With so many new bars opening up in the Northern Quarter it's easy to overlook the old school haunts which made this part of Manchester one of the coolest places to be seen. Odd falls into that category – with two other venues spread across the city: Odder on Oxford Road and Oddest in Chorlton the group know a thing or two about keeping Manchester entertained.
At Odd, it's all about the music. There is a free jukebox for in the week when the resident DJ’s are in and the food menus are designed around famous album covers. Lots of comfy seating downstairs and a well stocked bar give the venue a warm, cosy feel. The venue was packed so we headed upstairs where we were greeted with another large room with a large comfy seating area and another bar were we settled down to order some food.
The Food and Drinks
With most bars in the Northern Quarter offering an extensive cocktail menu Odd have mixed it up by only offering a menu of long drinks rather then the extensive, and sometimes downright confusing lists of others. The bar also has a large spirit selection as well as guest ales and beers making it a more accessible bar menu then most. I went for the signature ‘Lucky 13’ a rum, mango, lime and apple concoction whose refreshing flavour momentarily reminded me that I really should be booking a summer holiday soon. My partner in crime ordered the Hendricks Garden Party, the perfect transition for gin and tonic lovers to cocktails with a great elderflower, apple and soda mix.
The food menu had a lot of variety for such a small menu with vegetarians and even vegans being well catered for got a resounding thumbs up from us – one being vegetarian and the other being a solid carnivore it can be difficult to find meal venues we can both agree on. I opted for the Spicy Chickpea and Coriander Burger with extra slaw while they went for a classic Steak Frites. The bar was packed with people taking advantage of the 50% deal but the wait for the food was short and the locally sourced steak came out perfectly cooked with a generous portion of chips and onion rings. My burger was huge with a tangy salsa and guacamole topping. One of the best veggie burgers I've had in Manchester, my burger was spicy with a great accompaniment of tangy salsa and guacamole topping and along with the standard NQ tin of chips was more then enough and despite my greed the root slaw was a welcome side dish. Our meals plus two rounds of drinks came in at under twenty quid showing it is still possible to get locally sourced, good quality meals right in the City Centre without compromising on atmosphere or choice.
Atmosphere and Clientele
Odd offers a more laid back concept appreciating that good customer service and a friendly atmosphere is just as important as a decent food and drink menu. Unlike some of it's Northern Quarter counterparts Odd is a bar which encourages a mixed crowd of students, professionals and couples all looking for a informal night out. Emphasis here is placed on fun – there are no airs and graces in Odd. The staff are friendly and happy to recommend things from the menu making the venue inclusive, and without trying to be cheesy, a welcoming breath of fresh air for it’s part of town.
With it's bohemian décor and city centre location it could be easy to overlook Odd as another hipster hangout. However its triumph lies in its tried and tested formula of honest service, original food and drinks menu and its chilled atmosphere. Odd offers incredible value for money and after a great evening out has gained a few new regulars.