For a number of months last year, I would leave The Brink to catch the No 37 bus home. To get to that bus stop, I passed a bar. It was the most deeply depressing looking hole, brightly lit, noisy and invariably (conversely) quiet.
On Bridge Street – and on the edge of Spinningfields – it grated. It felt wrong. And – consequently – it didn’t last.
Fast forward to this weekend.
And that shabby little venue (following a nice sprucing up) got a new tenant.
Honest Burger is a small chain with outlets in London, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge & Reading. And now, they have a 6th. On Bridge Street.
And I got a surprise or two.
True to its name, this is a burger joint. The kind of place that normally gravitates towards the Northern Quarter. Now then, I have nothing against the NQ, some of my favourite eating and drinking places are within that orbit. But – it’s nice to see another venue worth visiting open on Bridge Street.
And this place IS worth the visit.
I’m no food critic. But this grub is excellent.
The wings were sweet and spicy sticky finger licking joy. TLO loved them too.
Following that was the burger….
The Manchester was a juicy little beast. Sloppy with a beautiful cheese sauce, topped with a rich and earthy slice of Northernness. Black pudding.
Love at first messy bite.
The Salted rosemary fries just topped the whole thing off nicely.
Service was brisk. Attentive without being smothering. Pitched just right.
Made me forget there used to be that desolate bar ever existed.
And then you go upstairs. On the first floor there are additional tables for service. They were buzzing with chatter. And – I forgot to mention – each of the ground and first has its own bar. Wines, spirits and – oh the joy – a keg bar stocked with Mancunian beer (Alphabet & Runaway)
And that’s not all….
On the 3rd level, a Runaway tap room.
My eyes nearly popped. An actual Runaway bar. Outside of the brewery.
I’ve expressed my love of Runaway before. Read here, so this was a joy. This may be short term, it may be a lasting thing. That’s uncertain at this point.
What IS certain – while it’s there (Thursday evenings through till Saturdays only for now) – is that this creates a little core of superb bars within a 50 yard radius on Bridge Street, with Gaslamp and The Brink completing that beery nebula coalescing on this short stretch.
The beer – predictably – was lush. The Rhubarb Blush reminded me as to how much I love rhubarb beers. Tart, earthy, refreshing and joyously light of abv. It washed down my Manchester Burger a treat.
The tap room has that rarest of things for a decent Manchester beer venue.
Outside space. In the form of a large balcony overlooking Bridge Street. And that was being taken advantage of. With summer approaching, this will be a draw.
I seriously hope that this arrangement extends through the summer and beyond.
Honest Burger works on its own merits. It’s a belting burger joint. And I’ll certainly be back.
But with that Runaway tap room – and, for now, you CAN go to the room as distinct from the restaurant – it’s a hell of a venue.
I’ll definitely be back soon. Take advantage of that tap room too, while you can.
With this and eateries like Dishoom, Randall & Aubin, Cafe Istanbul and bars like Runaway, Gaslamp & The Brink, Bridge Street is looking like a decent little destination in its own right.