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Oast House Opens

Sleuth thinks it's going to be popular, it's going to be busy

Published on October 27th 2011.

Oast House Opens

FIRST night. Before the launch. It's already a winner.

The Oast House is breath of fresh air. Especially for the staff in the outside kitchen.

People love charm. They love fun. They yearn for a bit of 'vive la difference'. 

The Oast House is all that. In a sometimes po-faced Spinningfields, this is the wet kipper across the face of formality.

Sleuth had a sneak preview of the place on Friday.

Tim Bacon, the boss of the operator Living Ventures, was a picture of concern.

"Do you think this will work, do you think people will come along?" he said, brow furrowed.

Sleuth looked around, giggled and said, "Listen Tim, this place will absolutely rock it. It's so mad it will get the locals with their grey suits and two pieces banging on the door, it will pull in the ale buffs with its ales like bees to honey, tourists will flock to its madness."

So first trial night and it was rammed.

Mad rammed.

The only problem Bacon may have is that it could take business from his nearby bar The Alchemist.

Before mentioning the beautiful Loweswater Gold ale let's mention the maddest thing about the mad Oast House.

Bacon wanted a kitchen. There wasn't room in the building so the barbecue kitchen is outside. It's outside permanently. Thus Manchester has the first ever permanently exterior kitchen in the UK in modern times. In Manchester it's the first time since the Romans had their kitchen against the fort walls in Castlefield more than 1600 years ago. 

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The animal symbol of Manchester, the bee, used as branding image here is welcome too.

We'll be back in for a full review but loads of things will work well for the Oast House: the massive outdoor performance area, the barbecue foods, the charming drinks menu with its watercolour illustrations, the deli platters, the burgers, the 9oz ribeye cooked externally, the four real ales (and sixteen or so bottled British beers), the world beers, the perries and ciders, the decent wines and the effing cocktails (Sleuth wishes cocktails could be mixed more quickly). 

Vive la difference Sleuth says. Yes having a Kentish oast house in Manchester between the Crown Court and the Magistrates Court and next to the smart shops of The Avenue is a bit Disney, is a bit silly, but pastiche is fun when everything else nearby is part of the real city. 

Ok, there should be at least three more ales from Manchester but in compensation, the Loweswater Gold from Cumbria is a thing of nectar. Try it. 

The Oast House is a breath of fresh air. Especially for the staff in the outside kitchen. Sleuth loves it.

You can find the Oast House in Crown Square in Spinningfields, just off Bridge Street, backing on to Wood Street. 

Follow Sleuth on twitter @Sleuth


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

Arran SummerhillOctober 27th 2011.

Is there a web site? Cant find it online.

Kevin PeelOctober 27th 2011.

Absolutely fantastic. Will be heading down to check it out next week!

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

£4.50 a pint, cant wait...

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldOctober 27th 2011.

Honestly Anon, you don't have to go.

Lorraine ByrneOctober 27th 2011.

Went yesterday lunchtime and again last night - great athmosphere, great place - its like going to a bar in a ski resort. The Hanging Kebebs are to die for!!!

Helen Ramsbottom shared this on Facebook on October 27th 2011.
Mark Garner The PublisherOctober 27th 2011.

Are you there Mike Ingall? Don't be expecting rent anytime soon with coverage like this you southern fairy...

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

£4.00 - a pint??!? And there was me thinking there was an economic crisis somewhere in the world.

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

This place looks great fun, can't wait to go along - If the atmosphere, staff, drinks and food are anywhere near as good as the alchemist then it will be spot on.

Typically shoddy work from this website though - I mean you could have taken along a decent camera or at least used a low light setting those photos are appalling!!!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

Thats because Schofield was pissed probably, but part of the charm of 'this website'.

SchofieldOctober 27th 2011.

Schofield wasn't pissed, but he was just wandering past with his phone camera and thought people might want to get an idea of the place

CBOctober 27th 2011.

No sprinklers on the ale?...wow maverick

ScoutOctober 27th 2011.

Beer, kebabs, pictures of bees and moustachioed Frosts. I'm encouraged...

1 Response: Reply To This...
ScoutOctober 27th 2011.

Ergh, bad grammar! I'm sure there aren't any pictures of moustachioed Frosts up in the Oast House. Oxford comma, where were you?

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

Does that price behind the bar say £4 a pint? I am struggling to read it....yes....it does....it says £4 a pint.

If it takes business away from The Alchemist I would be surprised. The clientele and the bar staff would have to find a way out of their backsides first.

Much rather, this could take money out of the pockets of the vastly overrated Mark Addy, but means the Deansgate/Salford pub crawl just got another venue.

Mine's going to have to be a half though.....£4!

the Whalley RangerOctober 27th 2011.

Has it occurred to anyone that a pint of beer in all-competitive Germany would be around £6?

How do they do it?

Is it because Sir Mervyn devalued the pound by at least 30%?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Calum McGOctober 27th 2011.

But this is Manchester, not Munich?

SchofieldOctober 27th 2011.

And last time I was in France - this summer - it was about a fiver for a pint.

the Whalley RangerOctober 27th 2011.

Never mind Barcelona, where a pint equivalent would be £8 in a place like this!

60p in the supermarket, though...

EvoNovember 4th 2011.

Regarding the initial statement, I'm currently residing in Frankfurt - one of the more expensive cities in Germany - and you would struggle to pay more than 4EUR for any of the top quality beers here, albeit losing 68ml from your 'pint'. Even Munich's recent and blatantly overpriced Oktoberfest only charged the equivalent of 5EUR per 500ml. £4 is way too much to charge for ales. Most people who actually take a real interest in what they drink will be clued-up enough to know they are getting ripped off. £3.20-£3.40 is more realistic if they want to attract a crowd of character that mirrors that of the building (i was back this weekend and stumbled across it)

Calum McGOctober 27th 2011.

I went last night. It's a bit of a theme park type place but it's cool enough. BBQ looks awesome! But the partly sad thing for me was paying £4 a pint - which is fine if it's quality - but it was very average beer. The food prices though (over a tenner for a burger with chips...) are ridiculous and I would simply have to watch my friends eat as they threw me some crumbs. Sad times.

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

£5 for a pint in a novelty faux-pub-cum-shed in the middle of an office park. can't wait to get down there.

Work Experience shared this on Facebook on October 27th 2011.
AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

Sam Smith's pub, near me....not trendy and fool-themed....£1.85 a pint of excellent real cask ale. Have to put up with working class people however....keeps the bellends out.

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

That man has a funny face

1 Response: Reply To This...
It's the city, duffusOctober 27th 2011.

Is that Prinz Albert checking on the pound-euro-convergence?

пете драперOctober 27th 2011.

corporate tosh in manchester's most corporate of spaces. locals? i doubt it.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
It's the city, duffusOctober 27th 2011.

Locals? It's a temp bar for the Canary Wharf of Manchester. The local is the deep-plan office temp receptionist.

SchofieldOctober 28th 2011.

You lot can get really bitter can't you?

It's the city, duffusOctober 28th 2011.

Ah no mate, mine's always a bitter.

When you're ready, go move into a Swedish office layout - no aircon, no common office flues, no deep plan, natural daylight.

I give Manchester 30 years to catch up on the rest of the world...

AnonymousNovember 6th 2011.

Bloody hell mr schofield, if all these people are getting bitter it'll cost a fortune!!

AnonymousOctober 27th 2011.

4.10 for a pint of Stella in the Ox.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 6th 2011.

Yeah, I'd noticed cleaning products are deffinitely getting more expensive!

Rather peevedOctober 28th 2011.

Great idea to feature this as the top story yesterday. We trekked all the way down from the Northern Quarter after work on the strength of the review only to be told it was closed for a private party. Way to go Man Con.

ColumbusOctober 28th 2011.

What you walked about a mile there and back? You must have been exhausted.

Rather peevedOctober 28th 2011.

Yeah I forgot to mention there was a spot of rain last night as well.

Nicholas Johnson shared this on Facebook on October 28th 2011.
Marie Betty DavisOctober 30th 2011.

I went to the Oast House last night with friends and I had a lovely time...ok, so some people may find the drinks a tad expensive, but you would find the same prices in many of the bars across Manchester. Saying that however, I had a double Baileys (which was 100ml as they do large measures in the first place) for £7 so I aint complaining at all! It had a lovely Christmassy feel to it too...Can't wait to visit again :) xx

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 18th 2011.

Standard measure of Bailey's is 50ml - same for any drink that is not classed as a spirit - such as Campari, generic Martini, port, etc. They're not doing you a favour by offering 'large' measures, it's legal practice

Manc GuyNovember 7th 2011.

Expensive and pretentious venue. Well suited for its location.

jackie oconnorNovember 18th 2011.

Realy wanted to like this place but left feeling very annoyed ! Firstly purchased a mug of there honey sweet cider for £ 5.50 ! Which turned out to be Bulmers cider with an apple with cloves in it ! how do i know ? i watched them fill the keg with bottles of cider ! I then ordered 2 of there burger and chips at £10 each its not cheap , i asked for mine well done it came back mooing , sent it back free complimentry drink 2nd one arrived burnt black on the outside inside very very pink ! no checkbacks to see if everything was ok ?! left feeling annoyed been trying to get in contact with them no one ever answers the phone an no email address anywhere. If it were mcdonalds fine but its not cheap ! rant over needed to vent !

AnonymousFebruary 13th 2012.

Overpriced venue for those who need to be 'seen'...

AnonymousMarch 19th 2012.

They're building a bandstand now; the whole place is going to end up looking like one of Number 6's dream sequences...

Daniel RobertsMay 10th 2012.

This is fine as a bar, good selection of beers and a great atmosphere (live pianist mid week very good to have).

The food is disappointing, just experienced some missed orders (despite pre-ordering as a group!!) and there is way too much salt involved in the cooking so be warned, especially on the chips which I couldn't finish. Dessert was out of a packet and dry (bakewell tart).

Overall, I would definitly enjoy this for a nice drink especially if the sun is out at the patio area so people should visit on this understanding.

AnonymousJuly 24th 2012.

When can we hope to see a food review for this place on ManCon? Or have I just missed it? Went there last night and, while the food was on the whole not bad, the service was somewhat curious. For instance, despite having serving staff you can't place an order from your table, you have to get up and order your food at the counter. That in itself wouldn't be too bad, except we were told we couldn't order our mains at the same time as the starters because the main meals 'might arrive at our table before the starters'! What's that about? And by the time we got up for the third time to order desserts we were told the kitchen was closed. It was 9.20pm. Very odd to simply stop serving customers that had booked the table, especially since no one came over to say the kitchen was about to close if we wished to oder dessert. Still, an enjoyable evening but only because of the company I was with.

AnonymousJuly 24th 2012.


Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 24th 2012.

Anon, you're right. It's due a proper food review

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