How Manchester restaurants and bars are coping with the coronavirus crisis

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We’re in unknown territory, which understandably means there’s a lot of confusion as to what we should be doing, and the best way we can move forward during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday afternoon, one of the hardest hit industries is likely to be the hospitality sector as people are told to stay away from pubs and restaurants.

While people want to take precautions at this time, telling people to avoid these places, rather than closing them down will have a detrimental impact as they’re left in a limbo state.

Manchester has so many wonderful independent bars, cafes and restaurants, it’s important we all try and do our bit to help them out as much as we can, so they’re still standing when business resumes as normal.

“Greater Manchester, we will get through this, but we must come together and fight together. We will recover, but we must be strong and keep faith,” said Sacha Lord, Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser.

Here’s a glance at what some of the city’s eateries and bars are providing at this tumultuous time – but keep an eye on social media accounts for updates.

Pollen Bakery

The bakery is open as normal today, with a reduced capacity to allow for distancing. Takeout is available on everything.

They’ve also launched an online webshop where you purchase vouchers, pin badges, jars, baker kits and workshop vouchers to be used “once we’re out the other side of this”.

They’re also offering bread orders for either bakery collection or home delivery within specific post codes.

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Koffee Pot

The Manchester institution, which serves up British classics, is open for usual – because, in their words, “Christ, we need a pint!”.

They’ll be open until “we’re told we can’t” and will also be doing collections, and hopefully deliveries.

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Gusto

The Italian restaurants remain open for business for now, but managing director Matt Snell has noted they’re “instituting social distancing within all our restaurants” – which means there will be a minimum of 2 metres between each table.

This is in addition to thorough hand washing routines with all front of house and kitchen staff, increased cleaning of high traffic public areas and payment machines, offering free hand sanitiser stations for guests and encouraging guests to pay by contactless means.

They offer their à la carte menu as takeout from all their restaurants, as well as gift cards, and are also on Deliveroo.

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Fress

This Northern Quarter eatery is open as usual, until told otherwise.

“During the current circumstances and situation surrounding COVID-19, we’d like to reassure all our customers we’re taking every precaution and prioritising the safety, health and wellbeing of both our staff members and customers at all times,” they’ve said.

Their Deliveroo and UberEATS is also operating as normal. There’s 20 per cent off dinner throughout March if you book online and 2-4-1 cocktails from 4pm until 9pm every day.

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Holy Crab

The seafood spot in the Arndale is opening from 12-3pm “for the foreseeable until we (or the Arndale Market) make any further decisions”.

They are also on Deliveroo and there are vouchers, too.

They’ve said: “Every little really does help under these mental circumstances for us and all our pals, fellow colleagues”.

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Wood Restaurant

A spokesperson for Simon Wood’s restaurant on First Street has said: “Make no misSTEAK about it, it’s business as usual”.

There are also gift vouchers, including a 2-4-1 gift voucher to tasting menus to celebrate Mother’s Day, which can be redeemed any time over the next 12 months. 

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Basil and Lily

The Italian wine and aperativo bar in Prestwich will remain open until they are told otherwise. They’ve said: “We appreciate your custom and banter and we will do everything in our power to keep you clean and safe.”

They shall “endeavour to keep stocks up of your favourite tipples and munchies” and, as it stands, Thursday’s tasting and bookings are still going ahead.

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Federal Café and Bar

The antipodean venue is remaining open until told otherwise. “If you’ve decided to come into town, we’d love to see you at NQ or Deansgate,” they’ve said in a statement.

All the menu is available to take away, and they are working on setting up delivery methods to get brunch into your homes.

“Of course, we continue to follow the strict health guidelines and we’re doing everything we can to minimise the risk of exposure to our customers and staff,” they said.

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Ezra and Gil

The coffee shop on Hilton Street has said they’re taking each day as it comes. “We need to keep going for now, but will be doing this on reduced opening hours (7.30am-6pm),” they said.

Takeaway food is available through their app and you can use code EZRA2GO to receive 20 per cent off.

“As always, we’re doing everything we can to ensure a safe and healthy environment,” they said.

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The Pilcrow

The pub in Sadler’s Yard is offering free shots of alcohol (gel), they’ve declared on their Instagram account.

They’re taking extra measures to keep staff and customers safe, which include only taking card payments, sanitising the card machine machines after each pin, sanitising tables between customers and washing hands after collecting glasses. 

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Nordie 

The neighbourhood bar on Stockport Road have said they’re not making any long-term decisions, but will “stay open as normal and assesses each day as it comes”.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers comes first, so we’ll be taking every step possible to ensure the highest hygiene levels are maintained in order to reduce risks for everybody,” they said.

They are open to sit in, but welcome and encourage take-outs and will only be accepting card payments.

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Wholesome Junkies

The vegan market stall in the Arndale will try and keep going, they’ve said, but are only accepting cashless payments.

They’re also on Deliveroo between 11am and 5pm daily, and you can pre-order via Instagram to collect. They’re also planning to open their Bowls and Bites concept in a new kitchen this weekend between 12pm and 12am and through delivery only.

“More updates on this when we can. We’re taking each day as it comes, right now,” they said.

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Sacha Lord’s recommendations for businesses:

  • Organise and prepare takeaway and delivery facilities if possible, and to announce these services across your social channels.
  • For bookings cancellations, offer the choice to postpone or purchase gift cards instead.
  • Do not stop talking. Keep planning and keep taking bookings for later this year. Ask customers if they would be willing to pay up front in return for discounts.

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