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The Baby Sure Is Grand

Published on August 16th 2005.


A Manhattan, a Red Kiss… and a Slow Comfortable Screw, for a lot of people that’d be a full night out and a great time when they got in, for myself it was the start of something that’s left me feeling very, very bad indeed.

Sitting in Life Café before the night took hold, I was reminded how much I like the place. I’ve not been for at least a year with the last time being a bit of a blur but I’ll be back again soon. With the Manchester sun still beating down on us, it was perfect for early evening drinks. The front was open and there was a definite holiday feel about it, when one of my mates arrived dressed all in white we could easily have been in Tenerife – it was definitely going to be a good night. So onwards to the Baby Grand and the promise of a new member’s area, new dj’s, new cocktails and a whole range of new nights. Someone had other ideas though and walking down Quay St we found the place to be, well....shut.

So not the best start, I wont mention where we went to next, let’s skip that – it was terrible. The door staff at The Baby Grand had told us to come back in half an hour so we duly did so, only to be told that – again – they still weren’t open. This time we headed to the Slug and Lettuce. I’ve got reservations about that place, it’s too close to my office to properly relax and there’s no cider on tap (isn’t that a good thing? – Gordo), but sitting outside by Albert Square was a rare treat and we continued with the continental tip.

Some time passed, Lee again amazed me with the speed at which he finished his drink, this was around 9.10pm I think, over an hour after it was supposed to have opened. Returning to The Baby Grand we found that this time, ring out the bells… It was open. It was then that the bouncers decided my footwear wasn’t really appropriate, but they’d let me off “this time”. I’ve a dodgy history with that bar, Joop was the first place I got knocked back from and it seems they still don’t like me 4 years on.

Onwards and upwards though, – and here’s my first bit of praise; the refurbishment is amazing. A trendy brown interior met us atop the stairs, perfectly minimalist providing plenty of space to sit and lounge and (as we found later on) a hell of a lot of space for people to mooch about.

Opting for leather cubes over the usual sofas that you see all around town, we were happy, relaxed and enjoying our first round of drinks. The drinks menu isn’t cheap – at all. Heavy on cocktails and they come in at £5.50 each, I couldn’t help but feel it was a little too pricey for the clientele they are aiming at, but taking my first sip I could taste the money. This is somewhere to relax and unwind – not to get leathered (I’ll remember that for next time).

The bar layout is spot on, the staff friendly and the drinks well mixed – there had to be a downside though and we soon realised what it was. Now, I’m not a fan of R’n’B at the best of times, and I’m not at all sure who is keeping this stuff in the charts as virtually everyone we speak to hates the stuff as well. Dire isn’t the word but the stuff they played seemed strangely relevant, chilled enough to relax to and even I found my foot tapping after a while, though luckily we discovered the second room downstairs – put simply, it was brilliant.

The guys from Plush were on hand serving up mainstream house at just the right volume, loud enough to bounce to but we could still hear each other – which made a decent change. As the night went on, too many people seemed to be coming in. For a guestlist-only evening the bar was rammed and staff didn’t seem to be coping too well. (This may have had something to do with the full page advert in City Life allowing anyone in Manchester to get on said guestlist - Gordo).

The clientele seemed to be a mixed bag, which was a good thing, no try hards or scallies, just a load of different people all having fun, which is fast becoming a growing trend across Manchester (see recent champagne night at Establishment for example). The girl-to-guy ratio was a bit poor but a good night was had by all.

One thing to note is the door staff, on our way out they were being what I’ll politely call ‘extremely rude’ to a lot of people, myself included. I don’t know what’d happened just before, or whether these guys outside deserved it, but I couldn’t help but feel the bouncers reaction was a tad over the top. That said they aren’t people I’d be rude to, or form a crowd in front of – and getting out proved quite a challenge.

One of my mates gave the night 7/10, saying it’d be higher but he doesn’t like R’n’B, Soul or funky house. He was definitely mincing on the dance floor though, as was my other mate (who’s currently M.I.A. being the only person not in work the next day). I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself. The Baby Grand and (Quay Street itself) aren’t really places I’d head to normally but that’s changed as of last night and I’m going to agree with the others and say it’s around the 7 out of 10 mark.

If you’re in the area and fancy a few then head down, but remember; be nice to the door staff ;)

Tristan Welch

The Baby Grand
47 Peter Street
Manchester
M2 3NG

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