Jonathan Schofield with one of our smaller reviews for interesting places that might be overlooked

What: Everyman Cinema

Where: ABC Building, 23 Quay St, M3 4AS

Food/ Drink type: American-inspired movie food

When: From noon and through show times

Independent or chain: Independent sort of chain

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Through the gardens and over the dead Image: Confidentials


The prettiest access to Everyman Cinema is via St John's Garden through the flowers blanketing the 24,000 corpses in the former graveyard. Beauty and death is so cinematic after all. 

The entrance from Quay Street is not so bad either, via a long passageway constituting the ABC Art Gallery. The most striking feature here is the Cor-ten steel mitt with two fingers raised. From one side it's telling people to eff-off, from the other it's saying the opposite and is a feature of every Chinese teenager's photographs. 

There are lots of pictures of Manc bands and other rock'n'roll celebs in the gallery. The large Hacienda graphic will get every old bore whinging about Manchester needing to move on. Read this on that theme. 

There is logically lots of film-memorabilia en route to the handsome cafe and bar of Everyman Cinema. Here are vivid reds, Barcelona chairs and moody lighting. The design is all about creating an Art Deco ethos echoing the Golden Age of cinema. It works very well. The inclusion of a punctured concrete wall from the original seventies buildings (I think) adds texture to the design.

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Cafe interior Image: Confidentials
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Vivid interior colours and a punctured seventies concrete wall Image: Confidentials
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The Gallery leading from Quay Street Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

The food is Americana, sort of. This is part of the ethos of the indie-spirited chain, in that you can purchase nosh, take your generous seats in one of the cinemas and then chow down while staring at the silver screen. 

There are sharing plates, burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and deliberately sickly pudds. The reason why cinemas have always attracted unhealthy foods is unclear. Is it they were once seen, and probably still are, as transgressive escapes, where the humdrum mundanities of normal life didn't and don't apply? That possibly but maybe this is food that is easy to prepare too. 

Everyman Cinema does the food offering better than the multiplexes and better than the cinemas at arthouse HOME.

The hot honey halloumi (£6.05) is a case in point. These are good; sticky, sweet, juicy and with the chillis given extra zing. A squeeze of lemon on them helps things along. 

The portion size is so small it's odd the dish is on the 'sharing' section of the menu. If you order it for two hope the other person hates halloumi. 

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Halloumi with chilli Image: Confidentials

We had burgers for mains. I've decided not to eat pizzas for seven years and I'm four years in so that was never an option. The reason: I'm just bored of them. I'd give up sourdough if it weren't so bloody ubiquitous on menus. 

My burger, the 1216 (£14.90), was completely satisfying. As with the halloumi this was another juicy item complete with British beef, cured bacon, Red Leicester cheese, caramelised onion, 'potato scraps', pickle and harissa mayo. The combination worked a treat, the inclusion of the Red Leicester cheese with its nutty flavour was clever. 

The shrimp and avocado burger (£14.80) was also a success with king prawn, avocado, sweet chilli and a lime mayo. The mix here seemed positively healthy for a cinema meal: if burgers can be light and uplifting this was an example. The lime was the key.

The fries that came with the burgers were, for once, not actively offensive as is mostly the nature of these potato-based toothpicks. You can have the burger without the bun by the way and given the quality of the two we tried this might be a good shout. 

A carrot and orange cake with vanilla ice cream (£4.75) was moist and all right. Just that. This was the poorest thing we ate and felt as though it had come from a freezer cabinet in Iceland. The food is cooked and prepared in the Spielburger Kitchen, ho ho. 

There are cocktails but we shared a bottle of splendid Primativo Tomaresco (£36.10). This was the perfect match for the 1216 burger. 

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The 1216 burger, beefily juicy Image: Confidentials
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The righteous-feeling shrimp and avocado burger Image: Confidentials
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Carrot, orange cake and ice cream, yawn Image: Confidentials

Judgement Day

The Everyman cafe and bar is a cracking bolthole in the city. It might not be an obvious choice for an easy-going snack or meal but its low-lighting and good looks and its well-prepared food and range of drinks make for a great occasional destination. 

The informal service from staff always seems happy and contented with plenty of smiles and a willingness to chat if time allows. The people-watching as cinema-goers come and go is part of the appeal. The art gallery is worth a glance although not formally part of the Everyman offering. 

I've used this place several times without watching a film, indeed I wrote most of this article in the place. Maybe try it yourself, it's surprisingly relaxing and comfortable. 

Everyman Cinema Cafe and Bar, ABC Building, 23 Quay St, M3 4AS

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Everyman Cinema Cafe and Bar Image: Confidentials
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Everyman Cinema Cafe and Bar Image: Confidentials

Everyman Cinema Manchester is on Confidential Guides

Recommended by Confidential Guides

The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials.comand completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food 6.5/10

    Halloumi 6.5, 1216 Burger 7, Shrimp & avocado burger 7, carrot cake 5

  • Service 4/5

  • Ambience 3/5