Feast of bar and restaurant openings in Manchester in 2013 - and hopes for a Michelin Star
The Diary by Dianne Bourne
January 08, 2013
If you thought 2012 was busy with bar and restaurant launches, then prepare for a feast of openings in 2013.
First up will be the eagerly-anticipated launch of Damson restaurant at Media City. It will be the second Damson from boss Steve Pilling and acclaimed chef Simon Stanley, following on from the success of their Heaton Moor eaterie.
The restaurant is set to open at the end of the month, aiming to tempt all those media figures from the BBC studios all around it.
We can expect more from Steve in the months ahead too - for the huge transformation of The Courthouse on Deansgate is still underway, with his planned Mr Pilling's Restaurant and Chophouse to form part of the complex, which is hoped to be ready by the end of 2013.
Also this month we should get the first look at the revamped The French restaurant at The Midland Hotel, under the stewardship of Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan.
Hotel bosses are promising a "modern revamp" of the famed old dining room, which of course was the very first recipient of a Michelin Star when the gourmet gong was first established.
And later this month the bosses of Socio Rehab are to reveal what their bar is to become - now that they have decided to concentrate on their foody offerings. They've had huge success with their Almost Famous burger bar on the floors above, so rumours abound that Socio could become an extension of that.
They may face some competition on that front this year, though, as London-based Meat Liquor and Meat Market, is said to be eyeing a Manchester location for their brand.
Like Almost Famous, Meat Liquor is famed for its "no reservation" policy which ends up with hour-long waits for their huge meaty burger offerings.
In a similar vein, gourmet hot dog business Primo's, currently with branches in Yorkshire, is also said to be eyeing Manchester sites to feed the city's increasing appetite for posh versions of traditional takeaway grub.
One of the most eagerly-awaited openings will be the Restaurant at Manchester House on Spinningfields, the latest foodie launch from restaurant midases Living Ventures.
Boss Tim Bacon has joined forces with former Michelin-starred chef Aiden Byrne to create the new venue, with both stating their bold claims to win back a Michelin Star for Manchester.
It will comprise a second floor restaurant, as well as a 12th floor Sky Lounge, due to launch in May.
Tim is also busily working on Artisan, a pizza restaurant, which will also be based in the same building at Avenue North, just off Bridge Street and due to open May.
Living Ventures will be hoping for decent weather when they expand the swanky basement Australasia bar on Spinningfields upstairs to create the Grand Pacific Bar and Garden. The venue will house the unit cafe Peppermint Bay briefly occupied, launching in June.
Let's hope for plenty of sun this year, as 2013 will also see work start on the Sky Bar and Grill at foodie favourite Restaurant Bar & Grill on John Dalton Street.
After the success of the venue's Terrace offering on the side of the buidling, boss Steven Walker turns his attention to the top floor, with a mix of restaurant and lounge seating as well as its own wood-burning oven and charcoal grill.
There is also to be a full refurb of the ground floor of the restaurant with its own grill, to be ready by late spring.
On the entertainment front, expect to get your bowling shoes ready with two big bowling alley launches in the city centre.
February will see the grand opening of All Star Lanes, the first venue outside London for the "boutique" bowling alley firm.
Bosses are spending £2.5mn on the venue in the Great Northern Warehouse, off Peter Street. It will not only boast eight tenpin bowling lanes, but also a swanky cocktail bar and 80 cover restaurant, indoor barbecue as well as private bowling and dining faciliites and karaoke too!
It should open at the end of the Feb, with the launch bash planned for March 1.
Also in late March we can expect the bowling alley from the team behind the Black Dog Ballrooms and Liars Club in the city.
Bosses Ross MacKenzie and Jobe Ferguson are planning Dog Bowl (geddit?) in the former Cocotoo restaurant on what is becoming a burgeoning bar zone on Whitworth Street West.
Meanwhile Ross tells me he's eyeing the former Starbucks restaurant above the Liars Club on Bridge Street for possible expansion there also.
The basement tiki bar has been one of the city's success stories, and Ross reckons spreading into the upstairs venue might well be the answer to customer demand.
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A menu of Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition, an exotic blend of Indonesian and Southeast Asian influences. Australia's strong ties with Japan also help determine taste and style.