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Lena Peter checks out a favourite Northern Quarter hang out

Published on March 11th 2008.


Lammars is on the wrong side of the Northern Quarter. Down at the other end of Hilton Street, more and more bars are springing up to give Blu some competition, but Lammars is hidden away up a backstreet near the Piccadilly end – albeit one which is beginning to come through a wholescale redevelopment close to the Rochdale and Ashton canal basin.

As you would expect from a bar that was inspired by Manchester’s most famous drag queen – the dear departed Foo Foo - there is a lot of flock wallpaper, low chairs and cheesy water features.

This doesn’t deter the customers though. It’s always busy with a post-work crowd, mostly youngish people that look like they work in the arts/media businesses of the Northern Quarter: there’re a lot of customers in black, architects’ glasses, that sort of thing.

The décor is always the main talking point of Lammars. As you would expect from a bar that was inspired by Manchester’s most famous drag queen – the dear departed Foo Foo - there is a lot of flock wallpaper, low chairs and cheesy water features. However, it all seems to work somehow and the large space manages to feel both eclectic and inviting.

Drinks are typically expensive (coming in at £6.70 for a bottle of Corona and Peroni) and to be honest, there isn’t that great a choice. Beers on tap are the usual Grolsch, Carling etc., with again a predictable selection of bottled beers including things like Kirin and Baltika. Spirits are of the ordinary variety too, with your usual vodkas and whiskies. They also have a wide selection of apple-sours-type shots in brightly coloured bottles, which is a bit of a worrying statement about their potential customers.

The bar staff are efficient and friendly, although they can get a bit, er, over-excited as the night wears on. Lammars also suffers from the overly-loud music problem but this can be avoided a bit by sitting in the furthest back part of the bar. Having the djs decks on a baby grand piano was a nice touch and the live music during the week can be pretty good.

They also has a tapas menu but you would expect the food to be better than it was - a side salad featured mostly iceberg lettuce and cucumber, hardly fitting with the plushness of the surroundings. A colleague who went recently didn’t find the bangers and mash with Yorkshire pudding for £7.95 very inspiring either. Although the prices are reasonable. Apparently though the Malaysian beef rending (£7.95) was better with the coconut coming through strongly but not excessively.

Lammars is a great place to take someone who has just arrived in Manchester at Piccadilly Station. Compared to other bars near the station, such as the dreadful Piccadilly pub, Lammars is a haven of colour and civility and creates a good first impression of a city which can seem un-inviting on first sight.

Rating: 14.5/20
Breakdown: 3/5 Food
3/5 Drink
4/5 Service
4.5/5 Ambience
Address: Lammars
57 Hilton Street
M1 2EJ
Sun to Weds 12pm - midnight
Thu-Sat 12pm-1am

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

Captain_BirdseyeMarch 11th 2008.

Whoa,whoa, whoa-when did start being OK to charge £6.70 for a drink?

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

Sounds like sour grapes from 'word on the street'. You're not ex staff are you. Must have been sacked for a reason.

BobbyMarch 11th 2008.

Not wanting to hi-jack other comments, but yes, I agree the food is a bit of a poor show... but, if you are feeling a wee bit peckish in the morning, nip round the corner to bar 57 for a quality breakfast / brunch.. It will hit the spot.

music loverMarch 11th 2008.

It's the live music that makes the place. I disagree with the previous comment. Where can you go in Manchester these days in the week and hear good music while you drink? The live 'Family' jam on a Thursday evening is just fantastic.

habibiMarch 11th 2008.

i looovveee lammars, its my ideal place to start an evening. would also like to point out that two months ago a new team of chefs (father and son apparently) were brought in and i am now addicted to their potatas bravas and meatballs!! now i can eat there and get merry at the same time. ohhh and i've also talked my boss into having our xmas do there in the back room thats sometimes close for parties! its going to be sooo much better than the awful xmas dinner we had last year!

KaneMarch 11th 2008.

Point taken on the article Bill!But alas it is how MC make their money . . . .

mikeMarch 11th 2008.

who the heck thought up that corona was 6.90 a bottle??!?!?!!?use your brain

timboMarch 11th 2008.

the place is the pitts, arranged my boss leaving do here they said theyd play some nice cds id made her...which they did for about an hours b4 putting crap music on too loud.barstaff are rude...one day i ordered a beer & a white wine at the same time she poured the beer than said theres no white wine, & thats what the girl i was with wanted so i said sorry i dont want the beer if yu not got the wine, she called the manager who was a bit pricky. then the following weekend, same barmaid differernt girl goes to the bar orders the drinks, the cheeky kunt says are you going to actually pay for these drinks this time!!never going again, the sour faced staff.fifty7 much nicer, and the blonde barmaid with tats is such a nice girl.go there instead !!

JustinMarch 11th 2008.

I've been to Lammars recently on a few occassions with different sets of friends. I have to say the music, atmosphere, buzz and vibe of the place really made me feel as though i'd entered one of the best bars i'd been to in a long long time. On one night it was the good old FAB 80's tunes and the 2nd time it was a superb mix. Everywhere you looked people were smiling and having a really good laugh with their friends. It was just brilliant. The bar staff were friendly, whacky, cool and unique. It's an urban funky atmosphere where people go to let their hair down and simply enjoy! I would recommend it highly.I must admit, i've been to Bar 57 and it had a distinct aroma of chlorine in the air which put me off quite considerably. I'm not keen and wouldn't really re-visit or recommend. Just my opinion though.

KaneMarch 11th 2008.

Aah!I see another hatchett job by the good people at M.C.It's simple if you own or run a restaurant or bar business and you don't subscribe to M.C. then you get slated!If you do subscribe to M.C. you don't get slated!

anonMarch 11th 2008.

I wonder which ex member of staff is on here constantly ranting. get a life

pdMarch 11th 2008.

I take it all the food critics in here obviously know how difficult it is to get a new menu right first time from their experiences of running their own restaurants?... no? didnt think so... i ate in Lammars over the weekend, yes they were busy and the food was a little longer than i wanted but the food was the same as any other place in manchester that you would pay around £10 for a meal, its just value for money.... you want perfection you would be paying £50 each in heathcotes....which i have done and was suitably satisfied... and as for corona at £6.70 per bottle... why cant people read before engaging rant! ... p.s. you are most welcome at my bar if you pay £6.70 for a corona!

abaMarch 11th 2008.

the sauna downstairs makes it to warm

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

I prefer to go around Lammars / Bar 57 end of the Northern Quarter, much nicer than Bluu area-which features mainly shuttered old shops.I would agree, far too loud music in Lammars. The ambience is very inviting for good conversation,however, you end up shouting all night to be heard. After an hour, I usually trot around the corner to Bar 57, where you can talk.Why are Manchester bars obsessed with over loud music in bars? What happened to the art of conversation?

rioMarch 11th 2008.

The staff are disgusting and their behaviour unappealing. The decor is fantastic however the recruitment process should include a section on finding employees that can smile and provide a semi-decent service.

Anthony McCaulMarch 11th 2008.

Love Lammars - was in there at the weekend and 57 next door and both great. The furniture is fantastic and there are loads of comfy seats to lounge around on with mates. I'd forgotten how much I like the place. Music was great too. Well worth a visit!

BlobbyMarch 11th 2008.

eh, Justin, you on the staff by any chance?

MooMooMarch 11th 2008.

I went into lammars at the weekend and it was great. The music was fab, yes a little loud but the bar is big enough to find a corner slot. The staff were busy and polite as you would expect at the weekend. The doorman is very receptive and never made us queue up. As for 57 it always dead in there.

BobbyMarch 11th 2008.

They offer a really good selection of beers, including a couple of different types of Grolsch.... Also, it is because it is so hidden from the massess that makes lammars so nice. Not forgetting to huge volume of comfy seat, Lammars is one of Manchesters best kept secrets - the slightly higher prices keep away the students out en masse and the location, off the main run means loads of burly football fans or the like of never interupt what is typically, a pleasant night.I would say though, if your taking a chick out on a first date, make sure is relatively light when you walk to Lammars or pre empt the fact that its down a back alley otherwise your date may start to get a little scared!

RaggaMarch 11th 2008.

Justin if you dont like Fifty7 then fine but you should'nt tell others not to bother, people should make their own mind up, the 2 bars are completly different, they offer different food, music and atmosphere. You come across quite bitter and corny!!! People should be supporting these bars not slating them, is it not good that more bars etc are opening this end of the basin!!!!!!

LucyMarch 11th 2008.

Just had to comment on this article because of the dreadful experience me and my friends had here. Fine for drinks but whatever you do do not eat here!! We went for an xmas meal and the food was that bad on 2 of our meals we couldnt actually eat them, i had pasta which was supposed to be with mushrooms and pancetta this came with about 3 chopped up mushrooms, soggy pasta and no pancetta and my friends smoked salmon pasta came again soggy with a few peas and no salmon! On complaining the staff came up with about 4 different excuses and then brought out the meals we'd orgininally been given with a bit of salmon and pancetta thrown on the top! The manager came out and asked us to come again in January for a meal free of charge to apologise as they were having issues with the kitchen, we decided to give them a 2nd chance and booked in at the end of the month. On coming back again, bearing in mind we had also brought 2 other friends with us who were willing to pay full price, we were told that they were only serving the lunch menu and even from that there were about 5 dishes not available because they were changing the menu! Eventually the manager came out after about 30 mins of us asking to speak to him and was so unbelievably rude! He actually said the words "what do you expect me to do about it if i cant get the staff" not exactly great customer service when they are trying to server £15 for a main meal!! In the end we left and went elsewhere!!

AndyMarch 11th 2008.

Went in on Sunday evening. Oh dear. Staff clueless. Didn't know wine. Broke cork in bottle trying to open one. Then tried to serve corked wine in dirty wet glasses. Ran out of Grolsch Blonde. Had to wait until staff finished conversation before attempting to serve or acknowledge a customer presence. Couldn't serve Grolsch Wheat beer, as the gas had run out, presumably they didnt know how to change the gas.Went somewhere else.yes, this place has changed a lot in the last year, a great shame.

its so so amusing!March 11th 2008.

its so funny that everyone who has tried the new menu has said it is fantastic, honestly absolutely everyone .... yet there is still one bitter person adding nonsense comments on all the different websites!... really, if you cant handle the competition then its going to be a very long summer for you!

unhappy customerMarch 11th 2008.

Being local to the bar we were regulars when it was new and empty until the terrible experience with an unpleasent bar tender. Who lost our card behind the bar, insulted my husband for his southern acent and said the manager was not available so we called the bar after a 25 minute wait and he was in the office. perhaps he has long gone!??

The word on the streetMarch 11th 2008.

About 6 months the management team at Lammars forced out and with them went the chef and most of the bar staff. Since then the place has gone downhill with the DJs being sacked, the menu changing and a general lack of love and care for the place. I think the comments above justify the hard work the previous team had put in but proves the drop in standards that have followed! The owner should get his act together....

DescartesMarch 11th 2008.

Lammars a year ago was one of my favourite bars in town. It's true it's changed a bit in that time, particularly the last 8 months or so (and I do think that's due to changes in staff). I still love it though, friendly bouncers, great decor, music at about the right level 4 nights a week and the only seated dj in town, love it. Moon's pretty good too, if a bit random (needs to can the food and concentrate on summer drinking).

AdrienMarch 11th 2008.

Bobby - I have to disagree with some of your comments. I have been going to Lammar's since it's hickory days (it opened about a week before basement sauna burnt down) and the bar has gone through several reinventions, not all for the best. The initial menu was very good and service excellent. Not something that could be said of a recent visit, I know we all have our off days but they shouldn't outweigh the good.As others have commented bar 57 is a viable alternative if you don't mind paying hansomely for a bottle of wine.

habibiMarch 11th 2008.

ohh and does anyone know if they still have that jazz night on? my post is the most recent (aug 08) btw - weird it puts the most recent at the bottom! I think all the lammars haters on here are from their competition! lol

GerardMarch 11th 2008.

Kane, Lammarrs is a dreadful waste of space. Shame because it had potential. And as for your other point, tell me which privately owned media group doesn't require advertising. I think that the MC reviews are the best on the web for Manchester....Jesus have you tried Sugarvine?

KaneMarch 11th 2008.

Gerard, I fully agree with you on sugarvine, at least it's transparent, unlike these guy's!!! Have you ever seen a bad review about anyone who advertsises on here? Not exactly as fair as they claim!!!

AnthonyMarch 11th 2008.

I’m so pleased this restaurant is being reviewed as I recently took a friend here for Sunday lunch before heading off to London. Because I’ve eaten here before I knew it was easy to get too and good value for money. Lammars defiantly has a great first impression which unfortunately on this occasion wasn’t matched by either the staff or food. As it was pretty quite we had the option of sitting anywhere we wanted and eventually sat in the middle section and waited for some service…and waited a bit more for some service….Despite looking ultra funky the waitress failed to recognises us and it took a good 10 minutes before we attracted her attention and managed to order drinks and look at menus.Now call me fussy but unless you’re dining in Room when you order a chicken cesar salad you have pre determined expectation of what it will look and taste like so getting a plate of deflated lettuce, tomato, cucumber with chicken strips was disappointing. My friends bean burger wasn’t much better as it looked dry, undressed and if I’m honest unappetizing…The chips on the other hand tasted great.Really disappointed we both said that eating at Piccadilly Station would have been better value for money...Lets hope that someone picks up this note and we see an improvement for the Sunday customers …. I will be back!.Anthony

sausageMarch 11th 2008.

Lammars is second rate - The decor? ... seen it all before and better...just lazy and tired. Last time I went the barman was having a long telephone conversation with his mate before serving me. And at £6.90 for a bottle of Corona ...forget it! This place is for southerners that have moved up to the Northwest!!!

BillMarch 11th 2008.

Kane, an interesting idea, but silly of MC if that's the case as it's the law of diminishing returns. Old customers will eventually run out of advertising money and the clients you've pissed off will not want to subscribe. I enjoy reading MC reviews which is something you didn't do with this one as it doesn't really slate Lammarrs at all, although the comments have. Read the actual article would you.

Sam InellaMarch 11th 2008.

I really like Lammars - for drinking, but I agree with Lucy - DO NOT eat there!! Ever!

fiery temperMarch 11th 2008.

I agree with the comments about the decor/comfy seats etc. Some of it is pretty tacky but it just seems to work and has a chilled laid back atmosphere. My advice however would be to stick to just the drinks here - I went in at weekend and the food was TERRIBLE. Any chef that puts tomatoes, rocket and french dressing in what they describe as a 'caesar salad' needs a sharp kick up the arse (and perhaps a recipe book). Accompanied by cold, flabby, chips and some burnt nachos it was possibly the worst meal I have ever eaten ..... well - not eaten. It won't stop me going though. I like the environment and the distinct lack of yobbos. I'll just eat before I go there in future.

HmmMarch 11th 2008.

MooMoo, do you work for Lammars by any chance, that comment almost sounds like a soundbite you would use in a press release.

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

New spanish menu is terrible, i would'nt bother trying it!

daveMarch 11th 2008.

I can understand everyone has their off day but I reckon the staff are half the fun at lammars. They're easy going, game for a laugh.I love drinking in Lammars, it's a great chilled atmosphere, full of quirky stuff and free of the usual trashy people you find round picc and deansgate!! :)

Lammars BarOctober 6th 2011.

Lammars is now under new management with a new food menu and new staff.

IzzyOctober 6th 2011.

Maybe that's why you can justify charging over £46 for a bottle of wine and five tapas dishes for two people. This is of course, according to the details of the 'Strictly' offer on this site. Never mind £6.70 for a drink, knocking fifty quid for a bit of finger food and a bottle of house wine is nothing less than daylight robbery.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Lammars BarOctober 7th 2011.

If you like Izzy, you can come to Lammars at lunch time and enjoy 3 tapas for £9.95. Or even come and try our new 8oz Lammars Bacon Cheeseburger.
In regards of the drink prices you must be mistaken, as the most expensive double spirit mixer we have is a 22yold Rum with a mixer for £7.50.
If you prefer to not spend that much on drinks, you can always visit us on happy hour (Sunday-Thursday 4pm-9pm and Fridays 4pm-7pm) where a bottle of wine is £7, a pint £3 and a spirit mixer £2.95.

Lammars BarOctober 8th 2011.

Hi Izzy, I am sorry you feel like that. If you prefer Lammars offers 3 tapas for £9.95 everyday between 12pm and 3pm. You can now come and try our new 8oz Lammars Bacon Cheeseburger, our Thai curry or Cottage Pie.
In regards of the drinks, the most expensive is a premium 15y old rum and mixer for £7.50.
If you prefer not to spend that much on a spirit mixer, Lammars offers bottles of wine for £7, spirit mixer for £2.95 or a pint for £3 Sunday to Friday 4pm-7pm.

Lammars BarOctober 22nd 2011.

Last week to get 5 tapas and a bottle of wine for £19.95 through Manchester Confidential.

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