Happy days – Bundobust has finally arrived in Manchester. It’s always been one of my favourite places in Leeds and I’ve been excitedly waiting for its arrival on this side of the Pennines for the last few months.
It’s got to be said, I wasn’t totally enamoured with the choice of location (61 Piccadilly – next to a Subway and around the corner from that collectables shop that blasts out music) when it was first announced and I’d assumed a more Northern Quarter location would have been chosen – but then would I have expected Beermoth to choose a modern site off Market Street for their first bar two years ago? Probably not.
The site itself is quite discreetly located on a busy thoroughfare with a sign announcing its subterranean presence at street level. Heading down the stairs, you’re met with a spacious and bright venue which is significantly larger than Bundobust’s first site in Leeds with a number of large communal tables dominating the space and some booths dotted along the two walls.
Unlike Leeds, at Bundobust Manchester you wait to be seated but you still order food and drinks from the bar.
The décor is bright which detracts from the fact you’re in a basement and there’s also a large skylight which brings in some much-appreciated light. One of the walls also has some original tiles exposed and a member of the staff told me that these had been covered up with plasterboard in the venue’s previous life and I’m always glad to see operators taking advantage of a site’s original features.
And so we come to the most important part – the beer.
Bundobust Manchester has 14 keg lines (although one is used for a cider), with their house beer Bombay Dazzler, a Wit made by Northern Monk, always on offer. There’s also a tap dedicated to one other Northern Monk beer and one for Magic Rock, showing that they haven’t lost touch with their Yorkshire roots, and one for Manchester favourite Cloudwater.
But it’s not just all about the UK beer. I chatted to a member of staff who told me that they’re aiming to always have one US pale ale available as well as one line that they plan on using only for Danish breweries Mikkeller and Dry & Bitter. Expect To Øl too – during the first few weeks they’ll be showcasing a variety of To Øl’s festive brews – and the staff member also revealed to me that they’ve currently got a Founders’ Barrel-Aged KBS in their cellar too.
Cask fans are also catered for with two handpumps which will be featuring local breweries and on my first visit these were both Marble (Pint and Manchester Bitter).
There’s also some interesting cans and bottles on offer but it’s worth noting that they only have a restaurant licence and you can’t buy beer to take away (not at this time, anyway).
So overall impressions? We went during the preview night (so there was some free beer and food on offer #disclosure) so it’s hard to make a judgement on the atmosphere but the venue is spacious, welcoming and comfortable, the staff are knowledgeable and friendly, the food is just as good as the Leeds site (Okra Fries <3) and the beer range is interesting and varied, making it a very welcome addition to Manchester.
Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, M1 2AQ – bundobust.com