This week, our team attended the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show – an annual event over two days which brings together Northern hospitality firms in a celebration of culinary accomplishments, praise-worthy new flavours, and exciting venue spaces. This year’s show was the best yet, and the excitement at Manchester Central sent a strong message: there are big things in store for the city’s hospitality sector.

Celebrating Manchester’s Hospitality

Manchester was proud to welcome thousands of attendees, all of whom brought an enthusiasm that is rarely seen at industry shows. The event really did showcase the best the North – and particularly Manchester – has to offer, with cocktail masterclasses, expert panels, and an unfathomable amount of free samples delighting taste buds throughout.

Attendees watched some of the biggest names on Manchester’s restaurant scene – including Aiden Byrne (Manchester House), Adam Reid (Adam Reid at the French), and Paul Heathcote MBE (Social Mess) – give high energy demonstrations to the crowds.

Meanwhile, our team showcased the E-Series and W-Series products – including moveable planters and glass balustrades – to a wide audience, with interest from venue owners across the entire spectrum of hospitality. We even met and chatted with Gary Neville himself. I’ll admit to a star struck moment!

Investment from Big Names

The success of the event and how well it was received by the city highlights the current positivity within the Manchester hospitality sector. There are a number of exciting developments currently taking place, with increasing investment in the city from a number of big names.

Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Heathcote, and Michael O’Hare have all set their sights on Manchester’s restaurant and bars as a prime area for investment. They bring an air of excitement to the city by building new establishments or providing the capital to allow others to do the same.

One such piece of news broke during Paul Heathcote’s aforementioned cooking demonstration. Describing his future plans to his audience, Paul said he’s hoping to “announce something in Manchester” following the Manchester International Festival.

With big names both in and out of the kitchen pitching up in Manchester, the opportunity for new dining and new employment is looking better than ever.

Toasting the Future

But it’s not just happening in restaurants. The cocktail making demonstrations and liquor tastings were amongst the most popular features of this week’s event. Craft beer was a staple, and attendees got to sample some deliciously unusual liquor mixtures. For a short time, Manchester Central became a microcosm of Manchester’s bar scene, where independents continue to spring up and sway crowds.

As the craft brewery craze continues, drinkers are increasingly being drawn to smaller establishments that offer something different. It might feel like the chains continue to be the dominant force but research published on behalf of the NRB has shown a 3.1% increase in ‘independent’ establishments – an encouraging statistic to anyone looking to avoid the large corporates.

An Exciting Time

Overall, it’s an exciting time for Manchester’s restaurants and bars. With increased attention on investment and novel ideas – such as the ‘gravy-centric’ bar hitting the Northern Quarter soon – we can expect to see a whole treasure trove of new restaurants across the city. Meanwhile, bars continue to introduce customers to different flavours as they become more adventurous with their offerings, and new favourite watering holes continue to spring up.

As for the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show, the team thoroughly enjoyed talking to the various attendees and exhibitors who visited our stand. The atmosphere was incredibly positive, and we think that’s a perfect indicator of where our city currently stands.

Didn’t manage to catch us at the NRB Show? That’s OK: you can check out both our E-Series and W-Series online. Feel free to get in touch to find out more, and remember to tweet us @JRBlinds