You’d be pushing it to accuse me of being the kind of person who ‘turned up to the opening of an envelope’. In fact, thanks to my two small children, nowadays you can barely describe me as someone who ‘turned up to the opening of a door.’
Sometimes though, new and interesting things come up and I feel compelled to visit, eat, drink, catch up with the munching Manchester massive and have a jolly good nosey. This is how I ended up at the new Albert Square Chop House. I say new, but this was so freshly minted they were still tacking the red carpet onto the front steps and adding pictures to the wall when we turned up.
Owned by the team behind Manchester’s two other chophouses (Sam’s and Mr Thomas’s) Albert’s chophouse is in a grade II listed building, on the corner of Albert Square, between the Town Hall and the registry office. They have spent an eye popping amount of money on restoring it - ripping out the sticky carpets, fruit machines and smoke stained walls of what used to be the imaginatively named ‘Square Albert’ pub.
The 80 cover restaurant is downstairs, the public bar is on ground level and upstairs visitors will be able to hire ‘The Memorial Hall’ a 100-seat function room, or next to that a 20-seat boardroom with state-of-the-art communication and presentation facilities. Plans are also apparently afoot for a boutique hotel upstairs.
The name ‘Chophouse’ brings to mind the kind of place I’d expect to find busty mop capped barmaids serving tankards of gin and ‘a bowl o’ brown’ to Mrs Miggins with nothing to wipe her mouth on but the back of her hand. Maybe I do tend to let my imagination run away with me, but the very English idea of a ‘Chophouse’ conjures up images of Victorian music hall bawdiness. With this is mind I found the recent makeover a little too stripped back, but it must be hard trying to keep the essence of the building whilst avoiding it looking like Sweeny Todd the musical.
This is an important civic building on the corner of Manchester’s main civic square and it has the backing of the city who recognise it as part of a regeneration project to celebrate the grandeur of Manchester’s rich industrial heritage. Paintings and photographs of local cultural icons fill every wall space of each floor. Made me reet proud to be a Manc.
So this is more of a public service announcement than a review. An interesting new city centre restaurant opened, we were invited, the lovely Joby photographed it all (except the interior shot which was sent by the PR.) We ate everything on the menu and I turned up at the school gates mildly drunk, again. Now it’s up to you if you want to visit and decide if they do have all the flavours of Manchester.
The Albert Square Chop House,
The Memorial Hall,
Tel: 01625 834 1866