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The Molly House review

Jonathan Schofield finds a place for a chat, a real ale and laugh in part three of The Village examined

Written by . Published on March 4th 2011.


The Molly House review

A couple of weeks ago I found the Port Street Beer House (click here) a convivial and welcoming place. This week it’s all about The Molly House, a cracking bar in the Village.

Set in an Edwardian warehouse, off the main Canal Street drag, on Richmond Street, this is a classy and cleverly conceived operation. It broadens the appeal of the Village, matures it.

Above all it quietens it down.

“An important part of The Molly House is that people can have a chat. There’s no Madonna, no Kylie music just easy background, jazz and blues. We want the music to be part of the ambience not the ambience itself.”

At last we have a place in the Village that isn’t a decayed pub with sticky carpets. Here you can sit, talk, and enjoy quality wines and ales at 10pm in comfort. Well most nights at least. Certainly on Monday night after reviewing Private Lives (click here) at the Royal Exchange.

On weekend nights it gets packed. The reason it gets packed is that people like it. People like it because it’s good. Surely there’s a case for someone soon to emulate the Molly House in the Village?

Paul Duffy, the genial general manager, explains the thinking behind the place: “We wanted to provide something different round here, create a place that feels like the better Northern Quarter bars.

“Somewhere for a nice cup of tea, good coffee, real ales, quality wines,” he continues. “An important part of The Molly House is that people can have a chat. There’s no Madonna, no Kylie music just easy background, jazz and blues. We want the music to be part of the ambience not the ambience itself.”

The twenty styles of tea come from Teapigs. The teacup cabinets a right sweetie. House wines are Italian and start at £11.95 for a bottle, but there are also Bordeauxs at £79.

Aside from the usual premium lagers there are ales from micro-brewery Beartown in Congleton. Perhaps the best is the Kodiak Gold, a fruity and refreshing ale at £3.30. Having hand-pulled ales in a recent bar in the Village is a rarity. A welcome one.

“Was the choice of a brewery with the name Beartown a happy accident?” I wonder.

Duffy laughs, “Well we loved the flavour of the beers but the name fitted with the play on words throughout the place, from Molly House to the Tearoom and Bordello bar.”Molly House, by the way, was an eighteenth century term for a place where – in old-style phraseology - homosexual men could meet. And cross-dressers too.

So how has The Molly House in Manchester performed?

“We’re absolutely delighted with it,” say Duffy. “We always have plenty of customers in who appreciate what we are doing. We think we've created a space that is very different. Once we have the food up and running we can improve again.”

Food will arrive when the gas supply issues have been sorted. The idea is to start with breakfasts, both English and Continental, and advance into the evening with a range of platters and picking food; meat, vegetarian and cheese.

With the Molly House, the Village has become a little more civilised and a little less strained. The new venue is a friendly and easy-going place in which to relax. Give the place a go folks.

Follow Jonathan Schofield on twitter @JonathSchofield

Rating:17/20
Breakdown:9/10 ambience
4/5 drinks
4/5 service
Address:Molly House
26 Richmond Street
City
M1 3NB
0161 237 9329

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.

Smyth HarperMarch 2nd 2011.

It's the best bar in Manchester. With the best ambiance, the best staff, the best terrace, the best punters (usually) the best selection of drinks and the best thing that's happened to the Village in years. It oozes "labour of love" and is the kind of place you can show off to visitors to the city and perfect for a post-work drink. The only problem is that people have now discovered it!

Smyth HarperMarch 2nd 2011.

In fact, I'm going there right now!

EugeneMarch 2nd 2011.

Agreed. Marvellous bar. More so as it's such a contrast from it's 'sister' bar Company!

Love the decor, the back bar selection, the newspapers...it's really comfortable. And classy. The antithesis of much of the strip.

I hope it does really well. And remains down to earth - the staff are lovely.

Well done guys ;-)

Jonathan SchofieldMarch 3rd 2011.

Did you have a good time Smitty?

CrabmeatMarch 3rd 2011.

If he went he enjoyed it. Loved the place. Can't fail to like it.

Smyth HarperMarch 3rd 2011.

Yup Jonathan, good rum and good company!

Ian WatersMarch 3rd 2011.

Spot on review, this is a great bar! Vintage 78s on a Sunday afternoon is fast becoming a highlight of the week.

Alan OwenMarch 3rd 2011.

Its doing so well its already on the market. £1.2 million. The busier it is the quicker they can sell it. Probably to Crunch or AXM. No mention of this in the article Jonathan? Sounds like its been developed to make a quick buck. Love the bar as it is currently run btw.

Anne-MarieMarch 3rd 2011.

Sunday afternoons are my favourite. Tea and newspapers downstairs, Vintage 78 DJs upstairs. Can't wait to add food to the mix...

Kevin PeelMarch 3rd 2011.

This is one of my favourite places in the Village. Really pleased to see more non-generic venues opening up to cater to a wider clientele. Definitely the way forward.

M30March 3rd 2011.

Great little place. Just what the village needs. It could only be improved with a sign saying "No Hen Parties"

Sexy manchesterMarch 3rd 2011.

I love this bar, and totally get what they are trying to do. It's so much better than most other bars in the village and long overdue!! The only things that I think could be improved on is more seating upstairs and some sort of cover on the terrace for when it rains (as it often does in manchester). Otherwise keep it up!

Stuart16967March 3rd 2011.

Love it, it's fresh and new and not full of screaming little prissy camp queens.

Response from the Molly HouseMarch 3rd 2011.

Editorial has received this from The Molly House, in response to some of the comments here. well done to them we say. Glasnost is always best. 'We all at The Molly House are delighted with the amazing response that we've received in the short time we have been open. We'd like to respond to a couple of comments in your "rant" section. We recognize that the terrace needs some form of shelter and have sourced a supplier to install an awning. There is a lead time of 4-6 weeks to installation, but rest assured that it will be installed in the near future. In response to previous suggestions, the number of seating spaces available was increased. This is something we'll look at again when the food service starts. As for rumours about the bar being up for sale... well, whether true or not, The Molly House is here to stay. The current owners have been operating in the village for over 12 years, and have made a huge investment in the business, so it's not clearly a case of cut-and-run. We think that The Molly House is a truly special venue with a very welcoming ambiance. We have a fantastic team working here and they truly enjoy what they do. This is reflected in the amazing feedback that we have received from many different sources. What we have here works very well, regardless of who actually owns it, and it is our intention to keep it that way. Why not come and enjoy the space.'

Alan OwenMarch 3rd 2011.

So the for sale rumour is it True or not? If true you can not say it will operate as it does regardless of who owns it. Let's be grown up here you would sell it to the highest bidder. I know that and in this new age of Glasnost so do you.

AnonymousMarch 3rd 2011.

Depends whether its the building or the lease that's up for sale, and if its the lease what the terms of sale are.

Alan OwenMarch 3rd 2011.

It's the building free hold and the business. The one package. £1.2 million.

Piers MorganMarch 7th 2011.

@ Village Spy I don't see why the owners have to tell you Jack Shit Village Spy as long as the standards are kept up?

AnonymousMarch 8th 2011.

just I'd thought thought what a nice place it was shhhhh.. with just the right number of people ... you lot come along and spoil it. They are supposed to have music too (DJ) but maybe that was a 'mirage'

TheBigScrumApril 7th 2011.

Isn't it called the GAY village, I know its becoming quite straight down Canal street these days - but didn't realise it had formally become a straight zone!
. . .p.s. the molly house is a lovely bar! lol

Caroline WilliamsMay 2nd 2011.

was in on Saturday with friends and what a great place and a GREAT find. Lovely atmosphere, nice staff and will be back.

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