Our weekly round up of stories you might have missed from around town
This week, chocolate workshops, coffee mornings with a cause and cocktail-quaffing opportunities. Meanwhile, chill out and swagger to Iceland or get high on a hotel rooftop bar. YES celebrate a first year of four floors of fun and you can park and ride over at Angel Meadows this weekend.
No smoke without fire
We’ll pop this one in first, lest the weather forecast (highs of twenty) for tonight and tomorrow changes… There’s a new sun trap terrace in town, open every weekend in September and serving cocktails from noon to midnight. Dakota Grill, situated in the new luxury boutique hotel Dakota Manchester, has unveiled a pop-up cocktail bar on the restaurant’s waterside terrace, apparently perfect for enjoying the last of the summer rays. Try the Chilean Swizzle – a herby twist on the classic Mojito – or the Spiced Caipirinha, the boss’s favourite. As well as drinks, guests can dine from head chef Sam Karle’s bar food menu, which includes small bites such as black truffle and Comté croquettes, goat’s cheese arancini and tempura prawns. Don’t worry if it gets a bit nippy – there are outdoor gas fires. Oh, and the heat from all those Cubans in the 'stunning' Cigar Garden, reserved exclusively for cigar aficionados.
On your bike
The second ‘eats, beats and booze’ event (every second Saturday of the month) at MeadowSide is tomorrow, with Japanese street food from Big Mouth Gyoza, Bon Street Food serving up Afro-Brit halal dishes, and Mexican wares from El Cantador, plus beers from local brewer Beatnikz Republic. The free Bite + Bike event, taking place 11.30am to 2.30pm, will also see the team from nearby bicycle and coffee retailer PopUp Bikes on hand to offer repairs to your trusty steed, cycling advice and tips, and a bike market. Why here, why now? Well, the £200 million MeadowSide residential scheme currently in progress promises to feature a cycle parking space for every flat plus cycleways throughout the Northern Gateway area. Why not have a chat with the property developer Far East Consortium (FEC) while you’re there?
YES has been open for a full year. NO, we can’t believe it either! To celebrate ‘one year, four storeys, a thousand stories’, the fun-filled music venue is throwing a weekend-long party – and you’re invited. Kicking off on Thursday (19th September) and open from noon until late every day, entry is free and you can expect live bands, DJs, exhibitions, film screenings and 'a top vibe', plus promoter-owners Now Wave are stumping up free scran and 5,001 drinks to mark the unveiling of a fifth floor. The likes of A Certain Ratio and PINS are DJing, there’s an Andy Votel B-Music Roof Terrace Party and The Charlatans front man Tim Burgess is going to be playing his record collection. It’s the only one he knows. Stop it.
Beans means donations
Get the kettle on – Macmillan Cancer Support has chalked up Friday 27th September for this year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fundraising event. Nearly 200,000 people are already planning on taking part in homes, workplaces and schools across the country, and you can join them by running your own coffee morning to raise money vital to helping people with cancer live life as fully as they can; Macmillan is almost entirely funded by donations from the public. Whether you host an event at home or at work, in the morning or evening (even on a different date), bake a showstopper and sell to friends, family, colleagues and others, or share the headline partner M&S’s limited-edition Coffee Morning cakes and biscuits. 10% of proceeds will go to Macmillan, while M&S Cafés will donate 5p from every hot drink and slice of cake sold throughout September. Find out more about Macmillan’s Coffee Morning here.
Start ’em young – get your children trained up as chocolatiers at 20 Stories with a new Mini Chef Masterclass. The morning of Sunday 29th September sees an hour-long Build A Bar cookery class, when the nippers will create their very own chocolate bar (complete with wrapper) and chocolate lollipop with the help of the team from Oliver’s Chocolate Parties. Whatever the kids come up with, they can take home and enjoy (if it makes it that far), and, on finishing their creation, your mini chef will enjoy a three-course meal and juice in the 20 Stories rooftop restaurant, all for just £30. Fancy joining them for lunch? Keep the costs down on high with a good-value two courses from the set lunch menu for £18.50.
Bill: Volume 2
Bill’s is back at the Traffo with a new look combining 'quirky touches' handpicked by former greengrocer owner Bill Collison himself, a bar for cocktails and a new seasonal menu, including the likes of Bill’s Beer Battered Cod with pea purée, tartare sauce and fries. To celebrate the relaunch, there’s a new set dinner menu Sundays to Thursdays from 5pm – £17.50 for two courses and £20.50 for three courses – and, from mid-September, Bill’s Restaurant & Bar is partnering with Odeon Cinema Trafford to gift all cinema-goers a complimentary starter or dessert with every main course or a bottle of wine when two main courses are ordered. Bill’s been on: “We have an amazing space here, and this new-look Bill’s will be somewhere where our guest can enjoy dinner and drinks in the evening, in a very beautiful setting.”
Wrote for luck
Move over, our mam – the Mondays have gone to Iceland. We’re not twisting your melons, man. If you haven’t been tuned in to Capital FM and Radio X lately, you might not have caught the melodic Mancunian tones of 'Madchester legend' Shaun Ryder announcing a 'fresher and brighter' look for 31 of the frozen food stores in Greater Manchester. With new lighting and displays, plus worker bee imagery, the refit programme has cost £6.5 million, so no wonder – Hallelujah – he’s excited. Says Shaun: “Iceland’s vegan range is out of this world and the new stores are going to look top. I’m looking forward to grabbing some more of my favourite No Bull Burgers from my local store.” No need, mate, stick to your Lazy Itis; Iceland are giving you a year’s supply of No Bull Burgers for your support. Bob’s Yer Uncle. Not sure how Loose Fit those baggy pants are going to be after twelve months. Marketing Director Neil Hayes says: “Shaun is an avid supporter of Iceland and is Manchester through and through, which makes him the ideal ambassador to help us launch our refitted stores in the region.” Step On over to Iceland now.
Closing words, again
Deansgate’s not doing so well at the moment. Following news last week of The Living Room’s demise and word of woes at La Viña, now we hear that Handmade Burger Co has closed its doors. A quick scurry around a search engine of our choosing, and the company’s website tells us it can’t open the Manchester link: “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.” No, it didn’t, but the chain’s 20th restaurant lasted five years, so not all bad.
Putting in the innings not far away is El Rincón, notching up 26 years and still going strong. Its foray into the suburbs, however, has been somewhat less successful, with Rafa’s Didsbury shutting up shop after only ten months. In a notice stuck inside the window earlier in the week, Rafa says: “…it is with a heavy heart that we will be closing Rafa’s Didsbury with immediate effect. It’s something I have thought long and hard about but came to the decision that I need to put El Rincon, my family and my health first.”