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The Modern closes its doors

Museum bosses to consult on its future

Published on February 26th 2011.

The Modern closes its doors

The Modern restaurant in Manchester may have served its final dish.

The restaurant, on the top floor of the Urbis Building, has been closed by the trust that deals with funding for the building.

“The advice we have had is that it is standard industry practice for a restaurant to be closed during such a consultation period."

The trust will now decide whether to reopen the restaurant once the building reopens as the National Football Museum.

John Williams, chairman of the Millennium Quarter Trust, said: "The Modern is temporarily closed while we consult with staff about whether it is feasible to keep it open while construction work to create the National Football Museum takes place, given the considerable disruption for customers associated with such work.

“The advice we have had is that it is standard industry practice for a restaurant to be closed during such a consultation period."

Several sources have indicated to Confidential that the Modern may now close for good and be replaced with a museum-operated alternative.

The city council also said the museum was still on schedule to open its doors in 2011, despite speculation the date had been pushed back to next May.

A city council spokesman said: "Construction works remain on track to finish late this autumn as envisaged. An announcement regarding the confirmed opening date will be made in spring."

The Modern was born out of the pretentious Le Mont and after a patchy start, offered solid, high-end British food and an impressive cocktail menu. It also made a profit last year – something a few of Manchester’s other restaurateurs wouldn’t have minded.If Confidential were to rub its crystal ball, we’d venture the NFM bosses don’t see it as a natural fit for the new-look Urbis.

Burger and chips cafe? Possibly, although it’s a shame to see one of Manchester ‘s better – and more distinctive restaurants – close its doors.

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

tickleFebruary 22nd 2011.

Wall to wall Pukka Pies and Bovril, coming to Urbis this year.

Nigel PooleFebruary 22nd 2011.

Pooles pies surely!

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2011.

one step forward and twoback.
another place offering something a bit different closes.

CatCFebruary 22nd 2011.

Manchester's cocktail scene takes a further nosedive.

sharxFebruary 22nd 2011.

seems silly to close a bar and restaurant that was cool and stylish. when i ventured in i found the bar cool and the staff brilliant.Additonally it had no "living room wannabe's "in it. A unique bar and restuarant that will be missed.

M30February 22nd 2011.

Unfortunately, the NFM is going to drag the area around the cathedral downhill, when it had just become a really special part of Manchester. It'll be like an outpost of Benidorm for the knuckle-draggers and the Brannigans set. Do we really need a national museum of football anyway? All the Japanese etc seem to be interested in is Old Trafford, not a contrived set up featuring Jimmy Greaves jockstrap and a Greggs on every floor.

D KesslerFebruary 22nd 2011.

disagree M30, all the Koreans and Norwegians currently visiting the ManU shop at OT will now flock to town. This crowd is not conparable to your pie-eating-Greggs-type of Lancastrian...

LJFebruary 22nd 2011.

Best bellinis in Manchester. Or at least, they were. : (

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2011.

Closed down in favour of football burgers and soccer martinis -WTF- Such a shame, they had the best cocktails in manchester. It was a sanctuary away from the experiment in humanity that is the printworks on a weekend night. It will be sadly missed by me and mine.

DescartesFebruary 22nd 2011.

Does the building work affect them? I mean ok, same building, but don't you get into the Modern by lift from the other side to the entrance for Urbis, and I'm certain the builders won't be working on anything in the evening so noise can't be an issue can it?

Convenient Excuse ...?

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2011.

I loved this place! Delicious food, so its really bad news, I loved coming there, they didn't mind us sitting there for hours after long, boozy lunches. My husband and I send our thoughts to the staff who were so friendly and attentive, especially to our waitresses Lizzie and Ellie!

J E SibberingFebruary 22nd 2011.


Their carve-your-own whole chicken Sunday Lunch was fabulous. Make somewhere else do it, please.

Mark MottramFebruary 22nd 2011.

I think you will find that Kitchen does that TBL, and has done for quite a while

J E SibberingFebruary 22nd 2011.

It is any good MarkM? Last time I went there to eat the staff were more interested in chatting amongst themselves, plus there was a bloke in the corner with a laptop, interviewing a succession of young women. Made for interesting 'guess what he's doing' conversation though.

Alistair NivenFebruary 23rd 2011.

Why close a restaurant that's making money, the access is separate or was, so it could have continued or have the dreaded H & S police scared the the Trust into making the wrong decision. I don't see it being reopened, and I can't think of a potentially profitable alternative mainly because you can't see out of the windows. Very sad and unnecessary. Be interested to hear from Chairman of Trustees exactly why?

Siobhan McGoffFebruary 23rd 2011.

Worked at the Modern…socialised at the Modern…LOVED the Modern!!

It, and all of the very talented staff, will be sadly missed x

WhitesidesOnsideFebruary 23rd 2011.

Yet more confirmation if any were needed that Manchester has a second rate culinary scene.
While places like the Modern go under - outlets such as Nando's/Bella Italia/Frankie & Bennies thrive.
I'll bet my bottom dollar that Manchesters equivalent to Zuma (yeah right!) follows the same fate when it opens its doors this summer.

DeanFebruary 23rd 2011.

Its a total shame that Urbis and the Modern has been taken away from Manchester! How wonderful would it have been to merge the NFM with an Urbis approach? Somehow I just dont see that happening now that all the staff have gone and been replaced. Very very sad. Burgers all round!!!!

Kevin PeelFebruary 23rd 2011.

I'm very sad to hear this. Modern is a fantastic restaurant with quality food and is exactly the sort of establishment we need to be encouraging in the city centre.

Jill FearnsFebruary 23rd 2011.

M30's rant? - love it - spot on

sunday girlFebruary 23rd 2011.

Absolutely gutted - I've been meaning to go here for ages, and haven't yet managed to find a day when I was free and they had tables available - which is surely a sign it was doing well?
Very sad news.

Becky PerryFebruary 23rd 2011.

I was gutted enough when I found out Urbis was going to be a football museum (more football, really?) but to close a decent restaurant too? And if it was making money- that's just a kick in the teeth.

M30February 23rd 2011.

Things could be worse, I've just back from Sheffield, where you're considered pretentious if you don't want to eat in a chain restaurant

ShivFebruary 23rd 2011.

Worked at the Modern...socialised at the Modern...LOVED the Modern.

It, and all of it's very talented staff, will be sadly missed.

RonFebruary 23rd 2011.

A real shame this, IMO it's one of the best bars in Manchester.

Quiet, no a-holes, great friendly staff free nuts and Brooklyn Beer. The fact it is totally separate from the rest of the never used Urbis and accessed by a private lift just proves the new owners are lying re the closure.

Where are we going to get a pre-Harvey Nic's drink now eh???

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 23rd 2011.

I was in Sheffield recently. I asked the Tourist Information man about places. "I want a proper pub, tiled, great beers and then I want to see the fancy place where all the people with too much money hang out. Get a total snapshot of Sheffield life." "I can tell you where the pub is," said the information bod, "but we don't have any of those other places in the city centre."

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 23rd 2011.

As for the loss of The Modern it's a fat shame. The staff were lovely and the place felt different, special, even if it did occasionally suffer from its bright, harsh design. Definitely one that will be missed.

lesleyFebruary 23rd 2011.

What a shame. Always felt welcome in the Modern and the early evening deal was always excellent.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

I see M30 has introduced us to an new group of unpersons "knuckle-draggers and the Brannigans set". The class war continues!!
No votes for them I say!!!

Let's all go to Alderly where we can meet be safe with 'Our People'

Natalie DingwallFebruary 23rd 2011.

absolutely gutted, loved the modern but unfortunately tfm didn´t want anything
to do with it and will probably replace it with burgers and Carlsberg at the expense of all the staff who are now unemployed

Catherine CoyneFebruary 23rd 2011.

Terrible state of affairs. Does not reflect well on Manchester if places like The Modern cannot stay open. PLEASE sign this petition to show your support - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepmodernopen/ PLEASE!

is rosso next?February 23rd 2011.

looks a bit tacky and full of students. is rosso next?

Catherine CoyneFebruary 23rd 2011.

Post this wherever you can so that everyone who knows and loves the Modern can have show their support - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepmodernopen/

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

This place was spot on - the food, the drinks, the staff - we always had a lovely time here. So disappointing that TFM are lacking the vision to recognise what an asset the Modern would be to their organisation. What a shame. Good luck to all of the staff.

M30February 23rd 2011.

Jonathan: A perfect little place is The Sheffield Tap, it's a real ale bar within Sheffied railway station. It doesn't serve food, and it's not Stalyvegas Buffet, but it's a brilliant place and I wish we had something similar at Victoria, or even Piccadilly. It's a pub worth missing a train for. For a Wilmslowtastic Sheffield experience, the Psalter caters towards that crowd but it's in the suburbs as opposed to the city centre. Their All Bar One is less of a mecca for suits than ours.

HestonFebruary 23rd 2011.

Just as a thought. The Modern was closed instantly. Presumably they had a fair amount of food stock that now goes off, not to mention a big wine selection, etc. Where does it all go? And where does the money made from (presumably) selling the plates and other equipment go?

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 23rd 2011.

M30 we went to the Sheffield Tap.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

"John Williams, chairman of the Millennium Quarter Trust, said: "The Modern is temporarily closed while we consult with staff about whether it is feasible to keep it open while construction work to create the National Football Museum takes place"
Its obvious it is more than a temporary closure as the staff have been made redundant and the bar/restaurant emptied

Mike HallFebruary 23rd 2011.

Gutted about this, always a pleasure to visit, the staff were very attentive and the food excellent (without any of the pretnetiousness of some other places). A real shame.

Andrew StevensonFebruary 23rd 2011.

Really sounds like an excuse to get rid of Modern, doesn't it?
It was so separate from Urbis that there's no reason why it couldn't have continued operating.
I feel very sorry for all the staff - a real kick in the stomach to be made redundant from a successful business.

I thought the National Football Museum was in Preston. Do we have two football museums now? Or just another money wasting exercise. It's not going to get any more visitors in Manchester than it did in Preston.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

Erm, could it just not move somewhere else in the city centre?

Really AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

Please don't blame John Williams for the NFM not wanting the responsibility of running a high class, profitable establishment. It clearly clashes with their low brow,outdated business philosophy.

MickyFebruary 23rd 2011.

Course it could anon, but not with only hours notice till redundancies were made-if they'd planned it properly it could have moved-just like old Urbis in fact--wasn't that meant to just move and restart?

PaulFebruary 23rd 2011.

Keep up Andrew

Liz and EleanorFebruary 23rd 2011.

We work(ed) there until Monday, and thanks very much for all the nice comments, we'll miss working with everyone in the kitchen, restaurant and bar, and all our regulars and non regulars. It's been great, and we're all really sad to have left!

sharxFebruary 23rd 2011.

@ is rosso next. Different clientele mate. Rosso will last because its full of people who like to be eating in a footballers restaurant irrespective of the food.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2011.

Best lunch in Manchester. Shame there were so few enjoying it every time friends and I went. What a great deal on fantastic food.

Rob.February 24th 2011.

Both times I went there, it was hard to get any attention from the staff, who were too busy chatting loudly in the kitchen about how they got tanked up last night, who they copped off with and where they vomited.

So it goes.

JackFebruary 24th 2011.

Was just about to comment that some 1 must have bad words to say about the place, and along comes Rob

Lady who breakfasts, lunches and dinesFebruary 24th 2011.

Wow - that's totally not my experience of the place, and I've been 10 times plus in the past 2 years, when its been extremely busy, and quiet, with my husband several times, and with large groups twice. Every time was great, and I think the staff are particularly notable for their customer service, and always give just the right amount of attention, getting everything we needed without us feeling like they were tip chasing, and always being polite and friendly. Rob must have experienced the duds in the team, unluckily for him, because it was a really great place. If I had known it was closing, I would have come in every day last week! I will miss the food and the quality of the waiting on staff. :( Sad times

Catherine CoyneFebruary 24th 2011.

Please keep signing this - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepmodernopen/

Concerned!February 25th 2011.

I went here for my mother's 80th last year, and had such a lovely time, Sam who organised our booking was very sweet, and got us everything we needed, and our Scots waitress on the night was lovely too. All the staff were very kind and helpful, and the kitchen gave us loads of gluten free alternatives for my son. The food was spot on, even pleasing my picky husband! My mother loved her food, though she didn't even dare try the whisky tart as she's diabetic! I had it and it was to die for! We were going to go again this year for her 81st in the hope there would be another sunset like last time, all over the restaurant. We had drinks upstairs aftrwards, and it was jst lovely, staff again very nice.

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2011.

The modern was anything but a landmark restaurant in Manchester and I believe you should check your facts about profits.I have visited the restaurant on a few occassions and found the food to be at best basic and at worst poor.
The service ,when the staff could tear themselves away from the bar was indifferent.
On one occassion , a Friday, the staff didn't wait for the place to close before they started 'socialising'hopefully not with the restaurant stock.

MarkFebruary 25th 2011.

Wondering if that latest Anonymous works for the company making the decision? Currently running at 48-2 ish (+ a few on Sheffield!) positive, which is pretty amazinfg.

Catherine CoyneFebruary 27th 2011.

Mark, I agree, they're certainly not talking about the restaurant we had our wedding at. They could not have given us a better day...and people couldn't stop talking about it afterwards (in a very, very good way). Keep it open - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepmodernopen/

Gareth WaneFebruary 28th 2011.

I went on Valentine's day and I was blown away. Great food and great atmosphere.
It this restaurant disappears I will be very disappointed.

Nina ThomFebruary 28th 2011.

I have eaten here on a few occasions, my daughters graduation included.I was always very happy with the food, and the service was first class! a rarity in these times.The staff really went that extra mile.Manchester will miss this class act.

SteveMarch 2nd 2011.

Petit Blanc gone, the Modern gone - where's decent to eat at a reasonable price with good service now?

EugeneMarch 2nd 2011.

Steve - try Rosso or possibly Room...I say possibly as the food is a bit haute cuisine though the venue and drinks are great.

Browns is also very good value for money for a chain.

Catherine CoyneMarch 3rd 2011.

We have colleceted a good number of signatures petitioning to keep the Modern open - please keep going - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepmodernopen/

FossilFanApril 7th 2011.

Can't believe they have closed my fav restaurant in Manchester down, possibly for good. The food, service and atmosphere was second to none. I may be a football fan, but who wants another sports bar or burger joint? Bring back the Modern I say !!!!!

AnonymousMay 14th 2011.

Was the best restaurant in mcr by far. We frequented it and the food and service was great, with some good deals too. Not anywhere good to eat in town. I'm embarassed that mcr has no Michelin star restaurants, we have to go to Lancashire or other cities. This was the best restaurant here for years. We have been very disappointed. Not eaten in town since it closed.

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