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Foo Foo's Bar Reviewed

Jordan McDowell takes a step back in time to remember Foo Foo Lammar at Manchester's newest gay bar

Published on March 9th 2012.

Foo Foo's Bar Reviewed

MAYBE if you don't know who Foo Foo Lammar is, you don't know anything about Manchester - or at least its drag scene. 

It is safe to say that Foo Foo's counts itself among the Bloom and Richmond Street massive. Bars, pubs and clubs that are making it their mission to inject a little extra gay into the Village. 

An institution in herself, Foo Foo is and will forever be Manchester's best-loved and most famous Drag act. After a 25-year stint of entertaining Manchester from her legendary Foo Foo's Palace on Dale Street in the Northern Quarter, Frank 'Foo Foo' Lammar died in 2003. 

With friends among the stars, and the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson contributing a foreward to her Autobiography I Am What I Am, Foo Foo was an indelible part of showtime Manchester. 

Three years after her death, Foo Foo's nephew opened Lammar's on Hilton Street to continue Foo Foo's legacy with a new kind of venue. Fast-forward a few years and the legend has been brought to Manchester's Gay Village with the launch of the new bar, Foo Foo's on Bloom Street.

Bloom Street borders the north side of the Village and hosts a of venues from take-aways to taxi offices - needless to say it doesn't have much of the charm of Canal Street.

However, Foo Foo's takes the place of the former Jacklyn's opposite New York New York and gives Bloom Street a much-needed face-lift.  (Gordo informs me that Jacklyn's used to be a knocking shop and before that it was Russian Dave's, another knocking shop, so Foo Foo's has an appropriately sybaritic past. Ed)

Under the blue neon fascia one can expect to find a boutique style bar perfect for starting or ending your night. 

Not small, but certainly compact, the bar comprises an adequate seating area and a small snug around the corner, an ample bar, clean toilets (a rarity in this part of town) and even a much larger cellar bar downstairs for when the occasion calls.

Foo Foo'sFoo Foo's

The décor theme is ‘boudoir’ featuring faux French Empire furniture by way of silver and velvet embossed armchairs, decorative mirrors and side tables. Although, one shouldn't expect a look reminiscent of Napoleon’s palace, Foo Foo's is slightly more to Dame Edna's tastes. Glossy black coffee tables make for neat little spaces to sit and the plush pink leather quilted bar gives a hint of kink.

One of the most impressive features is the ceiling. Making do with what they had the team have painted polystyrene ceiling tiles black and pierced blue LED lights through them at random intervals. The effect is fantastic and proof that when start-ups start up it's all about a hands on attitude and a little DIY know-how.

Now, the drinks, priced somewhere between the Village's bargain booze hot-spot, G-A-Y and the pricier Brewery-owned establishments one can expect to pay £2.50 on selected draughts, £7 for a house bottle of wine and £2.95 for house spirits and mixers from 6pm 'til 9pm during Happy Hour Sundays to Thursdays.

It is safe to say that Foo Foo's counts itself among the Bloom and Richmond Street massive. 

Bars, pubs and clubs that are making it their mission to inject a little extra gay into the Village. Years of recession have left bars to compete for a cheaper clientele and when hen parties arrive the cobbles are awash with feather boas and Alco-pop vomit. 

All may be fair in bars and war but when a few streets build a reputation for being a safe space for LGBT people and their friends, it's important to keep hold of that heritage. Alongside the likes of Molly House, Icon and The Richmond Tea Rooms, Foo Foo's seems set to become quite the addition to the city's bar scene and one that counts class a little higher on the list of priorities than crass.

All rated reviews are paid for by Manchester Confidential and impartial.

You can follow him @jordanjmcdowell 

Foo Foo's, 51 Bloom Street, The Village, City

Rating: 14/20

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, we get carried away.

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

Emma BullivantMarch 9th 2012.

awwww I had my hen do in Foos Foos and loved every minute of it.

CazybMarch 9th 2012.

If you mean by 'knocking shop' you refer to people gaining access by knocking at the door, therefore making entry by invitation only, after vetting, then yes it was a knocking shop. I worked there for several years and witnessed far worse activities on the streets and alleys outside than inside! And finally if it wasn't for 'Jaclyn' Foo Foo's would not exist, so a bit of respect where respect is due. (She still owns and lives in the building!!!) It's an end of an era the loss of Jaclyns but I wish Foo Foo's as much success, happiness and funtimes as i experienced.

AnonymousMarch 9th 2012.

"Bars, pubs and clubs that are making it their mission to inject a little extra gay into the Village" followed by the post "awwww I had my hen do in Foos Foos" sounds like it will be another of the bars that has made Canal Street a no go area full of chavs and drunken fat hen parties (with the exception of a few such as the Eagle and Mollys)

HHHHHMarch 9th 2012.

That is hilarious Emma, after what Jordan wrote..

SmittyMarch 9th 2012.

I dunno Jordan, I think Bloom Street has charm. I've been charmed by it many a time, by which I mean the Village takeaway and the pizza place.

Laura NewellMarch 9th 2012.

I went there recently with my bf and some friends and we had an awesome night! We will definately be going back again soon, as I don't really go out much! I will going here for my 30th as well! The music was brilliant, we knew every song and new all the words and sang and danced the night away! 10/10!!!!!! :-)

Kevin PeelMarch 9th 2012.

I welcome this addition to the new club of decent pubs and bars on Richmond Street and Bloom Street and hope they plan to be good neighbours to surrounding residents!

Lisa KenyonMarch 9th 2012.

Could have been a gay hen do!!

Colin SwinneyMarch 9th 2012.

Great to see another privately owned venue opening. Always much better than the Corporate over priced money grabbers with the Managers who pick and choose when to let you in! (Via!). The bars here usually have their owners there making the venues feel more like your local and they appreciate your regular custom. Move over Canal Street!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Reader XxxMarch 10th 2012.

Colin, you are a BIG HERO...Hooray...!!!

anneiaMarch 9th 2012.

FOO FOO used to welcom hertosexuals alike he also started off the 999 events ( for nhs staff police etc free of charge), will we be seeing them return . Sounds like a great place so may visit hope its just as friendley.

AnonymousMarch 9th 2012.

Looks like another bar that doesn't have wheelchair access :-(

Peter ClareMarch 10th 2012.

'Foreword' spelled 'forward', Napoleon' spelled 'Napolean': has Jordan not got spell or grammar check?

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialMarch 10th 2012.

Thanks Peter. Changed.

Pat HolohanMarch 10th 2012.

Aw Foo Foo was agreat person, spoke to everyone, did lots for charity and yes was fine with all kinds of people. Foo Foo's Palace was a freat night out and in my younger days I did go in The Piccador, this was a small plce and was just off Shudehill, on a side street where the bus station is now> Happy days & fond memories

AnonymousApril 2nd 2012.

Knocking shop yet the new lease owners of Foo Foos were regular customers for over 10 years knock knocking at that door..And were not just talking about going for a quiet drink there (-; That's how they got their hands on the place.Surprised they changed the nature could have had bosses discount!

AnonymousApril 2nd 2012.

Knocking shop yet the new lease owners of Foo Foos were regular customers for over 10 years knock knocking at that door! And wasn't jst for a quiet drink (-; Shame they changed the nature of the business then could have had bosses discount!

Poster BoyApril 25th 2012.

Frank was a Real Mancunian.

Poster BoyApril 25th 2012.

...and get all pious if you must, but Jaclyn's, like Bookbinders, like Foo's Foo's, like the Nile, like the Midland (in Didsbury), like Manning's Embassy... added greatly to Manchester's tapestry of nightlife.

Sometimes dark, sometimes seedy, and sometimes just plain wrong, but every great city has it, and is worse for it, when it's lost.

AnonymousJune 18th 2012.

foo foos is amazing gorgeous venue with friendly staff great music by far the best bar in the village with a touch of class. as for what it was before thats long forgotten! thank god new owners took over theres enough knock in shops around manchester as it is, great new bar well done!

AnonymousJune 18th 2012.

very much doubt the new owners haven met them last weekend would have been regulars of the existing business someone a bit jel? ha the venue is fantastic and me and my friends will definately be paying it another visit when we are next in the area. From what ive heard of jackyns before it was a cheap dirty disgusting dingy squat with vile mutten dressed as lamb staff yuk! just the word on the street. Being a gay man i wouldnt know thank god haha!

AnonymousJuly 1st 2012.

gr8 music, bar is trendy and mod. nice place good people worth a visit

AnonymousDecember 27th 2012.

Luv music staff are brill great little bar!

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