With a whole host of Bank Holidays stretching ahead of us, we roll slowly into May with plenty of free time on the horizon and even more new restaurants and bars to visit.
THis month, not only do we have a load of new eateries on the cusp of opening, we’ve algo got a few who’ve snuck through right at the end of April – all well deserving of an honourable mention.
Over in Stockport, one half of The Otto-Men has launched OTTO Vegan Empire – taking veganism back to its roots with a focus on grains, spices and legumes from a new home above a country pub.
In Sale’s Stanley Square, Sugo has just opened its third Manchester site with new artwork on the walls celebrating the Kickstarter supporters who made it happen, whilst in town we’ve been bless with a new Mac and Cheese restaurant in the Arndale, award-winning Stockport pie shop Ate Days A Week and vegan burger spot The Vurger Co.
As for what’s still to come? Think Italian subs, the return of sit-down Lazy Tony’s lasagne, a new Spring Gardens cocktail bar from Gordon Ramsay’s former bars boss, sushi, sashimi and (maybe) even a new dumpling place.
Keep reading to find out the new Manchester bars and restaurants to put on your list this month.
Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria, Alvarium
Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria takes over the former Black Leaf kitchen in the basement at Alvarium, switching out vegan fine dining for giant slabs of meat and cheese starting from the beginning of May.
Chef-owner Danny is bringing along all of his favourite dishes, so get ready for great lasagne, loaded mac and cheese and fries, as well as a host of new Italian subs and desserts like Nutella cannolis, apple pie, and pizza subs.
8 Dorsey St, Manchester M4 1LU.
Green Lab, Deansgate Square
The Green Lab at Deansgate Square opens on Friday, 6 May with a new evening offer to complement its existing salads, juices, treats and plant-based options.
Expect an organic wine list and twists on classic cocktails, including a miso caramel espresso martini and a strawberry matcha highball, plus new menu items such as sushi and sashimi.
Open from 7am weekdays and 8am at weekends, Green Lab at Deansgate Square will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner all week long, with live entertainment from Wednesday to Sunday.
Manchester’s newest cocktail bar, Blinker, will open its doors on Spring Gardens on 17 May.
Bringing everything founder Dan Berger has learnt from his time at 5-star London hotel The Ned and overseeing the bars for Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant group, it will focus on classic cocktails, with an additional menu of reimagined classics based around four set flavours changing each month.
Blinker will sit at the top of King Street, close to Hotel Gotham and Six by Nico.
Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 2BQ.
Burgerism, Escape to Freight Island
The one and only Burgerism will take over from Patty Queen at Escape to Freight Island in May, bringing what are widely considered to be the best smashed burgers in town to this corner of Piccadilly.
Fans of the brand can look forward to the famous ‘Cheesed’ burger with two smashed patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and Burgerism sauce in a brioche bun, alongside the mouthwatering chicken burger.
11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ.
Kong’s Sandwich Shop, Hatch
The team behind Manchester fried chicken heroes Kong’s Chicken Shop is opening a new sandwich spot at Hatch over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend – and there will be crisp butties on the menu.
Moving into the Oxford Road food and drink shipping container village this Friday, Kong’s Sandwich Shop will serve up an NYC bodega and deli-inspired menu with a few cheeky northern twists.
There’ll also be frozen margaritas and bottles of Pacifico for sale over the counter, in a nod to its founder’s bartending roots.
103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED.
Matterello, Trafford Palazzo
Luxury Italian restaurant Matterello comes to Trafford Palazzo (formerly Barton Square) at Trafford City this month, promising ‘authentic cuisine’ and immersive events like on-site pasta-making classes.
Developed by Manchester restaurateur Steve Pilling from the Northern Restaurants Group – which also has The Dockyard, Gas Works, and Roost – it will draw inspiration from Southern Italian kitchens, serving the likes of bruschetta with salsa Rossa, marinated squid, fettuccine with pesto and gorgonzola and a wide selection of desserts.
Trafford Palazzo, Greater, Manchester M17 8AS.
Hooters, Salford Quays
Hooters, an American restaurant chain more famous for its scantily clad waitresses than its food, is opening a site in Salford Quays this month.
Home to the Playboy bunnies of the hospitality world, the Hooters chain is actually pretty famous for its chicken wings – but even more so for its ‘girls’.
It serves up six different wings styles – original breaded, naked, boneless, Datyona, smoked and roasted – with a choice of 17 different sauces ranging from mild to ‘hot as all hell’.
Elsewhere on the grill-focused menu, you’ll find burgers, sandwiches and tacos, seafood like snow crab legs and shrimp platters, alongside fries and other sides.
Even before last weekend’s insane scenes, which left people ‘trapped’ inside a multi-storey, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) had issued some travel advice.
They said that the same weekend last year saw an 11% increase in peak journey times, with between 3pm and 7pm the busiest part of the day.
The first weekend of the Christmas Markets this year reportedly led to a 7% increase in vehicles around the city centre.
TfGM encouraged people to use public transport or active travel wherever possible, predicting a massive upswing in visitor numbers coming to the city to shop, eat, drink, attend concerts and see the Christmas Markets.
TfGM outlined a few options available to cope with the increase in trips in the festive season.
There are thousands of free park and ride sites around Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network, with family tickets offering travel for one to three children and one or two adults from as little as £3.60.
The new bus fare cap is in place now too, so a single trip will never cost more than £2 (or £1 for a child).
Congestion has increased in the city centre and inner ring road, with car trips returning back to pre-pandemic levels and some big road layouts that leave less space for cars (like the pedestrianisation of the Northern Quarter).
Travel advice for drivers is as follows:
Drive at a quieter time – this means avoiding driving to and around the city after 12pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and between 3pm and 7pm during the week.
Know where road congestion may be – our data shows that journeys along the Mancunian Way typically have higher journey times during the week, and journeys along the northern section of the Inner Ring Road (Great Ancoats Street) have higher journey times at the weekend.
Take a different route – if you need to drive across the city at the weekend, it may be quicker to use Alan Turing Way/Mancunian Way.
Park on the same side of the city as your route if you can – driving across the city can add additional time to your journey, so if it’s an option for you, park in a car park closest to your route out of the city centre.
Check for quicker routes before every car journey on Google, Waze and other Apps. You can also use TfGM’s journey planner.
TfGM’s Get on Board Christmas campaign has helpfully mapped out festive offerings around the region – from food to free things to family activities – and includes travel advice on how to get there.
TfGM’s Head of Highways, Peter Boulton, said: “We want everyone coming to enjoy the many great attractions that the city centre and Trafford Centre have to offer to enjoy the festivities and have a great time.
“The number of trips on our roads is back to where they were before the pandemic and that is leading to added congestion at key times – which means more people stuck in traffic.
“To avoid this, we’d encourage people to plan their journey by thinking about how they plan to get in, around and out of the city centre.
“Public transport is a great option, with frequent services and great value products as well as plenty of staff and information on hand to help you plan the perfect journey.”
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Manchester City Council, said: “It has been great to see people returning to Manchester to enjoy what the festive season has to offer.
“We are expecting it to be increasingly busy the closer we get to Christmas which is why we’d urge people to plan ahead before they travel and stay up to date with the region’s transport network through the TfGM website.
“We’d encourage people to use public transport as much as possible when travelling into Manchester as it is the most environmentally friendly method, as well as the best way of beating the traffic.”
Army ‘on standby’ as UK prepares for more postal, rail, lecturer and nurses strikes in December
The armed forces are said to be “on standby” to help fill various roles ahead of a new raft of strikes across health, education and postal sectors this month.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff are committed to walking out over pay disputes on Wednesday, 30 November as various organised strikes persist across the country.
Countless employees from various industries who feel they are underappreciated and underpaid are set to join the ongoing rail strikes, as well as the thousands of nurses expected to follow suit on the picket line throughout December.
Now, as per the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery, given the strikes’ proximity to Christmas, roping in the British military now seems likely. Dr Emma Runswick of the British Medical Association said there is there a simple way to put an end to mass industrial action: pay people fairly.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Cordery confirmed that while the army is waiting in the wings to help fill relevant NHS roles, “the reality is if the army or other armed forces step in it will very much be at the margins rather than going out and driving ambulances”.
It remains unclear whether army personnel will be needed to combat the impending labour shortage across other industries. Regardless, the Communication Workers Union are going ahead will a series of strikes in December.
Having formally called on Royal Mail employees to join the national demonstrations for strike action on the following days:
Friday, 9 December
Sunday, 11 December
Wednesday, 14 December
Thursday, 15 December
Friday, 23 December
Saturday, 24 December
As for rail workers, RMT Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey shared a similar sentiment, assuring that while the train drivers and the transport sector, in general, are standing firm, negotiations with Network Rail and other operators continue this week.
In addition to RMT members across 14 rail companies striking on 13-14 and 16-17 December, as well as 3-4 and 6-7 January, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff working onboard and station roles will take action against Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU) which represents 77 sixth-form colleges in England are also striking over pay, stating that in real terms, teachers have suffered a pay cut of around 20% since 2010.
Furthermore, the University and College Union (UCU) already held a 48-hour strike last week and is now set to hold another 24-hour walkout among university staff. As well as organising a large rally in London, union members across at least 150 different institutions will be joining the December strikes.