It takes a prod of almost taser proportions to make me wake up “the blog thing” as I call it. An unignorable prompt. I need something that matters after the emotional drain that is #ISBF4.
Last night I found precisely that. At the opening night of Fairfield Social Club.
In the immediate aftermath of St Sebastian’s, beer doesn’t draw me. (Heresy, I know, but I’ve seen / drunk enough in the last two weeks to jade anyone’s beer desire) What drew me in was to see the progress that Jason & Jules Bailey had made from the building site I saw on Wednesday.
They’ve obviously put in some hours.
Over a five year period, starting with their own Colombian street food operation “Arepa Arepa Arepa” they’ve grown, with their passion for street food always front and centre. And on the sleeve.
What quickly became obvious was that they sought a home of their own. That initial events at Black Jack tap and Runaway – excellent though they were – were part of that process. Building reputation, yes, but looking for an allotment plot where the seeds they had gently and lovingly nurtured could be planted.
But – from almost day one – this was always about more than Street Food. This was about something uniquely Mancunian. And fiercely independent.
Personally, I was gutted for them when their first attempt at securing a location (Keystone) didn’t work out. It was heartbreaking to see the hard work that went into that, fall. Through no fault of theirs. But they learned. Continued to grow. And – as is now obvious – continued to plan.
Fairfield Social Club is about more than food. About more than beer. It’s about the Soul that is threaded through late 20th century Manchester. From The Twisted Wheel through to Pips, The Russell Club through to The Hacienda and all the smaller – less heralded – venues that pump that vital juice through the heart of this great city.
Music. My first and greatest love.
At weekends, GRUB events come first and foremost. That’s a given. And done with style – as anybody who has followed their journey to Mayfield will attest.
During the week, live music and performance will be the thing. And I – for one – couldn’t be more excited.
This space (Bailey is talking in terms of a 400 or so capacity) will almost instantly carve itself a niche, pitched perfectly between intimate venues like Ruby Lounge, Soup Kitchen & Gorilla and the larger Academy spots. Something that Manchester needs.
And that bar. That bar – as a live music venue bar – is bloody inspired! Truly fabulous beer at (for a gig venue) affordable prices.
Yes. It needs some acoustic work – something that FSC recognises and is planning for.
It’s going to be a few months before Bailey & Jules vision is realised completely, but – bloody hell – have they got something special on their hands.
I mean, come ON! Any venue where you have the Mancunian legend that is Vinny greeting you as you arrive is going to be special! This place is a big thing. A big thing enabled by loving attention to the small things.
Bailey and Jules and Team Grub should be proud of their achievement.