Another Heart To Feed and its’ new neighbour hidden in the basement, Nightcap, have finally completed their much-anticipated expansion.
They reopened to the public last Saturday after shutting down for a week, to double their floor size, and incorporate a new late-night cocktail bar downstairs.
Nestled just outside of Stevenson Square, on the corner of Hilton Street and Oldham Street, both sites sit in the heart of Manchester’s busy Northern Quarter.
Despite the change in size, the atmosphere in the afternoon brunch and evening wine bar is essentially unchanged, minus a slightly louder chorus of chat.
The relaxed sit-down environment still provides a welcome alternative to some of the other bursting Northern Quarter bars.
We caught up with co-owner, Mike Dillon, who started the venture with his brother Martin at the height of the pandemic, in June 2020: “The thing we like about Another Heart To Feed is the chilled ambience in the evening, as it can be quite hard to find in the Northern Quarter. We don’t do any vertical drinking, it’s all seated and cosy. “
“When we bought it, we loved it right away and knew there was great potential. It was just a bit too small.
“At the time, we garnered a relationship with Rob, the owner of the hairdressers next door, who had toyed with the idea of moving on” After a back and forth over two years, the pair eventually cut a deal with the landlord to make sure it would be theirs.
“When we had a chance to look round the place, we realised the basement went under ours and Carhartt’s unit. It was the ultimate bonus. We knew it had to be used because it was such a nice space.”
“With Nightcap we always wanted a distinguishable vibe from Another Heart To Feed, having your brunch and eggs isn’t synonymous with coming back for a midnight dance.
“We wanted two different concepts. Keeping it dark and moody downstairs, really accentuated that night-time feel. It’s going to have more of a raucous atmosphere.”
When you’re in here, the two vibes are undeniably distinguishable. After finishing your wine in the uncluttered candlelit wine bar, a quick stroll down the steel-framed staircase into Nightcap greets you with a stylish and energetic speakeasy bar.
The brother’s design choices reflect this too. By removing the hairdresser’s shutters built in the 90s and restoring the Victorian façade, Nightcap blends seamlessly between Another Heart To Feed and Carhartt next door.
In the same vein, they have kept the original white tiles that line the walls of the basement, pleasantly blending old and new.
“I think it’s cool that all of the frontages match now. Only three or four years ago it was just busted-looking shop fronts, so we thought we’d base it off an old image.”
The head bartender of Another Heart, Inness Hallam spoke about the wines: “Despite it being all-natural wine, I’ve always thought it’s important to have drinkable options.
“On a Saturday night with your friends, you don’t want to be challenged by wine. Keeping the range that has something funky if you want it or something easygoing.
“A lot of people think natural has to be expensive.”
As natural wine goes, these don’t break the bank either. None of the bottles goes past £30, with many of the house wines, staying well below that, while still maintaining the quality. Luke Bevan, taking the helm downstairs told us about the events they have planned:
“At the moment, we’re 6pm – 2am but we’re planning to extend our licence until 4am.
“We want to do an all-women’s DJ night, jazz nights, as well as range of other DJ’s spanning different genres.”