The Blues Kitchen Manchester
The Blues Kitchen Manchester is the first opening outside the capital for Columbo Group, which also owns the Jazz Cafe chain. And while we always enjoy treating cut-and-paste transplants from London with a healthy dose of scepticism, this one serves Manchester’s food (and music) scene well.
It’s housed where Walkabout was on Quay Street, and they’ve done a fantastic job on the renovation. Standout features include the beautiful vintage tiling and the mural of Ray Charles by Manchester artist Akse.
Like its counterparts in Camden, Brixton and Shoreditch, Blues Kitchen Manchester is a concert hall, restaurant and live music bar, all in one. It’s hard to say which comes first to the operators: the blues or the food. They seem genuinely passionate about both.
On the menu you’ll find the smoky soul food associated with the southern US states – a typical dish is St Louis pork ribs with BBQ sauce, chilies, pickles and fries. They serve American brunch dishes such as huevos rancheros on weekends and keep drinkers happy with a bar food menu. Think ribs, padron peppers, buffalo wings and the like.
One of the big draws of The Blues Kitchen is its promise of live music every night. On Fridays and Saturdays, their house band of Manchester musicians plays mainly sixties and seventies soul, R&B and blues, true to the style of the original recordings. Expect a party atmosphere fuelled by a bar that specialises in American whiskies and bourbons alongside a cracking range of beers, wines, cocktails and softs.
Midweek they host ticketed events from upcoming and established artists covering the spectrum of soul, blues, jazz, R&B, hip hop, reggae, indie, afrobeat and disco. Not just blues then, but you can see why they didn’t try to sum up their eclectic music tastes in the name.
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