Grub @ Mayfield


“A haven for heathens, hoodies and hipsters, Hijabis and Hebrews, highbrow intellectuals and however you sexuals… It’s home to all.”

So says the handwritten font that adorns the walls next to the taxi rank across the road from Piccadilly station, an homage to Argh Kid’s poem, ‘Manchester’s Sprawling’. With an invitation like that, it would be wrong not to drop into a newly-regenerated area that offers street food, music and ales.

If the nudge concept, the one where giving positive confirmations to project a theme or similar will gain the acceptance of others, is valid, then it looks as though the development around the old Mayfield parcels depot in the centre of Manchester is starting to gain traction. That could be a good or bad thing for the ladies of the alleyways.

There have been a number of small independent breweries setting up around the area. The trend was kick-started by the blood, sweat and beers of the street food events organiser, Grub, who've been followed into the Mayfield area by various food outlets, none of which deal in Maccy Ds. More recently, the Alphabet crowd seem to have turned things up a notch by opening at weekends.

Now a space at the bottom level on Baring Street has been converted into a dispensary of delicacies, from oysters to wine, and is also child, buggy and adult-friendly. The area is operated by the Grub team, who specialise in organising and creating such areas before inviting interested parties to take part in the venture.

I’m not sure what it will be like in the middle of a wet November - the run will only stretch to October anyway - but for a warm summer’s day in June a few weeks after it first opened, it’s packed solid within an hour of opening. Even so, the service is quick and waiting time is reasonable.

Although the addition of a new venue within a few hundred yards of two others with a similar theme - namely the aforementioned ABC and the more recent 101, both of which are on North Western Street - would seem to create a rivalry for limited funds, time will tell if they can all survive in their current format.

Perhaps if proposals by the consortium made up of London & Continental, TfGM and U+I to build and fill 1,300 homes, various offices and a 350-bed hotel come to fruition, then the demand will be closer to home.

Ged Camera