It’s often been said that what Manchester lacks is a Kentish oast house. Maybe not by me. Or you. But someone must have thought it was needed because that’s what we’ve now got. An oast house. From Kent. In return, I believe, the good people of Kent got an IOU signed by Carlos Tevez.
Oh, and before we go any further, for those not familiar with the vernacular, an oast house is somewhere where hops are dried. Like they have in Kent. This one has apparently been shipped brick by brick, via Ireland, to Spinningfields.
Spinningfields is the ultra modern business, retail and residential development that lies between Manchester Deansgate and the River Irwell. What it has been lacking is decent leisure facilities and, of course, what I mean by that is a decent pub. That is where the oast house, from Kent, comes in.
The Oast House is the latest innovation from the Living Ventures Group who own the nearby Alchemist bar. Its design is very different to anything nearby or elsewhere for that matter and, indeed, came in for some controversy for being so. But I think they must be applauded for their innovation.
The Oast House has something of the Swiss chalet about it and there almost seemed a holiday vibe inside. This being only the second day of opening, it was rammed full of people eager to try the new kid on the block. Last night was the launch night and the place was full of champagne swigging celebrities such as Ryan Giggs and Eddie, the eager, legal beagle.
There seems to be a good range of drinks available including American and German beers. There are also four cask ales available via tap on the back wall. I would have preferred them to be more prominently displayed; via handpump on the lengthy bar, but this style of dispense almost seems du jour in the modern bar. Pints are around the £3.30 mark, but the Jaipur I’ve been on is £4 a pint.
An interesting and welcome addition to the Manchester scene. As usual, sustained quality will be the ultimate test.
An unusual feature is the outside kitchen. They wanted one, but there wasn't room inside, hence the separate structure. It's Manchester's first external kitchen, and could possinly be be the country's first permanent outdoor kitchen.