A mental health and wellbeing cafe-bar opens in the Northern Quarter

A new coffee house and bar with a focus on mental health and wellbeing is opening in Manchester.

The Feel Good Club has taken over the 2,800 sqft space in the newly-restored Hilton House in the Northern Quarter and will be welcoming guests for food, coffee, drinks and a range of events.

Created by married couple Kiera and Amie Lawlor-Skillen, the Feel Good Club was originally started as an online community.

It first launched six years ago when Kiera, who was recovering from an eating disorder, shared her experiences of recovery. After a while, Kiera got a full time job and the club went on the back burner for a few years, but it was always something she knew she wanted to return to.

Things really got going in 2018 after Kiera and Amie got married. They were making merchandise in their bedroom, printed with positive messaging that had helped them along the way. But this wasn’t just about selling clothes.

Kiera said: “We always had the idea that we wanted to create something bigger than a clothing brand. We wanted the clothing to kind of start the community of what we were doing to then be able to bring it to a physical space.”

Just two years later, and despite a global pandemic, the pair has managed to secure investment and realise their dreams of bringing their online community into a physical space.

Kiera said: “It’s a coffee shop, it’s a bar, you can get some food here. I hope it will be a place where people feel like they can be themselves, where they can feel comfortable, they can meet like-minded people, they can come to a creative space.

“We encourage conversation, we encourage people to be themselves and to explore what it is that they want to do.”

Feel Good Club is on the corner of Hilton and Tib street in the Northern Quarter

What’s on the menu?

The café will serve food from 9am with a range of breakfast and lunch options including loaded crumpets and sourdough toast.

“I absolutely love crumpets,” says Kiera.

Diners can choose a base of either crumpet or sourdough and then select one topping or as many as they like from a choice of halloumi, mushrooms, beans, cheese, avocado and more.

There are Feel Good smoothie bowls and porridge for breakfast, and lunch options include a tempura cauliflower and mango bagel and a selection of salads.

Also on the menu is a cheese and onion crisp sandwich. “Because it’s the ultimate comfort food, it makes me feel good every time I eat it,” says Kiera.

Currently serving food until 3pm, they hope in time to be able to host pop up events in the evening in collaboration with other independents in the city.

There will also be a bar serving beers, wines and other drinks, as well as coffees made from their own ‘Feel Good Club’ house beans, made by local roasters Heart and Graft.

“It’s really really good, if I do say so myself,” says Kiera.

‘A space where people feel good’

As well as being a place to come and enjoy food and drink, the goal is to ‘to help people become the happiest versions of themselves’.

All the staff are trained to provide mental health support and people are welcome to speak to them about how they are feeling.

Kiera said: “For us, it’s about people coming into the space, they can come in without judgement, wherever they’re from, whoever they love.

“Our team are all mental health trained as well, so it’s kind of a place where you can come and be completely yourself. You can have some good food, some coffee or a beer.”

Throughout lockdown, the Feel Good Club hosted weekly live streams to help those who were struggling with their mental health.

Each week, Kiera and Amie invited artists, wellbeing coaches, fitness instructors and others to join them on Sundays from 9am to 5pm for a live stream all about self-care.

Even now, months later in the café, they are still getting people coming into the space and telling them how much this helped them during what was a really difficult time.

Kiera said: “Amie and I are very open and honest on social media, we’ve shared the whole story. So that people can see that we’re just two people who  had a goal and this is what we’ve been able to create.

“We kind of just want to inspire people to do what it is that they want to do.”

Natural light pours into the building

The space

The Feel Good Club is on the ground floor of Hilton House on Street which has been completely renovated over the past few months.

The large, open-plan space has been completely transformed with a fully-stocked bar tiled in pastel pink and a small shop stocking all the Feel Good Club merchandise.

Large windows run all the way along two sides of the space, looking out onto Port Street and Hilton Street.

There are lots of different seating options to choose from, bench seating by the window, individual tables, a sofa area with stools made from kegs, floor seating and two large cosy armchairs facing each other.

Kiera said: “The way that we’ve created it is to allow people to feel welcome and to sit and behave how they want to.”

A large greenhouse at the back of the space provides a private seating area for larger groups (up to six people under current guidelines).

On the walls, they will be showing work of a different local artist every few months. The café won’t take any profit from the exhibitions, it’s all about supporting local people.

Any sales made will be put into a Feel Good fund and will be given to the artist and their chosen charity.

What’s on

As well as the quarterly exhibitions, The Feel Good Club will host a programme of events which includes comedy evenings on the first Wednesday of the month.

Comedian, Harriet Dyer, who used to run Barking Tales at the Zombie Shack – a comedy night in Manchester all about mental health – will now be hosting her nights at The Feel Good Club.

There will also be open mic nights, candle making workshops, drawing clubs and more.

“I think when you get to a certain age, you kind of lose your passions, or you forget to try new things and we want to be that reminder for people that you can come in, you can do some drawing, you can meet new people.

“When Covid’s finished we’ve got some long tables where it’s going to be a table for people who specifically want to meet new people. And if you go and sit on that table, then it shows that you’re open to conversations with another person.”

Once they are able to, the venue will also host Freelance Fridays where people who work for themselves can come down, meet like minded people, support each other, share ideas and perhaps, where their businesses align, form partnerships too.

Open now

The Feel Good Club coffee house had its soft launch last weekend and has been open for takeaways Monday to Wednesday this week.

The official launch is on Saturday 17 October and they will be open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

For more information and updates, visit: instagram.com/wearefeelgoodclub.

Feel Good Club merchandise in store

Dough and Apotheca, two longstanding Northern Quarter venues have now closed

Two of the Northern-quarter’s longest standing restaurants and bars have now closed for good.

Announced on Apotheca’s social media account last night and first reported by the Manchester Evening News, the bar has confirmed it is now permanently closed.

The post on Instagram read: “Sadly Apotheca’s doors are closed for good.

“We’ve had a good run in the Northern Quarter and thank you to everyone who has visited us over the years. RIP Apotheca.”

Opened in November 2008, Apotheca has been a stalwart venue in the Northern Quarter for more than a decade.

The bar’s sister restaurant Dough, which celebrated its 10th birthday in January this year, has also closed.

Known for their Italian pizza and pasta dishes, Dough prided itself on catering for all dietary requirements, with a generous list of options for gluten free, dairy free and vegan diners.

There was no such announcement on social media for Dough, however, their Instagram bio was updated to say ‘PERMANENTLY CLOSED’.

Dough hadn’t reopened since lockdown and there was a sign in their window for several months which read: “Due to the ongoing circumstances (we all know what circumstances) we are closing our doors and working from home.

“We have survived floods, riots, Brexit, austerity and more.

“The list is too long to go on and I have a limited word count.

“We will be back when this blows over, slinging gluten free, vegan and regular pizzas til your hearts content. Stay safe guys!”

Both of the venues were affected by serious flooding in 2016 but had managed to reopen.

Sadly, this time, it seems the venues weren’t able to recover from the impact of the current situation.

It’s a fond farewell to these two longstanding Northern Quarter venues in the midst of what has been an extremely challenging year for the hospitality sector.

What to eat #4 – the daily chef’s special at Evelyn’s

This week’s suggestion of what to eat in Manchester is not actually any one dish in particular.

Northern Quarter café-bar, Evelyn’s has come up with a new concept where head chef Phil Cardy create a new dish each day, based on … well, whatever the hell the kitchen team feel like cooking.

The first of many specials that the head chef is planning to work on was a ‘Beef Bennie’ – a toasted English muffin was topped with shredded fresh slaw, roast beef, a poached egg and smothered with miso hollandaise sauce.

This was followed by a lobster roll – buttered lobster stuffed inside a toasted brioche bun with wasabi Marie Rose sauce and fresh salad.

The chef’s special dish will be served alongside Evelyn’s regular brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

There will be limited availability and the dishes will be rotated often. So, once it’s gone, it’s really gone.

For more information and to book, visit: evelynscafebar.com.

What the Tier 3 lockdown rules mean for Greater Manchester’s restaurants, bars and pubs

After days of long and drawn-out discussions, it has been announced that Greater Manchester has been ‘forced’ into Tier 3.

On 12 October, the government revealed the details of a new approach to local lockdowns – a three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions.

Although initially avoiding the strictest measures, it has been announced that Greater Manchester will be placed into Tier 3 from midnight on Thursday 22 October.

In a public briefing at 5pm on 20 October, Boris Johnson reiterated that he wanted to avoid a national lockdown if at all possible but that the time had come to enforce the toughest measures in Greater Manchester.

Today’s announcement follows days of discussions between the government and local leaders.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and council leaders had opposed the move to Tier 3 due to what they described as a lack of scientific evidence and insufficient financial support for businesses and self employed people.

Local leaders were given a deadline of midday on Tuesday 20 October to accept an offer provided by the government but an agreement was not reached.

Burnham said in a press conference today that at no point were they offered a sufficient package to warrant an agreement to the new restrictions.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

He said: “How can we carry the public through this pandemic if we are forcing them to lose their income, their place of work without supporting them through that?”

“… We need to carry [the public] with us, not crush their spirit.”

Boris Johnson admitted that he knew these restrictions were tough but that ‘generous and extensive offer’ which was proportionate to what had been offered to Merseyside and Lancashire.

The offer on the table for consideration at midday was for £60 million but the amount announced at the briefing today was just £22 million.

What does ‘Tier 3’ mean?

The three-tier system divides England into Tier 1 (medium risk), Tier 2 (high risk) and Tier 3 (very high risk).

From 00:01 on Friday 23 October, Greater Manchester will join Merseyside and Lancashire in being placed under Tier 3 restrictions.

This means that pubs and bars in Greater Manchester will now have to close for at least 28 days, unless they serve a substantial meal.

Restaurants can stay open but existing restrictions will remain in place including table service, track and trace check ins and the controversial 10pm curfew.

Households are banned from mixing indoors and in ‘most outdoor settings’.

Alongside pubs and bars, casinos, bingo halls, betting shops and soft play areas will also have to close.

People are also now strongly advised from travelling in to or out of Greater Manchester.

Different households will no longer be able to meet in outdoor venues

The prime minister said in his statement that they would continue to work with local leaders in the different boroughs of Greater Manchester.

Retail businesses, as well as schools and universities remain unaffected for all tiers under the current system.

The new measures outlined today will come into force from 00:01 on Friday 23 October.

The new Scandinavian restaurant in Prestwich run by a Michelin-trained chef

A Michelin-trained chef has opened a new restaurant in Prestwich, serving Scandinavian-inspired dishes in a relaxed setting.

Whitefield-born Danielle Heron is behind the new opening. The 28-year-old studied at Manchester College and went on to work in some of the best restaurants in the world including two Michelin-starred L’enclume in the Lake District and three Michelin-starred Maaemo in Oslo.

Now, Danielle has decided to come closer to home to open her first solo venture alongside co-owner Sofie Stoermann-Naess, who she met at Kolonihagen Frogner, a neighbourhood restaurant, also in Oslo.

Osma entrance. Photos by Adam Pester

OSMA has now been open for three weeks, but Danielle and Sofie had originally planned to open in May, receiving the keys to the restaurant on March 1.

Obviously lockdown happened, which stalled plans a little, but walking into the restaurant, there’s a real buzz about the place and it seems as though it has been worth the wait.

It is the latest new opening in Prestwich, adding to the increasingly impressive list of restaurants and bars, which is making the area a real destination for food and drink lovers.

Taking over what used to be the Diane Berry kitchen showroom in Prestwich, Osma’s interior more than lives up to its previous occupant’s vocation.

The restaurant is split into two parts. One side, the main dining area, has dark blue-green walls, floor to ceiling windows and a large black sharing table in the middle of the space, which has been split into sections to allow for social distancing.

Hovering above the table is a cloud of dried flowers, suspended by transparent thread so it really does appear to float.

The other side is light and airy with pastel coloured walls, pink and gold chairs, large booths and a long bar.

Ham & cheese toastie with onion and thyme jam & Gochujang mayo

A relaxed affair, the Scandinavian-inspired menu features a regularly changing selection of open sandwiches and fresh salads which cost between £7 and £8.50.

The open sandwiches are served on the infamous Pollen bakery bread with toppings such as; roast topside of beef with cucumber, crispy onions and horseradish; toasted rye with shrimps and soft boiled egg; and tuna marinated in roasted jalapeno.

The tuna is perfect, small cubes of fresh tuna loin, which is lightly smoky and spicy but not overpoweringly so. Served simply on toasted bread with a sprinkling of raddicchio leaves, it truly doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

Salads include spicy crab with coriander and edamame, confit chicken leg with romaine lettuce and a parmesan dressing, and baked beetroot with avocado and feta.

The ingredients of the salads are tossed together meaning that each bite contains the perfect amount of each and every element.

Three nights a week (Thursday to Saturday), OSMA operates as a ‘food-bar’ serving a frequently-changing menu of small plates, accompanied by funky wines and creative cocktails.

While the daytime menu sticks fairly closely to the Scandivian style, the dinner menu takes influence from a wide range of cuisines.

One of the dishes on the menu currently is ceviche, inspired by Danielle’s time in the Peruvian capital, Lima. They’ve also had Japanese-inspired dishes in the past.

Small plates – priced between £3.50 and £7 – include Pollen sourdough with whipped pork skin butter, mushroom carpaccio with truffle, cod karaage with homemade garlic mayo and roasted cauliflower steak.

Sample desserts include croissant bread and butter pudding and roasted plum crumble with crème anglaise (both £5).

Owners Danielle and Sofie said: “OSMA will use ingredients from local British farms and producers, showcasing their products in their purest form by letting each ingredient speak for itself.

Chef Danielle Heron preparing the soup

“Seasonality will naturally be a big part of how we design our menus and will influence the interior of the space.

“Our goal is to provide healthy, creative, tasty food with influences from around the world, building on the experiences we have gained over the years working and travelling.

“It’s great to be back home and see the buzz about the neighbourhood, which features plenty of independent restaurants. We are excited about getting going and serving the community some great food in a friendly, relaxed environment.”

“OSMA has been designed to attract every walk of life and offer something for everyone. You can dine at a window table, in booth seating or sit at the bar to watch the chefs working.

“We also have a large communal table with power points, perfect for a fast working lunch, as a social meeting table for cocktails or for larger groups out to celebrate.”

OSMA is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday and Wednesday (8am to 5pm) and all day the rest of the week; 8am to 10pm Thursday and Friday; and 10am to 10pm Saturday and Sunday.

The space in Prestwich (ex-Furniture store) gets lots of natural light
The team wanted a large table for when communal eating returns

For more information and to view the full menu visit: osmakitchenbar.com

A look inside the newly refurbished Crown and Kettle

Northern Quarter pub, Crown and Kettle, has finally reopened for business following a beautiful refurbishment.

The pub has stood on the site since 1734 and the refurb has retained many of the features of the original building; notably the ceiling from 1800s. The tables, too, are the same as before, they’ve just had a good polish.

The back room to the pub with its open fire

It’s a wonderful mesh of the old and the new, traditional and contemporary, rough and polished; with freshly painted navy blue walls contrasting against exposed brick and wood panels.

The ceiling itself is an impressive spectacle, with large stone columns, which used to hold chandeliers, reaching down from intricately detailed ceiling roses.

Long traditional windows in the bar area stretch up towards the high ceiling, letting in tons of natural light, reflecting against shiny gold beer pumps and brass lamps. A wood burning fire and the dark walls makes for a very cosy seating area.

Crown and Kettle is now completely independent and is under the management of Alex Daw, who is behind arts venue Sidney & Matilda in Sheffield.

The free house has a rotating selection of 20 independent keg lines and six keg beers, with a focus on supporting regional and national indie brewers.

Parts of the refurb have involved stripping back parts of the pub to its original features

The pub can be found on the corner of Great Ancoats street and Oldham Road which, as you’ll know if you’ve walked, driven or existed around that part of town recently, has been hit pretty hard by roadworks. So much so, the pub is currently using a temporary entrance on Oldham Road.

Crown and Kettle is currently open from noon until 10pm every day with no bookings required.

For more information and updates, visit: instagram.com/thecrownandkettle.


The winners of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival awards 2020 revealed

Manchester’s best restaurants, bars, cafes and other operators were celebrated at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival virtual awards ceremony last night.

It’s been a challenging year for the hospitality industry as a whole and for MFDF which had to postpone its Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens this year due to covid-19.

Despite not being able to open the Hub, MFDF was still able to go ahead with various parts of the programme including events at restaurants, at-home elements like delivery boxes and, of course, the MFDF awards.

The rescheduled event will now take place from 1 to 11 April, 2021, which – silver lining – will hopefully mean that we get two food and drink festivals in one year.

The Festival Hub in Cathedral Gardens

The winners of the MFDF awards would normally be revealed at a gala dinner event, which for the last two years has been hosted at Gorton Monastery.

This year, however, the awards ceremony was hosted virtually and live-streamed on Facebook from Moda Angel Gardens.

Nominees for the awards waited for the announcements in a virtual ‘green room’ as presenter, BBC 6 Music’s Matt White revealed the winners.

This also meant that for the first time, the public was able to watch along too; fitting, as all winners this year were decided purely by public vote.

The live-streamed event was hosted by BBC 6 Music’s Matt White

The categories for the awards this year were adapted in order to reflect the ways that the hospitality industry has had to change due to covid-19 – and to celebrate the hard work of those who were able to overcome these challenges.

New awards for 2020 include Best DIY delivery food offering, Best food and drink delivery box, Best innovation, Best takeaway adaptation and the Lockdown Heroes award.

Commenting on the awards, Phil Jones, Manchester Food and Drink Festival’s Founding Director, said:

“We’re very pleased to be able to recognise our brilliant hospitality sector during this extraordinarily difficult time. MFDF is proud to celebrate such a wonderful range of businesses and individuals, all showcasing the strong stuff that our local industry is made of.

“There’s been huge amounts of innovation and creativity – even during such a tough time, we’ve much to celebrate.

“Congratulations to all the winners, and nominees – the Festival will continue to support the industry however it can over the coming months … roll on April 2021”.

The full list of winners for the Manchester Food and Drink Festival awards 2020

Best online ‘at home’ food and drink content

Sponsored by Moda Angel Gardens

Winner: Cork of the North – For their live wine tasting masterclasses broadcast via social media.

Cork of the North won an award for their virtual wine tasting events

The Shortlist:

Andrew Nutter – For his online cookery videos broadcast via social media.

Higher Ground – For their live cook-alongs broadcast via social media

Manchester Gin – For their live gin masterclasses broadcast via social media.

Rachel Stockley/Baratxuri – For her online cookery videos broadcast via social media.

Sienna & Maurizio Cecco from Salvi’s – For their live cook-alongs and online cookery videos all broadcast via social media

Simon Wood – For his online cookery videos broadcast via social media

Six By Nico –  For their Now Cooking series broadcast via social media

Best restaurant takeaway adaptation

Sponsored by Just Eat

The winner: Rudy’s Pizza Bake at home pizzas

The nominees:



Hip Hop Chip Shop

Mughli Charcoal Pit

Six by Nico

Wolf at The Door

Yang Sing

Best DIY delivery food offering

Sponsored by Roomzzz Aparthotels

The winner: Northern Soul Grill it Yourself Kit

The nominees:

Adam Reid – Great British Menu Box

Baratxuri – Menu Delivery Boxes

DD’s Burgers at The Koffee Pot – The Lockdown DIY Burger Kit

Elite Bistros at Home

Hawksmoor at Home

Wood at Home

Yao Yao Noodles – Ramen Kit Delivery

Best food and drink delivery box

The winner: ShinDigger Brewing Co beer delivery boxes in under 3 hours 

Shindigger delivered beer boxes in under three hours throughout lockdown

The nominees:

Grandad Sausages – “The Sausage Hotline”-  Delivering BBQ kits and breakfast packs

Great North Pie Co – Pie box delivery

Lupo Caffe Italiano – Italian treats and veg boxes

R Noone and Son- Fruit and veg boxes

Reserve Wines – Wine box deliveries

The Crafty Cheese Man – Cheese board delivery boxes

Zouk –  BBQ boxes

Best Innovation 

Sponsored by Hun Wine

The winner: Stretford Foodhall – finding innovative ways to serve the community right the way through lockdown… from street food takeaway to free grocery delivery for the vulnerable.

Stretford Foodhall won the Best Innovation award

 The shortlist:

Grub-E-Mart  – hosting street vendors online for orders and collections

Levenshulme Market – providing a platform for traders to go online as well as local charities

Andrew Nutter – Nutter’s Cheese and Wine Boutique

Cloudwater – supporting other breweries through the crisis, letting them use their webshop and supporting Higher Ground with deliveries.

Didsbury Gin – moving gin production to hand sanitiser

Manchester Union Lager- growler collection and refills

House of Hops – investing in canning production to enable them to order, pour, seal and deliver beer on the same day

Newcomer of the Year

Sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon

The winner: Escape to Freight Island 

Newcomer of the Year was awarded to Escape to Freight Island

The shortlist:

The Bull & Bear

The Edinburgh Castle Pub

Six By Nico

Higher Ground

Perfect Match

Street Urchin

Stretford Food Hall

Best online veggie/vegan offering

Sponsored by Meatless Farm

The winner: Wholesome Junkies

The shortlist:

Blue Caribou Canteen

Yao Yao Noodles

Vaso Indian Kitchen

The Walled Gardens by Eddie Shepherd


The Ottomen

Pasta Factory

Artisan drinks producer of the year

Sponsored by Franklin & Sons

The winner: ShinDigger Brewing Co

The shortlist:

Didsbury Gin

Four Sisters

Manchester Gin

Diablesse Rum

Manchester Union Lager

Cloudwater Brewing

Track Brew Co

Takeaway coffee experience of the year

The winner: Ancoats General Store

Takeaway coffee experience of the year went to Ancoats General Store

The shortlist: 

Just Between Friends

Federal Cafe Bar

Foundation Coffee House


Heart & Graft Coffee

Another Heart to Feed

Manchester Coffee Co

Street food trader of the year

The winner: Oh Mei Dumpling

Oh Mei Dumpling is the Street Food Trader of the Year 2020

The shortlist: 

The Ottomen

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium

Nasi Lemak


Abeja Tapas Bar

I Knead Pizza

Jerk Shack

Lockdown Heroes

Sponsored by Manchester Evening News

The winner: Eat Well MCR

The shortlist: 

Linda Lam

Lymefield Farm Shop

Stockport Foodie Friday

Open Kitchen Manchester

Mama Z

Gareth Worthington

Tibetan Kitchen

Howard and Ruth Outstanding Achievement Award

Recognising someone who has contributed something outstanding to the food and drink industry in Greater Manchester. 

Mary-Ellen McTague from The Creameries and Eat Well MCR.  

The moment Mary Ellen realised she’d won the Howard & Ruth Outstanding achievement award


Roxy Ballroom opens huge new bowling and games bar in former Birdcage site

Roxy Ballroom has opened a huge new bowling and games bar in Manchester.

Like the original venue on Deansgate, the new Roxy Ballroom is a temple of adult-only entertainment, complete with six lanes of full-size bowling, six beer pong battle stations, two Olympic standard ping pong Tables and two full size shuffleboard tables.

There is also a classic arcade which includes multi-player donkey derby style racing games, plus an NBA basketball machine.

New for Manchester, Roxy Ballroom is debuting their newly launched game, Crazy Pool, at the Withy Grove site which, as the name suggests, is a mash-up between crazy golf and pool.

Using pool cues instead of golf putters, players have to navigate a series of obstacles to pot their ball on the waist-high mini-golf course.

Another new game, Bank Shot Shuffleboard will come to the venue later this year, a twist on the popular game features a shuffleboard that loops back on itself so that the puck goes around and back into the scoring area.

The huge new open plan site is kitted out in Roxy Ballroom’s signature style with UV graffiti wall paintings and set to an indie backing track.

Roxy’s are describing this as a first-of-a-kind mini golf for pool

The food menu features a selection of American-style dishes, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options too. Players can enjoy a selection of nibbles such as frickles (deep fried pickles), mac n cheese bites and halloumi fries (£5 each or 3 for £12.50).

The pizzas, which come served as a half (£7), full (£12) or a triple (£30), can be topped with BBQ jackfruit, spicy meatballs or falafel and tahini. Gluten free bases are also available.

There are also loaded nachos (£5 – £7), chicken wings (5 for £6) and burgers, including their signature dish the ‘Roxy Stack’ (£15).

Not for the faint hearted, this mammoth burger consists of a double beef patty, cripsy chicken fillets, crispy bacon, mac n cheese bites, onion straws, lettuce, red onion, burger sauce and served with cracked pepper chips.

The drinks menu features an extensive draught beer and cider range, with up to 16 draught lines, including local craft beers, on offer at any time.

Alongside classic cocktails like Long Island Ice Tea and Mai Tai, is Roxy’s signature cocktail list (all £7.50), featuring mixes like the Roxy Spritz (Amaretto, lemon, Prosecco) and Baby Got Back Spin (Absolut vodka, pineapple, mango, lime, agave).

Opening its doors to the public on Friday 2nd October, the new venue is initially open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 3pm during the week and 12pm at the weekends, closing at 10pm each night.

Due to current Covid regulations, Roxy Ballroom is currently taking bookings of up to six guests from one household. All games can be pre-booked, and there will be enhanced cleaning between all games.

Roxy Ballroom’s brand development manager, Joel Mitchell said: “Our venue on Deansgate has proved hugely popular with the Manchester community and so we’re really excited to be expanding with a second site in the city centre.

“Our new venue features some of the games our existing customers have already come to know and love, with a few new additions that you won’t be able to get anywhere else”

“We pride ourselves on offering a fun environment for our customers and staff to enjoy. We want to reassure customers that the Roxy Ball Room experience will be safe but uncompromised. It goes without saying that our venues and staff have undertaken and implemented strict risk assessments and hygiene measures across each Roxy Ball Room.”

Roxy Ball Room opens on Withy Grove on Friday 2nd October. For more information or to book visit the website.

More Arcade games will be added over the next few months. Shipping some of them from the US has been delayed due to Covid.

Manchester restaurants and bars join call to ‘cancel the curfew’

Remember August?

Politicians posing pulling pints and serving plates, and encouraging us to dine out at restaurants by giving us £10 off our bill.

And as instructed, many of us did #EatOutToHelpOut, and the initiative was widely viewed as a well-needed boost for hospitality businesses.

Since then, Manchester restaurants have introduced a range of new measures in the face of ever-changing restrictions in order to ensure their customers’ safety.

Less than 12 weeks after hospitality businesses were allowed to reopen their doors to the public, the industry has been been ordered to close their doors for 10pm; causing venues to lose multiple hours of trade every day.

Back in August. Photo by Adam Pester

This week, hospitality professionals from cities across England and Wales have come together to launch a new campaign – Cancel the Curfew – in an attempt to raise awareness amongst consumers of the impact that the policy is having on their industry.

An open letter to the Prime Minister warns that, at a time when many bars and restaurants are already operating at a reduced capacity, the curfew could be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for many of these businesses.

Tom Lord, founder of Hospitality Gin and hospitality consultant, says: “The industry that we love is in grave danger of being suffocated by this curfew. Some venues were starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel before it was announced as customers returned and we all settled into ‘the new normal’. Now we’ve been plunged back into uncertainty.”

“We want the British public to know the impact that the curfew is going to have, not just on our businesses, but on our friends and colleagues. We have borne the brunt of the measures announced over the past fortnight. We are vilified as breeding grounds for the virus, yet Public Health England’s own figures show this is not true. In fact, the latest figures show that we have one of the lowest infection rates outside of the home.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs as a direct result of this disastrous policy, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again. Stop blaming hospitality, let us serve.”

A report shared by the Hospitality Union using data from Public Health England, details the locations of traceable infections of Coronavirus outside of the home. In this week’s report, 44% of those were in schools or universities, 25% were in care homes, 16% in offices and 5% in hospitals.

Just 3% of traceable infections were from food outlets and restaurants, leaving many hospitality businesses feeling unfairly vilified by the new restrictions.

Organisers of Cancel the Curfew hope that people will join them in pressuring the government to U-turn on the policy.

The movement has already gained traction on social media, with thousands of hospitality leaders, operators and employers, as well as those who love hospitality, joining the call to #CANCELTHECURFEW.

One Manchester bar, Mojos, has even responded by banning MPs from their venues and calling on others to do the same, saying that they won’t serve them until they provide viable financial support to the hospitality sector.

Michael Greenhow of Mojo said: “With neither evidence to support the assumption that hospitality is driving infection – only 35 cases reported in the sector and as of yet no sign of the threatened dramatic upturn in deaths, the move to curtail the operational hours of our already crippled industry seems unjust and punitive, not to mention illogical and irrational.

“Are people more infectious after 10pm? Hospitality has slaved to work responsibly within the constraints laid out for us and now we are being thrown aside with scant concern for the impact these measures will have on our businesses and the wider economy.”

Federal Cafe team opens Portuguese custard tart stall inside Arndale Market

Anyone who has been on holiday to Lisbon knows the pure joy of spending a lazy day wandering through the streets, powered purely by hourly breaks for espresso and a pastel de nata.

And, even if you’ve never stepped onto Portguese shores, these flaky, cinnamon-dusted, golden cups of sunshine-yellow custard have made quite the name for themselves in the UK in recent years.

So popular are Portuguese custard tarts, or pastéis de nata, that one Manchester trader has decided to devote their entire menu to this humble pastry.

Just Natas has opened in Manchester Arndale market, joining the ever-growing list of great food traders set up in the market.

Selling only pasteis de nata and espresso, the stall is open from 10am to 5pm (or until they sell out).

The stall is open from 10am to 5pm (or until they sell out).

Much more than a simple custard tart, there really is something special about the pastel de nata, and Just Natas’ version is as close as you’ll get to the real thing this side of Lisbon.

Layers of impossibly crisp pastry encase a thick shiny custard, bright yellow from rich egg yolks, which caramelises beautifully with dark splodges across its surface when baked.

Just Natas is a concept from the brains behind the ever-popular Australian brunch spot Federal Cafe Bar, where pasteis de nata have been on the menu since opening.

Federal owners Claudio and Emily have had the Arndale market stall where Just Natas is now situated for a year and half, but it had previously been occupied by another trader.

With the stall being empty since the start of the pandemic and, seeing how popular the natas had been at Federal, Claudio, who was born in Portugal, decided to take the opportunity to focus purely on this traditional pastry from his home country. 

Claudio said: “I thought of a few different things to put in there, like a fish and chip stall, which the market doesn’t have. I thought of something else Portuguese, but I just thought, these custard tarts are really good and they’re so popular at Federal that it made sense just to do that and try to do the best ones I could.”

The tarts are baked fresh daily and are available until they sell out.

Official opening hours are from 10am to 5pm; however, Just Natas has not yet reached closing time without selling out of all their stock. So why is this humble custard tart so popular?

The Just Natas stall in the Arndale Market and their box of 6 Natas

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