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Revolutionary Salford pub becomes brave independent after takeover

Salford's much loved boozer, The Black Friar, has gone independent following a takeover
The Black Friar, Salford, Boddingtons, Independent pubs

After undergoing a £1.4 million restoration, the Grade II listed pub in Salford, The Black Friar, will now be run as one of the only independent pubs in the area.

In 2021, The Black Friar pub in Salford underwent a revival, awakening from a fifteen-year slumber of neglect to find itself amidst the backdrop of contemporary apartment complexes.

The transformation is emblematic of the significant changes that Salford has undergone in the past two decades, rendering the city almost unrecognisable from the time when The Black Friar last closed its doors.

Following a meticulous refurbishment orchestrated by developers Salboy and DOMIS, the pub has been under the adept management of Neil Burke and was awarded the Most-Loved Pub Award 2023 at the inaugural I Love MCR Awards.

The Black Friar, Salford

The pub, which boasts a rich 147-year history, recently announced that the ownership will be fully taken over by the managing director, Neil Burke, and head chef Ben Chaplin.

Originally brought on board by the team to assist the pub in its early stages, Neil Burke, 43, shared his journey with The Black Friar, stating: “After six months, I saw the potential.

“I fell in love with it, the community, the patrons, and the prospect of revitalising this well-established pub for the 21st century.”

With the pub now independently owned, Neil emphasises the freedom they have in shaping the pub’s offerings and ambience.

“Ultimately, I’ve got the freedom to do whatever I want. When you’re restricted by a brewery, you don’t have that flexibility,” he added.

The Best Boddingtons in Manchester?

Boddingtons, Blackfrair, Salford
Does The Black Friar serve the best pint of Boddingtons in the city?

Taking advantage of this freedom, The Black Friar has endeavoured to connect with the older generation of locals, reintroducing the famous old bitter, Boddingtons, to cater to those nostalgic for the classic brew.

Neil said: “We make sure to buy and we get loads of older generations or people who just love the beer who come in specifically for Boddingtons.”

Positioning itself as a predominantly local pub, The Black Friar takes pride in its roots, with 70% of its 50-strong staff hailing from the surrounding Salford area.

Neil emphasises the importance of recruiting locally, stating, “Having people who live and work on the doorstep of the pub is important.”

Manchester Pie Festival dates at The Black Friar

Manchester’s Pie Festival is set for a triumphant return in January 2024 so you can get stuck into the Black Friar’s delicious pies.

Entering the third year of the festival, and celebrating their daily pie specials following rave review from top critic, The Black Friar will be showcasing gorgeous gourmet pies as a fantastic start to the new year.

The Festival of Pie will feature £10 pies, all day Monday and 12-6 pm Tuesday to Friday.

You can grab one from 8th January right the way through to the end of February as part of The Black Friar’s Pub Grub Menu.

Choose from classic fish pie, aged beef and root vegetables, or creamy chicken and pancetta.

Add mash and seasonal greens for just £3.

Who ate all the pies? You did. Why not treat yourself?

Now co-owned by Neil and head chef Ben Chaplin, The Black Friar has witnessed a remarkable journey.

The duo is set to continue steering this historic pub into a new era of success.

Good luck to all involved!

Check out their Facebook page here

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