Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialSleuth.

SLEUTH: BIG Plans For Freemasons Hall | Koffee Pot Move | Site For Royce Institute? | New Iberica Images

A great morass of fact and exuberance for life

Written by . Published on December 12th 2014.

SLEUTH: BIG Plans For Freemasons Hall | Koffee Pot Move | Site For Royce Institute? | New Iberica Images

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth


Work has started to convert the grand Freemasons Hall (built in the late-20s) into Manchester Hall - a new hotel, restaurant, bar, conference and roof terrace venue for the city centre right on the edge of Spinningfields. Multi-millionaire businessman and propertor investor Morgan Leahy currently owns the building and Vision Developments (Barton Arcade) are the developers. Sleuth hears the new venue is to be 'modelled on the famous Waldorf Hotel' and is due to open by October 2015. Sleuth reckons the first renders look great and is glad to see some more life kicked into The Square With No Name after the Black Dog bar group converted the sad, empty Starbucks into Crazy Pedro's happy, new pizza bar last month. Hopefully this latest announcement will see the rest of the square kick-in and become an attractive public space as opposed to a place where n'er do wells congregate to shout at carrier bags in the wind.

More here: @manchester_hall

Work on Manchester Hall is already underwayWork on the new Manchester Hall is already underway

Manchester Hall 2Manchester Hall 2


Last Friday Confidential broke the story that Northern Quarter favourite and the non-alcoholic indie heart of the city centre, Koffee Pot, was being elbowed out of their current and very cushty Stevenson Square site by big meanie building owners Hatter’s Hostel. Sleuth spoke to the Koffee Pot manager this week about the possible move. Turns out the battle for the site has been waging for much longer than any of us thought and next week looks like Koffee Pot’s last. As sad as it is to see Koffee Pot turfed out, you can’t blame Hatter’s, if they want to extend the hostel their choices are very limited. And anyway, Sleuth is greatly looking forward to the Koffee Pot 2.0 opening in January 2015 at the former Ryan’s Vintage unit at 84/86 Oldham Street, it’s only two minutes round the corner and Sleuth is told not only will they have toilets this time, but also a card machine and more than seven seats. There’s also talk of a deli, of sorts. Sleuth is happy as long as the haggis stays on the menu, nothing cures a hangover like lamb and beef innards rammed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. Lovely.

Koffee Pot is an NQ institutionKoffee Pot is an NQ institution

Koffee Pot's new siteKoffee Pot's new site


Sleuth hears a rumour, or even voices in his own head, saying the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation and Extremely Long Academic Names is to be located on the old BBC site on Oxford Road. Given Sir Henry Royce developed the famous motor less than half a mile away this is a very appropriate location, and also the site has a continuing motoring tradition. It’s presently a zombie car park.

It has to be hereIt has to be here


Sleuth has decided because the above rumour is now definitely FACT such a prestigious site will require a showpiece building. Sleuth was in Hulme Park the other day, at the site of that first Rolls Royce factory. He hears a rumour, or even voices in his own head, that this will be the design.

The new building will look like this.The new building will look like this.


Henry Royce was such a workaholic that in his Cooke Street factory in Hulme, workers would take turns to bring him his meals. He was so engrossed in his work he would forget to eat. At Confidential workers take turns to take food away from Gordo. “But I’m engrossed in it!” he exclaims, “It’s my work.”

Working hardWorking hard


Sleuth can't wait for Ibérica to open in Spinningfields in early-2015, the Spanish restaurant has four operations in London and is opening their first outside of London in Manchester. Great news for the city, Sleuth loves little oinkers and this lot certainly know how to slice a pig. Read Confidential's preview of Ibérica here. Looks set to be a bobby dazzler too doesn't it... 

Serious JamonSerious Jamon

Iberica DayIberica CGI

Iberica only employs bartenders with lampshades for headsSpinningfields designs - Iberica only employs bartenders with lampshades for heads



Hipsters and barbecue sauce fetishists were rigid with excitement and soggy with anticipation with the news a new burger bar has opened on one of Manchester’s principal highways. It’s a state-of-the-art facility with digital menu boards and five Samsung tablets on the restaurant tables. It will give customers the option to either use the traditional till services or new self-order kiosks. There’s ‘comfortable seating for over 150 people across two storeys and free WiFi for customers’. The restaurant sits on the Bass Drum pub site on Chester Road in Stretford. The operator is a company called McDonalds, the manager dresses in yellow and red and is frankly a bit sinister, but ground breaking food such as Big Macs, apparently a ‘gooey synthesis of chewy edibility and delicious slop’ will break new ground in an over-crowded market. 'A gooey synthesis of chewy edibility and delicious slop'

'A gooey synthesis of chewy edibility and delicious slop'


Sleuth's pal ordered an Uber this week, the taxi app allows you to order a taxi right to your feet from the comfort of your phone without so much as a grunt down the line. Don't need cash either. Handy when you've spent it all on a few too many shandies. Still, Uber's not without its faults. Sleuth spotted his pal looking frozen outside Confidential Towers this week. "Just ordered an Uber," said Sleuth's pal. "Shouldn't be a minute or two." When Sleuth came back down ten mins later his pal was still there. "What's happened?" quizzed Sleuth. "Some b**tard has pinched my taxi," fumed the pal. "How do you know?" asked Sleuth. "Because I've just had the receipt for their journey, the git cost me £3..."

Uber receiptUber receipt


Sleuth's colleague L’Oréal Blackett has something of a soft spot for Grindsmith coffeehouse. Something about ‘cute baristas and sexy coffee art’ and other girly things Sleuth doesn’t understand much. L’Oréal popped down this week to check out the coffee boy’s newly expanded space on Deansgate. They’ve moved on from a single coffee trike to two whole rooms and looks like it will be a permanent station for the boys who have three years to ‘impress’ the punters or else they’re out. They’re confident they won’t be moving. 

“What’s with the Walter White mural?” asked L’Oréal. “It’s by a Manchester graffiti artist called Akse P19,” said the barrista, “he spray painted it freehand.” It’s certainly impressive but what’s a US drama series about cooking meth got to do with coffee? “Well, people say that we’re the Breaking Bad of coffee brewing." L’Oréal knew there was something about that coffee, turns out its phenyl-2-propanone.

Grindsmith: the Breaking Bad of coffeeGrindsmith: the Breaking Bad of coffee

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

Poster BoyDecember 12th 2014.

"Sleuth hears the new venue is to be modelled on the famous Waldorf Hotel"...means what exactly...?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 12th 2014.

What is there not to understand??

Jimmy MillsMarch 8th 2015.

do you mean the New York one or the old Manchester one .?

Offaly SorryDecember 12th 2014.

Lamb and beef innards rammed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. No thank you, I'm not hungry.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2014.

You didn't break the Koffee Pot story. Simon Binns was there at least 3 hours before you on his site and Twitter. At least you were well before the MEN though.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 12th 2014.

Simon Who?

AnonymousDecember 12th 2014.

Dr Who's dad

AnonymousDecember 13th 2014.

This is not a proper cafe anymore anyway. It has been gentrified since the original one,so why is everyone getting nostalgic?The original was forced out by the current one because it wasn't cool enough for the NQ. I remember a black woman called Caroline ran it once. Then it was a real cafe with an array of people from all walks of life. Homeless people to Barristers. Does anyone else remember those days?

Henry vDecember 28th 2014.

Who the fu*k is Simon Binns?

paulsouthernDecember 14th 2014.

How far can you go in a taxi for 3.00? Whoever pinched the ride must only have gone a few hundred meters up the road?

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoDecember 28th 2014.

St Anne's Square. Very reasonable, especially when it was free ;-)

DavidJanuary 8th 2015.

I shout at carrier bags in the wind.......especially if they look like Richard Leese.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants


Looks like Daisy Mill in Longsight is for the chop too. This time MCC own the building and are…

 Read more

The initial plan, by all concerned, was always to save & redevelop Ancoats Dispensary though wasn't…

 Read more

That's perfectly true, but for various reasons not relevant to the original point. I'm happy to…

 Read more

I'll try again..of course it won't, it's not listed so it will go. The fact that it is elegant,…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2021

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord