The brewery has taken over the pub formerly known at The Pilcrow
On 12 May 1785, the balloonist, chemist and, er, pastry chef James Sadler ascended in his hot air balloon from a bloke’s back garden on what is now known as Balloon Street, Manchester. Watched by a crowd of 5000 people and reportedly accompanied by a cat, he touched down later in Radcliffe.
Having a professional chef on board that we can develop menus with and pairing that food with the beers - it's gonna be quite exciting
It wasn’t his first balloon ride, but it was, they say, the first to take off in Manchester.
We’re not sure what became of the poor cat, we imagine it was probably shitting itself. It is this brave, nameless cat that the folks at Cloudwater decided to commemorate in the christening of their newest venue, Sadler’s Cat.
Sadler’s Cat opens on Friday 30 July in the former Pilcrow Pub site in NOMA near Victoria station. It will be the first true city centre site from the award-winning Cloudwater brewery making a "cat trick" for the brand along with its Unit 9 taproom around the back of Piccadilly station and one in London.
Hospitality Development Manager for Cloudwater, Jimi Pearce tells us this is only the beginning of the brewery’s expansion into public-facing hospitality.
Cloudwater has signed a 12-month lease on the site with NOMA landlords Federated Hermes. After that, plans are afoot for a more permanent, flagship city centre site for Cloudwater.
What does the Sadler's Cat pub look like?
The 200 capacity (indoor and outdoor) pub will continue with its former tenants’ community vibe, retaining some of the hand-built features (famously created by teams of volunteers making The Pilcrow, “the pub that Manchester built”) while bringing some of Cloudwater’s own personality to the space.
“We've gone for a balance.” Says Jimi, “It's important for us to respect the original project, and the people involved. We've tried to retain as much of the workshop-created items as possible - the furniture, the handmade tiles on the bar counter - while also bringing a bit of the vision of Cloudwater. Our other spaces are quite calm, relaxing and bright. We've got some artwork as well on display from artists like Nizaket Sinanovska, Atelier Bebop and Louise Sheeran. There's no taking away from the fact that it's still a pub. There is still that essential feel but with our little touches.”
Those worried about the relaxation of COVID restrictions will also be reassured by the newly installed ventilation system that provides a constant supply of clean, fresh air. An outdoor area will eventually be semi-enclosed in a large greenhouse-like space and when the project finishes, the pub and greenhouse will both be recycled and relocated.
Food and drink at Sadler's Cat
The beers on offer will of course include Cloudwater’s own alongside those from many of their talented pals. Natural wine will also be a focus, working with local experts in the field together with in-house natty-fanatic Hannah Smith.
Gone are the Pilcrow’s stomach-lining but functional panini and pop-ups, Sadler’s Cat will have a “proper” menu from in-house chef John Wallace of Wallace and Sons. At least half of the dishes on the menu will be plant-based, with a heavy focus on the bao buns. The menu will include dishes like pork bao with slow-cooked pork, crispy skin, pickled cucumber, hot sauce and hoisin, as well as vegan options like cauliflower bao with soy-braised and beer-battered cauliflower, pickled fennel, tofu and sesame dressing and hot sauce. But it doesn’t stop there. There are plans to launch special menus and dishes that relate to the pub’s events programme.
Jimi tells us, “We like to do beer-led events. One thing that we haven't done yet is to provide a food offering in relation to a beer-led event. Having a professional chef on board that we can develop menus with and pairing that food with the beers. It's gonna be quite exciting.”
Comment from Cloudwater and NOMA
Paul Jones, founder and managing director of Cloudwater, said: “The Pilcrow has been a much-loved feature of Manchester’s beer scene for a number of years and played a part in our own story too. So it’s exciting that things have come full circle and we’re picking up the mantle from our friends at Common&Co to ensure there continues to be a thriving community pub at the heart of the NOMA neighbourhood. Sadler’s Cat will bring the Cloudwater aesthetic to a city centre venue with wider scope than our existing tap rooms and we’re aiming to forge many more fond memories before the building finds another use within NOMA.”
Stephen Bradley, director – investment management at Federated Hermes International, said: "The Pilcrow has been a key part of NOMA's growth story. From its initial construction carried out by local volunteers to opening as a pub, the Pilcrow has helped bring the whole of Manchester into the neighbourhood and establish Sadler's Yard as a social hub and destination in its own right.
"The Pilcrow has been such an important part of establishing NOMA as a destination and we are delighted that our agreement with Cloudwater means we can preserve the heritage of this wonderful venue under the new name of Sadler’s Cat.
"Cloudwater's community focus makes them the perfect partner to carry on the Pilcrow's legacy, and we believe they will be a great addition to the neighbourhood, which recently welcomed Deloitte and the Ministry of Justice as commercial occupiers."
Opening hours are 4pm to 10pm Wednesday and Thursday, 2pm to 12pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm to 8pm Sunday. It will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
Sadler's Cat NOMA, Manchester M60 0AB
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