As with any big city, there’s aways something new and exciting to check out. Round every corner there’s scaffolding popping up, huge signs with the words ‘coming soon!’ and a buzz on social media of the venue working its magic. With no exception would be Neighbourhood. An American styled bar and restaurant located on Avenue North, behind Oasthouse, by the same guys who brought you Southern Eleven. Apparently taking its inspiration from iconic New York restaurants and housing around 200 covers, it produced a media frenzy (well social media) on its opening night last Thursday, but a Manchester Confidential invite on the Friday meant I had to wait to see what all the fuss was about.
Down what I can only describe as a posh looking back alley you will find multi coloured metal framed tables and chairs. Intriguing more than anything but I can imagine them being taken full advantage of when summer hits for a week in 2013. Friendly door staff showed me the way to my ticket where I could choose my drink for the evening. As a Drinks Enthusiast, I opted for the cocktail offering – Basil Grande.
A good dose of Absolut, raspberry puree, cranberry and lemon juice served in a Martini glass and fresh strawberry garnish went down a treat with me. Unbelievably smooth with a velvet texture hit the spot, and despite not being the first cocktail of the night to be created by the bartender, nothing was too much trouble. I have to point out that for a night like this, customer service could not be faulted, and there were plenty of them to serve you.
Although busy, the atmosphere was rather relaxed. No stressful vibes were being omitted from the invitees as they scattered between the long bar and tall tables. Separating us from the main restaurant though was a magnificent looking lit up organ pipe work connecting itself to see-through cabinets full of weird and wonderful items. A large circular booth dominated the room, which looks perfect for holding large parties, being overlooked by an open-hatched kitchen and mezzanine level which you can apparently hire out. The layout also extends down the back of the venue and to the side, so there’s ample space to enjoy and areas to also have a quiet, relaxed meal away from the hustle and bustle of the bar.
The music also had a good selection. Although maybe a little too loud, the beat heavy tracks of Blondie, Police and Soft Cell do make you realise that it’s not your average restaurant with an iPod on shuffle. When was the last time you heard these artists in the same night at 6pm??
The night wasn’t just for Manchester Confidential though, it was open to the public too with orders flying around for Manhattan’s, Old Fashioned’s, Pornstar Martini’s and Tom Collins galore, mixed with calls for wine and Champagne. There offering on the bar isn’t too bad, with Samuel Adams and Asahi on draught and bottles of Heineken, Cusquena, Moretti and Saint completing the range. Spirit selection is rather varied too, with Beefeater 24, Zubrowka, Olmeca, Hendrick’s, Woodford Reserve, Tanqueray 10, Chase Marmalade and the Plymouth range some of the highlights. The back bar comes complete with a back wall. A noughts and crosses style shelving housing delights such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot and Belle Epoque – a rather impressive sight.
You may have noticed that I’m yet to mention anything about the food. Truth is, I missed out. Not that they ran out or anything, I unfortunately had to leave earlier than intended however I will say this – some of the smells and aromas coming from that kitchen were absolutely fantastic. No word of a lie.
So Neighbourhood is a rather interesting addition to the Manchester scene, and to Spinningfields which breaks up the Living Ventures monopoly so-to-speak, and I will be back to see what it’s like in a few weeks, see if it can carry on its impressive start, and to try out the food. Oh and the cocktails – they don’t seem to be too much trouble to create.
Check out the rest of the photos from the evening via my Facebook page.
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