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Harvey Nichols Indoor Beer Garden

David McCourt goes Astroturf dining

Written by . Published on August 9th 2012.

Harvey Nichols Indoor Beer Garden

HARVEY Nichols opened their Heineken indoor beer garden to shoppers last week, and I thought I’d go and see what all the fuss was about.

It seems like everybody feels as though they have to do something to celebrate the Olympics. No matter how small or pointless, something is always better than nothing.

The Harvey Nichols indoor beer garden provides a nice pit stop on your shopping trip.

Harvey Nichols are calling it, ‘the ultimate beer garden experience, indoors’, and whilst that is perhaps stretching it a little far, it’s still worth a look while shopping.

For August only, the far corner of the menswear floor has been laid with Astroturf. Throw in some garden furniture, a small bar, some TVs, and a table football arena (where it’s free to play) and you’ve got yourself a beer garden.

There was nobody manning the bar when I arrived, but a sales assistant was soon over to take my order.

The menu is basic: three sandwiches – pastrami on rye, tuna with lemon mayonnaise, or roasted Mediterranean vegetables – bottles of Heineken, and the usual soft-drink staples.

I went for the pastrami (£5.50) and a beer (£3.75).

Pastrami snadwich and an ice cold Heineken at Harvey Nichols, ManchesterPastrami sandwich and an ice cold Heineken at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

The sandwiches come from the already established deli café on the same floor, and mine arrived wrapped like you’d buy from a shop, but it had clearly been freshly made. It was packed with peppery pastrami and tangy pickle. The beer was, well, Heineken, but at least it was ice cold. No complaints here.

There’s something really unnerving about sitting eating your lunch whilst people nonchalantly browse jackets and ties a few feet away from you. The furniture, the AstroTurf, the food and drink; none of this takes away the feeling that you are having your lunch in the menswear section of a department store.

Free table footballFree table football

There’s two large wall-mounted TVs in the ‘beer garden’, and whilst absolutely nobody is sitting around thinking, “I fancy watching the 200m heats, I’ll just bob down to Harvey Nichols”, I like it as an option for the passive sports viewer.

They should have them in there all the time, in fact. Imagine, for example, you didn’t want to spend an entire day sat in front of a test match, but you’d be happy to take a peek at the score whilst browsing for a new pair of brogues, maybe watch an over or two whilst you’re in the queue – it’d be great.

Harvey Nichols Indoor Beer GardenHarvey Nichols Indoor Beer Garden

The Harvey Nichols indoor beer garden provides a nice pit stop on your shopping trip. It’s not going to provide the ‘stylish alternative to pub surroundings for cheering on our sporting heroes’ that it may have set out to, but that doesn’t mean it can’t fulfil a different function.

They probably won’t sell many beers or sandwiches, but for passing customers, the Harvey Nichols indoor beer garden is a nice change of pace to shopping for clothes.

Follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

Opening times for the beer garden will coincide with shopping:

Monday – Friday: 10am – 8pm

Saturday: 9am – 7pm

Sunday: 11am – 5pm.

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Carolyn O'hanlonSeptember 11th 2012.

Maybe they could have these in all the department stores as men creches.

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