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Sleuth 22/07/2011

Odd, new city centre bar, pig men, buttocks, baristas, wealth managers and dwarfs

Published on July 22nd 2011.

Sleuth 22/07/2011

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.
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Oast House

Sleuth’s been sitting on this little story for ages, but finally the operator's talked. We’re going to be complete Kents in Spinningfields. An oast house is coming, that traditional building of Kent that was used to dry hops so they could flavour beer. This Manchester Oast House will sit between Flannels and the Crown Court in Crown Square. It will be a bar with tradional ales, plus spirits, wine and good continental beers. Meals will be platters of cheese, meats and chunky bread - like the early Mark Addy or Dukes 92 concepts. There'll be a performance area in a courtyard and barbecues too.

Oast House in the original              Oast House in KentOast toast

Of course to put in a Kentish building form in the North West is utterly ludicrous. Laughable. But Sleuth was shown the model a few months ago and loved it. The absurdity will so lighten up Spinningfields' corporate architecture it'll be like a comedy kipper across the face. Glaring contrasts work well: think of the hi-tech style of the Royal Exchange in that Classical old exchange hall. Sleuth thinks it'll lift the whole area, give a nice wtf moment as you wander through town.


Sleuth is intrigued by the choice of operator for The Oast House. It's not going to be the Marble Arch people or any real ale folk, but the chaps behind Living Ventures, the company that already owns Australasia and Alchemist in Spinningfields and Grill on the Alley and Olive Press in nearby streets. Odd really, but at least Living Ventures have a track record in making things work. By the way, the company has asked Sleuth to coordinate an interesting reader response exercise on Monday.  

Spoken arse on Oxford Road

Sleuth was nipping into a Sainsburys the other day when a man in his thirties wandered out. The man said out loud "amazing arse". Sleuth followed his gaze and there was a callipygous* woman crossing Oxford Road. "I suggest you don't articulate your thoughts out loud like that," said Sleuth. "I suggest you fuck off," said the man, still speaking his thoughts out loud.

Sleuth wonders if he does it all the time. It would make for an interesting life. Maybe in front of the boss he says things like, "How did someone as thick as you get this far?". Or nice things, so after a smile in a shop, he might say, "What a lovely person you are, you have lit up my day?"

Sleuth might give this honesty a go for a day, see where it takes him.

*Callipygous is Greek for..er..amazing arse. The most famous representation is the 'Venus Kallipygos' pictured here. 

Venus Kallipygos                                                                                           Venus Kallipygos

Sleuth's perk of the week

Sleuth was talking to a member of staff at the Civil Justice Centre - the Civil Courts complex on Bridge Street. "When there's a fire alarm," said the court worker, "us lowly lot have to go and stand outside Giraffe restaurant in Spinningfields whatever the weather is. The judges don't though, they go straight to the five star Lowry Hotel." Sleuth wonders whether pink champagne and foie gras are laid on. Maybe dancing girls.  

Sleuth's weak joke of the week

Sleuth was walking past a brand new venue occupying the old Hogshead pub on Deansgate. It's going to be a pub called The Lost Dene. Confidential will review it soon, but as an opening gimmick some tasteful event company had hired dwarves as bouncers. One fella amongst a group of lads was quipping: "I bet they only serve shorts in there."

Twitter Justice

News editor Simon Binns (@simonbinns) was at the inquiry into the compulsory purchase order at London Road Fire Station (LRFS) - click here. During one of the breaks, the QC representing the Britannia Group, the company that owns LRFS, came over to Binns. "I follow you on Twitter," he said, "In fact I've just been following you now reporting on the inquiry." "That's good of you," said Binns. "Not really," said the QC, "I was checking you weren't making things up."

Sleuth's obsession with small issues: This week statistical coffee lies

Sleuth likes Starbucks. He's worked out that ordering whole milk with a coffee magnifys the quality a hundred times, lessening the bitter, burnt flavour of their brew and giving it body. He tried to order the same in a Caffe Nero this week where the coffee can be even more bitter and burnt.

"We don't do whole milk?" said the barista (isn't that what they're called?). "We find," he added, "that 99 per cent of our customers prefer skimmed or semi-skimmed milk." Sleuth fixed him with his beady eye. "How on earth would you know that lovely fact if you don't sell it or offer it?" he said. The lad was rumbled and mumbled. Sleuth's going back next week with a cow, going to milk it outside, make a childish, churlish point.

Sleuth's pigman of the week

Sleuth did a tour under the Haunted Underworld of Manchester this week (click here). One of the lads was being cheeky, so Sleuth punished him. He made him wear a latex pig's head. He might go back to the Caffe Nero in the above story and make the lad do the same for making up milk facts.


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

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2011.

Don't bother reviewing the Lost Dene - it's just exactly the same as when it was the Hogshead only it smells of fresh paint and bizarrely has framed pictures of Steve Coogan and Ian McShane on the walls.

SleuthJuly 22nd 2011.

You're right. It looks like a big, fake, horrrible, 2-4-1 city centre piss-up hole.

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2011.

Well it was actually 2-4-0 last night with appropriate flyers so that's the only reason I was there...

BaggioJuly 22nd 2011.

starbucks is for people that don't actually like coffee but like to walk around with a paper cup.

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2011.

Each to their own. I like Starbucks coffee. I think it tastes nice.

EARLE OF DISBURYJuly 26th 2011.

The Oast House will be a great addition to the city's drinking scene , a really unique idea and building too , well done! , lets hope they have a really good and changing range of ales like the excellent Port St beer house inc local Manchester and NW ales not just the usual spitfire , black sheep , deuchars etc which are fine but a bit to common now!

AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

Seems a really small building this oast house. Wondering if it will be to small in winter like the Alchemist is. Should be good in summer though. If they wanted a real ale place I'm surprised they went with Living Ventures as the ale in the Alchemist is rubbish, the Marble lot are much better at it.

Heather HudsonJuly 27th 2011.

Hooray - finally a place with some character in Spinningfield (other than the Alchemist). When is it scheduled to open?

Oast ArchiveFebruary 26th 2012.

Please credit my photograph correctly http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1267284

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