Pies, pints, plays - this culture hotspot under the arches has it all

The new home of theatre 53two opened this weekend in one of the Grade II listed arches underneath Manchester Central. We stopped by last week for a first look at the new bar and theatre space on Watson Street.

Previous locations for the independent theatre group have only ever opened for performances, but the new venture started to welcome the public to the new space from Sunday 30 May.

We have always been a theatre with a bar, but now we’re more like a bar with a theatre attached

“We’re a pie and a pint sort of place,” General Manager Alex told us as she showed us around the warm and welcoming bar that will serve food from Bolton-based H.M.Pasties - one of our top 10 Manchester pie makers.

Beers from local brewery Brightside will be served behind the bar, as well as something stronger from fellow railway arch residents Manchester Gin.

Beers On Draught And Manchester Gin In The Background At 53Two Theatre And Bar
The bar at 53Two Theatre and Bar

Accessibility is of utmost importance to the team, and the bar is designed with a lowered section for wheelchair users, as well as low-level tables to ensure that everybody feels welcome in the space.

From 11pm, the front door will close to the public, but a certain lucky few industry insiders will be able to gain access via the secret members' entrance on Great Bridgewater Street: “Almost like the Press Club days when the cast from the Opera House would come for an afterparty.”

Performance Area With Chairs Inside 53Two Theatre And Bar
Performance area at 53Two theatre and bar
Cosy Snug With Sofas And A Library Of Books At 53Two Theatre And Bar
The cosy snug at 53Two theatre and bar

53two, which signed the lease on 4 January this year, has the space for 15 years so for the first time are able to plan ahead for full theatre seasons, long-term events and weddings. As well as birthday parties, launches and, well, you name it.

Alex said, “We have previously hosted wrestling nights, which may be a bit of a squeeze in this new space - but never say never!”

“We have always been a theatre with a bar, but now we’re more like a bar with a theatre attached. And we’re excited to open our doors to new guests and new people.”

53two is open now for walk-ins only from 11am - 11pm seven days a week serving coffee, pastries and bar snacks all day until 11pm.

Read now: Manchester International Festival 2021: Big Ben in Piccadilly Gardens

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