Home is where the art is

I’m often outraged by things. It’s my favourite go to emotion. Question Time – outraged, Making a Murderer – outraged, someone getting on the bus and passively aggressively closing a window without thought of whether already present passengers were happily enjoying the cold relief it was bringing – outraged.

When I heard that the Cornerhouse was closing in place of a brand new art space housing cinema, theatre and creative and visual events and all round art – outraged. I stopped sulking, got over myself (truth be told I’d been to the Cornerhouse twice and one of those was just for a meeting in the bar) and booked tickets to a play at Home.


arriving home

The tickets were to see Coronation Street (I can’t do the calling it Corrie thing, just can’t) stalwarts Chris Gascoyne and David Neilson (I interviewed him once about Roy Orbison but that’s a weird tale for another time). The play was Endgame, the playwright Beckett, the performances, brilliant.

But that’s almost by the by. I was thrilled to realise that Home is housed on Tony Wilson Place. I’ve naturally been outraged for some time about the lack of Wilson statue in Manchester (I once interviewed him about David Beckham’s haircut and wearing sarongs whilst following him round the newsroom at high pace, West Wing style – but that’s a weird tale for another time).


man ruins pic by incessantly wandering into shot. i eventually decide it’s a better thing

I’ve often banged on about how you can have about 6 different nights in Manchester, based on the different quarters (6 of them?), areas, and parts of the town. The one I haven’t bothered with since circa 2000-2001 is the area approaching Deansgate Locks (no offence the Locks, every offence, the tribes who do bother). I’m excited that Home brings a new evening out to that part of town (but not too that part of town).


street life

I do love a good plaza and it gives good plaza. On the other side of the railway arches, everything seems big, stylishly bright and, well, cool. There a couple of restaurants, including Street and good old staple Pizza Express (please keep peddling those 241 offers and garlic dough balls until you’re sick – or whatever it is…) and the soon to be opened Dockyard – the original housed at Media City on the Quays, giving justification to its name. Here not so much but no mind.

come round the back

All in all I’m excited to go Home once the dry weather and summer arrives (ha!) as the surrounding offices and restaurants give good shelter leading to good al fresco drinking and dining.
Back to Home itself, on a housekeeping note, picking up tickets at the box office is a swift, friendly and informative affair and I didn’t have to get out my birth certificate and have my fingerprints taken to get the tickets. My word was my bond. Much as I love the old place, comparatively, I’m still scarred by desperate attempts to get hold of my Withnail and I film tickets at the Stockport Plaza box office. Eyed with suspicion by a Mrs Blennerhassett type, in a scene something akin to the Penrith Tea Rooms affair, it took quite some convincing that I wasn’t committing a most heinous fraud and that I was indeed, the genuine purchaser of the tickets.

There’s a charming bar on the ground floor for pre theatre, cinema, all round art drinks and, a restaurant on the 1st floor.


low level lighting and industrial inspired fixtures – check

We had a drink before the play, 15% of the time discussing what we were about to see, the other 85%, it has to be said, marvelling at a man who looked like Frank Butcher.


he actually doesn’t here but he did


The theatre reminds me of when I first went to the Lowry. It’s obviously very modern (well it’s new so why wouldn’t it be) and intimate.


sit down, take the weight off

More a post about the venue, but the play itself was fantastically claustrophobic, darkly amusing, horribly bleak and you’ll walk away with a weight on your chest, desperate for air. And i mean this as high praise. At the time of writing, there are still performances so go. Or not. I would. Well I did.


yes. this is the back of a cubicle door – my commitment to photography knows no bounds

To summarise, it’s one of those additions to the city that seemingly pops up, making you feel lucky to live amongst the ever evolving cultural landscape of Manchester. I’ve barely scratched the surface and so already looking at the forthcoming season and looking forward to returning Home. Signed up homies, we are (I did that).


leaving home


#manchester #homemcr #manchestereveningnews #mcr #theatre

All hail Tariff and Dale

Thursdays are my favourite day. You’ve gone through the drudge and tedium of the start of the week. 

The creation of calling Wednesday hump day and celebrating its middle of the working week ‘ness’ does nothing for me. It’s still not the end of the week and produces nothing more than an internal struggle to not party like it’s Thursday. It’s the equivalent of, I’m reliably told, the 20 mile point of the marathon. Make or break. It’s dangerous. If you break and go down the path of ‘having a nice time’, you still have two more days at work. The regret and guilt of ‘having a nice time’ is palpable and not cushioned by it being part of the weekend by any stretch of the imagination. Not like a Thursday is. In fact if you go out pre-Thursday, you may as well shoot up at your desk at 9.30am on the Monday morning, such is the size of the veil of hedonistic shame that is drawn over you (no drama to see here, move along).

Thursdays are good. You’ve earned it and have the whole weekend still ahead of you.

This particular Thursday I decided to ‘have a nice time’ at Tariff and Dale.


don’t be put off – my friend and i had an early reservation, it soon filled up

As the website and indeed dining literature says, its 2 Tariff Street address is a creation of their own, yet the building is steeped in industrial history, and its infrastructure is a fantastic testament to this. 

see mum, it’s not rude to read at the table after all
A bit of a labyrinth finding your way round, once I’d finally found my way from the restaurant to the rest room and back again, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the quirks of the building, especially the exposed nature of the ladies room (I’m talking bricks and mortar, do not fear).

Candles are the order of the day, feeding my preference for mood lighting (going out straight from work does nothing for the bags under your eyes and my friend and co-diner is younger than me and very pretty).


she’d gone to the loo, i’m not inventing friends

I’m not intending for this blog to be a full on attempt at a food and drink review, more a commentary on Manc life and all that’s going on. This is a good job as enjoying our food so much, I forgot to take pics until the end and my friend selfishly forgot to remind me (her pork belly special, I’m told, was great and she’s a self-confessed food snob). I went with the air dried ham, goats cheese and red onion sour dough pizza. 

you get offered three types of oil for your pizza! three.

The open kitchen is there in all its glory and pizza oven in full flow. Service is fantastic – non-intrusive and incredibly tolerant of two people still not having chosen their drinks. And then their food. And then their desserts when asked for a third time (we hadn’t seen each other for a while), and even went off menu when a smaller measure of wine was requested, which was not optioned on the menu (I’d love to pretend I was involved in this exchange).

their pizza shovel is better than our pizza shovel.


bread and butter pudding – I’m told it was delicious. i just don’t understand the concept myself but Tariff and Dale clearly do

To sum up, don’t be silly like me and be put off by having to book via an email. A lover of the online booking system, this minor inconvenience led me to swerve their fantastic 50% off food January offer for a convenient click elsewhere. But then I am very, as I say, silly and glad I got over myself. 

Having taken a cocktail in the upstairs bar previously (anyone read the hilarious review of Tripadvisor recently where someone was very sad having been refused service after knocking her drink over at the end of the night? She was not drunk, no siree), I’m glad I cottoned on (there’s a tenuous link I’m drawing on for this pun – read the literature) to the restaurant.


Hotel Football (bloody hell*)

First job is to clarify I’m not a red. I’m not even a blue. I’m a blue and white halves. Declaring yourself as an honorary manc is one thing. Should this be extended to declaring yourself to be an honorary Manchester United fan is simply just… I was going to say ‘glory hunting’ but I forgot about…

My husband (let’s call him the Rabid Mime) is a red and for that reason I thought I’d give him the honour of spending Valentine’s Day with two things he loves: Old Trafford and Vimto (you get free fizzy Vimto!).


mini-bar with free sweeties


Should you want to, and can, ignore the big football stadium next door, Manchester United is not in your face. To be honest there is a thrill involved in opening your curtains to this view, no matter what your persuasion.


Morning glory (glory Man Utd…)


It would be foolish to not extend the brand to football in general, so as not to limit its appeal, and from the Panini sticker book decor in the corridors to the beguiling artwork in the bar, the hotel celebrates the beautiful game well but not too well, if you see what I mean.


“Bobby Moore wasn’t ginger.” “Yes he was?!”


Basic housekeeping – check in was swift, polite (allowing us into our room a couple of hours early), the room was great and, well, the housekeeping actually not so basic. I’ll be bold and even say ‘good’. Lovely comfy bed and Sky Sports in abundance on the TV (yay…).

bet you thought you’d have to sleep under a giant Man U top – you don’t


hair left lovely, soft and clean by number 2…


an early shower worth fighting for


Brief foray into Cafe…Football, yes, for some Valentine’s dining. Once we’d stopped basically just listing chocolate bars, we took the time to order. My overriding memory is my glee at the notion of a three pie starter.

count ’em


birds in a basket


All in all, it’s a very nice hotel, good at its usp and you feel very well looked after. Watch the prices as they fluctuate, depending on what the neighbours are upto.

To paraphrase the late, great George Best, we spent (not a) lot of money at Hotel Football on booze, birds in a basket and pies. The rest we just squandered.

*someone please get this