Bar Buzz EXTRA – March 2020

Flixton & Urmston

The team behind Urmston’s BrewChimp bar have opened a second outlet in nearby Flixton.

The new BrewChimp is located at 432 Flixton Road opposite Flixton train station in what was previously Bistro 432 and before that AT’s Café. It follows a similar beer / wine bar hybrid model to the Urmston original.

A small bar sits at the far corner as you enter with four handpumps serving two beers from Beartown, one of which is the house BrewChimp Session ale and two guests. CAMRA members are offered a 10% discount on cask ales.

The bar has launched a regular series of Foodie Thursdays where they welcome a local independent street food trader to serve up food to accompany your drinks.

BrewChimp Flixton ©BrewChimp

Urmston’s The Assembly recently celebrated its second birthday. After completing an initial arrangement with Thornbridge Brewery, it is now sourcing cask ales from a wide range of breweries both local and national and has plans to add a third cask pump before the summer.

When Beer Buzz called the day before the second Birthday party, the two handpumps offered Tiny Rebel’s Pango and Pomona Island’s Session IPA (an early offer of the Pomona Island tap takeover planned for the birthday weekend). In keeping with the bar’s policy, both were on sale at keen prices for the local area.

The Assembly are also in the early stages of planning a nano-brewery for the bar. They plan to install a 100 litre brew kit (just over two 9 gallon casks or three 30 litre kegs per brew) on the bar’s upper floor and will add two additional keg lines to sell their own brew beers.

The bar has been voted as Trafford & Hulme CAMRA’s Pub of The Season for Spring 2020.

GRUB expansion

Street food and bar operator GRUB has raised over £18,000 to develop their Red Bank home (pictured below) through a crowdfunding campaign.

GRUB on Redbank ©Graham Donning

Plans to develop the space, on the outskirts of Manchester’s Green Quarter, include providing free space to charities and other groups who work to help the people of Manchester and provide opportunities for artists, makers and creatives to run events, workshops and exhibitions.

The funds will be used to build a new garden including a covered seating and workshop area using recycled materials. They will also develop a market hall to house a weekly arts market and build a 60-seater performance space.

GRUB also intend to develop their programme of free mentoring and training for amateur chefs looking to start a street food business. They will be investing in equipment to help them further this project including providing free training to potential operators.

New Scandi café bar for city

Beatnikz Republic Brewery’s owners are opening a new Scandi-style cafe bar on Spring Gardens in the city centre.

Lättsam, which means easy-going or light-hearted in Swedish, will serve ten lines of craft beer from Beatnikz Republic and Nordic breweries such as Lervig, Mikkeller and Dry & Bitter. There will also be artisan coffee, cocktails and natural wines.

There will be an all-day food offering starting with breakfasts, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and then an after-work meal menu.

Décor will follow the Scandinavian theme with pale concrete brickwork and splashes of timber.

Subject to planning and licensing, the café-bar should open late May or early June. Intended opening hours will be from 8am until late on weekdays, and 9am until later at weekends.

Fresh beer & bar billiards

The Smithfield Market Tavern has a brand new cellar install with six cask lines, one handpump cider line and thirteen keg lines replaced (including new handpulls on the bar)

©John O’Donnell

After being out of action for a couple of years, the pub’s bar billiards table is now back in operation. The traditional pub game was developed in the 1930s from the French/Belgian game billard russe. It is played on a table with no side or corner pockets but with nine holes in the playing surface which are assigned various point values ranging from 10 to 200. Seven white and one red ball must be potted through the holes to score points while not knocking down pegs which stand in front of the 100 and 200 point holes.

City Centre shorts

The Salisbury Ale House has been awarded the ‘Pint Perfection’ accolade at this year’s Star Pubs and Bars Awards. 2500 pubs from the Heineken owned pub chain were eligible for the award which recognises the highest standards of cellarmanship in keeping both cask and keg beers. The pub scored 10/10 in all ten of the judging criteria – faultless from the range of brands on offer, staff friendliness and product knowledge, to quality of serve and the fresh smell and taste of the beer.

Operations Manager Joe Gaskin and Bar Supervisor Jordan Murray
Photo © Bernard Platt

The Molly House on Richmond Street in the Village is planning a beer festival on the Spring bank holiday weekend (22 – 25th May).

Vegetarian Indian Street food restaurant and craft beer bar Bundobust have announced plans for a second restaurant in the city and that the new venue will include their own microbrewery. The group which began life in Leeds and now also has a restaurant in Liverpool has taken over a space known as The Cartway in the St James Building on Oxford Street (next door to the Palace Theatre). Formerly an indoor car park, the glass roofed restaurant will have space for 150 covers alongside the new Bundobust brewery. It is expected to open in May.

Trafford & Hulme shorts

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA named Hulme’s The Salutation as its Pub Of The Season for Winter 2019/20. The pub which is operated by Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Bollington Brewery was praised for serving top quality cask ales to a diverse clientele ranging from students, university staff and Hulme locals.

The Carter’s Arms in Northern Moor has introduced a discount on cask ales to card carrying CAMRA members who now receive 10% off.

Chorlton’s The Royal Oak may not be a pub where craft beer fans are likely to head to worship their DIPAs and TIPAs but it is attracting another kind of worshipper. Every Sunday morning, the function room at the Greene King owned pub hosts The Redeemer Church where the faithful gather together to sing songs, hear from the Bible & pray together.

The owner of Cumbria’s Fell Brewery has applied for a licence to open a bar in Chorlton. The premises at 518 Wilbraham Road, opposite The Lloyds pub, was previously women’s clothing store Freds.

The application plans to open a “relaxed and informal craft beer bar” with opening hours of 11am to 12:30am every day of the week.

Threatened Pubs

©Jon Gobett

The concerns over the future of The Stonemasons Arms in Timperley reported in the previous issue of Beer Buzz have been confirmed.

Continuing his brutally honest Facebook video updates, landlord Simon Delaney confirmed in January that the pub had been in difficulty, laying the blame firmly on the financial information provided by owners Greene King prior to signing a five-year lease in 2018 having massively understated the overheads of the pub.

Greene King went to court to get a repossession order on the pub but Simon and his partner Rachel, who also operate The Firbank Pub & Kitchen in Wythenshawe, remained in negotiations and hopeful of being able to reach agreement to continue at the pub.

However, on 20th February, Simon announced, in another emotional video blog, that they would be leaving the pub in April. Although committing to business as usual until they leave, they could not provide any information on what Greene King’s plans for the pub are.

Beer Buzz wishes Simon and Rachel all the best for the future and thanks them for their efforts during 18 months in Timperley. We continue to have concerns for the pub’s future under Greene King’s control who will now have seen three tenants walk away in three years.

The Railway in Broadheath remains closed while the building’s owners and potential tenant negotiate on who is to pay for sorting out the building’s aged electrical system.

The Grade II listed pub which sits on the edge of Altrincham’s massive retail park is included on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors (pubheritage.camra.org.uk) which describes it as “an unpretentious Victorian pub”. The cut and etched glass door panels, fixed seating, bell pushes and the curvaceous panelled counter in the drinking lobby are all considered of significant historical worth.

Railway – Vault ©Mick Slaughter LRPS

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA submitted an application to have the pub listed as an Asset Of Community Value (ACV) on 4th December. Trafford council have once again failed to meet the expectations of national guidelines which say that a determination should have been made by 29th January. As Beer Buzz went to press (two weeks after that date), CAMRA had only just received acknowledgement of the application.

Regular readers will know that it took Trafford Council over six months to list Stretford’s The Robin Hood as an ACV. The developer who owns the building appealed against the listing but at a hearing in January attended by representatives of applicants The Friends Of The Robin Hood and CAMRA, their appeal was dismissed.

The Robin Hood ©Bob Dunbar

The planning application to turn the pub building into eleven apartments and build ten houses on the car park was suddenly and unexpectedly withdrawn in early February. It is not known what the developers next move will be but local campaigners continue to make the case for at least some of the building being retained for use by the community.

The fight to save Hulme’s The Church Inn goes on. The former JW Lees pub has been closed for a number of years with developers hoping to build a tower block of apartments for students on the site. After a previous application was rejected, revised plans lowering the height of the tower were submitted bt at a hearing on 13th February, the Planning & Highways committee recommended refusal on the grounds of overdevelopment and loss of local amenity.

Pub becomes laughing stock

A new comedy night at Chorlton’s The Font bar became rather more successful than anticipated.

The January debut of a monthly night of jokes and laughter at the Manchester Road bar was a total sell out, so much so that the bar had to be closed to non-ticket holders for three hours on a Monday evening.

The next night will be held on March 16th with Vikki Stone –  “The bastard love child of Victoria Wood & Tim Minchin”, comedian Steve Royale & Resident MC Tony Vino. The date for April’s night has yet to be confirmed but is expected to be Monday 20th April.

Lee’s tame the Lion

Middleton brewer JW Lees has bought Withington’s Red Lion from Marston’s. The extended former coaching inn on Wilmslow Road between Withington & Didsbury dates from the 17th Century. It features a bowling green surrounded by an extensive outdoor seating area which makes this a popular pub in summer.

Apart from a new menu and the installation of Lees’ beers on the bar, there have been no major changes as of yet, although locals have reported beer prices have increased.

One less slice of Pi

While outside of the Beer Buzz area, we were saddened to hear that Pi (Rose Lane), the Liverpool suburban sibling of Pi Altrincham and Pi Chorlton closed on 31st January due to what a statement on their Facebook page called “a sudden and unexpected surge in overheads”. Opening in 2011 as the second Pi bar , it was a Good Beer Guide regular which regularly saw Liverpool beer lovers make the pilgrimage out to Mosley Hill. The standing room only closing night was testimony to how highly regarded the bar was.

The closure does not affect the Chorlton and Altrincham bars and while describing the decision to close the Liverpool venue as “heart wrenching”, the owners have indicated that they are working on a plan to stay in the area.

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