Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialFood & DrinkAmerican.

New 'Big Shiny' Almost Famous Opens

The MCR burger bar that started the 'dirty food' phenomenon opens at the Great Northern, Thurs 28 November

Written by . Published on November 29th 2013.


New 'Big Shiny' Almost Famous Opens
 

ALMOST Famous was laid low in Manchester by a fire in June this year. It thrives in Liverpool through typically adept marketing and genuinely good nosh.

Now it's back in Manchester, and much, much bigger.

I've got some very confused door staff right now. Is there any code at all, they asked me. Yes I said, and told them not to let gingers in."

On Thursday 28 November at 5pm a new "big, shiny" Almost Famous opens its doors for a launch event "to which everyone is invited", says boss Beau Myers. 

The location is just off Peter Street, the former home of Relish Bar in the Great Northern. Relish was a 2-4-1 fighting den for n'er-do-wells, which lived up to its name perfectly. People used to relish leaving. 

"The new place is bigger than anything we've done," says Myers. "Nothing like Relish of course. It's Almost Famous on acid, like a sick Disney wonderland of classic burger imagination gone feral."

Beau MyersBeau MyersMyers has a unique verbal style. He knocks you flat through an aggressive assault of adjectives mixed with engaging enthusiasm.  

It's certainly been a journey for the entrepreneur over the last couple of years.

The Almost Famous burger idea was born on High Street in the Northern Quarter in early 2012.

It quickly became the nonpareil of underground marketing. It stated in big capital letters on its website: ‘NO PRESS NO PHOTOGRAPHY NO BLOGGERS NO BLAGGERS NO KETCHUP. EVERYTHING ELSE GOES.’ People were intrigued and then hooked.

Located up a staircase, unadvertised behind an unmarked door, it was the acme of indie chic.

Trend setters and smug types were proud to say: "Yeah, just been to Almost Famous. Best burgers in the land. What, you've never been there? Don't know where it is? Jeez, mate, get out more."

Here's our review.

Very soon after opening, Almost Famous had people queuing down the street and round the corner. It became legend, loved and occasionally loathed. In Manchester it started a burger earthquake, the aftershocks of which are still reverberating. 

Almost Famous' point of difference was the food quality. Behind all the cheeky marketing of sexy girls covered in sauce, pouting, tossing their hair and licking their fingers while mouthing the word 'dirty' it was the excellent burgers that won people over.

The delivery of good product has always been the key with Almost Famous and its offshoots such as Love, Lust, Liquor and Burn and Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter. Earlier Socio Rehab had performed the same trick but with cocktails. 

Almost Famous' burgers certainly made Byron's food, the London trend-setter, when it arrived in Manchester, look meagre and pale. Thin. Dull.

Then in June this year Almost Famous went up in flames.

"It nearly finished us," says Myers. "We were very close to going under. This will sound cheesy but I wanted to keep the Almost Famous family together, so that meant a lot of overhead while we got Liverpool going. We can't wait to get cash through the till at the new Almost Famous in the Great Northern. Guess what as well?"

"Go on," I say.

"Our fire suppression systems are the best around," Myers says.

I can't tell if he's joking. Myers can bewilder with his sudden changes from mad to sane. 

Dirty Girl, Dirty Burgers

 

Dirty Girl, Dirty Burgers

"So given all those 'dirty' girls, the rude words on Twitter, is the marketing going to be as extreme for Almost Famous in the Great Northern?" I ask. "It is, after all, a much more corporate chain bar space." 

"We will be reining in the marketing yes, it's time to be a bit more shiny, nicer," concedes Myers.

At which point he hands me some golden wristbands (very Willy Wonka) which state 'I'm fucking famous again'. 

Rude wristbands

Rude wristbands

"Eh? Is this what you meant by reining it in?" I say.

Myers stares at the wristbands.

"Ah...yes those. Well we are going to be a bit calmer but we're still going to be us. In fact the new place is very homespun and DIY. We're not going to spin out twenty replicant units in the next twenty months.

"We'll be different in our door policy too," continues Myers. "In fact I've got the heads of the door staff spinning. Let anybody in, this is a burger bar not fine dining, I told them. Jeans, trainers, baseball caps, even, for God's sake, reversed baseball caps.

"They looked disappointed. Is there any real door policy at all they begged me. Yes, I said, don't let gingers in."

Myers pauses, "I'm going to have to have a word about that, aren't I? In case they believed me."

"So how many people can dine at the new Almost Famous?" I say. 

"Hundreds," says Myers.

"Can you be a bit more specific?" I ask. 

"No. Two hundred. Maybe. Should know that I suppose," he says with a coy grin.

"Opening times?"

"We'll be open noon to 11pm everyday for food. We have a 4am licence for drink but we're probably only going to be using that when we get the upstairs cocktail bar up and running after Christmas."

"And what does the interior look like?" I say.

"We have some mice involved, and a prominent street artist, but you'll have to wait until Thursday to find out."

I look at the pictures he's forwarded me on my phone. Cute. As Myers said at the start of the interview, 'sick Disney' as a theme.Mice will run amok

Mice will run amok

"And what's the idea behind the democratic launch event on Thursday?" I ask.

"Said it before, we're a burger bar, non-exclusive," says Myers, before looking over my shoulder into a dreamy middle-distance. "In a way I'm coming back to where I started out."

"What do you mean?" I say.

"I began all this behind the bar ten years ago at Life Cafe just over the road on Peter Street from the new 'Big Shiny' Almost Famous. Tim Bacon of Living Ventures was also working with me back then."

"Wonder what happened to him?" I say, thinking how Myers with his mini-empire is the Frankenstein brother of Bacon with the latter's slick Australasia, Manchester House, Grills, Alchemists.

"Fuck knows," says Myers with a smile. "One day he might do something."

Almost Famous opens on Thursday 28 November, 10-12 Great Northern Warehouse, Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EJ. Everyone is invited.

Almost Famous menu

Almost Famous menu

Almost Famous - eek a burgerAlmost Famous - eek a burger

 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

69 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

V=BurgerNovember 25th 2013.

It looks a bit bloody. But good to see it recovered after the fire

StevenNovember 25th 2013.

I liked Almost Famous when I went to the NQ one. I hope this is as good

Meat-truthNovember 25th 2013.

Everything anybody ever says about fish is a lie

AnonymousNovember 25th 2013.

"It's Almost Famous on acid" - blergh.

Louise LynchNovember 25th 2013.

So sick of anti-ginger put downs. Might not be able to stop social exclusionists like Myers from indulging in a spot of casual racism but Confidential should know better than to print it - twice and in big red letters. Shame on you Jonathan.

21 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 25th 2013.

"racism"! behave yourself, louise

SimonNovember 25th 2013.

Just a crass and unfunny joke, Louise, not racist.

Louise LynchNovember 26th 2013.

Since when have Celts not been a race? Time to call this sort of crass and unfunny "joke" what it really is - and get it stopped.

Ginger RobNovember 26th 2013.

Louise talk about racism, honestly lady. Red hair is as much a Nordic and Germanic characteristic as it is Celt. There are lots of Jewish red-heads too. It's a northern European thing not simply Celtic. Ergo if the genes responsible occur across several different racial types then this is more gene-ist than racist. I know the Celts are always prepared to make themselves a special case Louise, but here that much-vaunted sense of humour seems to have been mislaid.

Everyone's A VictimNovember 26th 2013.

If he'd said anything about glasses, I would have done time so help me God

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

It's not racism Louise. Honestly, turn it in - you're having a nightmare here.

Poster BoyNovember 26th 2013.

Really Louise. Stick to the knitting. Or something.

Louise LynchNovember 26th 2013.

What's wrong with trying to change a mindset? No one should have to put up with prejudice. The fact it is laughed off yet again in this discussion just proves the need to have it recognised.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Christ almighty, yes it might be irritating - although if you actually bother the read and understand the context you'll see it wasn't meant in seriousnesss - but there is no real 'prejudice' against ginger people, it's just silly teasing that a grown adult should be able to deal with. I don't think being ginger ever stopped someone from getting a job, or being negatively stereotyped in the media, or being the victim of an assault or harassment (outside of school anyway). Equating it to racism is absurd and offensive.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

I'm not laughing it off; simply pointing out that your assertion of racism is utterly ridiculous and does nothing to help your cause.

Louise LynchNovember 26th 2013.

A quick Google search revealed assaults on the streets of Southampton and Birmingham, a family in Newcastle driven from their home three times and a 14 year old in Wolverhampton who hanged himself. Perpetuating the idea that somehow it's ok ensures it continues to be one of the few acceptable forms of discrimination left.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

If you'd care to post links to those stories we can make up our own minds whether those cases have anything to do with the colour of their hair. I am extremely sceptical and I'm not even sure what words you would Google to find examples of ginger-related hatecrime.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Sorry, there are a few stories as you say. But the actions of a violent idiots is not the same as racism. The same idiots will pick on people for being small and vulnerable, or for being tall and a challenge, or for being a bit well-spoken, or for any reason... point is that this is not symptomatic of societal prejudice as you suggest.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

*a few violent idiots.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

GINGERS HAVE SOULS

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

www.mirror.co.uk/…/gingerism-hate-crime-victims-speak-1896950… 'Anti-ginger prejudice may seem trivial to those who have never experienced it.' Sadly, the way some people are treated because of their hair colour is exactly the same as a hate crimes committed for reasons of sexual orientation, race, disability, etc. '... hatred doesn't always fit neatly into one of the little boxes defined by hate crime legislation or by the Equality Act.' www.newstatesman.com/…/should-ginger-bashing-be-considered-hate-crime…

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

Question for you all laughing it off. Would you be so casual about it if the quote read "and told them not to let blacks/asians/women/cripples/gays in" ? And yes, I used those non-PC terms on purpose, to illustrate how your indifference to the matter is totally ignorant.

James SmithNovember 29th 2013.

The same as calling someone ugly. It's intended as offensive and derogatory. So surely on that basis shouldn't be considered as acceptable? If he'd have said "don't let ugly people in" everybody would've been calling him a right prick.

AnonymousNovember 30th 2013.

Not all ginger people are ugly though. I know of at least one or two gingers that would get it.

AnonymousNovember 30th 2013.

That's proper enlightened that.

JimNovember 25th 2013.

I'm unsure how popular this will be outside the NQ. Great place but moving away from its original location seems dangerous. Saying that I never understood why it was impossible to get into almost famous at lunch but after the fire lust liquor and burn was often half empty and yet they sold the same burgers. It was very strange!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

For many, it was far more about the scene than the food (and before I get accused of sniping, i'm a big fan of LLLB)

MeNovember 26th 2013.

The original will be back as well

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

the fuck you on about son

Poster BoyNovember 25th 2013.

Time for Beau to start smelling the Bacon. Scale up and sell it.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Will the Northern Quarter skinny jeans brigade be brave enough to leave their little enclave and head to Peter St?!

AnonNovember 26th 2013.

The skinny jeans reference is so tired. At least a decade old now. It's beards and fisherman jackets now. Keep up. Head into Banyan Tree on any given weekend and you'll see that not the entire 'brigade' hangs around NQ supping from the pumps like a piglet from the teet. Back to speed please anon

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

These guys are just great, and I wish them well, but I'm like so disappointed they've had to relocate to townie territory. Making 'Famous more accessible to more people just means that it's going to be teeming with Salford types and people who work around King Street who are already amply catered for. Really feel this should have been their strategy would have been to remain in the NQ with a strict door policy to keep out the Printworks Overspill. Or they could have set up in Chorlton.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistNovember 26th 2013.

I really feel their strategy should be to keep people out who say 'but I'm like so disappointed'

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Salford types?? THE HORROR.

MeNovember 26th 2013.

It was just as accessible in the Northern Quarter, there wasnt a townie ban, they were there in force! I live there, believe me the NQ is townie territory, every weekend is hell!

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Oh no they'll be letting poor people in next. And uncool people.......maybe even old people!..They might even have more tables to get more of the aforementioned people in!......I'm glad a good indie is doing well. I've never eaten there. I'm far too cool (old) to queue to get in to a 'pretend' secret burger place. I have a friend that went. He got the bill and said 'am I ok to pay by card?'....the response 'well it is 2013'.....and still they queued

SAZKNovember 26th 2013.

Your argument that King Street is 'amptly catered for' is redundant seeing as Chorlton and nq are both flooded with indie eateries

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

They're definitely not as good as the places they tried to copy. The creativity stretches about as far as putting monster munch on a burger or a barbie doll on top.

1 Response: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistNovember 26th 2013.

The halloumi burger I had was one of the best burgers I've had anywhere, it was that good. Definitely recommend it.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

I always loved Almost Famous for the mix of people who ate there. One time I remember going with my parents while a guy in overalls covered in paint sat at the next table. Everyone needs a bit of dirty food in their lives so regardless of where you live or what colour your bloody hair is, go and eat there and forget this boring stereotyping!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

well said.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

what must your parents have thought.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Instead of being professionally offended just sit back and enjoy the meaty goodness.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

NOT AS GOOD AS IT USED TO BE

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

how do you know? it hasn't opened yet

Hero
LockieNovember 26th 2013.

Good to see a great operator up and at it again... Almost stole my thunder then though! Lol

Ghostly TomNovember 26th 2013.

Can you book at this one? I don't do queues....

RMCNovember 27th 2013.

Does this mean the AFB burgers will no longer feature on the menu at LL&B Jonathan?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

They already had a small selection of them on the menu before AF burned down.

RMCNovember 27th 2013.

Thanks - that's why I asked will they be removing them now AFB is open again.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

I imagine the menu at LLLB will remain as is as they have just relaunched it. Burgers were on the menu when the last AFB was open, so I imagine they will remain now the new one is open, and when the original opens again.

AnonymousNovember 28th 2013.

menu at lllb changed a couple of weeks ago

Beautiful GingerNovember 28th 2013.

This is the funniest Rant I have read in ages, what a load of complete rubbish, someone has lost the plot, not mentioning any names but I think you know who I mean. Just wear a wig & enjoy this new Venue if you're feeling a bit of Ginger insecurity, just saying! Personally I Love Ginger in all forms & very excited about having somewhere else to turn heads, look out Famous here I come!

AnonymousNovember 29th 2013.

No wonder Manchester has zero Michelin stars when this kind of over marketed high fat junk food is elevated to be almost 'revelatory' status and people suck it up like sick puppies, it's a burger - unhealthy and full of fat, Marketed in the same way as David Guetta strimming hedges with a soggy Kleenex box dressed as a nun. You'd be better off shaving a donkey and making some money hiring it out in summer to Hare Krishna picnics. Boring food for people who would bet their life that a cuckoo is a more beautiful singer than a nightingale.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Kathy JamesNovember 29th 2013.

What an idiotic opening sentence. How has the lack of Michelin stars got anything to do with anything other than places trying to deliver fine dining.

PryonicNovember 29th 2013.

This seems to be a common trend (although this is clearly an attention seeking troll) amongst arm chair commentators of attempting to tar all people with the same brush. Because a lot of people like Almost Famous Manchester must therefore be terrible and not deserve any Michelin stars. Even if I was not a big fan of AF (has anon been I wonder?) which I am - it has a place in the diverse food market of Manchester! As for the health element, I'm sure most Michelin starred kitchens are free of cream, sugar, butter, oil? No - thought not.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2013.

Salford types says one? Nice.....Some of us SALFORD types live in fuck888ng big houses in places like BROUGHTON PARK or Worsley, so drop the cr@p.... We are willing to rub shoulders with wank88ers from places like South Manchester...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 29th 2013.

Blimey, I took umbrage with the 'Salford types' comment as well, but now I'm reconsidering. Is your keyboard broken old chap?

AnonymousNovember 30th 2013.

Typical Worsley drug dealer! It's full of them round there

SpennerNovember 30th 2013.

I go because the food tastes great. Shouldn't it just be that simple? Whether the food is unhealthy or not is irrelevant. I personally don't care if Manchester is devoid of Michelin star eateries. There are some great places to eat and AFB is one of them. I drank an unhealthy volume of lager last night and my tastebuds are screaming for junk food. I shall be heading there at lunchtime, sod the damage to my internal organs.

@ShaunathegrinchNovember 30th 2013.

I tweeted Almost Famous yesterday asking if they were going to have a larger veggie burger selection, as they only had a mushroom and haloumi thing (I don't do mushrooms), and they said they are working on it this week, so that's good news for me and other veggies and bad news for people who don't want Salford types in :p. I'm always surprised when places that specialise in burgers and have all sorts of crazy combos don't do much for vegetarians, there are all sorts of combos we might want also. The best veggie burger I have ever had was at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin. They had about 8 or more burgers I think, (some doubles, some with blue cheese, avocado blah blah lots of cool combos) and you could choose any of them in meat or veggie version, it was great! Me and my friend looked disgusting eating them, couldn't get them in our gobs fast enough!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistNovember 30th 2013.

I'm off to Berlin soon. I think i'll have to find the place you mention, sounds good.

AnonymousDecember 1st 2013.

Rosa Luxemburg Platz on the U-Bahn. Good place, popular though so you might have to wait.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2015.

Almost Famous have been around for a few years now. If they can't be arsed catering for 5-10% of the population then give someone who does cater for veggies your money instead.

Nick NameJanuary 16th 2015.

When they first opened they had veggie options. I had the haloumi burger a few times, and it was good. When they moved to where they are now it disappeared off the menu. Someone I know went and found nothing on the menu suitable for veggies. She asked the staff and they informed her they still do it but they don't like putting it on the menu? I've not been since the move to the new place so I don't know if this is still the situation?

BeentheredonethatDecember 6th 2013.

Well, we two old'uns went today - bit confused by the whole cash-only, queue for drinks while waiting for table then queue again to order food business. Ditto the hidden condiments (server didn't tell us to look behind the gorilla...) But the beer was good, the house red excellent, the burgers and chips first class (and we lived in the southern States so we know about burgers). And we thought reasonably priced for the city centre. Good vibe (felt very après ski to us - but that probably says more about our age and holidays than AF). Will be back, now that we know how it works...

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Another independent burger joint, jesus. A burger's a burger, yep Manchester's saturared with em…

 Read more
Anonymous

How about some super buff waiters serving up grub for the ladies... might open a rival restaurant…

 Read more
Gimboid

Oh Alex, why do you have a problem with people being attracted to other human beings?

 Read more
Alex

go back to kindergarten boys.

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord