During lockdown you may well have noticed a huge, mysterious door appear in the Northern Quarter.
While we’ve all been waiting at home for the country to finally reopen again, others have been busy transforming an unassuming part of the city centre into a magical new bar.
The large suspicious-looking door is located on the corner of Dale Street and Lever Street, and behind it lies Mala.
Mala is home to a 160-seat secret garden, complete with 13 private huts and six baby pink cable carts.
The new bar is set to open today, Tuesday May 4th, and the venue will be partnering with a number of operators around the Northern Quarter to bring food and drink.
The secretive concept will give establishments who don’t have their own outside seating areas the chance to to deliver food and drink to the Mala site.
However, that’s as much as we know so far, and the businesses partnering with Mala are still to be announced – although there will be some great cocktails and beers to choose from when it opens.
Whatever the plan is, it’s great to see a new lease of life given to this once rundown section of the Northern Quarter.
It’s walk-ins only, so no need to get yourself booked in – handy if you’re about in town and fancy a last minute drink.
You can stay up to date on Mala’s Instagram here.
NEW OPENING: Award-winning Japanese street food and sushi comes to Wilmslow
Sushi fans are in for a treat
An award-winning Japanese street food and sushi restaurant has opened up in Wilmslow, and it looks stunning.
Unagi Street Food started business just three weeks before the `covid pandemic hit the UK back in March 2020.
Since then they’ve gone from strength to strength, and their latest opening is a sit-in restaurant over in Wilmslow.
After a year of working in pop-up kitchens in Altrincham, Salford Quays and West Didsbury, this new venture is Unagi’s first stand-alone bar and restaurant.
Customers sit around the main counter to give a more authentic experience, with the sushi being rolled and put together right in front of you.
The epic menu includes a host of ‘Street Snacks’, like Ban Bang Chicken Wings (£8), Gyoza (£7), Crispy Teriyaki Tacos (£8) and their brilliant Karaage Chicken (£8) – as well as Katsu, Yakisoba Noodles and Chilli Udon.
As for sushi, you won’t be disappointed, with a range of Nigiri, Sashimi and Hosomaki, alongside some creative Uramaki.
The Mushu Special (£14) comes with breaded prawn, avocado, cucumber, black tobiko and teriyaki sauce, all wrapped up in salmon which is seared on the outside.
There’s also the Spider (£14), which is stuffed with tempura soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado, truffle mayonnaise and orange tobiko.
Another great offering is the Green Hamachi (£16.50), which comes with breaded prawns, avocado, asparagus, jalapenos and a jalapeno mayo, this time wrapped in yellowtail which is then seared.
With the new Wilmslow restaurant opening, Unagi has expanded delivery options too, through Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats they’ll be delivering EVERY DAY from 12pm.
The Wilmslow branch is open daily from 12pm, and you can give them a follow on Instagram here to stay up to date.
The five Greater Manchester pubs which have been voted among the ‘best in the UK’
Did your local make the cut?
A number of Greater Manchester boozers have been named as some of the best in the UK by voters in the Greater British Booze Off.
The competition, run by The Daily Star across a period of three months, asks readers to nominate their favourite watering holes under ten different categories, such as live music pubs, live sport pubs and the most unusual pubs.
And, low and behold, a massive number of pubs here in Greater Manchester were crowned as the winners in several categories, including a number of runner-up places. For example…
Best Pub (Overall), second place: The Bear’s Paw, Hindley, Wigan.
The Bear’s Paw in Hindley, Wigan, came in at second place in the category: Best Pub (Overall).
The boozer survived lockdown against the odds thanks to its new landlords Nathan and Matty. The pair have been described by their regulars as taking the pub from strength to strength and are a ‘formidable asset’ to the venue and wider industry in uncertain times.
One happy customer told the Daily Star that the landlords are ‘absolutely loved’ by locals and that they’re built a ‘fantastic’ rapport despite their short time at the Wigan establishment.
Best Live Sport Pub, first place: The Beehive Inn, Whitefield, Bury.
Despite Manchester’s fierce blue and red rivalry, The Beehive Inn has become renown for housing both City and United fans without any trouble.
Rather than becoming a place for booze-fuelled scraps, this pub has established itself as a place of friendly banter welcoming to both sides of Manchester.
Visitors immediately recognise how proud of the city the pub is with the symbolic worker bee graffiti adorning the exterior.
The symbol came to particular prominence as a sign of solidarity after the Manchester Arena terror attack, and the Beehive’s garden pays tribute to the twenty-two victims who lost their lives.
Best Live Music Pub, first place: The Snug, Atherton, Wigan.
Despite the pandemic hitting live music venues hard, The Snug in Atherton, Wigan, managed to continue providing local music with its online ‘Snug Sessions.’
Landlady Rachel told the Daily Star that while it had been a ‘tough few months’ during lockdown, the struggle was worth it because of the ‘great little community.’
And what makes the venue even more special is the fact that it’s nestled away in a hidden location, as one TripAdvisor reviewer found when he unexpectedly stumbled upon the place.
Hindleylad wrote: “Great little place hidden away down an alley off market street. Charming look and feel. Helpful genuine staff. Good coffee – and I’m fussy – fresh cooked food and homemade cakes. Recommended.”
Best Live Music Pub, second place: The Boulevard, Wigan.
This hidden rock music gem has hosted countless bands and live acts over the years, and acts as a ‘second home’ to many Wigan locals.
It’s only fitting that the town that birthed iconic punk band The Buzzcocks should make it onto the Great British Booze Off list of definitive music venues, isn’t it?
Most Unusual Pub, first place: Why Not? Cafe Bar, Worsley.
Just one look at the exterior of this quirky boozer demonstrates why the Why Not? cafe bar in Worsley was crowned as the most unique and unusual pub in the UK.
The building looks more like a terraced house than anything else, but the owners have decked it out in an abundance of twinkling fairy lights and retro booze memorabilia to give it that special pub vibe.
Located in the Worsley area of Salford, it is a wonderful alternative to city-centre bars of Manchester.
You can check out the full list of Great British Booze Off winners and runners up here.
La Bandera is now doing loaded tapas lunch boards and they look so good
Lunch time just got a whole lot more exciting…
While us Mancs remain firmly stuck in the UK for the summer, La Bandera has brought a bit of Spain to Manchester with the launch of their exciting new lunch time deal.
Now, while we all love tapas – and believe me, Manchester has a lot to offer on that front – there’s no denying that loading up on the small Spanish dishes can add up to a small fortune.
But if the steep pricing of small plates is the only thing putting you off, La Bandera is here with their brand new and irresistible offer: Their new Lunch Boards.
For the price of two regular tapas plates, you can now get a full board of three tapas plates and a drink. You can’t argue with that, can you?
Diners will get a choice of a regularly changing selection of ‘Tapitas,’ which features a range of classics such as the Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes) alongside some of La Bandera’s more unique and distinctive offerings – such as their Chorizo in Red Wine, Calamari, Pulled Pork Sliders and Grandma’s Meatballs.
The restaurant has also introduced a whole range of new Tapas dishes to their menu too, such as the Bacalao Al Pil Pil; tender salted cod with a garlic, guindilla chilli and olive oil sauce.
The lunch boards will be available from Monday to Friday, 12pm – 4pm, with the option to mix-and-match the boards to create your very own unique lunch for just £12.50. And, for £15.50, you can upgrade your soft drink to a beer or a wine, instead.
La Bandera is accepting both walk-ins and bookings, though booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.
To make your own reservation, visit the La Bandera website here.