I went for a night out in Manchester on the first weekend after lockdown, on the 16th and 17th April. This is my recollection of the night out and what Manchester was like.
I wasn’t actually planning to go out on 16th of April but the events of the week transpired that I ended up working in Manchester on Friday morning I thought, what the hell let’s go and have a night out in Manchester.
It’s a little bit difficult to book hotel rooms at the moment as hotels are only supposed to be taking in key workers, but I booked into one of my regular hotels and when I turned up I went with a letter from my employer. Which is me! Hehehe.
So off I pop down to Manchester to do my work and by 11:30 I’m sat outside the New Union Hotel, with Gavin and Harry, on the outskirts of the gay village with a beer in my hand.
First thing I notice is, it’s really busy here. I walked down Canal Street to reach the New Union Hotel and most of the bars are preparing for opening time at 12 or they are already open and there are people sat outside.
The New Union is very busy and within about 5 minutes of sitting down there are no tables and chairs available. It’s not noon yet!
The atmosphere in the village in the morning is one of relief and happiness and everybody is enjoying the sunshine and the alcohol.
After a few hours we move further up Canal Street and try to get something to eat at Via, alas it’s bookings only despite only a few of the tables having people sat at them. Thankfully this policy didn’t last long.
At this time, about 2 p.m, lots of the bars on Canal Street already have the maximum capacity of people sat outside so, discretion being the better part of valour we decide to walk over to the city’s Northern quarter and see what’s going on over there.
Amazingly, the Northern quarter is much the same as the village with lots of the bars already close to capacity and we end up sat outside the Cane and Grain on Thomas Street for a little bit of food and a few more drinks.
Food is good, company is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. I’m speaking to lots of people i have never met before on neighbouring tables and also people walking down Thomas Street.
I return to my hotel about 4 p.m. to freshen up and get changed into something more suitable for a “night out” then head back to the village as I’m meeting some other friends at 5:30.
I meet my friends a Bar Pop and the place is jumping, well not literally because we’re all sat down, but there’s music playing and the staff are keeping the drinks flowing and the punters entertained. Theres also a somewhat carefree and happy vibe here which means everyone had a smile on their faces.
All the staff are doing their best to make sure that everybody is kept happy while maintaining social distancing while at the same time “being happy and gay”
We slowly make our way round to Centrestage which is our favourite bar in the village and we all agreed, that the atmosphere in the village is akin, dare I say it, to a pride weekend!
Yes, the atmosphere is that good and I think it’s just because it’s the first weekend that the village has been open since October and everybody’s there to meet friends, see people they haven’t seen for 5 months and have a good time.
Even though we’ve still got social distancing measures in place and everybody sat at tables.
Although we’re not supposed to we are socially interacting with the people sat around us and the staff.
I have a great evening with Sarah, and we only leave Centrestage when nearly all the tables around us have been tidied away. This is after we’ve spent half an hour sat with some of the serving staff who I have to applaud for the wonderful service throughout the evening and indeed the weekend, as I went out again on Saturday night.
Saturday was a little bit different in that there was many people in the village who where only interested in drinking as much as possible and causing trouble.
We had an incident at our table but by an large Saturday was a repeat of Friday.
Looking forward to the next big weekend and just hope the weather is a little bit warmer as although it was a great evening, I froze my ass off!