October 27th, 2011

Tim Bacon plans another new eaterie on Spinningfields

The Diary by Susannah Wright

Tim Bacon plans another new eaterie on Spinningfields

Tim Bacon outside the Oast House on Spinningfields

Is entrepreneur Tim Bacon trying to take over Spinningfields?

We only ask because the man with the drinking and dining Midas touch has opened an intriguing new venue this week, plans another next month, to add to Australasia earlier this year and The Alchemist 12 months ago.

The latest venture is The Oast House, a take on a traditional kiln hut where hops are dried for beer-brewing. Visitors to The Avenue in recent weeks will have noticed the interesting spectacle of a rustic wooden and brick building being constructed amid the swanky surroundings of designer shops.

“It is quite bizarre to have this 16th Century type place in the middle of all these posh shops,” laughs Tim.

“It’s a complete contrast to what's around here, but it’s a sort of fantasy place – it'll be fun.”

Tim, boss of Living Ventures, has been working with Spinningfields' developers, Allied London, to bring a light-hearted atmosphere to the area.

The temporary structure which has a two-year licence is made from reclaimed wood and bricks from an oast house in Ireland, and has barrel tables outside, with wooden tables and benches inside along with battered leather chairs.

It has a barbecue kitchen outside and a deli inside, and as a rustic-bistro pub, its focus will be on serving real ales and champagne.

“We wanted to bring a feminisation to a traditionally masculine pub,” says Tim.

“Champagne will be at sensible prices, to make it accessible to all, and we want it to be an escape, to put a smile on people’s faces.”

As well as The Oast House, Living Ventures is opening a cafe-deli in Spinningfields next month. Called Peppermint Bay, it is named after Tim’s home town in Tasmania.

The company also owns Grill On The Alley, just off Deansgate, and the Gusto chain of Italian eateries.

And they have two more Manchester venues planned for next year.

Tim says he's not fazed by opening more bars and restaurants in recession-hit times.

“You've just got to put your head down and get on with it,” he says. “People still want to go out and enjoy themselves. We just have to try and be better than the rest.

“We’re very fortunate because we’re still in growth, so it's all very exciting.”

The Oast House has its VIP launch bash tonight (Thursday), before opening proper tomorrow, while Peppermint Bay is due open next Wednesday.

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