We take a look at some of the hospitality businesses we've said goodbye to in 2022
It's never fun or easy to write about restaurant and bar closures. The past couple of years have been the worst in a long time for businesses big and small and it's always sad to say goodbye. Some of the venues on this list were among our favourite places to eat and drink, some had been established for many years, and some were newbies to the food and drink scene.
That said, we're always on the lookout for exciting newbies, and we'll always try and keep you in the loop when something exciting pops up out of the blue. Keep an eye on the new openings section on our website for the latest news.
In the meantime, here are some of the restaurants and bars the scene has lost in the past few months.
The Allotment Vegan Eatery
A couple of weeks ago we noticed an A-board outside The Allotment on Lloyd Street in the city centre. “We have outgrown the lovely Lloyd St,” it read. The new venue for the popular fine-dining vegan restaurant on Cathedral Gardens opened Friday 20 May, but we have a sneaky suspicion that the arrival of Mnky Hse to Manchester might have something to do with the move. The former Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar site is currently being ripped out and done up for the sake of the super exclusive Latin American restaurant lounge and bar with venues in London, Doha and Riyadh. So it seems almost too much of a coincidence that the same is happening to the shell of The Allotment restaurant right next door. We suspect monkey business.
Hidden beer gem The Brink has been a local boozer on Bridge Street for a good few years - it officially turned four in March 2020. Unfortunately, we all know what else happened in March 2020 and little did we know then that closing for a few weeks to weather the storm would mean the real ale bar would reach the literal brink. When other bars in town reopened, The Brink remained closed. It felt that social distancing wouldn’t work in the small venue, promising to open its doors when things were safe for customers and staff. In a social media post on March 16, almost two years after COVID ripped across the world, the team announced, “The Brink won’t be returning and we’re really sad about that.”
On 27 May 2021 the Italian/"colonial days" influenced restaurant in Saddleworth closed suddenly when one of the senior members of its kitchen team was taken ill. Owned and operated by the heads behind The White Hart at Lydgate in Oldham, the statement stressed that the illness was not COVID-related but that recovery would take time. This came after temporary closures and losing several members of staff after furlough too. A year on, and Dinnerstone still remains closed, but all staff have been seconded by The White Hart at Lydgate. We hope the staff member is on the road to recovery and hope to see Dinnerstone’s doors open again soon.
Nothing less than an institution in Manchester’s Chinatown, Ho’s bakery had stood in the same spot on Falkner Street for more than 40 years. Famous for freshly made Hong Kong-style sweet and savoury dumplings and buns, rolls, fritters and cakes, the corner shop and takeaway was another local business that fell during the national COVID lockdowns. Eagle-eyed fans of the establishment spotted an eviction notice taped to the shutters late last year, with others suggesting that a crowdfunder should be started to support the owners.
A welcome neighbourhood spot in the Heatons, The Moor only opened its unique offering in 2020. Chef James Hulme said of the closure: “This is tough to write, we have taken the decision to close our doors. The last two years have been crazy, we set out with the intention to offer some of the North West’s best produce at a reasonable price.”
He went on to say, “We did everything to make this happen but ultimately, for a restaurant that wanted to be as sustainable as possible - from making charcoal, utilising every piece of the animal or fish, having close to zero waste and working with small independents - we believe that moving forward, as a business, this simply isn’t sustainable.”
At the end of March, Confidentials writer, Simon Richardson wrote a heartfelt farewell to his beloved local, The Moorcock. The multi-award-winning restaurant in Sowerby Bridge sent a newsletter to subscribers to announce the closure, with owners Aimee and Alisdair deciding not to renew the lease on the property in January 2023.
The email read, “In honesty, we have barely caught our breath from the last two years, and now costs in every area spiral, recession looms, there is the prospect of supply issues, the world is an unstable place right now. Frankly, it’s just no time to be running a small business like ours.”
With booking still open until the end of the year, it's very much worth the trip out to the Upper Calder Valley to sample the menu formed from foraged and regional ingredients.
Almost as quickly as Solita opened its new restaurant in Didsbury Village in December 2021, it seemed to shut up shop again. Just six weeks after opening the doors to its brand new games party room and Wagyu burger restaurant, the legendary Manchester brand and home of the "BIG MANC" closed its East Didsbury outpost. Word is that the building was sold in the blink of an eye, with staff and residents none the wiser. Solita in Manchester's Northern Quarter remains open, but we'll keep you updated with what's to come for the site that counts Gary Usher's Hispi as its closest neighbour.
South Manny Flavaz
Unfortunate news for late-night takeaway fans on Deansgate, South Manny Flavaz is no more. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. The fried chicken purveyors are still slinging crispy wings and stacked sandwiches from their spot at The Etihad Stadium on Manchester City matchdays and a new site has since popped up at Liverpool’s pop-up double-decker street food bus, The Bus Yard. Deansgate’s high rents and the rising cost of utilities and produce are believed to be part of the reason behind the outlet closing on January 4 this year.
Vertigo Plant-Based Eatery
Even two years after COVID ripped across the world, it’s still heartbreaking to see businesses continuing to struggle. And Vertigo, another independent business, that had three venues across the city finally relented in March this year. A post to Instagram read, “It is with a heavy heart we have to announce that Vertigo is no more.” Thanking customers, suppliers and supporters, the plant-based restaurant explained that the increasing cost of utilities, as well as reduced office trade during weekdays, made its continued business extremely difficult. The first of Vertigo’s vegan offerings opened in 2018 on Cross Street, with its First Street and Media City venues following shortly after.
Wilderness Record Store
Wilderness Record Store in Withington was a record store meets café bar which also played host to wild, sardine can gigs and DJ sets. Opened in April 2019 and closed on April 23 this year, both sadly Record Store Days, the store was set up by stalwarts of the Manchester bar scene including Lyndon Higginson (Crazy Pedro’s, Bunny Jacksons, Liars Club), Mat Lake (Junkyard Golf) and Dan Morris, managing director of Escape to Freight Island.
The store took in one final Record Store Day before closure with a host of regulars and record enthusiasts. Those behind the store have sent their thanks to all involved over the years from bands and artists to staff and anyone who bought a record. The store has cited competition from online retailers like Amazon and high street coffee chains like Costa for dwindling sales.
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