in the world’ and a specially-curated Bloody Mary menu.
Cocktails and low ABV drinks will be up for grabs, with local brewery Cloudwater taking up two draught taps.
Food dishes will also be available for click-and-collect to tuck into at home.
The Courteeners frontman has been a familiar face in NQ for over a decade – harbouring a close friendship with the TNQ team for several years.
As well as having an award-winning food & drink team behind the project, Fray is also inheriting a building with deep roots in Manc music; with the most recent occupant Teacup Kitchen owned by legendary Manchester DJ Mr Scruff.
With the venue lying dormant for several months since Teacup’s closure, The Smithfield Social has swiftly stepped in to take its place on the NQ main strip.
Thomas Street was redesigned in summer 2020 to create extra space for its bars to stretch out and offer al fresco dining (considered a safer option during the pandemic). The whole street is set to reawaken in a matter of weeks when outdoor hospitality restrictions are lifted – and is being widely tipped as the go-to spot for summer drinks now that pedestrianisation in Northern Quarter is becoming permanent.
Despite its status as the ‘new kid on the block’, The Smithfield Social is unlikely to find making friends a problem – with Courteeners fans likely to flock to the bar from its launch date on April 12.
Despite his great achievements on stage, The Smithfield Social represents Fray’s first foray into the hospitality sector. But with a multitalented and widely experienced team behind him, it sounds like all the ingredients are there for an exciting new venue…
The Smithfield Social will welcome customers on April 12 when outdoor hospitality returns to action.
A full opening is planned for May 17 when indoor venues are permitted to trade again.
Table bookings go live tomorrow – with a link available on The Smithfield Social Instagram page @TheSmithfieldSocialNQ.
Owners have announced they are currently recruiting for roles at the new venue, including bar staff and kitchen workers (email [email protected] for more information).
Manchester United reject offers for Mason Greenwood as rep says he ‘should be allowed to move forward with his young life’
Manchester United have reportedly rejected a number of offers for Mason Greenwood as the club continues their internal investigation into his behaviour.
The club have reportedly received a number of offers for the young forward from Turkish teams in recent weeks and months while Greenwood has been suspended from playing or training. He has yet to return to the sport after charges of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were dropped.
The charges handed down in January 2022 were ultimately dropped last month when key witnesses withdrew, more than a year on from the incident that was widely circulated on social media.
Now, following a behind-the-scenes feature by The Athletic and ‘new material’ leading the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case for the foreseeable, it seems United are now the only party still investigating Greenwood, with his own team and figures around the club pushing for a resolution.
Speaking to Laurie Whitwell as part of the piece, one of Greenwood’s representatives argued that there is “no real substance” to the allegations, them “a mix of old news, speculation, half-truths and completely untrue claims.”
He went on to say, “Mason is 21, he has been cleared and should be allowed the opportunity to rebuild and move forward with his young life.”
Another source is also said to have told the outlet that the youngster has been fundamentally changed by the experience, insisting that he “would run through a brick wall” to be back playing at United.
As for the club’s stance, it remains to be seen what their final decision on his future will be, but it was reported earlier this month that a potential return is still “firmly under consideration” and his number 11 shirt has not yet been vacated as many would have expected if he was set to move on.
On the other hand, the article goes on to detail questions surrounding Greenwood’s conduct and general attitude during his relatively short time as a senior player too, the suggestion being that he was slacking in training because “he knew he was a good player”.
His attendance at Carrington is said to have been raised as an issue on more than one occasion and then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær often covered for training sessions and games he missed after failing to turn up to the team hotel for “unexplained absences”.
Another source who watched him play aged just 16 also went on to reveal that Bradford-born academy product “wasn’t shy about telling someone they were s***”, apparently even calling out Cristiano Ronaldo as “dead [finished]” when he was still at Real Madrid.
Greenwood played over 100 senior games for United and was widely considered one of the brightest young prospects in England, let alone the club, but the career trajectory he looked to be on is widely different from the problematic position he finds himself in now, regardless of any offers from abroad.
So, after setting up a fake consultancy firm based out of Seoul, South Korea called Hanseong Consulting and inviting along a number of MPs, many of whom either previously held or currently sit in senior party positions, they began holding Zoom interviews with the various candidates to see if they’d be interested.
More importantly, however, the crucial question was “how much would they want to be paid?”. The likes of former Matt Hancock and Kwasi Kwarteng had very simple but nevertheless astounding answers:
As you can see in the trailer for the full mini-documentary, both the former health secretary and the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted their day rate as up to £10,000.
In fact, Hancock broke down his figures even further, insisting that an hourly rate would equate to “around £1,500”. Wonder how that sizes up to the fee he was paid to be on I’m A Celeb? (yes, that wasn’t a fever dream, it really happened). We’ll let you do the nauseating maths on that one.
Other Tories who were duped into putting themselves forward for the made-up job included Gavin Williamson, Stephen Hammond and the Chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee (a private members group known to influencers backbenchers), Sir Graham Brady.
Well, they were the only ‘candidates’ to have issued statements after the fact trying to play down the story, anyway. The campaigners approached 20 different MPs under the guise of the fabricated company, with other individuals dropping out in more preliminary stages.
After having asked for £60k a year on top of his £48k annual salary as the representative for Manc constituency Altrincham and Sale West, this would have been Brady’s fourth job besides his two marketing and comms advisory roles, but assured he would always act “within the Code of Conduct”.
Hammond had more to say on the matter, responding that “scamming is an unpleasant activity undertaken with malicious intent”, while Hancock’s office responded by labelling it a “failed attempt at entrapment” and insisted he is free to look at “exploratory options” as he is set to stand down as an MP.
Led By Donkeys are now in the process of gradually releasing each one of the fake job interviews in full on their YouTube channel.