FIRST LOOK: Artisan's New Cafe Bar Spinningfields
Confidential gets the first look around Living Ventures' latest project.
LIVING Ventures are rolling.
The Knutsford-based restaurant and bar operator behind some of Manchester's most popular venues (Alchemist, Australasia, Artisan, Manchester House, Oast House) recently posted sales nearing £80m for the last financial year - a 24% increase.
Artisan will open the doors to their new extension on Thursday 16 April
The group now operate 30 sites across eight brands, and they're not stopping there, with plans to open a further fifteen sites in 2015/16 including Gusto, Alchemist, Artisan and New World Trade Company sites in London, Leeds and Glasgow.
"Last year was a pivotal year seeing if the theory worked," LV boss Tim Bacon tells us, "we've allowed some of our bravest and brightest to step up and take control which has resulted in above industry standard like-for-like growth and rekindled thirst to open new sites.
"I would like to see sales pass £100m next year with the opening of fifteen new sites and the employment of a further 750 people," continued Bacon. "Amazing when you think it all started on the back of a fag packet in 1993."
You have to hand it to Bacon (who has been battling cancer for nearly fifteen years), very few, perhaps none, have done more to drive hospitality and jobs in the North West - Living Ventures now employ over 2200 people.
And they're not finished with Manchester, the original Spinningfields Alchemist is currently doubling in size; Australasia's baby brand Grand Pacific will launch in the former-Room restaurant this year; while Artisan - the group's hugely successful 450-capacity Spinningfields bar restaurant - will open the doors to their new extension on Thursday 16 April.
Artisan Cafe Bar will sit beneath the current 12,000 sq ft, 'warehouse chic' restaurant (LV's busiest Manchester restaurant) on Spinningfields' Avenue North and will feature a main ground floor bar with an outdoor seating terrace running along the Tower 12 ginnel.
The new venue - fronted by Spinningfields' most notorious FOH Hollywood Dave - will offer the same multifarious, meandering menu as upstairs (see here): small 'rustic' plates including French onion soup and baked camembert (£6.75), salads (from £3.50), wood-fired pizzas (from £10.95), oven-cooked chicken, pig, lamb, fishies and fat slabs of cow straight from the grill (from £12.50).
The drinks menu too is replicated, with thirty wines (from £4.25 per glass, £17 a bottle), seven bubbles (from £28.50 a bottle), eight beers (from £3.75) and over thirty cocktails (from £6.50) on offer.
Artisan's new cafe bar will be joined later in the year by a first floor cinema bar.
Artisan, Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BZ.
Set in a vast 12, 000 square foot, semi-industrial space on the first floor of The Avenue North in Spinningfields. Cooking goes back to basics in the fire, this is casual dining at its best. Think artist's loft studio meets concrete warehouse: stripped back and raw. Showcasing sculptures, murals, art installations.
Open all day, everyday, serving brunch on weekends as well as lacing the city with music and drink into the night.