It all began with the appearance of a mysterious door on Dale Street in 2020.
First materialising at the end of last year, the door – tall, imposing, and a bit too grand for this particularly run-down part of town – quickly prompted questions from locals as to what could be going on behind it.
After all, prior to its emergence, the area had only ever been known as a hang out for rough sleepers and was nearly always littered with drug-taking paraphernalia. How times change.
Neighbouring book shop Chapter One – long-overlooked (unfairly, might we add) as a relic of a Northern Quarter from days gone by – has suddenly become the focus of every hipster in the city as they clamour to find out more about its new ‘secret garden’ opening.
Created by Chapter One in partnership with Manchester real estate developer Buzz Ventures, planning permission for the new drinking and dining spot at Chatsworth Gardens was first granted in August 2019.
Like many planned openings, it’s suffered some delays due to the events of the past year (and a bit). But today the vision, a Victorian-inspired blossoming pocket park, becomes a reality as Mala opens its doors to the public for the very first time.
Filled with ski chalets, cute cable car carriages, upturned beer barrels painted in pastels and plenty of foliage, it’s a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city centre.
There’s plenty of covered seating, with a mass of long tables and picnic benches dotted around the split-level garden. Twinkling fairy lights above will give the garden added ambience once night falls.
Dog friendly and strictly no smoking, the 4,000 sq. ft plot is all about the drinks right now – but has plans to introduce food offerings provided by local restaurants in the near future.
Drinks on offer seem to focus quite heavily on cocktails, with a decent spritz menu catching our eye and sounding perfectly refreshing for a long, hot summer.
Of course, there are also some classic staples on there- think Pornstar Martinis and watermelon mojitos.
There’s a decent selection of pints, too, with Camden Town beers and Paulaner pilsner both served on draught.
There’s no need to book, in fact, you can’t – it’s strictly walk-ins only. A good one to remember this weekend if you can’t get in anywhere else, considering Mala still seems to be slightly off the radar for now.
We don’t expect that will last very long, though, so don’t hang about.
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”