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Two new bars for the city centre: Taps and House 9

Crisis what economic crisis? Two top end bars open in the city centre

Published on August 7th 2009.

Two new bars for the city centre: Taps and House 9
Here’s a thing this August 2009.

In the quietest month of a year which has seen the brows of depressed entrepreneurs so furrowed you could grow wheat in them, two ambitious bars have opened in the city centre.

Taps (Unit 1, Great Northern Towers, Watson Street, City. 0161 819 5167) is the first bar in the North West to offer self-service beer taps at every table using technology from Atlanta, USA.

The bar is part of a stable of venues which includes Epernay Champagne bar on Watson Street in Great Northern Tower. Taps sits under Epernay but is very different in ethos, placing beer rather than bubbly to the fore.

Owner, Nick Thornton, says: “We feel that there is space for something new that offers customers an experience they will not find anywhere else. You don't have to queue at the bar or buy in set measures: at Taps you pay for what you pour and nothing more.”

Beer consumption is monitored by staff and every beer tap can be cut off at any time if things get a bit raucous. The beer taps are computerised and every tabletop has its own digital screen, enabling both punters and staff to monitor consumption.

Beers include Amstel and another high quality Belgium Beer, be that Duvel Green, Leifermans Summer Fruits or Vedett White. Shame the system doesn’t seem able to cope with a proper British ale given that Greater Manchester has more than 20 brewers. That might have been a technological leap too far.

If the beers don’t grab you then the food might. As the publicity shots hint, it looks pretty interesting, and comes from Head Chef Liam Holuj. The bias is on Belgian grub.

Next up is House 9 (9 Century Street, City).

The co-owner, Joe Foster, and his business partners have got big plans and see this as part of a mini-empire.

House 9 is across three floors in the old lock keeper’s house at the end of Deansgate Locks, overlooking the Rochdale Canal. It has two fine terraces over the canal, especially the upper one. The top floor has a big party space and a private room.

The beer taps are computerised and every tabletop has its own digital screen, enabling both punters and staff to monitor consumption.

Foster’s aiming for a more mature crowd – mid-twenties and over, “who like a nice drink and a bit of boogie.” He’s also very aware of how quickly a bar can go bad if the wrong crowd gets in.

To that end it’s fortunate that House 9 doesn’t share the Deansgate Locks boardwalk. Its entrance is round the corner on Century Street, a small but important walk which might filter out some of the worst lunatics down there.

Food will be introduced in a couple of weeks and be very simple, more of a supplement to the drinks: home-made pizzas, home-made burgers, that sort of thing.

Then, early next year the team at House 9 hope to open another bar at the other end of the Great Northern Tower from Taps and Epernay. This will be, as Foster describes, “Elbow Room style, a funky American type pool bar.”

Brave lads, the Taps and House 9 boys. We wish them luck and will be slipping down to review soon.

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

The GunAugust 7th 2009.

Hula will be open in 4 weeks in stevenson square just round the corner from your den of iniquity/office, from the chaps at Walrus and M20. Manchester reccession proof or what!

TimAugust 7th 2009.

Checked this place out last night. We were reminded on entry that Taps was a restaurant, but we could try the bar as they had just opened. Great beers, strange (possibly unreliable) computerised systems. Fun pouring your own pint - little room on the table if indeed we were to eat from a menu that can only describe as eccentric. Worth a visit for something a bit different and to confuse your friends from Europe.

AnonymousAugust 7th 2009.

Taps seriously need to get their act together! Thier service is AWFUL! Asked if we could use a Hi-Life card, they said yes - then changed their mind! Would never go back.

AnonymousAugust 7th 2009.

i went to taps on saturday evening with a group of friends hoping to try their beer. unfortunately we got turned away by a rather unfriendly waiter informing us that it is a restaurant not a bar.whilst i admire their 'ambition' opening a new bar (sorry, restaurant) during a recession, it is surely blind stupidity that turns paying guests away, half of the tables in the place were empty!

KrapsAugust 7th 2009.

Went in Saturday afternoon and was spun the same 'it's a restaurant not a bar' line, bit rich when every table is basically its own bar.... 'Luckily' we were let in to sample the beer, left after a half. The novelty SOON wore off.

DidsburyGirlAugust 7th 2009.

After having a swift drink in Epernay after work I heaqded home, but my collegues headed downstairs to Taps after I'd left. They said it was a fantastic bar, and the way they work the taps is great to stop you spending more than you realised! Definatly an after works drink place that will be visited time and time again.

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