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Black Lion Re-opens - With Its Own Cinema

New owners plan ambitious future at historic Salford boozer

Written by . Published on September 21st 2011.

Black Lion Re-opens - With Its Own Cinema

THE BLACK LION pub on Chapel Street in Salford will be re-open this month and the people behind its launch have some big plans.

The 130-year-old pub, which closed last year, will become a self-funding café, pub, live music venue and cinema.

“It’s cool, but a little rough around the edges, which makes it more interesting."

The idea is that by day, the pub will be a mix of locals and freelancers with laptops and sipping coffee. By night, the upstairs space will host live music and bring the latest in British cinema to thinking adults.

The project is being steered by three partners - landlord Barry Phillips, and Future Artists founders Jenny Inchbald and Mark Ashmore.

The trio have ambitions of making the Black Lion the UK’s first Internet Protocol Cinema – where films will be streamed to audiences in the pub on a big screen, via an online host. Inchbald claims this means almost no printing costs for the filmmaker, and this saving can then be passed onto the punters.

“We want to give people a sense of ownerships over cinema,” she said. “We feel as there’s a market out there for people who aren’t getting the choices they want from the multiplex.

"You've got the Cornerhouse but they only really show European films. We'll be concentrating on British cinema."

Mark Ashmore and Jenny InchbaldMark Ashmore and Jenny Inchbald

There will be no public money backing the project – the arts space upstairs is being run as a co-operative and the cinema will rely on ‘plenty of coffee and beer being drunk downstairs’ if the long-term plan of providing a full HD cinema and waitress service upstairs is to be realised.

Inchbald said it would be ‘two months or so’ before enough money is raised to fund their own cinema screen, but in the meantime the pub will rent equipment.

The first screening will be ‘Invisible Circus: No Dress Rehearsal’ – a feature documentary about squatters set in Bristol.

Inchbald believes Chapel Street and the surrounding area has the potential to be “what the Northern Quarter used to be.”

“It’s cool, but a little rough around the edges, which makes it more interesting,” she said. The partners are working with the Save Salford Campaign to try and make the pub a success.

Performance poet John Cooper Clarke has already filmed part of a documentary about his career at the Black Lion and has agreed to return with a stint of gigs once the venue is up and running.

“Do I think it will work?” says Inchbald. “We hope so, but we need people to come and support it by spending money and having a drink.”

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

EugeneSeptember 21st 2011.

A laudable aim...and one I hope is a great success. I love the battered charm of Chapel Street and the independent operators striving to bring it back to life.

Let us know when it re-opens ManCon


AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2011.

Opens 23.09

Simon BinnsSeptember 22nd 2011.

It was set to be Friday, but we were told that might slip to next week, hence no exact date...

Kevin PeelSeptember 22nd 2011.

I absolutely love this idea. Is there a mailing list people can sign up to to hear about what's on?

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2011.

The Black Lion has allways closed because of the local scroats that plague it, "freelancers with laptops sipping coffee" it will be like feeding time at the zoo

About time too...September 22nd 2011.

I was walking through this part of town 6 months ago and said to myself that it has bags of potential. Keep us posted on this ManCon, it's a great idea and one that could be a success given the right PR treatment.

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2011.

Sounds great, keep us posted

LooSeptember 25th 2011.

Indeed, looking forward to a visit to catch a band or two...

AnonymousSeptember 26th 2011.

Went in last night, was lovely.

Andrew SpinozaSeptember 26th 2011.

Can't wait to visit as it's our local at SKV.

But I do hope they rip up the old carpet and get in some comfy, bug-free furniture....

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2012.

£3 Sunday lunch this Sunday, you need to book though. 12.30 - 13.30.

JoyJune 13th 2012.

I love this pub. Over the years I've been to weddings, christenings, family nights, get togethers, xmas events and more. So glad it's being brought up to date.

Barry, Jenny, Mark, if you need a group for a gig we are Untidy Liars, a 6 piece covers band with songs from artists such as Amy Winehouse, Beth Hart, The Who, The Beatles, Stones, Marc Bolan, Miles Kane, Kings Of Leon, Stereophonics and many more.

We'd be happy to do a one-off freebie to get things on the go at your venue.
Joy - Untidy Liars

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