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Sleuth 27/04/07

Time Out arrives in Manchester

Published on April 27th 2007.

Sleuth 27/04/07

Time Out arrives in Manchester: exclusive photo
Sleuth keeps being asked by people when London's biggest listings magazine will bring its Manc version to town. Apparently we had a collective dream some time around the Labour Party Conference last year that a magazine resembling Time Out was in the shops. This is the only Time Out Sleuth could find. It’s a decent feed if not a damned good read. Seemingly Tony Elliott, the multi-millionaire owner of the magazine brand, wants a partner investor because that's the way he usually does things and because he's nervous of investing here solo. We may get something in autumn, maybe online or maybe not. Or maybe in spring 2008. Or maybe not? Or maybe in time for the third millennium. Just a minute though didn't we have a listings magazine? Oh yea, and the Guardian Media Group killed it off to feed the soar-away success of Channel Erm.

The Love Life of Stars
Sleuth took an American writer around Manchester the other day. He was called Danforth Prince and he was re-editing the Manchester section of the Frommer's guide to the UK. He also publishes tasty biogs of Hollywood greats. His latest tome is an unofficial description of Michael Jackson’s sedate life. In a unique departure from Sleuth’s usual tours Danforth would break off to peddle the book in those high-quality emporia of the Northern Quarter which also hold well-illustrated magazines of a fleshy nature. He didn’t make any sales. But what really stands out for Sleuth is the lunch they shared in Mr Thomas’s Chop House. Danforth was an American with the volume control broken on full. “Gotta tell you this,” he intoned, “Was selling a biography of Marlon Brando in California at a book fair. This lady came over looking really pissed.” Danforth paused to ratchet the volume a little higher. “She waved the book at me and said, “I was giving Marlon Brando blowjobs for seven months and I didn’t even make the index.”” Danforth doubled in an explosion of laughter. Five surrounding tables looked round startled, an old couple nearby almost died.

The Master-race
Sleuth was disturbed by the near-collapse of the ambulance service last Saturday due to Manchester City fans suffering seizures following Sir Bobby Charlton's statement on Radio Manchester concerning the chase for the Treble. "At Manchester United we're not an arrogant club," he said. Just as they were being resuscitated Blues fans fell into a coma as their Scouse master of wit and repartee, Joey Barton declaimed "I have to be brutally honest, if I was a fan I wouldn't have paid to watch us at home this season."

Built to last eventually
Meanwhile it’s always good for architects and engineers to be open in their dealings with mere mortals. The Manchester based civil engineer responsible for making many Ian Simpson buildings stand up, such as Urbis, No1 Deansgate and Beetham Tower is Martin Stockley. Stockley surprised Sleuth when he remarked that he knew it would take five years for the operators to understand how Urbis worked. God, us normal people are stupid thinking that a building should be immediately suitable for purpose. As the bosses of Urbis tell Sleuth "when we go around the country visiting other so-called 'iconic' buildings the first question we all ask each other is, where are your leaks then?"

Anthony H Wilson tucks in
Sleuth is delighted to report that the third greatest living Mancunian, after Sleuth and Gordo, is out and about. Tony W was spotted enjoying a proper lunch on Monday at Sam’s Chop House. He tackled the awesome steak and kidney pudding, demolishing three quarters of the monster along with three glasses of Chateaux Tresquot. It was also good to see that Tony was being entertained by the God-like and elusive Alex Poots, the boss of Manchester International Festival. Sleuth’s colleague has been amused by his colleague, Gordo’s, repeated attempts to contact Lord Poots, who hasn’t been returning his calls. Well who would, thinks Sleuth.

Off the rails
David Kavanagh, the world’s best PR bod, promised Sleuth that the opening of Opulence bar in Altrincham would be the most extravagant ever. It sounded promising with a special tram – ‘the Opulence Express’ – laid on to swoosh city centre folk to the event: shame that the ‘Express’ resembled a BR Sprinter train from the eighties with a few Carpet World off-cuts on the floor. It got worse when the tram overshot the red carpet laid out at Altrincham station by twenty metres. Fortunately a pair of giggling hoodies picked it up and instead of nicking it, lugged it down to the correct location. Just when the liggers collective that had come down on the tram didn’t think anything else could go wrong, it did. The whole guestlist was locked out of the bar for half an hour as finishing touches were applied. Most people buggered off to the adjacent Slug and Lettuce for a drink. Sleuth should have expected this after reading the magazine advert the bar had put out. Now Muncheter Cunfadinshal isn’t alllways thee beast when it coms to TYPOS butt this won tooke the biscut. It read: ‘The only bar outside of london to offer Kristal and Kruge Champagne by the glass.’ Of course it is because nobody's ever heard of them: if they offered Cristal and Krug that might be different.

Sleuth’s rants of the week
Every week Sleuth chooses his favourite Manchester Confidential feedback. This week, despite the fierce comments on the Joe Akka story the best rant exchange occurred on the absurdist story about Pi bar in Chorlton.

Jerry the Cat says.." Sorry to lower the tone but I once found half a wasp in a pie, I don’t know if I ate the other half but it was enough to put me off for life."Bobby says.." Have you not had a wasp pie before? All the rage in London.."Steve Johnson says.." Actually people in London just LOOK like they're chewing a wasp. Getting a real wasp pie is as hard as getting mushy peas. Bee pie though, now that's the big thing at the moment, everyone's buzzing about it."

Although in terms of sarcasm, after our story bemoaning the loss of Suburb Café, and the death of a great independent operator, Sleuth is fond of this one. Ben says.." QUICK EVERYONE-a new "indepentently funded," public toilet facility is opening in the northern quarter-grab your skinny jeans and hop to it before it becomes too commercial!!!"

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

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

Oh, leave poor old Kavanagh alone... He's only a wee slip of a PR; all Irish and drunk! Krug or Kruge, what's an 'e' between friends huh? David himself would tell you that!His Mum's a Mayor too; what's not to like?

marshaluanApril 27th 2007.

10:45am: A night to remember - for all the wrong reasons!VIP launch my ass!So here goes - We arrived at the tram station at around 7pm all excited about the pimped-up tram thats about to transport us to Altrincham. The tram arrives & the first thing we laugh at is the fact the destination sign on the front reads 'SPECIAL'! We then all enter the 'special' tram to find that inside there is no velvet curtains & sparkly chandeliers as promised & the red carpet & posh seat covers that the pr company had banged on about were nothing but a roll end of carpet & some little black sheets.On to the promised on-tram entertainment & champagne - there wasnt any! Unless of course you can count the dappy pr girl that was handing out silly daisys for us miffed girlies to clutch.By this time we were all in hysterical fits of laughter because the whole thing was so appauling it was comical! I felt like a I was on a retards day out!!Arrival mark 1 - Said tram pulls into station where there is a red carpet awaiting our departure - said tram carries on past carpet to the other end of platform so two guys had to pick up the the carpet & run down the station with it - more hysteria!Arrival mark 2 - off we all trek to the club only to be told when we got there that it wasnt ready & we'd have to all que outside for half an hour - Who invites VIP's to a club opening & then makes them all wait outside!!!Off we all went to the slugg & Lettuce next door who were obviously delighted to serve us.The main event - Eventually we all got into the club (if you can call it that)Advertised as the only place outside london to serve Crystal & Krug by the glass you'd think it was going to be pretty special. It was basically a late bar & far to small to be classed as a club. It covered two floors but the upstairs area just looked like someones living room with a small bar in front of the bay windows.Celebrity appearences (advertised as packed with them) consisted of Mubs out of holby City & Richard out of Dick & Dom who was with us anyway as he's one of our friends!Canapes consisted of the same piece of sushi over & over again & as for the champagne in this exclusive champagne bar - THERE WASN'T ANY!!Instead we were treated to a postcard size drinks menu of what was on offer which basically consisted of standard spirits & mixer (no red bull), small glass wine or bottled beer - again more hysteria.So as you can see there was no V in VIP at this event!

AJApril 27th 2007.

I'm AJ, much i do like to credit for things i don't do, I didn't actually write this cocktail, but I would have been proud of it if I had...You are also mistaken at the fact that am not the manager of Sugar Lounge, so you should try to get your facts right. Furthermore if you've worked in bars for so long you'd understand that launch nights never go as according to plan therefore the best time to actually review the bar would be when the wrinkles have been ironed out...If you think I am that good, surely thats a reflection on the quality of this venue that would be willing to work there on my only night off in the week...

ElliottApril 27th 2007.

Lov'in the Time Out piece. Keep up the good work:)

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

Myself and three other young (ish early 30s) professionals decided to give Manchester a miss this weekend and try out Altrincham - and we were having a great time - the belgian bar, the shaker room, so we thought we'd give opulence a try as well being regulars of panacea, restaurant bar and grill etc we didnt think we'd have a problem getting in - no queue, around 10ish, yes we were a bit drunk but not rowdy only to be accosted by 3 surly and rude doormen with attitude who gave us no good reason for refusal, apart from maybe be werent bordering on 18 (ie the clientele looked suspiciously young) - fine we accept being refused entry (after all it happened quite a lot to us at panacea in the early days until they had a change of attitude on the door - might i add for the better), BUT i think they could have dealt with us a) a lot more polite, b) less aggressive, now correct me if im wrong but is it not their job to deal with people who might be a bit tipsy in a diplomatic manner - Yes we had all had a drink but we are not raucous, fighting yobs who deserve to be pushed around by jumped up doormen - they need to take a leaf out of the doormans at the Shaker Room - avoid 'Opulence' until the management hire decent staff that know how to treat customers

Mr XApril 27th 2007.

Yes, but who comes to Manchester Confidential for serious, unbiased, well-researched journalism? We all come for the gossip, rumours and bitching! Admit it...

dr whomApril 27th 2007.

Pot Cawls Kettle Blak!"It read: ‘The only bar outside of london to offer Kristal and Kruge Champagne by the glass.’ Of course it is because nobodies ever heard of them: if they offered Cristal and Krug that might be different."That should be "nobody's" surely? Go on, play the irony card, you know you want to.

ben hApril 27th 2007.

ok, i wrote one of the slightly more negative rants above, and true with most if it, in heinsight it was a good laugh, i wish Opulence all the best and hopefully they will iron out the flaws that do exist.hopefully on my next visit it will be a night to remember!!!

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

I do believe a rant has been deleted...suspicious no??

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

yes, and who was marketing cocoa rooms at the time of their shoddy opening? that's right, you've guessed it - manchester confidential! How easily things are fogotten.

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

I nearly spat out my breakfast when I read "David Kavanagh, the world’s best PR bod," then to my sheer delight upon reading on, realised the sarcasm intended. In the official press release sent to all those on the guestlist, we were promised "Papparazi and National Celebrities," I decided to not go to the "blessed event," as I had already planned an evening of sticking pins in my eyes and drinking arsenic til the wee hours but from what I hear they were greeted with 5 bouncers, some labourers and wait for it...the one, the only....ROWETTA!!! They were also promised £400 goody bags even containing GHD's! Instead they got Sushi which had probably been there since YQ's "pre party," last thursday and a promise that goody bags would be sorted out at a later date! Hats off David...PR Motion is obviously going swimingly! What with their extensive list of "national celebrities," and Cheshire Bars, I know where I'll be going next time I need advice on a launch....Iraq

AnonymousApril 27th 2007.

I had the pleasure of being invited to Opulence for the opening night, but unfortunatly the hype before hand was nothing representative of the actual 'Opulence Experience'.Having worked as a bartender for several years in some of the big clubs in London and Manchester, any bar which offers such a superior service needs to have the staff to back it. Even when I had the misfortune of working at *ahem* Odyssey *ahem*, the bar staff got it right. Some of the guys I worked with there knew their stuff, and did a damn good job (regardless of uncle arnie getting in the way..!).Very impressed with one of the bar tenders, AJ - oh yeah, he was only bought in for the launch night, and just happens to be a manager at Sugar Lounge...However, your cocktail list is EXCELLENT. very impressed, but, oh yeah - that was written by AJ as well!But come on Opulence, the clientel was that of Brannigans, and regardless of the investment to create the bar, it wasn't anything special. The majority of the people I talked to were from Manchester, and the general consensus was that, "yeah, it's ok, but I won't be coming out of Manchester when there's much better places to visit in town...". Come on guys, if you want it to be special, don't close the bars for 20 minutes half way through because somebody forgot to collect empty glasses and wash them, and because you've run out of ice, and because you have no lime left. And please, the next time you serve your precious Krug(e) don't serve it in a warm glass straight out of the glass washer, buy some proper Riedel glassware (not that similar to the stuff available in Tesco) and serve it properly.Free bar was excellent!

simonApril 27th 2007.

I have been to over 20 launches of pr:motion and I was at the Opulence launch! I dont know what the big fuss is about, it was a great night and I David from pr:motion looked after everyone of his guests - I know how hard it is to launch a venue so hats off to David and his team - there were atleast 10 celebs also so I dont know what everyone is chatting about - Rowetta, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Corrie and Free booze all night ... Quit complaining and get a life! Well done David! Don't let sad gossip queens get you down - the ever perfect Manchester Confidential always have something to cry about! Keep up the good work mate!

JessApril 27th 2007.

Spotted the Opulence ad in last month's The Magazine - spent an enjoyable couple of minutes spotting not one, not two, but FIVE mistakes. And then to follow up on a theme, there was one in the invite too! "Without further a do", indeed. Beautiful.

CApril 27th 2007.

Look, don't you think this is getting a bit nasty?As far as I was concerned, the Opulence party was to launch a new bar in Altrincham, not to give a bunch of people a reason to carry out an online professional assasination of a PR company. Ok, there were a few hitches - but so what? There were more than enough free drinks to go round, the bar itself is perfectly pleasant and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It's a sad state of affairs when all the thanks a bar/ PR company got in return for inviting people to celebrate their opening is a lot of unpleasant posts from people kicking off because the party didn't make them feel important enough.

David KavanaghApril 27th 2007.

Firstly Mark, thanks for being true to form with your sleazy/predictable editorial style and on how Man Con can simply do no wrong only slag off everyone at the first opportunity they get, perhaps if we had of went ahead with that advertising campaign then you would have been singing a different tune??? I'm all up for constructive criticisms, and yes there were mistakes beyond my control, but at the end of the day I've heard more positive remarks from my guests - a full mailbox of thank you’s and supportive messages from people who realised the huge amount of effort and hard work put in from the Pr:motion and Opulence team.

JHApril 27th 2007.

I was at the Launch, i do agree the tram didnt look the best, but theres not alot you can do with one of those monstrosities. we did get a free ride and the seat covers did cover all the chewing gum and stains on the seats, i actually really enjoyed the night, iv been to alot of launches and none of them go the way they should, cocoa rooms was still being painted when i walked in there, and hey we got free drinks which is always a bonus, staff were good considering they probably hadnt slept in days.im not going to make my final judgement until iv seen the venue in its full glory not on a launch night when people like Manchester Confidential are oogling around trying to find something wrong with it to write about in their silly little gossip column the next day, and i suggest you do the same.

GordoApril 27th 2007.

Gordo is appalled that Sleuth has stolen his thunder by eavesdropping Gordo gossiping in the bog at Confidential Towers this morning. It's a good job he didn't hear him describing the tram fit out as 'haut bin liner' and the bar itself as a **** hole, a cross between Urban Outfitter and Hell. More to follow folks in the official Gordo write up..

Robbo the badApril 27th 2007.

I've walked past this place a few times and it looks naff and tacky. Calling a bar 'Opulence' and setting yourself up as a place only for the mega rich & those who can afford to drink Cristal is at best...dreadfully uncool..at worst downright offensive in a county which is still one of the poorest in Europe. You'd be better off opening such an establishment in Hale (where those who have have no taste but loadsamoney reside..thats your clientele!) rather than between the Slag & Lettuce and the Weatherspoons pub in Alty. If this bar is still open in 6 months i'll eat my shoes (the last two bars that were on this site didn't last long either). No offence but you're in the wrong street.

Jonathan SchofieldApril 27th 2007.

Dr Whom, you have good medicine, we have cured the problem. It's happening everywhere today, must be the heat, the caption under the pic on the letters page on the Evening News today reads 'city centre apratment (sic) No. 1 Deansgate has residents who dont (sic) mind drying their clothes'. Apratment? They might be right

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