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Solomon Grundy

Lena Peter finds that Solomon Grundy with its DIY cocktails is great for relaxing

Published on April 22nd 2008.


Solomon Grundy

Solomon Grundy in Withington has been providing students and locals with its more-of-a-café-than-a-pub services for years and it is one of a small number of places that works just as well by day as by night.Being a dimly lit bar with quiet music during the day, it’s perfect for hungover Sundays. The breakfasts (for both carnivores and veggies) are popular and hearty affairs which are served throughout the afternoon too, and can be accompanied by coffees, juices or beers.

The staff are friendly and generally happy to agree to any strange request, although this may have contributed, one time, to them giving my drinking companion a straight double gin at 11am without question, rather than the G&T he'd asked for.

Drinks are well-chosen. The wine list is pretty extensive and covers both New World and European wines, with a good strong Rioja coming in at £3.40 and a decent house red at £2.90.

The beers on tap include Leffe, bottles include Duvel and Vedett. The choice of beers reflects the European nature of the bar: this is not a place for real-ale aficionados.

For some reason the place has now decided to add a cocktail menu, which seems a bit at odds with the feel of the place. Kir royals sit alongside various blue-coloured, apricot-tasting, fizzy concoctions. The bar is also running a promotion at present where you can do a DIY cocktail with your choice of spirits, plus fruit juices (£3 for small, £6 for ‘lethal’). This is perhaps best for those who know what they’re doing, unless you want something tasting as though it were prepared by the university rugby team. To go out to a bar and do the work yourself is perhaps missing the point.

The menu at Solomon Grundy is ironically described as ‘world famous’ - Withington-famous would be more like it. The food has also gone through periods of being less-then-inspired, but it seems, at the moment, that the chef is actually interested in cooking. The main menu covers food that isn’t particularly taxing to prepare but covers most meal bases. The cooked breakfasts are augmented with other classics such as cream cheese and smoked salmon bagels and salmon and scrambled eggs. Lunch is covered by soups of the day, salads, burgers and mussels.

The burgers are freshly made and come with crispy chips (plus weird tiny thimbles of mustard mayo and strange salsa with raisons). The mussels arrive as a generous helping coming in a broth of lime, chilli and coriander with crispy warm bread for dipping.

The specials board contains about 20 items per day. When I visited someone had obviously been to the fish market and there was a lovely Malaysian fish soup with halibut and prawns. Added to this were other hearty meals such as the shamelessly overdone bar standard of lamb shank along with more interesting meats such as rabbit. An advantage of Solomon Grundy's though is that the kitchen stays open to 10pm, making it a decent bet when you’ve burned your dinner.

The staff are friendly and generally happy to agree to any strange request, although this may have contributed, one time, to them giving my drinking companion a straight double gin at 11am without question, rather than the G&T he asked for.

As well as being a haven for live music during the evening, Solomon’s works well by day. The décor of wooden tables and chairs, semi-exposed walls and uneven tiled floors (which can become a bit of a challenge for those not entirely on the ball) contribute to a feeling of a bistro-type bar. In addition to this, there is the section at the back of the building which has a corrugated plastic roof, possibly thrown together with bits from a skip by someone with a hangover, but at least this lets light flood into the otherwise dark bar.

There are intimate two-seater tables and large trestles, meaning that couples can have a quiet argument alongside people dissecting the previous night out. There’s a wide selection of papers provided for those on their own (or for those who’s partner’s just left after the aforementioned argument), but the best thing about Solomon Grundy is that you never feel rushed or unwelcome. The live music at night tends to keep to the chilled vibe of the place.

Solomon’s is not the place to go for a hedonistic night out but rather provides an easy-going place where you can drink and eat while the hours gently slip by.

Rating: 14/20
Breakdown: 3.5/5 Food
3/5 Drinks
3.5/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Solomon Grundy
447/449 Wilmslow Road
Withington
M20 4AN
0161 374 5861
Mon to Thurs 10.30am – 11.30pm
Fri-Sat 10.30am-midnight
Sun 11am – 11pm

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

AnonymousApril 22nd 2008.

I love Solomons, the staff are so nice and friendly compared to places like trof and its a great place to meet people for quiet drinks. I have to say though that the food is a bit hit and miss! either really really tasty ( i agree with the cajun thing!) or really messy and microwaved ! maybe they got a good chef/bad chef thing goin on?

ChiApril 22nd 2008.

Love Solomon's been there for lunch and early dinners. The burgers are absolutely YUM and staff really nice. Did not have to wait for ages as well compared to some places!I recommend it if you're in Withington :)

AnonymousApril 22nd 2008.

Soloman's is nice, but I like Fuel over the road. Good value veggie food, and have something on upstairs most nights..music, comedy, poetry etc, and dead relaxed. Worth a visit.

Burt CodeineApril 22nd 2008.

Great bar/cafe - never failed to leave impressed with the way it's run. Despite having an extensive menu, they recently went out their way to offer an old favourite of my daughters no longer on the menu (chicken goujons - she's a terribly fussy eater).With a european, chow/quaff now pay on your way out attitude this places stands out on Withy's high street. Children are also very welcome and very looked after....take note evil accountant led faux cafes elsewhere...

AnonymousApril 22nd 2008.

I got fed up of sending food back to the kitchen because it was cold- not very good is it when they can't even do that. They also serve the worst coffee in south Manchester. Their Cajun jumbo thing is very good though. And you get black pudding on the breakfasts which is a rare thing these day.

AnonymousApril 22nd 2008.

Agree with the above about the art work - anyone reading this that works at Soloman's - take down those naff Athena-style Frank Sinatra pictures. They're blatantly out of that Gina and Sophia restaurant that closed down.

Old NQerApril 22nd 2008.

My last post was on how bad Common is in the Northern Quarter. If only they could take tips from this place. Always feel welcome here.

Andy PApril 22nd 2008.

Love Solomons but also love Fuel over the road which has great bar, veg food and loads of live music nights. Just needs one or two more bars of this ilk and it could soon become a 'night out' on its own right!

chasmcrApril 22nd 2008.

Agree with most of the above. Friendly place with a warm buzz of an evening and contented calm during the daytime. Little chance of a fight. The food's fine for what it is and the staff are good with kids - there's a selection of board games behind the bar which is a welcome diversion for the hungover and hungry parent on a Sunday morning. In common with Fuel across the road, the coffee's good but the art on the walls is bloody awful. Here's an idea - south manchester bars club together to employ a curator?

Ali McGApril 22nd 2008.

I love this place... it has a great atmosphere and is a cool place to meet your mates and chill. PS: any chance of a spelling and grammar check before posting your next article? :)

RabbitApril 22nd 2008.

Aaah Solomon's... was once my favourite bar in the suburbs but recently moved down to One Lounge on the corner of Lapwing and Burton. One Lounge isn't as bohemian but the cocktails are wonderful!

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