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TriBeCa, Reviewed

Niamh Spence encounters sin after sin in a Village favourite

Written by . Published on January 24th 2014.

TriBeCa, Reviewed

MUCH has been said about reviews here recently at Confidential. Some good and some bad. Ultimately we write what we see, regardless of cult status or celebrity endorsement or avid fans with an excellent grasp of the internet.

Unfortunately for TriBeCa on Sackville Street, what I saw was substantially below par. Sinful even.

Flapping and panicking it seemed he couldn’t cope with the customers. Despite the fact there were only a handful of us and we never seemed to approach the bar at the same time.

Sinful conjures up images of debauchery and excessive indulgence, the kind of things that we shouldn’t do but because they’re fun we can’t help ourselves. TriBeCa wasn’t fun. It wasn’t debaucherous or indulgent. It was a sin against bars, food and I’ve genuinely had better dining experiences in an IKEA cafe.

Walking in to the dimly lit bar I wasn’t expecting much. And I didn’t get much in return.

TriBeCa bar; clearly heaving with customersTriBeCa bar; clearly heaving with customers

The bar is of the no frills variety. If you want fancy interiors, trendy design and to ‘be seen’ then TriBeCa isn’t for you. If you’re after cheap drinks along the lines of ‘The Tribeca Ten at £2.50’ then pull up a squeaky stool and go wild. You can end up smashed for a tenner.

Red and black seems to be the main theme for TriBeCa. A colour theme that much like TriBeCa itself just seems a little tired. Faded and resigned it seems to have left the more intelligent crowd and cocktails to nearby bars such as Velvet. You can almost hear the bar sigh as another punter orders jager shots and Carlsberg and hands over a crumpled tenner.

Sympathetic as I am to the plight of this bar, which seems to have fallen to the wayside as the crowds flock to the likes of The Alchemist, Velvet and Neighborhood, I still had to review it.

Approaching the vast expansive bar I was greeted by a fearful barman. Flapping and panicking it seemed he couldn’t cope with the customers. Despite the fact there were only a handful of us and we never seemed to approach the bar at the same time.

French Martini (£7.00) and a Bloody Mary (£7.00)French Martini (£7.00) and a Bloody Mary (£7.00)

Ordering cocktails was my first major mistake. 30 minutes of coaxing him through the process ensued and two pitiful cocktails were the result. They were more effort than they’re worth. Missing simple garnishes such as a slice of lemon with the Bloody Mary and at one point I had to remind the barman to include ice.

“Is that how it’s supposed to look?” He asked, cautiously eyeing me as I assured him that frothiness is expected with a French Martini.

They weren’t the finest of cocktails, but they weren’t the worst. Still we went for the crowd pleaser and stuck with TriBeCa’s most popular offer of a bottle of house wine for £6.95 for our next round. It doesn’t come with a cooler, it’s barely chilled but it is drinkable. Sure it’s not an established label and I doubt you’ll find a bottle of ‘Lobo Loco’ on the menu at Manchester House but cheap and cheerful seems to be TriBeCa’s only option. Pour it out, drink it down and get merry.

Foodwise, it's cheap and cheerful again. Right down to the plastic laminated menu. 

TriBeCa food menuTriBeCa food menuNow it's never good when a bar or restaurant doesn't have the meal you want. It's definitely worse when it doesn't have 90 percent of the menu available. 

Pizza? No. Lamb? No. Burgers? No. Starters? Three out of seven available, and not the three we wanted.

The frazzled barman attempted to show me what mains were and weren't available and ended up confusing himself and me more than ever. A spicy meat sharing platter seemed our only option.

The food was fine, but definitely nothing to write home about. In fact nothing to write about at all.

Spicy Meat Platter (£12.95)Spicy Meat Platter (£12.95)

TriBeCa just seems to have lost its way a little bit.

Once a busy and thriving bar, especially if the crowded pictures on the website are anything to go by, it seems to have withdrawn and fallen into that awkward 'cheap as chips' category that is usually reserved for Wetherspoons and Baa Bar.

The various booths around the sides were all held off with signs stating 'Reserved from 6.30pm' or similar and when we left at 9pm they still sat empty. 

Ideally placed to be a popular bar for many of the office workers or even for those living in the loft-style apartments, TriBeCa has given in to being a pre-drinking place to get smashed and move on from.

Drink your £6.95 wine and go up market for your cocktails.

You can follow Niamh Spence on Twitter


TriBeCa: 50 Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3WF

Telephone: 0161 236 8300

Rating: 9.5/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below, venues are rated against the best examples of their kind) 

Drinks: 2/5
Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2/5
Ambience: 3/5 

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

Georgina Hague shared this on Facebook on January 24th 2014.
GordoJanuary 24th 2014.

This used to be the bar of choice for our lot ten years ago. Sorry to hear that it is sliding down the slippery slope.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGFebruary 18th 2014.

Gordo, I used to go to UMIST and remember when this place first opened. It was ace. Good music, simple but smart fit out and the food wasn't bad, either. But for several years now, it's had terrible wipe clean surfaces, awful lighting and sub-standard charty music. It's a long time since I've been and I don't plan to go back. Sad times. (or getting old)

rinkydinkJanuary 24th 2014.

It was my local 10 years ago too and a lot of fun! Although I would never have thought of eating there even then...

JimJanuary 24th 2014.

Used to like this place but not been here for 5 years. Shame to hear it's gone downhill. Used to be a great bar

scottJanuary 24th 2014.

This used to be one of the nicer places to eat in The Village when it first opened. Stopped going in when i saw people snorting drugs off the tables one Sunday afternoon.

John HarrisJanuary 24th 2014.

Changed hands, and the new owners clearly have no idea

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2014.

Used to be great, but it's now a dump. No atmosphere, tired and dirty decor, poor food. It needs some investment and a complete overhaul. Unfortunately the masses of the village seem to value the price of drinks over anything else which is why the abomination that is GAY has sucked a huge amount of custom and money from everywhere else

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2014.

It is truly sinful that there is nowhere decent to eat and drink in the village. Soho's Balans has remained successful by offering decent food, employing good looking attentive staff and keeping a cool sheen. Tribeca gave up years ago, Velvet's bar remains fun but the restaurant appears to think the metrosexual crowd love their food deep fried, covered in melted cheese served by staff who'd rather be elsewhere. The Village should be an opportunity to attract diners but no one appears to appreciate this. A real shame.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
SmittyJanuary 27th 2014.

Sorry, have you not been to McTucky's?!? More seriously, what you're saying isn't true. The food is alright in Velvet and Taurus. I've not been to Villaggio for a while, but it was always nice there. The tucker in Richmond Tea Rooms is lovely, in particular the cake. And the tapas in Molly House is the best I've had, anywhere. I'm not saying the Village is the best place in the world to eat, but I'm pretty much a half glass full kinda person. I do - of course - appreciate that it's easier to snipe anonymously!

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2014.

This place deserves a kicking in its current state. Its slide down the pan can be encapsulated by that stupid, token chandelier they pinned to the ceiling, totally out of place given the bar's original design and a lame attempt at the 'tart's boudoir' look that was sweeping bar design a few years ago.

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2014.

Taurus, thankfully though is still keeping the flag flying for decent food and a pleasant atmosphere. Long may it continue.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 27th 2014.

Well said Edith

jonJanuary 27th 2014.

it looks so dirty I'd never chance the food

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2014.

Eden do good food too

AnonymousFebruary 14th 2014.

I could not agree with this review more. Once a nice place to go, now I feel fearful of my life when trying to order a drink from the constantly miserable and severely unfriendly barmaid. This place won't last too much longer unless it dramatically changes.

AnonymousFebruary 14th 2014.

Hate Tribecca! Horrid place.

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