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Living Room becomes morgue?

Celebrity-haunted Deansgate bar struggles to survive the recession

Published on August 4th 2009.

Living Room becomes morgue?

The owners of the Living Room bar on Deansgate are going into administration, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News.

The Living Room is the latest in a string of 2009 high-end venues that have gone into administration, with Room, Brasserie Blanc, and Juniper in Altrincham all being hit.

The recession-hit chain has seen a drop in trade in recent months, and it looks like bars in Chester and Glasgow will be shut.

The Deansgate bar, which made a name for itself as a preferred drinking spot for Premiership footballers, will stay open but the company's future is uncertain. Redundancies are expected at the head office in Hale.

The Living Room is owned by Trafford-based business Premium Bar & Restaurants. They hoped to sell the chain to racecourse owners Reuben Brothers for £50m but the deal has fallen through. Administrators BDO Stoy Hayward will be looking after the business from today (Tuesday).

A random picture of Death being scared by scallies on Market Street

The Living Room is the latest in a string of 2009 high-end venues that have gone into administration, with Room, Brasserie Blanc, and Juniper in Altrincham all being hit.

Although higher-priced venues traditionally fare better in a recession than mid-priced venues as people become more choosy about where they spend their money, few are immune to the effects of the downturn.

It would appear with The Living Room though that the problems lie with the other outlets rather than the Deansgate original which is still popular and still retains a sliver of glamour appeal. Indeed the Deansgate original could be said to have invented the present generation of WAG seen-and-be-seen bars when it opened more than a decade ago. Colleen and tottering ladies of her ilk will be devastated if it goes.

Whether a buyer will be found for the struggling chain is yet to be seen.

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

cleoAugust 4th 2009.

lucky chris - i couldn't have put it better myself....

EmmaAugust 4th 2009.

i went in here for a quick drink on a friends birthday night out (the rest of them were in a very sweaty revolution round the corner!) my friend came to meet us and was told she wasnt allowed in because it was members only, she said its not a members club, the bouncer said it was. I went out to see what was going on, because they didnt say anything to me about it being a members club, and the bouncers told me she wasnt coming in because she was being LIPPY! disgusting.

CasAugust 4th 2009.

Just a point on the overpriced drinks. Went to a pub today in the Lake District that charges £3.80 for a pint of Fosters! (only know that as hubby had Fosters shandy as driving, would never touch the cat pee otherwise!)

C 2 The GAugust 4th 2009.

It would be a shame if the Living Rooms shuts - I quite like the place during the week, very chilled especially when they have someone singing and playing the piano. As regards the black amex who gives a crap

ChickAugust 4th 2009.

What an arse you are anon. Or maybe, just maybe, you're attempting to be ironic. Doubt it. The irony is however, you sound so typical of the average Living Room customer. Twat

rosieAugust 4th 2009.

@anon above.....you sound like a complete and utter c0ck.well done you for having a black amex.does it make you feel important?

Ali McGowanAugust 4th 2009.

I went to the LR in Liverpool last year when visiting some mates - and we had a great night. No attitude on the door, good service inside and not too many tossers. But the Deansgate one is a pile of sh*t - all you get is attitude on the door - so I've only ever been in once (and never again, thanks). I much prefer the more chilled out attitude in Castlefield, NQ, etc to any of the mass-produced bars on Deansgate. If the whole chain went bust, I wouldn't be arsed [apart from the poor sods who lose their jobs].

JSAugust 4th 2009.

They were a little too pretentious for their own good, bye bye! On the upside though Barca reopens on the 20th, woo!

BabyAugust 4th 2009.

To Anon above. The Manchester Room restaurant is still open. The group went in to administration earlier this year, the Manchester one was kept open. The others closed

Jack FoleyAugust 4th 2009.

I wasn't referring to Tim Bacon, who regardless of that I did meet once at an awards show and found him to be quite self-important. I can't believe every former employee of his loves him, just because you do. Nor do I think that naming names would accomplish anything. But I said I worked for Prohibition. Since you're not sure who I worked with, you can't comment on my experiences.My comment isn't strange, it simply reinforces the fact that management attitude filters down to the door staff and that they also share their arrogance with their customers judging by the other comments above.

daveAugust 4th 2009.

Bouncers bouncers bouncers need to be managed the same as food quality/ cleanliness if I was a bouncer I wouldn't let anyone in as then there would be nobody kicking off would there ? Remember when it was boom time for living room it was not owned buy the same people (i think they have something the quietly rising residence group) and haven't moved with the times, do they know that there is more competition on their doorstep ie San Carlo, Panacea, Grill On The Alley etc etc who have taken the cash of the footballers/ wags & whatevers even said brands have strict policy on basic hygiene and lets face it the living room was dusty and old and in need of a refurb whist delivering sub standard service at the same price as it's competition. With a pre-historic door policy of it's own doing.

DeanoAugust 4th 2009.

Arny and AD are dead right.My face didn't fit in The Living Room and maybe if they hadn't been so choosy during the good times, people would have been more loyal when things got rough. I don't like to see any business close, but some only have themselves to blame.

Amex NoirAugust 4th 2009.

My 12 year old Subaru has got a private plate on so people don't know its real age. I love it. Its in Colin Mcrae blue with gold Speedline alloys and a massive STI wing. The best thing is the massive exhaust which makes a deep rumble growl which pisses the people off outside The Living Room when I drive past at full throttle.

ADAugust 4th 2009.

I love that bouncers of all people are deciding who is classy enough to go where. May as well ask Ronald Macdonald to review restaurants.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Has room closed too?

HavershamAugust 4th 2009.

Vile place, full of ageing wilmslow witches with false tits and fake tan. Mediocre food too. Will not miss it in the slightest

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

For treating people as if they are unworthy or sub ordinates,image and pretentious gold diggers speaks volumes, oh and it gains one access to this tacky place they deserve to struggle,, a dose of humility whilst gaspping for buisness breath would be a redeeming feature.awh what a shame !!!!

mark mAugust 4th 2009.

A strange comment...I have known Tim for years (JW Jonsons, vaivita etc etc) and all the people I know who have worked for him think he is great. Backhouse Grill co managers love him. You must have been the exception...

secret squirrelAugust 4th 2009.

LR was OK when it first opened, good barstaff, drinks etc. Quickly went downhill though, too many testosterone meatheads and chavvy WAG types spoiled it. Shame.

ChickAugust 4th 2009.

Oh dear, you have to laugh don't you? Speaking from experience - accepting the black Amex as a business, not owning one - anon sounds like the absolute antithesis of any of my customers lucky enough to have and use the card. They are, without exception, pleasant, unassumming folk who quite simply don't 'flash the cash'. Anon, is your little black card a bog-standard plastic one or the rather nice titanium type, complete with its own velvet bag? For the record; I'm not a dyke as you so charmingly suggest, mind you can't say I havn't been tempted - who wouldn't be with prize dick head gentlemen like like you around?

restaurant ownerAugust 4th 2009.

I am a restaurant owner and I would never cancel a table to make way for someone else with a black, blue, red or whatever card. I might do it if they were out of Take That though!

ChickAugust 4th 2009.

Given all the comments are so negative, which must be a fair representation of Manchester diners and drinkers, I have to wonder why the downfall of the Living Room has taken so long. I've eaten there on only two occasions, having been over-ruled by the majority on nights out with business colleagues - both times it was dire. It's a bit like San Carlo, everyone paps on about how bad it is but it's full to the rafters every night. Odd.

AdeleAugust 4th 2009.

I'm sorry people are losing their jobs but this place is dire and has needed a facelift for a while. Unless you are exceptional in lots of ways (food, service, music, atmosphere etc) as a chain, you need to constantly update yourself. This chain has had a superiority complex for far too long. And do wags and footballers really frequent the place any more? Really? If I was a wag or a footballer I wouldn't be seen dead in the place, in fact I wouldn't be seen dead in the place now and I'm just a regular pleb with no wag qualities whatsoever. Let this be a warning to mediocrity; if you get complacent customers will vote with their feet.

Jack FoleyAugust 4th 2009.

I worked for just 5 nights for Living Ventures when they owned this place and opened Prohibition. I walked after being mistreated. A more pretentious, demanding, difficult to please, self-righteous and self-satisfied bunch I've yet to meet. Out of touch with no down to earth qualities and yet believed they were on the cutting edge and understood people, so you can add deluded to the list. Too bad they don't currently own these venues or I could have a good gloat, but the current owners are simply reaping what the previous arrogant management team sowed.

JohnAugust 4th 2009.

one word for you: BIGGOT!

johnthebriefAugust 4th 2009.

the common thread through the various "high end" places mentioned in the report is that they all charged a premium price for a second rate product I remain convinced that there is scope for quality in Manchester, but we need someone who is willing to ensure that quality is consistent through their whole operation, not just the door and the price list As for the living room, it was always just a shed for cheshire wannabes

Belle LAugust 4th 2009.

I stopped going to LR in '08 after having @ one point in 2005 frequented the place . The first strike happened after eating there the 2nd time (BTW: the food was always average and not really worth the over inflated price you paid for it) WHEN I had the very traumatic experience of almost eating the LIVE Caterpillar that was crawling up my lettuce leaf!!! once the manager dealt with it DIABOLICALLY (by denying all knowledge and telling me it must have be a ' flicker of light ') I spoke to certain people - who spoke to certain people - in fact one being, one of the owners of the company that owned LR at the time, suffice to say shortly after they invited me back and then pushed the boat out for me and the certain manager who'd originally dealt with my complaint was never seen again... The final strike was having my coat robbed in the middle of winter- whilst attending a private '' VIP'' party in 'The Study'. They made me take my coat off - then when the party had finished and I came to retrieve my coat - the cloakroom attendant had clocked off - and some mofo had walked out with MY coat unnoticed... The way they dealt with that situation was similarly diabolical and gives a new meaning to the words: ' HORRIFIC CUSTOMER SERVICE' ... Im only sorry that the Deansgate LR wont fall victim to the administration of this company... Even Prohibition was nicer than this place but they have fallen victim and will be a casualty in the administration of PBK.

restaurant ownerAugust 4th 2009.

I am a restaurant owner and I would never cancel a table to make way for someone else with a black, blue, red or whatever card. I might do it if they were out of Take That though!

What a toolAugust 4th 2009.

Maybe doors do open, but it's by no means a guaranteed feature of the card. I used to take bookings at a fine dining restaurant, and we were never aware of any such policy. While we'd always try our best to accommodate regulars (esp big spenders!) and celebrities, it would as far as possible be on a 'first booked, first served' basis. We certainly wouldn't have bumped people who'd bothered to book in advance in order to accommodate some idiot who came in flashing his card around and shooting his mouth off to make himself feel superior (in his own mind, at least).

oxyjenAugust 4th 2009.

Haversham - so true! you made my day with that comment!! it was always full of wannabe wags anyway!

CasAugust 4th 2009.

Lancsy, as I said - it doesn't guarantee it. Restaurants are not told they have to do this, and I'm sure any amex taking restaurant will tell you this. If you flash it about, sure certain types of people will be impressed, just the same as if you take a grand out of your pocket when finding money for a bell boy. Crass. And anony confirms he's bullshitting when he says he hasn't got an amex, you have to have an amex to be invited to apply for a black. Or as someone I know, who is a bit classless to be honest, did - kick and scream you're taking your platinum amex account elsewhere unless you get one.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people. Ha! See you later Living Room!

DaveAugust 4th 2009.

One of those "exclusive" places isn't it, a word that always makes me grimace. Didn't it have a rat infestation recently?

HollyAugust 4th 2009.

The Living Room is full of desperate women hoping to bag a rich man. So what you get are rich desperate men and women showing off. The tables in the bar area are never clean & the staff are rude. A few years ago it had a great vibe, now it's just another chain full of wannabes.

pAugust 4th 2009.

More fool you Cas as Prohibition is owned by the same company as LR

CasAugust 4th 2009.

Anony, if you were much further up your own arse you would be able to see daylight. If you have money, you'll know that people will take a swipe (geddit?) now and then, the way you have responded with insults and assumptions make you look like an idiot, loaded or not. An Amex black does not just land on your doorstep, you pay a joining fee. Your previous years expense on it needs to be over £100k which isn't much when you lob work expenses onto it. Amex do not guarantee getting you into any restaurant that accepts amex, that is totally false and seeing as the arrival of the Amex was a shock - where would you have found this out. Wikipedia? The only guarantee of this kind they do is you can get on flights that are full - and that is only on flag carriers and down to their discretion. Only a tosser would try it. So leave Rosie, Mark M, Chick and Noir alone and piss off back up your own orifice.

scoteeeAugust 4th 2009.

Any establishment that has private wooden lockers behind the bar for a client's champagne deserves to close, unless of course it realises that this is pretentious and should perhaps change it's image….ooops too late!

CasAugust 4th 2009.

They wouldn't let me and my friends, who are much posher than I, in on my hen night. It the start of the night and we hadn't had a drink. It was a classy last minute thing and there were about 6 of us, they were going to let us in until one of my friends said to the door guy 'my friend is getting married!'. That was it, we were turned away. So we went prohibition and drank them out of rose champagne.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

agreed arny !

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Couldnt agree more, bouncers on the door are a nightmare, got turned away once and never went back. There is just too much competition in Manchester to act so obnoxious and pretentious...

East LancsAugust 4th 2009.

Sorry to disagree Cas but I've benefited from being with an Amex Black holder a couple of times. Doors do open.

CasAugust 4th 2009.

'p' I know it's owned by the same people, I wasn't on some crusade - just wanted some booze! By the same rule the LR in Chester is better.

Restaurant PRAugust 4th 2009.

Thank god! that place is devoid of atmosphere and any real style plus the food is nothing to write home about, in fact that whole strip of bars and restaurants near kendal's on Deansgate are of the same ilk.Try heading down there on a Saturday night and you will see what I mean, wall to wall chavs

MaggsAugust 4th 2009.

Spot on Haversham - couldn't have put it better myself!!!

rufus t. fireflyAugust 4th 2009.

"You obviously have a great command of English" anon you don't "their and there" old thing. I have a black Amex card and mine funnily enough keeps a door shut. The loft, I have it wedged in the side. Not very good at DIY you see.

rufus t. fireflyAugust 4th 2009.

restaurant owner ... So would I but only if they promised not to sing.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Sorry,I did forget to say that I only used my black card once and then cut it up because I didn’t ask for it. I am sure it must have upset ....mark.m..... when he tried the same. Was it a black card you have !!. I am lucky enough not to have an Amex card either a charge or a credit card because I won’t pay them for the privilege. Now mark m. My quote “and was told by them that if I ever go to any restaurant, bar or social activity place that accepts AMEX and just show them my card, I will be found a table even if there is a queue in front of pre booked people” is what I was told. So what's your problem...read and understand the whole picture and where does it say I was “outraged”. I am sure that by your response you have a few guineas to rub together. This may make you sophisticated or it may not depending on the way you conduct yourself. All in all, I bet you are a great guy. Chick. Now what s all the dyke like aggression about. I was of course being ironic. Me thinks you are the one lacking. FYI I have only visited LR on two occasions and have not been back since, and summarily I don't believe you have been a frequent visitor to the LR paying their high prices. I didn’t think I had to explain myself. You can’t help it if you are income challenged and I feel slightly sorry for you. But what the heck “Lets live and let live”Now, what about rosie. I don't wish to feel important to any one because they are not important to me, as only those that I employ are important, and the well being of there families to boot and of course all my family and friends. I would like to be of no importance to your good self and your views, as by the same token you are of absolutely no importance to me. You obviously have a great command of English and have the required skills to string a sentence together and have the ability to use insults. You must be from Dagenham. Nice place!!!!And HEY’ what about Amex Noir. You comedian you!!! How's your septum and your 12 year old Subaru Impreza?And getting back to the Living Room story as I understand they still get the wags and blonde bobbed dolly dipsticks in their on a Friday and Saturday night. So maybe they have found their niche market. ...who knows?

DidsburyGirlAugust 4th 2009.

All those bars only stay open because of people from outside the city, when I used to live in deepest darkest rossendale all the locals would talk about it like it was The Hilton or something. I always thought the place was overpriced and the atmosphere very uncomfortable.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

I had a similar experience. For my sins I have an AMEX Black card which has no limit on expenditure and was told by them that if I ever go to any restaurant, bar or social activity place that accepts AMEX and just show them my card, I will be found a table even if there is a queue in front of pre booked people. I turned up at Living room with 2 male and one female business people who were also my personal friends, with as it happens with a combined wealth between them of over £1 billion. They are very unassuming and those that are sophisticated don't flaunt their wealth unlike certain footballers etc and their wives. I showed them the card and he said “what’s that”. I replied ‘do you not know what this card means’. "NO" and I don’t care. So we turned round and went to the Radisson. We were welcomed with open arms and that night spent over £2K (mostly on fine wines). Now, I am not saying I am wealthy on the scale of my friends but I started with nothing and now have something through hard work and I will spend it how I see fit. Living Room lost out and I bet other establishments do because the management don’t inform the staff of how to deal with situations or people. The nice lady who was with her girl friends, who were not allowed in, then drank another establishment clean out of rose champers is just another financial loss to the Living Room. I know that many chains rise from single establishments and in the beginning have good intentions and really want to look after their customers. As soon as expansion happens it becomes harder to control. I have found in my business dealings that I get my staff team to be so "pro the firm" it makes everyone feel part of it. I also pay them well. Some of the responses I have read show that bad pay is an issue, and therefore there is a high turnover of staff. Always a recipe for disaster.These companies deserve what they get, and ‘Jack F’ has ‘nailed it’ in his last sentence of his post. One thing I have seen over the years is bosses change from being nice guys in the beginning and ending up bloated and full of self importance. In the scheme of things they are of NO importance to Joe public. The only ones they scare are their own employees. Maybe a kick up the ass is what's needed to bring these restaurateurs down to earth. And on one final point,How come these restaurants in Manchester have the sheer affront to charge London prices. Cheers

M30August 4th 2009.

I think that the LM will be a feature on Deansgate for many years to come. Whilst I've never actually been turned away from this place, I've never considered spending more than a swift drink there. Wasn't there that incident with that Heathers type air hostess who glassed some guy because he had the nerve to put her in her place?

lucky chrisAugust 4th 2009.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving place. With any luck, Circle will be next...

ChickAugust 4th 2009.

Anon; "And getting back to the Living Room story as I understand they still get the wags and blonde bobbed dolly dipsticks in their..." In their what exactly?

ELAugust 4th 2009.

Nail on head here; always thought it was better than it was, as do some of the punters. This might knock 'em down a notch. I still like the place tho.

smittyAugust 4th 2009.

What I don't get is that the other Living Rooms seem to be so much better (I think - it's a bit hazy - I went to a Christmas do in the Birmingham one once and it was fab) so why keep the Deansgate one open. they have alienated SO many people in this city, I'm surprised that anyone goes in. I too have been stung by them, and after patronising them several times would never go back!

HmmmmAugust 4th 2009.

The Manchester Living Room seemed to have it's own pretention, but I have been to several other LR's around the country which were great. The one by the river in York has had a really cool vibe whenever I've been.I've never found a problem getting into the Manchester one, but the problem is more apparent once you are in there. Not a good vibe, but I think that is more of a Manchester problem than the Living Room itself - we seem to have a really odd crowd with an attitude you dont seem to find elsewhere, but its just that the Livng Room seems to personify this. When you scratch beneath the surface it is almost karma when places like this go under - considering that the tills are normally propped up by fraudsters and worse.

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Although I have every sympathy for the staff connected to this ( Bouncers excepted ), it is quite funny that a club with a reputation for turning customers away has now gone bust presumably in some small part due to lack of customers.

A RealistAugust 4th 2009.

I seem to remember getting turned away from their one night as well, I have no sympathy.

Amex NoirAugust 4th 2009.

I have an Amex black and find that my cocaine is finer after being cut by it and it removes the ice from my windscreen quicker.

mark mAugust 4th 2009.

I particularly like the way 'anon' says sophisticated people do not flaunt their wealth, and in the next sentence was outraged when he could not understand why his black amex was not understood. then again, maybe it was...

mark mAugust 4th 2009.

I took amex and they never told me that there were people so important in this world that I would cancel a reservation for regular punters to satisfy a smug prat with a black card.

GAugust 4th 2009.

I for one will be wounded if L-R shuts down. Nowhere else compares for an aperitif pre-panners on a sabado noche as far as I'm concerned...

CathAugust 4th 2009.

Never much liked this place either - everyone is a 10 bob millionaire and it reminds me of Pad in Staly Vegas lol!

NantAugust 4th 2009.

Not too sorry to see this place go. They always thought they were more upmarket than they really were IMO.

arnyAugust 4th 2009.

whilst it is sad to see the demise of places like this i remember a few years ago when i was entertaining some visitors (4 men aged 40-50 all directors of businessess) i decided to take them to the living room having eaten there before but we were turned away by the "bouncer" on the door who didnt like the look of us, anyway we went to the Gaucho Grill and spent over £300 and made to feel welcome, I have never been back since

gordonisamoronAugust 4th 2009.

Good riddance the place is awful. Brash, loud and mediocre. Then again maybe I'm an old fart. I suppose at least if there are places like this to attract footballers, they are unlikely to be in the places I normally go. And that's a good thing.

AvoAugust 4th 2009.

Totally agree with you there Holly. I used to go there a few years ago and it was a nice place to be. It's a shame really as the standard of service at the bar is very high and the drinks which are made there are of a decent standard and are very consistent.

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