Whichever side of the Brexit debate you’re on, the one thing I think we can all be united in is the fact that the whole process has been a complete unremitting disaster, which has not only divided the country, but also made us an international laughing stock. Merry Christmas!
With much of the debate just seeming to centre around people on both sides trying to shout or condescend their opinion into the brains of people with a differing view, a bit of a light-hearted escape from the whole thing sounded fun to me. An escape room, to be more precise.
Alternate Escapes, one of the residents at the new Pollard Yard, located on Pollard Street next to Wellington Mill – a hub for creative independent businesses housed in repurposed shipping containers, run by a company called Meanwhile Creative – offers themed escape room challenges. The current theme is The Battle of Brexit and there are new themes in the pipeline for 2020.
Ben Fowler, the man behind Alternate Escapes, explains: “The escape room is about giving people the chance to take a fairly exhausting, serious topic, and enjoy it in a far more light-hearted and satirical way”.
Before you start you have to pick a side: Remain or Leave. We picked Remain, and you have a quick introduction in a separate cabin to go over the rules.
The set up being that our host is our campaign manager, and he has surreptitiously gained access to our rivals HQ for a short time and in the true spirit of real life Brexit, our objective is to try and gather sensitive, confidential information to besmirch our rivals by seeding their grubby secrets out to the press.
It’s not really a case of escaping per se, but if you get all the secret documents, you succeed in destroying your rivals credibility, and ultimately win your chosen Brexit outcome. Or you fail, and they win.
It was at this moment I made a decision. When I was younger, if there was a big football game approaching, I’d often play the game virtually on Fifa beforehand, deciding that whatever the outcome on Fifa would be the outcome in real life in some sort of inexplicable cosmic quirk, with myself at the centre of the universe.
That’s what I decided would happen with Brexit, 100%, without question. Whatever happened in our Battle of Brexit escape room would manifest in real life.
Naturally, being an escape room, they haven’t made it easy. In order to get our hands on confidential documents we have to work out access to various cupboards, drawers, cabinets, lockers and rooms by following a series of cryptic clues dotted around, with our campaign manager watching over from our HQ and able to provide clues on a screen occasionally, for which you’re notified by a little gong sound.
One such gong during our session was to dissuade one of our team Danny from trying to hack into a tablet, which we weren’t quite ready to use at that stage as we hadn’t discovered the clue to do so yet.
While Danny didn’t quite manage to hack into the rival’s profile, he did somehow manage to log out of it completely and, impressively, hack in to the Alternate Escapes chap’s girlfriend’s personal profile, which we quickly were notified wasn’t part of our game, leaving us having to un-hack and re-hack back in when we were ready. It was some serious espionage.
I’ve done a couple of escape rooms before, with mixed success and experiences, and this one was well put together, good fun, and actually quite tough. It’s a simple-looking layout at first, but the complexity of it builds out as the game progresses.
We had waves of being pretty prolific, then hitting a roadblock, with each new discovery greeted with a collective cheer. With actual seconds to spare, we managed to get the last clue and succeed in getting all documents, meaning that we won.
Therefore, the cosmos has spoken, the outcome of Brexit will be Remain.
Then again, if the universe was as aligned around me as I like to think, England would have won every major football tournament since about 1998 based purely on my Fifa endeavours, so I won’t hold my breath.
To find out more info visit the website here.
Manchester’s ‘biggest beer garden’ is now taking walk-ins
Just in time for the weekend!
Just to make that Friday feeling a little sweeter, Manchester’s biggest beer garden is now accepting walk-ins.
It’s no secret that the whole ‘bookings-only’ system that many venues have been adopting across not only Manchester but the whole country is less than ideal – long gone are spontaneous trips and day seshes in the pub; strategically planning your impulsive pint is now a sad reality of post-lockdown Britain.
So this news really couldn’t have come at a better time – the sun is shining, Manchester has gone longer than a week without any rain, and England are playing Scotland in the Euros tonight.
Life. Is. Marvellous.
Escape to Freight Island, the venue to boast Manchester’s biggest beer garden, has announced that its doors are now open to walk-ins, just in time for the weekend and Father’s Day on Sunday (you haven’t forgotten, have you?)
Since opening after the pandemic, the Depot Mayfield-based food and drinks hub has operated a strict ‘bookings only’ system under the ‘Safe + Social Manifesto’, a plan committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
But now that the world is starting to resemble a little normality again, the venue is starting to accept walk-ins.
Freight Island boasts an impressive lineup, with a huge array of local food and drink vendors.
Guests can swig on beers from Camden and Pomona Island, sip natural wines from Forever Changes, enjoy BBQ food from Baratuxri, pizza from Voodoo Rays, tacos from Madre, a selection of Italian dishes from Belzan Pasta Kitchen, delicious burgers from Patty Queen, Vietnamese delights from Mi & Pho, vegan offers from Plant Grill – and that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
So, if you’re fancying an evening (or an entire day) at this fabulous venue, you can now stroll on down without a booking – though, due to it’s popularity, walk-in space may be limited, so make sure you get down nice and early!
For more information, visit their website here.
Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes to host special black tie event in Manchester
You won’t want to miss this…
For the first time ever in the North West, the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be hosting an intimate black tie event.
The evening, hosted at Altrincham’s Bowdon Rooms, will give guests the opportunity to experience an authentic red carpet event with live entertainment and art installations showcasing Sir Ranulph’s many expeditions.
The Grand Edwardian Ballroom will also be serving a spectacular three course meal as guests enjoy live on stage entertainment and take part in an auction offering one of a kind pieces of memorabilia.
Sir Ranulph himself will also be in attendance where he will be doing meet-and-greets and photographs.
The explorer is famed for leading twenty-two major expeditions to remote parts of the world, including both the South Pole and the North Pole.
He is also the only man alive to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface, and was the first explorer to completely cross the Antarctic continent unsupported.
Since 1969, when he led the British Expedition on the White Nile, Sir Ranulph has been at the forefront of many groundbreaking exploratory expeditions.
And, in 2009 at the age of sixty-five, the explorer climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. As a result, he became the oldest Briton ever to summit the tallest mountain in the world.
Tickets include a three course meal with dietary options available. For more information and to buy your tickets you can head here.
Located in Bowdon, Altrincham, The Bowdon Rooms is an example of stunning Edwardian architecture with Art Deco influences in the immaculate interior.
Dating back to 1903, the award-winning venue is a great choice for exclusive events with its abundance of old style charm and grandeur, authentic character and beautiful features.
A huge new ‘oriental grocery experience’ and sushi restaurant is coming to Chinatown
Manchester’s Chinatown is set to get an exciting new addition…
A huge ‘oriental grocery experience’ and sushi restaurant has been given the go-ahead to set up shop in the heart of Manchester’s Chinatown.
Now, the best part of going on holiday abroad is browsing the foreign supermarkets to see what weird and wonderful things they have on offer – and now, you’ll be able to do that right here in Manchester (though Fanta Lemon may not be included, sorry).
The Blue Whale Supermarket, which has stores dotted across not only the North West but the whole world, will be opening a 5,500 square foot high-end ‘oriental grocery experience,’ offering up fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood, and a whole array of the wonderful foods and drinks from the other side of the world.
Shoppers can expect to find a selection of goods from countries like Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and beyond.
The supermarket will also boast a sixty-cover sushi restaurant – details surrounding their dining experience have been kept tightly under wraps so far, but it is known that they will be using fresh ingredients directly from their shelves, so it’s bound to be a good one.
A further description of the project on Skyscraper City read: “Excited to have completed on yet another leasehold site acquisition for a new brand to enter the market – Blue Whale Oriental supermarket @ St James Tower, Manchester.
“From the team at Bon Pan Asian restaurants, Blue Whale will be a brand new circa 5,500 sq ft high end oriental grocery experience offering fresh fruit and veg, Fish and Seafood, with a large 60 cover Sushi restaurant counter under a new brand Aka Sushi.”
The application to fit out the supermarket and restaurant at Unit 1 Charlotte Street has been accepted according to the Manchester City Council website, so we can hopefully expect some exciting things very soon!