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Electrik review

Clare Conlon plugs current hit with return of Electric Chair in bar form in Chorlton

Published on June 1st 2009.


Electrik review

I have to admit to having been a bit non-plussed the first time I sauntered into Electrik. It was the Chorlton bar’s opening weekend, and it was dead as a dodo and lacking in atmosphere. Perhaps its previous incarnation as townie ‘café-bar’ and obvious shop refit Revise initially put the punters off, but Electrik has since picked up. These days it’s hard to get a seat at the weekends, with schoolnight evenings also well populated.

Meanwhile, the requisition of a few more Chesterfield sofas and some interesting paraphernalia with which to adorn the walls (including a Trof-style cuckoo clock and a rather fetching moose picture) has taken the edge off the echoing canteen vibe. I’ll even let it off for the upper/lower case ‘publicSociAlhoUseBARcAFe’ sign and the notices complete with backwards Rs like some kind of student USSR worship (or a closet penchant for Abba?).

Thankfully, the bar staff have also got a bit friendlier (on my first foray, the too-cool-to-smile revolutionary cap-wearing ‘boys’ were monosyllabic), although quite how two and a half pints of cider translate into two halves or how a pint of Stowford Press and a Becks Vier becomes a jar of Wainwright is beyond me.

There’s an idea of what’s on draught, anyway: other lagers include Staropramen, Krombacher and Warsteiner; other bitters the last time I was there were Thwaites Best and Boggart’s Brew. There is also Guinness, Hoegaarden and, rare for Chorlton, Leffe. All pints seem to come with a £3 price tag. Bottles include trendy things like Vedett, and there looks to be a half decent selection of wines.

Food wise, you can have cake with your coffee and Electrik has recently rolled out a bangers and mash menu – ‘proper good peasant food’– with unusual specials available (for example, a Middle Eastern platter and ploughman’s on Bank Holiday). Ingredients tick the locally sourced boxes and meals cost a well-priced £5.50, or you can have a romantic tête-à-tête with a bottle of plonk for £20.

The sausages are good and there are five, including vegetarian, to decide between (I’m partial to the Toulouse), along with a choice of four kinds of mash and two sorts of gravy. The portions aren’t that big, but you can opt to supersize with an extra dog and a scoop of mash for a quid. Alternatively, get your teeth into the sausage sarnie (crusty baguette plus two bangers) for a mere £3 – good stomach-lining fare.

If you fancy giving the old grey matter a workout, Elliot Eastwick’s World Famous Pub Quiz is good fun, if a little difficult, I was joint last, I’m afraid, one Tuesday (we have a feature going up about this Manchester institution on Thursday, Ed). It’s just a pound per team member and you each get a token for a pound off food, so everyone’s a winner.

The jukebox tunes have apparently been handpicked by the usual local luminaries Elbow, Doves and Badly Drawn Boy. This could be deemed a little tedious perhaps, but then when you have the connections why not use them? After all the Manc music celebrity connections don’t stop there, and a giant Warhol-style Electric Chair picture beside the bar serves as a reminder that the joint is owned by Luke and Justin Unabomber, who hung up their decks last year and decided to settle down. Not that they can’t resist providing the odd set down here: recreating the glory years. Let’s remind ourselves as well that Electric Chair is the only city club night to have a permanent exhibit in Manchester Art Gallery: one of their album covers is in the Attitude section of the Manchester Gallery.

And I suppose we should be thankful. Having improved with age, Electrik is pretty laidback despite being so damn hip, and already fits happily into the Chorlton bar scene, forming a powerful triumvirate with Dulcimer and the eagerly awaited Oddest, which opens its doors up the road this summer. If only the bar prices reflected the five-mile bus trip from town...

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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

PedantJune 1st 2009.

"If only the bar prices reflected the five-mile bus trip from town... "4.2 miles (google maps)

Jonny Van GothJune 1st 2009.

I wouldn't bother with the horse and jockey. £1 and shrapnel change out of a tenner for a small dry white wine and soda plus a pint of Star ! ! !... forget it.

MattJune 1st 2009.

Electrik is a fantastic bar. I have been over many, many times now. I live in Salford, pretty bored with what the city centre has on offer. Get a DAYSAVER and get on over. You’d be surprised by the amount of folk you’ll probably recognise in there who are just as bored with town. It’s full of lovely people (no try hard’s) and no evidence of any knitted beards at all.There is a great range of strong beers and lagers, a short and sweet cocktail menu, posh teas and coffee and lovely looking cake! I found the tariff to be better value than the city centre as well. Not tried the wine yet as it turns me into a bad dick. The sausage and mash is superb, very hearty indeed with different combinations of mash and sausages. I want it right now actually. The bar staff are very friendly and professional, yet approachable and a good laugh.When the bar is full (which is often) the room looks smaller than it actually is, there is a really nice vibe (sorry for using such a word) about it all. It’s not trying to be cool or edgy or any of that crap. It’s a work in progress trying to give the people what they really only need from a bar. Good drinks, good food, good times at a good price. The Jukebox is full of excellent music and I think it’s free to use. I got a semi-on when the shins came out of the speakers.I can recommend Elliot Eastwick’s World Famous Pub Quiz on a Tuesday, if you’ve never been you should give it a go. 79% laughing, 10% cringing, 11% quiz. The most fun you can have for a pound. You might even win the thing! A sense of humour is definitely required. Sunday afternoon/evenings are great as well. There is a one deck only policy with local DJ’s/collectors/artists playing some quality wonky off kilter records which are in keeping with the whole Sunday cant be arsed-ness, but in a really great way.Remember folks,Make like little Kev and get a DAYSAVER!

Boro RobJune 1st 2009.

The quiz on a Tuesday is ace. I like this place a lot, definitely has improved since the opening night as they add their own style to the place.

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Good job you're givin the H&J a bit of time. I went in there on Friday and although it looks brilliant and the food was good it's still (very) rough around the edges. They're very much still wet behind the ol lug holes

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Electrik is a decent enough bar, with some very well deserved praise for the Tuesday quiz being banded around. But it is just WAAAAYYYY too expensive. I went a few times over the opening weeks, with a round for four people costing around £15!! Just seems way over the top to me.

revporlJune 1st 2009.

V. Pricey for what it is. Stick to Wetherspoons. Stick to the floor.

Crazy DiamondJune 1st 2009.

Glad you've reviewed this place. I've been a couple of times and really enjoyed the relaxed and diverse atmosphere. They also do an ACE quiz on a Tuesday.

MattJune 1st 2009.

Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era

katiemaymancJune 1st 2009.

Love it. Nice beer and the quiz is always good fun. Apart from the fact my team have never won it.Yet...

EditorialJune 1st 2009.

We're giving Horse and Jockey time to settle and then we'll review.

The Witch and the RobotJune 1st 2009.

Great score (justified) rather confusing article in places. Personally the Witch and the Robot feels that when they need oil and brews from Cauldrons Electrik is the perfect place. Oil for rusty arms and withes brews, like alchohol, are ever increasing in price. Therefore a bar has to be quality, in decor, drinks, food, value for money, that intangible feeling or is it a 'vibe', growlers etc etc in order to compete. people, especially witches and robots and the odd elephant called 'Magunzee', are happy to pay for a good time...its when you've paid for either a **** night or one where you feel ripped off that there is a problem - and unless you drink gallons of Bloody Mary you will not encounter this at Electrik...now if only it had a lakeland dry stone wall and a sheep drowning in a waterfall undercurrent, then it would be amazing in our book! x

GregJune 1st 2009.

"If you want diversity go to Longsight, Levenshulme, Ardwick or cheetham hill"With my date? Holding hands? And maybe even daring to kiss him? And get away with my life? Not likely. Go diversity!

shinealightJune 1st 2009.

We went to quiz a couple of weeks ago. It was great fun - but almost everyone was cheating (except the winning team).

M30June 1st 2009.

This review has reaffirmed how little I miss living in Chorlton. One word: Trustifarian. The Sedge Lynn is a great Wetherspoons though.

ancoats girlJune 1st 2009.

I enjoyed my sausage and mash and thought it was good value considering the quality. I agree the portions aren't huge but as the sausages were very rich and filling as they seemed like 90% meat or more. The bar staff were also lovely - I'd been booked to play some records there that night and they were really getting into it. My friend had to pay £7 for a bloody mary though, which seemed expensive.

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Decent enough bar, but I am not sure about your scores for decor and atmosphere. Chorlton is full of bars like this i.e converted shops that have not quite shaken off the 'shop like' atmosphere no matter what gimmicks they try.

Jonny Van GothJune 1st 2009.

I live around the corner and went last night for the first time. It's a great place. Food, beer, wine... all great and at a good price and the staff are really nice.It's a great improvement on the scally dive that was it's predecessor which, to be honest, wasn't even a very nice place to walk past.

Sarah BirdJune 1st 2009.

At last a bar that women can go to in Chorlton! Me and my friends have been looking for a place where we can go and get through a few bottles of wine in a bar thats not based soley on testosterone. I love the vibe here, there's a good mixture of people, the staff are friendly and the sausage and mash is yum.Definitely my new local.

Ear trumpetJune 1st 2009.

To be fair, two and a half pints of cider translate into two halves if you don't stress "and a". No idea about the other order-botch though!Far from prices in Chorlton and Didsbury ever 'reflecting the five-mile bus trip from town', it seems the distance out is what actually keeps them up. I often feel that these enclaves have effectively got a captive audience (especially on a weeknight), so they tend to be more expensive than town, where there's competition because you can easily relocate to a number of cheaper places. Cheeky really, especially given that they (presumably?) pay less rent!

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Diverse? Chorlton has good bars - including electrik - but look around you - they are full of middle class white people. If you want diversity go to Longsight, Levenshulme, Ardwick or cheetham hill.

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