As Manchester’s indoor hospitality scene cautiously begins returning to some semblance of normality, new opening announcements seem to be absolutely everywhere.
These would usually be more staggered, but it seems a glut of operators were holding back for the long-promised “freedom day” of June 21st.
Amongst these, we count a smart new aperitivo and spritz bar, the arrival of Brighton-born vegan pizzeria Purezza in the Northern Quarter, a second NQ64 on Peter street and a new independent Piccadilly station stop-off called The Coffee Hive.
We also see the return of some solid favourites this week, including American Pies Chicago-style deep dish pizza and underground NQ vegan restaurant Black Leaf, which is back with an all-new menu.
Elsewhere, outdoor dining is still very much a thing. The Refuge is currently in the midst of hosting a huge street food takeover with some of Manchester’s biggest lockdown success stories – and this weekend sees two of our favourites, Batard and Badabing, take the reigns.
Read more about that (and our other top picks for the week) below.
Wales’ ‘only proper slurp spot’ NWR kitchen takeover at Mackie Mayor
Matsudai ramen have garnered huge praise from the likes of national papers the Guardian and Observer, now it’s been announced they’re taking over the New Wave Ramen kitchen at Mackie Mayor for two days. Technically it’s next week, but tickets have just gone live and are selling fast so we thought we’d give you a heads up. The event is part of a series that’ll bring some of the UK’s best ramen to Manchester for the very first time.
Confirm your bowl for a deposit of just £10 and check out the other upcoming events here.
A “Jewish grandma-style” wine-paired supper club, held in a cabin on stilts
Think “Friday night dinner” roast chicken with blackened lemons, whole-roasted garlic and sweet potato kugel, freshly-baked challah and borscht, followed by chocolate and chilli babka, then try and tell us you’re not hungry. Hosted by KAMPUS newcomer and bagel bakery-come-florist Breadflower, this one-off supper club takes place this Thursday 24th June with wine pairing from Ancoats’ Le Social Wine.
Held in the KAMPUS bungalow, tickets start from £40. Grab yours here.
The indie Manchester bakehouse serving amazing cheesecake-filled brioche pastries
There’s a lot of baking competition in Manchester, but indie startup Batard is rising fast through the ranks. Founder Lewis Loughman previously helped set up indulgent Manchester cookie house Gooey, now he counts the likes of Edinburgh Castle, Takk and General Stores amongst his wholesale clients. Popping up at The Refuge this weekend, his kolace, best described as what happens when “cheesecake meets brioche danish”, are a must-try – as are the cream-filled cannolis and sfogliatelle.
Catch Batard at The Refuge terrace this weekend, 25th-27th from 12-5pm.
Warm Sicilian brioche sandwiches on a Northern Quarter backstreet
What began as a Sicilian pop-up in an English butty shop found itself a new home at the other end of the Northern Quarter last year. The warm ice cream-stuffed brioche rolls here are a summer sensation – and now there’s a new addition on the menu. Think the same fluffy, house-baked brioche, this time slathered in sweet hazelnut chocolate spread and/or pistachio sauce and crunchy nut crumb. Just pull up on the street and order from the kiosk to take away.
Find Silician NQ on 14 Turner Street, between Thomas Street/ High Street.
The smart new Italian-inspired aperitivo bar inside a former Cafe Nero
Opened by two businessmen with no obvious hospitality background, we’re not mad on Haunt MCR’s name but the offering has caught our eye. Inspired by the Italian tradition of aperitivo (think British happy hour, but more refined), there is a big selection of Italian wines and spritzes here plus other classic aperitivo drinks like the negroni and its American counterpart: the boulevardier. Stuzzichini (finger food) is served from morning to night, though it’s not clear if owners plan to send out complementary plates between 5 and 7 – as is customary abroad.
Find Haunt MCR at 58 Peter Street.
‘Sad news’ – the world’s only Vagina Museum has been forced to close
There’s a museum for just about everything these days (we all remember trips to the Stockport Hat Works museum) – but the world’s only space dedicated to vaginas has been forced to close again.
The world-first Vagina Museum announced this week that it’s had to vacate its premises and has once again been left ‘homeless’.
The museum, which welcomed 40,000 visitors in the 10 months it was open, was founded to raise awareness of the gynaecological anatomy and health, erase stigma, and act as a forum for feminism.
Inside, visitors could browse everything from educational materials to art pieces inspired by vaginas and vulvas – including giant tampons decorated in red sequins.
The Vagina Museum said it was ‘disappointed’ that it has been asked to leave its space, adding that it will continue to operate digitally until it finds a new base.
They wrote in a heartfelt statement on social media that they were ‘incredibly proud’ of the museum’s achievements.
Fans of the space queued down the street for its final few days in Bethnal Green, before its eventual closure on Wednesday 1 February.
Their statement said: “Sad news. We’ve received notice to vacate our premises at Bethnal Green by the end of this week. As a property guardianship, we’ve always been aware that we may be asked to leave with very short notice. We’re disappointed that it has come so soon.
“@Enter_theVenue the creative hub with whom we share our space, have also been asked to leave. The Vagina Museum will continue to operate in the digital world as we search for a new home.”
The message continued: “We’re sad about this development, but incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ten months we’ve been at our Bethnal Green premises. We’ve welcomed more than 40,000 visitors through our doors, and received so much love and positive feedback.
“In our time at Bethnal Green, we’ve once again demonstrated just how much the world needs and wants a Vagina Museum.
“Times are, once again, uncertain for us, but we’ve been through this before and risen stronger than ever. With a community like you supporting us, we know we can get through this too.
“We’re actively searching for a new home, and if you know of any vacant spaces (or have one yourself!) please don’t hesitate to reach out. In our home in Bethnal Green, we and ENTER demonstrated that we can transform an empty, unused building into a thriving heart of a community.
“If you don’t have a building, you can still help! Please consider making a donation; a donation of any size makes a huge difference and will help us to weather this storm, just as we’ve weathered storms before.”
The Vagina Museum concluded its thread with: “We’ve made it through a pandemic and a period of temporary homelessness before. With you, together, we can make it through this too.”
Gary Neville addresses ‘clumsy like’ on Tweet about Mason Greenwood ￼
Gary Neville has said that his liking of a tweet about Mason Greenwood has been ‘misinterpreted’.
The former Manchester United legend and football pundit set off a Twitter storm last night after he ‘liked’ two tweets by Nazir Afzal, and briefly retweeted one.
The tweets in question said that Greenwood was an ‘innocent man’ and added that ‘you are innocent until PROVEN guilty’.
Mason Greenwood had all criminal charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had faced allegations of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same woman.
The CPS said that Greenwood case had been stopped because of ‘the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light’, adding that there was no longer a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’.
Several people noticed that Neville had liked a tweet about Greenwood’s ‘innocence’ and quickly challenged him on it.
One person shared a screenshot and wrote: “You have a massive platform and you’re liking bulls**t like this just because the monster plays for a team you support. you’re disgusting @GNev2.”
He posted: “I liked a tweet relating to the Mason Greenwood news this afternoon from Nazir Afzal. ( the former director of public prosecutions ).
“This like is being misinterpreted. It was a clumsy like as I obviously condemn any violence against women.”
Greenwood issued a short statement yesterday, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Featured image: Instagram, @garyneville2 / publicity picture