We are going to miss Lawn Club. Standing on the periphery of Spinningfields, it’s a drinking den which has been luring in the working crowd when the 5pm whistle blows for years.
It might not be as bold and bright as other lavish restaurants in the area, but this subtle, airy wooden shack has nevertheless remained a popular spot for city centre workers to shake off the cobwebs at the end of a working day.
Every evening, suits and ties have lined the L-shaped lodge that stretches around the outdoor terrace, a friendly hubbub hanging in the air. Now it’s bidding farewell and making way for something that’s supposed to be rather special in The Meadow.
And yet, on Sunday, I arrived feeling a touch anxious. After an unsuccessful visit weeks ago where I was practically laughed out of the dining area for foolishly trying to order food on the spot (eating always requires a booking beforehand, I was told), I was apprehensive of a repeat experience where I left feeling disillusioned.
On this occasion, I reserved a space and arrived with time to spare, eager to be won over but concerned I might face disinterested service from a team who could – for all I knew – be out of a job by the end of the month. An imminently closing restaurant is always tricky territory, and the prospect of Lawn Club bowing out with a whimper was a daunting one given the breezy bar’s widespread popularity.
I needn’t have worried. From the moment I turned the corner into the bright dining area and sat back in my wicker seat besides the window, the staff couldn’t do enough for me. Sure, I’d chosen a quiet afternoon and a time slot that clashed with the football (roars from the Community Shield game drifted in from the bar across the way), but the small gang of staff on duty were attentive and polite throughout nonetheless, providing a perfectly balanced level of service. They never felt far away, but never appeared intrusive either.
The food arrived quickly. I’d only managed to get half way down my pint of In Bloom before two piping hot dishes appeared before us – one a timber board laden with burger and chips, the other a plate with mash, broccoli and steak & ale pie drizzled with gravy. The portions were just about the perfect size for a late afternoon lunch and tasted delicious, every item of food bursting with its own fresh, unique flavour.
After crumpling up our napkins, we slinked through the conservatory doors for a glass of wine on the terrace, enjoying the flickering sunshine before being thanked for our custom by the unwaveringly amiable workers on shift. Some bars are simply suited to Sundays, and this little lodge on Byrom Street decorated with tree-green lettering is definitely one of them.
From its fine-tasting food to its attentive service, it’s clear that Lawn Club is taking its final days seriously, bidding Manchester farewell with the same grace and style that has made the venue such a Spinningfields favourite. If you can, reserve yourself a space and get down before the doors close at the end of the month. It’s an ideal spot for a laidback lunch or early evening bite, especially outdoors when the sun is shining.
It’s a shame there isn’t long left, but it makes sense to look on the bright side. If The Meadow has half the appeal of Lawn Club, the Spinningfields crowd are probably going to be ok.