There has been a long tradition of celebrities – footballers in particular) investing their hard-earned cash in Manchester’s hospitality industry, back to the days when footballers Colin Bell and Colin Waldron opened the imaginatively named Bell Waldron in Whitefield back in the 1960s.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola became the latest famous face to dip his toe into Manchester’s restaurant scene in the summer, when he was revealed as a backer of Spanish diner Tast Catala on King Street.
He joins a host of footballers past and present, soap stars and reality TV favourites who have chosen to invest in Manchester’s burgeoning bar and restaurant scene.
Here’s our guide to the current crop of celebrity-owned eateries in Manchester to try.
Former Coronation Street star Rupert Hill has certainly been keeping busy in his adopted home city of Manchester since moving here to star in the soap back in 2004.
He started a pub/restaurant empire with his friend and business partner Jonny Booth, starting with The Parlour in Chorlton, then with the Castle Hotel and Gullivers in the Northern Quarter and The Eagle Inn in Salford.
His most recent addition has been the acclaimed gastropub The Rivals inside the Royal Exchange Theatre space (and a neighbour, not a rival he insists, of his former Corrie pal Jennie McAlpine in the same building!)
The restaurant, named after Restoration comedy The Rivals, opened in September 2017 and offers a full menu of modern British cuisine – think featherblade of beef, ham hock hash and cider-roasted cauliflower steak.
There is also a full cafe and bar area that spills into the theatre space during the day.
The Rivals, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH
Coronation Street favourite Jennie McAlpine and husband Chris Farr realised their dream by opening Annies Restaurant in Manchester in December 2012.
Based in the city centre, the restaurant and tea shop has gone on to win a clutch of awards thanks to its traditional British fare served in retro eclectic surroundings on Old Bank Street.
Jennie is currently on maternity leave from Corrie after the arrival of baby daughter Hilda in October, but can often be spotted at her restaurant with hubby Chris.
Annies, 5 Old Bank Street, Manchester, M2 7PE
There was a Manchester City team effort behind the opening of stylish new Catalan restaurant Tast Catala on King Street.
City manager Pep Guardiola, along with Blues chairman Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, were revealed as investors behind the restaurant, which showcases the cuisine of acclaimed Michelin Star winning chef Paco Perez.
The restaurant, which specialises in tastet dishes – like a more complex, tastier version of tapas – has already won rave reviews from food critics, and has been visited plenty of times by the Blues boss himself too.
Tast Catala, 20-22 King Street, Manchester, M2 6AG
Tapeo and Wine
Pep is not the only footballing Spaniard aiming to give Manchester a taste of authentic tapas. Manchester United star and all-round good guy Juan Mata (and his dad Juan Mata Snr) launched their family’s Spanish eatery, Tapeo and Wine, in 2017.
According to the restaurant’s website, the venue was “created through the passion that our owners, the Mata family, have for gastronomy, we are a traditional and independent restaurant. Our aim is to bring Spain a little closer via your senses.”
The venue boasts a variety of fish, meat and veggie tapas, as well as speciality grilled fish and meat main courses.
Tapeo and Wine, 209 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3NW
Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand dipped his toe into the restaurant world as co-owner of glitzy Italian Rosso on Spring Gardens, which launched back in 2009.
The venue, named after the Italian word for ‘red’, has been host to plenty of Manchester United celebrations over the years, as well as welcoming plenty of Rio’s pals from the showbiz world.
And while he’s no longer based in Manchester now his playing days are over, Rio still regularly pops back to his restaurant – most recently, to celebrate his 40th birthday with a lavish party with family and friends.
Rosso, 43 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BG
Since retiring from football, class of ’92 greats Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have been keeping themselves busy. They are both partners in GG Hospitality which launched Hotel Football and the brasserie Cafe Football in the shadow of their beloved Old Trafford in early 2015. Two years later, they also took the Cafe Football concept to the National Football Museum inside Manchester’s Urbis building.
Cafe Football has proven popular with Reds and non-Reds alike thanks to its all-day dining menu, which includes a pun-tastic footy-inspired menu. It includes the likes of the Nicky Butty (a classic club sandwich), a Mara Doner pizza and “The Special One” burger with Portuguese spices (not sure how long that one will stay on the menu).
The duo’s foray into fine dining didn’t prove quite as successful. When The Rabbit at the top of Urbis closed in November, GG Hospitality said they would be concentrating on their hotel plans into 2019, which includes their restoration of the former Stock Exchange buildings on Norfolk Street into a new boutique hotel. There had initially been plans for two restaurants inside the hotel, but they have been revised, with further details to be announced soon.
Cafe Football, Hotel Football, 99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Stretford, M16 0SZ and at National Football Museum, Urbis, Manchester, M4 3BG
As well as his business interests in GG Hospitality, United legend Ryan Giggs also opened his own venue in his home town of Worsley back in 2014 with the launch of George’s.
The sleek and sophisticated modern English restaurant saw Giggs go into business with old school friends Kelvin Gregory and Bernie Taylor (pictured below with Ryan).
George’s, 17-21 Barton Road, Worsley, M28 2PD
This glitzy New Bailey restaurant was launched by entrepreneur Karina Jadhav in 2016, promising a new style of venue in Manchester with live performers strutting their stuff along a special catwalk while you eat your gourmet food.
It soon caught the attention of the celebrity crowd and fash pack, with the likes of Justin Timberlake, Michelle Keegan and Coleen Rooney spotted partying there.
And in 2017 it was revealed that Real Housewives of Cheshire stars Seema Malhotra and Stacey Forsey had gone into business as investors with Karina on the venture, with plans to roll the concept out to other cities across the UK in future.
Menagerie, One New Bailey, New Bailey Street, Salford, M3 5JL