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NEW: Pen & Pencil Bar Restaurant For NQ

Northern Quarter's latest comes from the chaps behind Dry Bar and Didsbury's Violet Hour

Written by . Published on January 22nd 2015.

NEW: Pen & Pencil Bar Restaurant For NQ

IT IS estimated that soon bars will outnumber people in the Northern Quarter, and that if you hang around in one spot long enough one will fall from the sky and squish you dead like the Wicked Witch of the East (instead of red slippers you'd be wearing New Balance, naturally).

"Bruno's Pen & Pencil was a classic 50s-60s New York drinking den and steakhouse where journalists, ad-men and cartoonists hung out, a real golden age of cocktails served with steak'n'eggs."

Hold Fast opened without so much as a whistle beneath Hatters last month, as did Hydes' new Abel Heywood boozer on Turner Street. The much-delayed PLY looks set to open on Stevenson Square come February/March, while fashion-bar Texture is also likely to open on Lever Street next month.

What else? Well, we hear NQ's original bar Dry Bar have been beavering away on a new underground space for some time now, Koffee Pot are planning a new craft beer bar in their new Oldham Street home, Solita are lining-up a new pizza bar in an undisclosed Northern Quarter site this summer and there are whispers of another new bar for Dale Street.

Crikey O'Reilly.

Inside the former-Drip unitPen & Pencil: former-Drip coffee unit

Fourways House, Hilton StreetFourways House, Hilton Street

Next up is Pen & Pencil, a new 2000 sq ft, 200-capacity bar and restaurant (no hint of menus just yet) to open in the former Drip Coffee Bar and Gayter hairdessing salon in Fourways House at 57 Hilton Street (main image).

A joint project by Dan Pollard, owner of Didsbury cocktail bar Violet Hour, and Dry Bar MD Kevin Connor, Pen & Pencil looks set to launch this May.

The pair first met fifteen years ago when Pollard worked under Connor at Castlefield's Barca bar. "We've been looking to start a project together in the city since I opened the Violet Hour in 2012, Pollard tells us during a walkabout. "Dry Bar has been in Kev's family for 25 years but we were both hungry for something new." 

"We love this area of Northern Quarter", Pollard continues, "places like Kosmonaut and Takk have created such a buzz at this end, I think people are looking to move away from the Printworks overspill at the Bluu end of Northern Quarter."

He's not wrong. The focus of Northern Quarter's wet trade has taken a noticeable shift south east towards less saturated Back Piccadilly with a multitude of new openings like Whiskey Jar and El Capo on Tariff Street and Guilty By Association, Dusk 'til Pawn and The Fitzgerald on Stevenson Square.

Didsbury's Violet HourDidsbury's Violet Hour

Former Gayter salonPen & Pencil: former Gayter unit

"There's loads of residential blocks at this end and we know of at least two hotels planned for the area," Pollard tells us, "so we couldn't be much better placed. Plus the site is perfect, we have these beautiful big windows, original brick and industrial columns, we couldn't sign for it quick enough."

Though, with all the competition, does he worry the Pen & Pencil will become just another bar?

"Ok, there's more and more bars but there's very little daytime food trade at this end. We're looking to plug that gap, be an all-day venue seven days a week from 10am 'til late."

"We've looked at places like The Breakfast Club in Soho," Pollard continues. "There's that seamless slide from brunch through the day and into that late night buzz. That's what we're aiming for."

One last thing, where've they pulled that name from?

"Bruno's Pen & Pencil was a classic 50s-60s New York drinking den and steakhouse," Pollard explains. "It's where journalists, ad-men and cartoonists hung out, a real golden age of cocktails served with steak'n'eggs.

"Being the city's creative district the name just seemed to fit."

Pen & Pencil should launch in Fourways House at 57 Hilton Street in May 2015.

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

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2015.

I stood on a corner for 10 minutes in the N4 waiting for friends and someone slapped planning permission on me to covert me to a bar....

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2015.

Some of the most pretentious twaddle I've read in a long time...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Definitely up there, although I think Dirty Cow have got the award locked up this year.

rinkydinkJanuary 22nd 2015.

Filthy Cow

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2015.

Quite right. Even more ridiculous.

ChrisJanuary 21st 2015.

I'm bored of this world when are we going to colonise Mars?

Poster BoyJanuary 22nd 2015.

Nice dig.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

terrible patter on these comments, always

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Bores me to death. Why not just tell us the news and let us determine the patter

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

I miss DRIP and the women who ran it......Hope they have opened up in another location...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Opening in the Dance Studios building.

kate1January 22nd 2015.

not sure about this one...

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2015.

"It's where journalists, ad-men and cartoonists hung out, a real golden age of cocktails served with steak'n'eggs"

1 Response: Reply To This...
BOREDNOWJanuary 23rd 2015.

Since when was just quoting the ad a F**kin rant or reply? No matter... good luck to them.. there are lots of tourists coming into this city just as there is London and Soho that all these bars if done well can find a customer base!

CharlotteJanuary 24th 2015.

Good luck to them! I for one welcome another bar! Bring it on

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2015.

Great, but that will add even more pressure to the non-existent bike parking in the area. When will this be sorted?

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2015.

classic Blake getting solita in at every opportunity

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