The pandemic leaves more hospitality casualties as staff are told they will not have a job to return to

Steak and gin restaurant Alston Bar & Beef in Manchester’s Corn Exchange will be closing its doors permanently, according to our sources.

The popular 'meating' place, which opened in 2017, is famous for serving up 35-day dry-aged, carefully sourced Scottish beef and fantastic cocktails using locally foraged ingredients and their own house gin. The Manchester venue was the first English branch of the brand which originated in Glasgow and is operated by London group Glendola Leisure. Glendola also look after Waxy O' Connors in Manchester and its other venues include The World's End in Camden.

Alston Bar Beef Corn Exchange
The popular bar in the Corn Exchange

Confidentials has learned that Manchester staff received the dreaded phone call this morning, June 29th. In a public Facebook post, Alston's former sales and events manager lamented the closure, saying;

'I cannot believe I am actually writing this status, but after three years Alston will be closing its doors permanently... I have made some amazing memories at that place and have some of the bestest friends because of it. My heart is breaking at the thought I won’t be walking through those doors again.'

2019 10 18 Foraging With Alston Team 2
Alston staff in happier times foraging for gin ingredients

This sad news puts Alston on a depressing list with a number of other Manchester restaurants that have already fallen on the battleground of the COVID-19 crisis. Last week we reported that the Blackhouse group of steakhouses had entered administration, this followed on from the bombshell that well-loved Catalan restaurant and deli Lunya would be closing for good. 

In other hospitality news, just this morning, the Byron chain of burger restaurants has appointed administrators

The hospitality industry has been hit with an almighty and unexpected blow in 2020. It’s tragic but not surprising that some places are just not going to make it through this incredibly difficult time. The dining landscape as we know it is set to change dramatically in more ways than one. 

Now is a good time to support your local restaurants as much as possible. So many have adapted to offer delivery and takeout during lockdown and they badly need your support. 

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Alston was famous for its gin cocktails

With the music industry also in dire straits, restaurants in the Corn Exchange and nearby Printworks heavily rely on the pre-gig crowd for the Manchester Arena. With a capacity of 21,000, it is the second biggest arena in Europe and has the highest capacity of any indoor venue in the UK. Sports fans and gig-goers looking for a bite to eat before a show are a huge part of what keeps these kinds of restaurants in business. By their very nature, gigs will likely be one of the last social events to return to our calendars and the knock-on effect of that reaches way beyond the venues themselves. 

Sources close to Alston and fellow Glendola venue Waxy O' Connors say the future for Waxy’s does not look good either. The Irish bar in Manchester’s Printworks has only recently undergone a huge refurbishment. We expect an announcement from Glendola group imminently. 

Our thoughts are with all the hardworking staff affected by all of these recent restaurant closures. 

Read next: Lockdown easing – Can restaurants and pubs rely on people’s common sense?

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