Takeaway beer helps Northern Quarter bars survive the lockdown

  • The government says pubs in England can start reopening from 4th July if they can meet social distancing guidelines
  • Hospitality venues were one of the first sectors to be closed down back in March
  • But some bars in Manchester have been able to continue operating with a takeaway service
  • Our reporter, Isaac Piper, took a stroll through the Northern Quarter to find out how bars are surviving
Young people drinking outside on Blossom Street in Ancoats
Cutting Room Square in Ancoats

The sun blazed down over the Northern Quarter this weekend, a weather occurrence most of us are unaccustomed to. Usually we’d flock to our local pubs and beer gardens, donning sunglasses and copious amounts of sunscreen, ready to take on the town until the town takes you, stumbling, home.

But of course, a global pandemic crippled our way of life and caused a nationwide lockdown that meant that our passion for pub crawls and sun burn could no longer be fulfilled. 

So, some bars within the Northern Quarter have begun to transition into ‘off-licences’ which means that you can go into the bar and place an order, and they will pour you your drink into a container with a lid – totally legal. 

These pubs are stressing that customers should not drink directly outside the venues and enjoy their beverages ‘elsewhere’. 

Shack bar advertising its takeaway beer service
Shack Bar in the Northern Quarter

Bars Flok and Shack both located in the Northern Quarter have been offering a variety of drinks and food to takeout and enjoy with a friend in the sun at an appropriate distance. 

Karl, a bartender at Shack, says: “it’s helped ease business during this obviously troubled time for hospitality, and I feel like doing this has raised a lot of morale in and around the Northern Quarter. People seem happier.”

And as I strolled through the Northern Quarter through to Blossom Street in Ancoats, I could definitely feel this lift in mood, a feeling that almost resembled that of a faraway time, where fear and panic didn’t flood the streets and we were not captive in our homes. 

Cutting Room Square in Ancoats
Cutting Room Square in Ancoats

However, speaking to BBC Radio 4 on 30th May, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, described this as “a dangerous moment.” He warned that it was premature to be easing the lockdown in England. 


He acknowledged the problems facing the city’s night-time economy warning that stopping the furlough scheme for hospitality staff in October would lead to a huge number of redundancies in the sector. 

But in the Northern Quarter on a sunny weekend, it does feel like there may be some light at the end of this lockdown tunnel. Manchester always finds a way to thrive in troubled times.