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Sleuth 11/04/2008

Cloud 23 wins Bar of the Year Award (yes, really), best public art in city vandalised, and city prepares for largest game of cricket ever

Published on April 11th 2008.


Sleuth 11/04/2008

Sleuth news part one
Sleuth can confirm he won't be attending the Opening Ceremony of 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Sleuth news part two
But he will still be buying Chinese takeaways.

Sleuth news part three
That Dalai Lama would have made a cracking centre-forward for RochdaleFootball Club. If, of course, that Mao Tse-Tung hadn’t kept him out of the team

Tall story
Last night (Thursday) saw the excellently organised ManchesterTourism Awards. Sleuth enjoyed it a great deal but didn’t agree with some ofthe awards. He could understand completely how Manchester InternationalFestival won the Best Tourism Experience of the Year, but Cloud 23winning the Best Tourism Bar of the Year Award?

Come on, really. Did the judges love it for the over-pricing, the infuriating slow service and ridiculous seating policy? Or perhaps it won on design terms and the factthat despite the lovely view, the bar is orientated the wrong way:looking onto the flat Cheshire Plain rather than the dramatic city centre?Sleuth might have understood if it had won Best Tourism Queue of theYear Award. Or The Award for the Most Frequent Repetition of ‘yes, eventhough you said you booked in these important guests toManchester three weeks ago, it’s not on my clipboard and you’re not coming inand we have some big bouncers here to make sure you don’t, so getto the back of the queue, now, you scrote.’ Cloud 23: Biggest Disappointment of the Year morelike.

Peacock press
One bar which didn’t feature in the Tourism Awards was the PressClub. And to think the night before Manchester born, fashion designer tothe stars, Matthew Williamson was there, swigging late into the nightafter a Harvey Nichols’ event. Williamson is famous for his floaty peacockdesigns but Sleuth doesn’t expect anytime soon a range of dressesinspired by the Press Club’s sticky carpets. Or its comprehensive range ofcanned drinks consisting solely of Red Stripe.

Tourism central
Meanwhile Isinglass, Urmston’s finest restaurant, won the TourismAward’s Taste of Manchester gong. Now forgive me dear Urmstoners butSleuth has never really thought of you as really featuring on the touristtrail. We’ve put a picture of what Urmston offers tourists below. Meanwhile the Large VisitorAttraction of the Year Award went to Manchester Art Gallerydespite Sleuth’s campaign for Gordo, the Confidential food critic, to winit.

Bladerunning idiot
This is perhaps the best World War One memorial statue in the North ofEngland. Called, The Sentry , it is perhaps the best piece of public art in the city. It’s Charles SargeantJagger’s tough, indomitable Tommy from 1921: an embodiment of defianceand courage, standing in a niche in the porch of the S&J WattsWarehouse, aka the Britannia Hotel on Portland Street. Some idiot has broken offthe bayonet and run off with the blade. Sleuth hopes he falls on it.

Sleuth big cricketer photograph of the week
On the night of the opening ceremony of the FINA World SwimmingChampionships in Manchester, this tall man was spotted walking down TrinityWay, at the back of the MEN arena. Nobody seems to know why. Sleuth wants to know where the vast cricket match is taking place.

Sleuth’s MEN picture caption of the week
Check out the picture below, perhaps the MEN mean Lesley Garratt.Let’s hope she’s not a prima donna otherwise she might complain. Oh she isa prima donna. Perhaps the caption here refers to the child actor nowall grown up who appeared in Sixth Sense where he famously said: “I seedead people.” Or was it, “I see old people pretending to be me.”

Piccadilly palaver and new political columnist for Confidential
Sleuth was pleased that the two would-be city centre councillors, RobAdlard (Con) and Anthony McCaul (Lab), plus the present incumbent MarcRamsbottom had a ding-dong over Confidential’s Piccadilly Gardensdebate – click here Democracy at work, Confidential style. To add to the political offer on the website, Confidential can announce that Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, and the City Council Leader in the eighties and nineties, will be writing a fortnightly column for us starting in a couple of weeks time. Graham Stringer oversaw the re-invention of the city during his term at the Council as it transformed itself into the dynamic modern metropolis we know today.

Christian feelings
Sleuth kept finding himself in the Lowry Hotel this week. On Monday he attended the Northern Hospitality Awards. Sleuth got drunk in amagnanimous gesture to the whole world. He ended up in a heated debatewith Terry Christian, the radio and TV jock about religion, for about twohours. Next week in the interests of fairness he’s going to debatetheology with Terry Islam, Terry Animism, Terry Hindu….

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

DrakeApril 11th 2008.

Yes, the art gallery winning was understandable after Kylie (it'll be MOSI's turn next year Mr Hill, keep your pants on), the Festival likewise (though ironic that the award was sponsored by the hoteliers' association who complained long and hard about the fact that not a single extra hotel room was sold during the Festival compared to previous years...), but CLoud 23? Isn't the Tourism awards meant to be about good service? Jeez, what sort of signal does that send out?

John WareApril 11th 2008.

Cloud 23 winning best bar award was a joke. John Ware likes his coffee, and after queuing for 20 minutes to get in, was told by an indifferent bartender that they ran out of coffee beans. HOW CAN A PLACE THAT DOESN'T MAINTAIN ITS STOCK WIN BAR OF THE YEAR???

TomcatApril 11th 2008.

lol what a load of bollocks

Mark GarnerApril 11th 2008.

I hope you're not after developing Bernadette as well Howard! She may well get overexposed...

baffled lancashire ladApril 11th 2008.

Who is in charge of these awards? How in gods name can this place be put forward for bar of the year? It's useless. crap. Shite. ****ing wank. God in heaven, they turned ten of my best clients away after i had gone through the rigmarole of booking, giving them a credit card, you name I did it. It would have been easier to get into Heston Blumenthal's gaff. They are so far up their own arses their heads are sticking out of their mouths. Shoot the ****ers.

georgeApril 11th 2008.

Don't know what everyones problem is with cloud 23 - i think they deserved the award. The bar,the drinks, the staff and the view are all amazing. There is an obvious reason for the queue - people want to go there! I'm guessing the bad review is due to the fact that cloud 23 doesn't pay for advertising on manchester confidential!

Jane of UrmstonApril 11th 2008.

Well done Isinglass!... Your award is totally well deserved, and shame on your sleuth for you harsh words about Urmston - we're on the up, don't you know. Anyway, the trip to Urmston is worth it for Isinglass alone. Me and my husband had our wedding reception there last year and the food and service are spot on. The chef is so passionate about sourcing local produce - and not jsut words, she actually lists the names and locations of all her suppliers and farms she uses.... and the food is just fantastic. Please pelase anyone who loves great food and passion please go there, they are over the road from the train station which is 15 minute jaunt from Deansgate station (so bypass Cloud123 or whatever its called, hop on the train and enjoy a feast of totally fantastic, season fresh inventive good, which great service. I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed

Rob ShevlinApril 11th 2008.

any bar with a tight door policy is difficult to get bookings at and get into. try getting 200 people up in a lift into a room that is already full. Its managed excellently by one of the most polite and hospitable bar managers in manchester. The drinks range and cocktails are supurbso what if they are not budget prices - it keeps the riff raff out. So if thats you and you don't get in> Get over it.

EloiseApril 11th 2008.

But dont listen to me, lets look at the evidence. There is a reason that the areas at Piccadilly gardens and Urbis are busy, surely. Yes, the paved area outside the triangle is also very busy, but you will notice that the people using it are watching the big tv screen, also an area I really like to spend a half-hour or so I have to say. Whereas Albert Square has a noticable lack of people choosing it as a destination to go and just sit. St Anns Square's useage seems very much affected by whatever is going on there at the time ie yesterday there was plenty of room for me to sit and stare, had I wanted to. No market stalls on you see, so no attraction. If that is not enough though, why not check with the businesses that surround the gardens, paying good money for rent and business rates, and see what they would prefer. Afterall, I only work and live here, and there's another point. These european cities you keep touting, you're not working and living there are you? These squares you speak ones you've visited, that are generally surrounded by overpriced cafes/bars that are only used by tourists, the locals go elsewhere. I dont think we quite have that level of tourism as yet.

LippyApril 11th 2008.

I'm a little bit in love with the 'Baffled Lancashire Lad'...he is soooooooooo right. What a palava you go through just to get into the place i.e. being checked out by a couple of monkeys who probably barely scraped through their o'levels in woodwork. Please! And the over priced cocktail I bought? It wasn't even remotely strong enough to soften my first impression of the place. Cloud 23 is as irritatingly pretentious as Panacea...just less crowded and situated at a greater distance from sea level. Big deal...

Mark GarnerApril 11th 2008.

Innocent! I didn't write this and i am having a night in on the sofa with an eastZeast curry. Are you to blame Jonathan? Anyways, all i want to do is get the lovely Bernadette into a dark room, thats not a crime is it? And, I like Cloud 23 as it happens! Actually, I bet it's Howard Sharrock's fault....

LianeApril 11th 2008.

Tried to call to book (months ahead) for Cloud 23. No luck getting an answer. Tried emailing (the guy who allegedly manages it). No response. Paired with the experience I had when I visited last year (on the spur of the moment), it's certainly not encouraged me to pursue a visit. The impression I've had is that they have the 'too arrogant to give a sh*te about decent hospitality' disease. And I'll be putting that in the review for the city guide I write for.

EloiseApril 11th 2008.

Has anyone any ideas on what to do with all that troublesome grass in Heaton Park? And what about this stupid idea to put a park WITH YET MORE GRASS over in Ancoats? I dont know what the council think they're doing at all......

Howard SharrockApril 11th 2008.

Guilty as charged Mark! That said, not knowing that Sleuth was about to knock the place, I did enter with caution! Got to say they were fantastic. the service was superb, the view at sunset; gorgeous. I do think Sleuth is missing the point about the award. Cloud is a tourist bar. It's not a cosy real ale and cheeky fag outside local. I was entertaining my sister and her husband who now live in Oz and as a way of showing her the city and the progress made, it was unsurpassable. They loved it. Whilst writing can I also speak up for Podium? Wythenshawe's finest, David Gale now has his hands on the kitchen tiller and it's already coming along in leaps and bounds. He's launching his new menu (he's still operating the inherited one with a couple of judicious snips) in a couple of weeks and I reckon it'll be terrific. The passion of the man is electrifying. When we first arrived at 8.30 it was a tad quiet and it looked as if we'd have the restaurant to ourselves. Not a bit of it! By 10.00 it was hopping. The service needs a bit of a tidying but it isn't a structural problem. Thanks for really great evening.

cllr.pat karneyApril 11th 2008.

Keeping out of the Cloud Bar ding dong--mainly been there during the day and it has been fab.Played the do you know who I am number---who are you? Jonathan Sofield I am a journo.Works every time but I suppose have to drop this after today.Real answer is to have more up in the sky bars--anyone know if the 60 storey tower in Store St has got one We are crap at this in this country.Shedloads in every euro city. Right more important matters Date for your diary---the Report Back Walkabout/Man Con drink on Piccadilly Gardens is 11 am on June 28th All welcome--bring some grass/paving stones

andyApril 11th 2008.

Captain B, She looked fully developed last night when i saw her celebrating at Mojo (the real best bar)

JanieApril 11th 2008.

I saw the same thing in MEN re: Haley Joel Osment and thought exactly the same as you lot did. It was only when I read the rest of the birthday list that it said it was also Lesley Garrett's birthday (pictured right) that it made (sixth) sense!

DMcFApril 11th 2008.

Cloud Cuckooland, more like. When I phoned, I was told that there's a three month wait. I might not even be thirsty in July.

DrakeApril 11th 2008.

The views might be spectacular from Cloud 23 but there's the obvious whine from the building in any sort of wind, and the finish is deadful, kept worrying the windows were going to drop out. If you really want a good view of air-conditioning units, try the other end of Deansgate at The Modern. NOt that the glass seems any more secure.

exileApril 11th 2008.

Bored of cloud23....you missed my point and can't really figure out what your point is??

JamesApril 11th 2008.

Graham Stringer MP writing for Confidential? If that's really going to happen, how interesting, great idea.

EloiseApril 11th 2008.

Re picc gardens grass - I was pleased to see this week that as far as the government is concerned grass is back! So, despite the campaign to get it concreted over by ManCon it looks less and less likely. HUZZAH!

Jonathan Schofield - editorApril 11th 2008.

Dear 'What a load of...' person. Had to take a bit of your rant off because of the 'excessively rude, defamatory' note we have below.

Captain ButterworthApril 11th 2008.

Mr G, you want to get Bernadette into a dark room? Is it because you want to develop her?

LippyApril 11th 2008.

Totally agree. Over priced and totally turned off by the two gimp welcome...found myself almost asking them if it was ok to go up? Totally ridiculous. Was made to feel as if they were doing me a huge favour letting me in rather than the other way around. Who designed the decor? Some of the colours used together are just off which irritated me. At a gazillion pounds per cocktail, they should be bob on...and the frosty reception in the lobby warmed up considerably.

Andy MApril 11th 2008.

Cloud 23 !!! ??? Couldn't agree more, you can stick it.Best bar ? laughable, did they go anywhere else? Knock the whole building down if I had my way, the whole place is an eyesore, ala Piccadilly Gardens, Hotel & bus station.

Frank ZappaApril 11th 2008.

Well they simply can't find the time to look too happy, they're far to busy being sooo fantastic!

Jonathan Schofield - editorApril 11th 2008.

Eloise, Confidential doesn't want to concrete over the grass or put a concrete surface at all in Picc Gardens. We want a functioning, hard-wearing surface that is as well-designed and attractive as any in Europe. Grass will never work with 18m pairs of feet per annum walking over and around it. Clearing out the clutter will help that a great deal. It's good to see all the politicians getting involved as well. Pat - that date has been noted and I'll be in touch. Quoting my name to get you in places will get you nowhere - well it doesn't with me.

ChrisApril 11th 2008.

Wow do they really serve drinks at cloud 23.... thought it was just a viewing platform... well it is for the first 20mins while you wait for you drink..... although the chilled glass and the cold beer some what helps the long wait... but you are very thirsty by the time you get it.......

What a load of shiteApril 11th 2008.

I worked at Cloud 23, I can only compare it to having my body being attacked by an industrial sander and then swimming 50 lengths in a pool of fresh lemon juice.Don't go near the place, unless you have petrol and a match with you.

AnonymousApril 11th 2008.

Nobody in Cloud 23 ever looks remotely cool. Or happy.

RobApril 11th 2008.

George it could be that. But then again it could be getting a kicking because it deserves it. The attitude of staff can be apalling, the wait for drinks a nightmare, that queue unending. And tell me this, why isn't it open at lunchtimes to ease pressure?

the insiderApril 11th 2008.

I find it almost comical that as the so called sleuth i.e Mark Garner types yet another derogatory article about Cloud 23 winning yet another award, that a last minute request for a table of 5 for tonight for...Manchester Confidential comes through! Well Cloud 23 obviously isn't that over-priced, with infuriating slow service and ridiculous seating policy is it?

ErmstonApril 11th 2008.

Urmston? Sounds like a good place for a new swish HQ for Channel Erm.

exileApril 11th 2008.

I can see what they tried to achieve with cloud23 (ie Hancock Building Chicago)it should be a major tourist attraction for the City but its too "trendy" and obviously elitist for Manchester! I'm sure eventually it will become just as exclusive as other "top manc bars" in the past like Dry..Atheneum...Living Room....etc etc...giv it 12months and they will be begging you to go in..seen it all before!!!

BBPApril 11th 2008.

Cloud 23 'Best Tourism Bar of the Year Award'. Haha what a joke. Being a bartender I may well be a liitle biased but I did half expect mint in my Mojito. Who trained these bartenders?Oh and from sitting down to my drink arriving - 45 minutes.Obviously you can't deny the views are spectacular - but for 10 odd quid I want my drink to contain the right ingredients. Bottled beer next time.My advice, go to Bacchanalia - cheaper, proper cocktails and not full of pretencious c**ts.

LianeApril 11th 2008.

August 2008: Cloud 23 still awful. Been a few times and the experience has never improved. On this occasion... ate at Podium first. Fortunately there was barely a queue (10pm Sun 24/08). Clipboard woman did the usual unnecessarily big show of looking us up and down and phoning upstairs. Got up there and, as usual, it's obvious the guy on the other end of the phone has NO clue what's going on. Neither do the waiting staff. Told to take a seat and await table service. Lots of lost-looking waiters wandering around, not apparently checking where people are up to with drinks, etc. The couple before us were actually on the guest list - but were also still waiting to be served. After at least 20 minutes we managed to grab a drifting waiter and ask for drinks. It's a great view (albeit facing the wrong side of Manchester) and the cocktails were very nice. But the service just isn't up to scratch. I'd never risk taking a guest or client there - it's too unreliable. Why bother when plenty of other cheaper bars (and pubs) are far more efficiently run?

JamesApril 11th 2008.

Howard, you're right in much of what you say. I work in tourism and the problem is that tourists find it so very difficult to get in that they usually don't bother. If you're in town for a weekend to see a match for instance, you want to do things spontaneously and you just can't do that with Cloud. Once up, I like the design and the views are extraordinary, but there is no need for the service to be so slow. You see, here's another problem, if you promote yourself as a high class venue then that has to be carried through. You can't have bouncers on the door with the same attitude as they would in Brannigans, that same stoney, aggressive look and demeanour. Also here's an idea, why not have a numbering system which allows people to wait in the downstairs bar with a drink (which also has, at present, slow service) and then get called up to Cloud when a table is free. This might keep people calm and make the whole visit more enjoyable. And gets rid of those unsightly, everyone gets angry queues.

bored of Cloud 23April 11th 2008.

Major tourist attraction? Well quit the 'we-are-simply-too-cool-oh-my-god-you're-not-ordering-BEER-are-you?' bollocks.You're a tourist attraction? Get some fat american tourists up there, sell them the view and some over-priced 'Boddingtons' (looky-here kids, this is what they drink in maan-chees-terrr) and be successful.Or remain a pretentious, love thyself hellhole. Which, by the way, Panacea does MUCH better.Simple marketing.

Mark GarnerApril 11th 2008.

And I agree with Jane, I was taken to Isinglass by the Crush girlie Vanessa, it was outstanding. And, the chef wasn't on that night, she had left her young protoge in charge who did sterling work. The beef is terrific.

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