Middle Eastern restaurant's launch marred by discovery of firearm

The opening night of Habbibi on Saturday (8 June) was marred by the discovery of a gun in the Spinningfields restaurant. 

The Middle-Eastern restaurant and shisha bar, the latest addition to an area thought by many to be a magnet for money and celebrity, admitted that this was 'not how we wanted to start our journey [...] in Manchester'.

A quantity of suspected drugs were also seized and sent for testing, with Habbibi stating that they will 'continue to work closely with the police' on their investigation.

A statement from Greater Manchester Police said: "At around 8.45pm on Saturday 8 June 2024, we were called to reports of a firearm being located at a business property on Hardman Boulevard in the city centre.

"Our officers attended and recovered the firearm in question. A quantity of suspected drugs were also seized and sent for testing.

"The firearm was made safe at the scene and no arrests have been made.

"Investigations are ongoing."

2024 06 11 Habbibi Interior
Inside Habbibi Image: Confidentials

Habbibi released a statement on its Instagram page on Monday (10 June) confirming the incident. 

It read: "We are saddened and shocked to confirm that on the evening of Saturday 8th June, during our Manchester launch event, a member of the Habbibi team discovered a firearm on site. 

"As a venue we immediately took all appropriate action, notifying the police and securing the weapon in our safe until officers arrived to safely remove the firearm from the premises. The police were able to confirm that the firearm was not loaded. All of our guests were completely safe and at no stage was there any wider danger. 

"There is an ongoing police investigation as to how the firearm came to be on site, so we are limited with the information we can share at this time."

2024 06 11 Habbibi Interior 2
Inside Habbibi Image: Confidentials

The statement continued: "This is of course not how we wanted to start our journey, to join the vibrant and buoyant hospitality scene in Manchester as a new venue. However we want to reassure all of our guests and the residents of this great city that this is an isolated incident. We will share further information as and when we are able to, and will continue to work closely with the police. 

"Whilst we are still in shock at the incident, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far and look forward to welcoming you all to join us at Habbibi and to show people how amazing the culinary scene in this great city is!

"With love from the Habbibi team."

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