David Adamson reports back on recent goings on from across the city and beyond

In his regular report, Editor David Adamson - with help from Jonathan Schofield - looks back on some of the recent events from across the city and beyond.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Hold Fast Bar
Hold Fast Image: Confidentials

Wednesday 29th May

"Two pints of House Shit, please"

Weekly smartphone quiz @ Hold Fast

Pal and one-time colleague Jake 'the Ogdog' Ogden invited me down to the rebooted weekly smartphone quiz at Hold Fast, which takes place every Wednesday at 7pm and comes with the added incentive of free chicken nuggets for every team. It's not easy to turn those down, especially with a pint of 'House Shit', which I'm reliably informed tastes 'just like Becks'.

Pub quiz names ranged from the predictably punny - Takin' care of Quizzness - via the baffling and admirably tidy The Wikipedophiles (eventual winners) and finally, surely courtesy of a pub bore, 115 Charges. Pass me my crowbar. 

Jake pulled rank and decided on Quiz in my Y-fronts (I know), where I suggested my go-to favourite, The Ghost of Chris Tarrant's Past. Next time.

The winning team gets a £50 tab, £20 for runners up, the 4-7pm Happy Hour continues throughout and there's the aforementioned nugs. We finished third.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Hold Fast Smartphone Quiz
The quiz team names Image: Confidentials

Ragged and half-remembered knowledge to one side, Hold Fast is a proper after-work, after-anything type of place where you can lollop down the stairs (carefully) and plonk yourself down at the bar or in a booth for the foreseeable. To paraphrase, it's a hole down which I'd happily fall. 

Plenty of places strive and brand and decorate in the hopes of being tagged with that phrase that probably had 1880s New Yorkers rolling their eyes - 'dive bar'. Hmm. Countless bars follow the mantra of Dolly Parton, "You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap". Hold Fast is that sort of place without affectation or seemingly a lick of paint.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Hold Fast Sign
A hole down which I'd happily fall Image: Confidentials

Prior to Hold Fast we'd stopped at Lawn Club in Spinningfields, which was unveiling its Big Screen for the Euros. Dressed up in Lucozade branding, it's a little incongruous with the aesthetic of Lawn Club, but it's a big screen in open space with a bar within staggering distance. If the sun's out I'd certainly give it a go.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Lawn Club Screen
The Big Screen at Lawn Club Image: Confidentials

Peak behind the Lucozade screen and you'll see the wraparound facade of the incoming Louis', the third brainchild of brothers Adam and Drew Jones following a decade's success with footballer favourite Tattu and the quick popularity of Mykonian playset Fenix.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Louis Spinningfields
Louis' Image: Confidentials

Promising to be inspired by New York, I'm curious what form that will take. 60s and 70s Goodfellas glamour? Giuliani bankruptcy chic? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Bundobust
Bundobust Image: Confidentials

Wednesday 5th June

Bundobust X Manchester Craft Beer Festival preview

Manchester Craft Beer Festival kicks off on 5 July at Mayfield Depot, and alongside a plethora of pints, half pints and the odd unfinished fruity one there'll be food from plant-based Indian street food favourites, Bundobust. 

I'm not picky, but would still have to be coaxed to go somewhere with a fully plant-based menu. Which is why it's good that I do this job. Hayden and I were invited down and tried the Munch menu, all of which was delicious and not remotely fun-free. As my mum always told me, you need to line your stomach if you're going out drinking.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Bundobust Craft Beer Fest Snacks
Bundobust beer snacks Image: Confidentials
2024 06 14 Safari 4 Bundobust Food
Some of the dishes on offer Image: Confidentials

"A communist lunch fit for a king"

No one lies on their deathbed wishing they’d eaten more meal deals. Aside from the very clear and present danger of e-coli, they’re just a bit depressing. I've never seen a cheery face carrying a triangular sandwich, snack size packet of crisps and a bottle of Diet Coke. By the time the numerous BLTs have battered your colon to a fine paste you’ll be praying for the sweet embrace of oblivion, where at least you don’t have to worry about what to eat for lunch.

2024 06 17 Safari 4 Workers Lunch
Tampopo Workers' Lunch Image: Confidentials
2024 06 14 Safari 4 Tampopo Workers Lunch
Satay chicken with soy stained egg, rice and cucumber Image: Confidentials

Leftovers are always best, but if you need to spend some money I would heartily suggest Tampopo’s ‘Workers Lunch’, where for £8 (takeaway) or £10 (eat in) you can choose between Black Pepper Stir Fry, Rendang Roti Wrap, Kimchi Rice or - my choice - Satay chicken with soy stained egg, rice and cucumber. 

It may be £3 more than you were going to part with, but it's money better spent. 

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Skof Window View
A skewed view from Skof Image: Confidentials

Thursday 6th June

"A teeny-tiny shopping trolley"

A long journo's lunch in the old tradition: Skof // The Lamb of Tartary // The Rat and Pigeon //

For a proper write up of Skof, and what gourmand Gordo thinks of it all, read our latest review

What with Confidentials being the last bastion of old-school, journalistic piss-artistery, of course we had ourselves a long lunch.  

Gordo held court and picked the wine with the relish of a man who knocked about France in the 90s, Editor-at-Lunch Jonathan Schofield did what he does best, which is eloquently take the piss, I sat grinning and pontificating like a sozzled postgrad that's read too much Martin Amis. Poor Harley - proudly six months sober (read her interview with Hinterland here) - simply enjoyed a fantastic meal in the company of three absolute wallies gradually filling up on first rate wine.

2024 06 18 Skof Review Front Door Sign
Skof, a restaurant by Tom Barnes Image: Confidentials

On leaving Skof, we walked down the beautiful Hanover Street, at which point Harley wisely headed back to the office, and Mark, Jonathan and I soldiered on up Shudehill and into the murky afternoon of the Northern Quarter. 

We arrived at The Rat and Pigeon, where the plastic wrapping had barely been off the place, at about 3.30pm. The door was shut, and I peered into the window to see staff eating their pre-shift McDonalds. The universal 'tilted pint' sign was raised, and we were told to return at 5pm. Onwards it is then, then back later.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Lamb Of Tart Ext
The Lamb of Tartary Image: Confidentials

Sat in The Lamb of Tartary - a place I'm fond of - we got into the Guinnesses, while Jonathan ordered red wine. The afternoon sun streaming through those gorgeous windows, we discussed the big questions, namely: "Do solicitors still go and get pissed in the afternoon, and if so, where do they go?" 

Solicitors of Manchester, get in touch.

We were then joined by Lamb owner, Nick Muir - sporting, if memory serves, a beautiful pair of Mephisto trainers with football boot-style grooved tongues. We talked all kinds of bollocks high and low, then 5pm rolled around we decided to give The Rat and Pigeon a second shot. It's only over the road.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Rat And Pigeon Ext
The Rat and Pigeon Image: Confidentials

What a perfect transformation. It's simply, and without needless faff and embellishment, a pub. Picture in your mind a pub that's not laden with all the unnecessary bullshit; the decor's understated but with class, the stools are low and plentiful, the only food the bar sells is crisps, and there's a constant hum of much nonsense being talked. That pub. 

About two hours sat with Nick and his wife and business partner Hayley, and we were well and truly cooked. I called it about 9pm. What a long lunch that turned out to be.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Diecast Guinness Tap
What time is it? Image: Confidentials

Wednesday 12th June

"The toucan told me to"

Guinness x UN:IK Clothing launch @ DieCast 

Mancunian clothing brand (and sister brand of Bound) UN:IK invited me to the launch of their classy collab with Guinness. The lines are now live on their online store, but while the internet has many benefits you can’t throw a launch party on there. Or not a good one anyway.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Guinness Unik Hoody
Guinness x UN:IK Clothing Image: @by__lauchristou

The clothes definitely deserved a few drinks in their honour - soundtracked by Luke Una, no less - as they hark back in understated style to the Guinness I recognise from my childhood. The toucan-laden branding, all clean curves, colour palettes and easy charm, caught my eye as I’d once sat in the pub with my Dad, Damo and Grandad Paddy. Obviously I didn’t really get it then, but I get it now. 

Everything about Guinness is perfectly pitched, but my god those red box taps are a thing of beauty. UN:IK have done well to get The Black Stuff onboard, but then Guinness couldn’t have chosen a cooler, cleaner garment on which to enblazom their beloved toucan. Been there, drunk it, got the t-shirt.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Guinness Unik Hoody 2
Guinness x UN:IK Clothing Image: @by__lauchristou

We finished the evening off with a nightcap at, well, Nightcap. A blinder of a late night bar that does a cracking Old Fashioned, if you're after one more on a weeknight, then chances are Nightcap will more than happily oblige.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Nightcap Sign
Nightcap Image: Confidentials

And finally…

A few notes from Editor-at-Large, Jonathan Schofield

Where to go on a date in Leeds…

Out in Leeds and coming back on the train it was time to eavesdrop. This conversation took place between an older woman and a boy and girl in their early twenties. 

The older woman said: “So, I was engaged at 17 and married at twenty, and I sort of woke up at forty to the realisation he was wasting my time, so I got divorced. Now at fifty I’m getting married again.” 

The young woman said: “Is this the right one this time, do you think?” 

“No idea,” said the older woman, “Daft really. But I like him. Well, for now. So where have you two lovebirds been?” 

The young man replied: “We’ve just been out in Nandos in Leeds for a meal.” 

“Special occasion?” asked the older woman.

“Yeah,” said the girl, “Nando’s is really good for that, it’s really romantic.”

The boy nodded along, they weren’t being sarcastic. 

“I’ll have to try it out with the new husband,” said the older lady.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Nandos Leeds
Romance abounds at Nandos Image: Confidentials

Beauty in Sale

Sale may have many virtues but it’s not necessarily a tourist destination. One place that deserves visitors is the exquisite and joyous Walkden Gardens, a fifteen-minute walk east down Marsland Road from Brooklands Metrolink Station.

The name comes from Harry Walkden who had a nursery for plants on the site. The gardens are now owned by Trafford Council but it’s The Friends of Walkden Gardens who maintain and develop the site which includes the dovecote from the long-gone Sale Old Hall. There’s a main avenue with an herbaceous border, a Japanese garden, a pergola walk and a theatre space amongst other assets. On a recent visit, I heard one person strolling the garden saying: “I wouldn’t mind having my ashes strewn here.” This was going a bit far perhaps, Walkden Gardens is a wonderfully peaceful place although not necessarily one for eternal rest.

2024 06 14 Safari 4 Walkden Gardens
Walkden Gardens, Sale Image: Confidentials

Time to get over the Hacienda

It’s easy to make a list of perpetual whinges about the city, so perpetual they become utterly tedious. Here are a few. 

Lack of city centre green space, check, too many new towers, check, Piccadilly Gardens, check, going on about the Hacienda, check. 

With the latter it’s become a sort of silly game to knock Hac nostalgia. I disagree, as discussed here when Chanel came to town. So, while in San Francisco recently it was a surprise in the Museum of Modern Art to come across the Peter Saville designed Hacienda poster. 

Honestly, San Francisco needs to stop going on about the Hacienda. 

2024 06 14 Safari 4 San Fran Hacienda
Never heard of it... Image: Confidentials

Get in touch

Got an upcoming and interesting event you think David and the Confidentials team should attend?

Email all the vital info along with any links to davida@confidentials.com under the subject CONFIDENTIAL SAFARI.

That diary won't fill itself.

See you out there.


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