“I can’t tell one from the other.
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born,
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be, where I’ll be…..”
(“This Must Be The Place” Talking Heads)
One of my favourite songs of all time was the inspiration for this post. That and the fact that two years have almost elapsed since this little piece of adultery commenced….
Yes. This month The Brink celebrates its second birthday.
There isn’t one single moment (well, perhaps…..later)* where i could have said – in those early days – that this was it. The “local” I’d always sought, that search for El Dorado finally fulfilled, with a beautifully kept Stout or a zinging sharp Pale.
I can say where it started though. Localism. The initial magnet that kept pulling me in. That support for local suppliers. It plucked my hearts strings like Evelyn Glennie. It was a beautiful tune, played well and with conviction. Not just a pub that stocked A “Locale”. But ALL the beers being within 25 miles.
Almost encapsulating my geographical beer prejudice – and shrinking it still further.
There were – initially – accusations of “sterility”. About a lack of personality – soul. And that was swiftly addressed. I’ve lost count of (obviously) first time visitors standing and staring at the photographed Cityscape adorning the entirety of one of the walls.
Also the local band album cover canvases on the opposite wall (oh PLEASE bring them back….) pandering to my music obsession.
Add to this the Mancunian warmth and welcome. Gareth has carefully chosen his staff – and it shows. They’re even patient with me – and I *can* be a proper gobshite (yes, OK, those who know me will say…..)
*And that “moment” where I just knew that “This Must Be The Place” came when – one evening in October 2016 – when myself and Chris went in and the staff were their usual chirpy selves. I asked Gareth had he told them what had happened and he said “No. I wanted you to have a safe space….”
Fuck. Still brings tears to my eyes. Even as I’m writing this. (Chris will come down in a moment and wonder why my face is wet…)
It’s now my local. It may be a full 10 miles away – but it’s only 60 yards on foot…..
From the early days – as with many new venues – when there were “2 men and a dog” in midweek, the place has grown into itself, gaining a reputation for the beer and service. It gets busy – it’s only small after all – but I was sat with Christine on Friday evening and we both said that this was how it should be. Busy, humming like that hive of Mancunian worker bees. With the conversation reaching out over the music.
But you can always get a table within minutes as people move on – as is the nature of a City Centre venue. We’ve done it, frequently.
Yes. The beer is local. No further than Huddersfield and Congleton. 25 miles radius. The range changes but it’s consistently excellent both with cask and keg.
I had a Runaway Pale on Friday which reminded me just HOW much I love that beer.
The place does the simple things (or at least they seem simple to me). Get good beer. Look after it. Serve it well. Talk to the customer, advising if wanted.
It isn’t rocket science.
And doing those simple things well is what keeps me – and others – coming back.
It’s Mancunian. From those early -rather quiet – beginnings it has wormed its way into a lot of hearts. It certainly has into ours.
And – in less than 2 weeks – it’s 2 years old. A toddler. I’ve been a cheerleader for the baby steps. Somehow, I think it will avoid those Terrible Twos!