Plus saying goodbye to the pub that Manchester built

It's a boozy one this week as Manchester is clearly ready to get its drink on. Wine is leading the way with Manchester Food And Drink Festival's offering but there are other opportunities to amaze and surprise your finely honed palate (and let's face it, get tiddly) all around the city.

Serious news, as well, as COVID starts to affect bars and restaurants. If you think of the thousands of venues across Manchester, the closures represent a tiny handful of unlucky ones, as the vast majority of hospitality businesses are the most COVID-conscious places around. We are sending all our best get well vibes to anyone affected. Rest up and take it easy everyone.

We've got a classic comeback, cocktails, crowdfunders and more in this week's bitesize food and drink news. 

A Group Of Smiling Friends Drinking Natural Wine From Isca At Kampus Manchester

Funky wines, funky music

Kampus has announced its summer season of pop-ups and the first one comes from Levenshulme natural wine bar and casual dining spot Isca. Isobel Jenkins (Is) and Caroline Dubois (ca) will take over the “garden neighbourhood” and its former security cabin on stilts in June on Fri 11 (5-11pm), Sat 12 (2-11pm), Fri 18 (4-11pm) and Sat 19 (2-11pm).  The pair will be serving old-world natural wines by the glass and bottle as well as beers from independent breweries, homemade soft drinks and organic small plates including British and Irish farmhouse cheeses. DJ Ailsa of Living Room Dance Club will be providing the summery funk soundtrack. Read more about what Caroline Dubois has to say about natural wine.

Three Fishes respawned

Although it will score you a duck in pub cricket, The Three Fishes looks set to rate highly on every other metric. 

Northcote's Nigel Haworth is to take the reins at the legendary pub in Mitton, Lancashire, for the second time. Back in 2004, The Three Fishes was head of the original vanguard of high-quality pubs that put the Ribble Valley on the food map. 

For the pub's 2021 iteration, Nigel plans to install a one-acre orchard and permaculture plot to provide sustainable produce for the kitchen.

Nigel said: "Those of you who have followed my journey for some time will know that back in 2004 I proudly opened the doors at ‘The Three Fishes’ in Mitton. A pub filled with heart and soul and my passion for good food. So I couldn’t be happier to announce that I am returning, and it feels like coming home. Work has commenced on-site and we can’t wait to open our doors."

Gary Usher Hispi Sticky Wlanut Burnt Truffle

Ushering in a new era for Elite Bistros

Elite Bistros chef Gary Usher smashed another crowdfunding target this week as he reached his £150,000 Kickstarter target for a new Elite events and cook at home business in less than 24 hours. At the time of writing 1964 backers had pledged a total of £163,171 with goodies ranging from a £25 spot on the founder’s wall to a £400 Elite tour which includes a three-course meal for two at all six of the Elite Bistro sites. We were tempted to set up our own crowdfunder for the £2000 private dinner in your home package in which pledgers get a three-course meal prepared in their humble abode by Gary himself, waiter included.

Grey Goose Espresso Martini Draft Dispenser

A very canning plan

Grey Goose Nitro Tap might sound like the next film in the Fast & Furious franchise, but the bougie AF vodka brand is giving a jump start to the hospitality industry by cutting down on queue times with a machine that can pull espresso martinis in just eight seconds. The express espressos are available from this weekend at Menagerie and The Oast House.

If a sip in the park is more your lane, Science & Industry is one of only four bars in the country to be invited to create their own cocktails-on-the-go - mixed then canned by the staff who definitely don’t have anything better to do. The exclusive Grey Goose concoctions cost £8 each and can be enjoyed wherever you please.

20170709 Elnecot

Covid closures

Manchester bars and restaurants are dealing swiftly with cases of COVID that have come to light among their staff. 

The Blues Kitchen and Elnecot are the latest to shut for the safety of customers and staff alike. They join Erst, Common, Speak In Code, The Jane Eyre, Bar Pop, Hawksmoor and Porta in Salford in being affected. You can read their statements on our longer article on Manchester bars and restaurants that have announced COVID closures.

20180201 Sapp Tepp Wine Glasses Wine Tasting White Wine Rose Wine 1024X674

Wine away the days

Noses and feet at the ready, Manchester Food Festival’s Wine and Fizz Fest is returning to the city later this year. Taking up residence at the lavish Halle St Peters on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September, the festival will showcase the region’s best independents and most exciting brands with experts on hand to guide you through each sip. Did we not mention there’ll be sipping? Oh there’ll be sipping. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste and buy a whole lotta wine along with tutored tastings and specialist masterclasses. Wine and Fizz Fest tickets are £12.50 each and gain admittance to one of three sittings across the two days.

2020 10 23 Prop Pilcrow

If you love something, let it Pilcrow

"The bar that Manchester built" faces an uncertain future after the team behind it have withdrawn from managing the hand-built pub.

The Pilcrow was built entirely by volunteers using traditional building techniques and artisan crafts and was managed by Common&Co who are also behind Common, The Beagle, Port Street and more.

A statement from the team read: "We’ve had 5 incredible years at The Pilcrow, but our role in the stewardship of the pub has come to an end. From the moment we and our friends at @cloudwaterbrew first opened the doors to this beautiful building, it has been a joy to craft a community around @sadlersyard. Over 500 volunteers contributed to the build, and we hope that we’ve honoured the work put in by those people during our time in charge...

"This announcement is bittersweet - bitter because it is always difficult to say goodbye to something that so much love and effort has been poured into, a place that will always hold fantastic memories for everyone involved. But while our day to day involvement is coming to an end, there are still plenty of exciting plans for the building - some of which will be announced within the next few weeks, and that we can’t wait to enjoy as punters.

"We’d like to thank each and every person involved during our time at The Pilcrow, from those behind the bar who gave the bar its personality, to those who volunteered and contributed so much, through to anyone who came for a drink, a pint, or a chat. We’d love to see you at @kampusmcr later this year for the launch of Cornerstone - or down on Sadler’s Yard for what comes next. Cheers!"

Cheers to that.

Read next: The best things to eat in (and near) Manchester - June 2021

Read again: 'The industry is at breaking point' - hospitality staffing crisis hits North West

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