With four venues under the Black Dog banner as well as a company holding over one of the tastiest tiki bars in Manchester, Black Dog Ballroom are a collection of venues not to be trifled with. They know what to do in the way of food, tasty cocktails and plenty of entertainment - from dancing til dawn at Underdog to late night cosmic bowling via Dog Bowl. I’d heard great things about Black Dog Ballroom New Wakefield Street but never properly ventured down (living on the Northern Quarter side of town) so off I went on a Friday night to find out if it really lives up to all the hype.
Take a wander through the glass doors of Black Dog Ballroom; just off Oxford Road and you’re greeted with a light, airy and open space with plenty of glass and staircases all around. On a hot day; we were glad to be shown a table up to the top of the venue on Bruce’s Terrace with its partly retractable roof; perfect for the sunny weather. If you're wondering, Bruce is the very cute Black Terrier behind the name - who I've actually met!
Settling down at our table next to the bar, I had time to look around the venue filled with clean white tables and a mismatch of chairs; adding to its cool New York diner style appeal. Spread over three floors, Black Dog Ballroom NWS is a great venue for all kinds of entertainment – whether you’re looking for a perch out in the sunshine or would rather cool off in their speakeasy style bar area complete with dark lighting, pool tables and plenty of cosy booths.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
As we entered Bruce’s Terrace, every table was full with early evening drinkers making the most of the sunshine – it was so busy in fact; someone had even stolen our chairs but the staff were quick to rectify this and find some chairs from another part of the venue for us: top marks! Plenty of young professionals and students celebrating the end of coursework filled the room as the drinks flowed which kept the atmosphere relaxed and friendly. Even though it was a hot day, the venue had the air con on full blast and the staff kept our water jug topped up with plenty of ice. But let’s move on to the important bit shall we?
Bruce's Bar and Terrace is a great outdoor/indoor area on sunny days at Black Dog Ballroom NWS
The Food and Drink
Recommendations from the staff were necessary for cocktails, as I’m the most indecisive person in the world. So my partner had a Weekend Rockstar; a lethal combination of Jagermiester, Jack Daniels and Caramel – guaranteed to put some hairs on your chest! My cocktail was slightly more girlie, called The Floozy – a tasty combination of Bombay Sapphire, Passionfruit, Peach and Prosecco: delicious! I also tried a Candy Apple which was definitely my favourite with a great combination of Bacardi Oakheart, Caramel, Apple Juice and a touch of lime.
Foodwise, we started off with Potato Skins and Chicken Wings to share (maybe not the best idea on a hot day; but tasty nonetheless and served with a great blue cheese dip). This was followed by The Northern Quarter Pounder Burger made with 100% local Cheshire Beef for my partner, and a Chicken, Bacon and Avocado salad for me. I definitely had food envy but on a hot day; a salad was needed and it was very tasty.
Black Dog Ballroom is well known for its tasty food from pizzas and burgers to hot dogs and wings – I’ve tried their Brucie’s Bonus pizza and it is top notch so I will definitely be coming back on a cold day for some hearty food and plenty of cocktails to warm my spirits.
With the option of karaoke in Black Dog NWS' private karaoke booth awaiting us but feeling hot and full; we decided to bypass this. However, we did get a tour of the karaoke booth which is on the same floor as the terrace down a corridor and can be made private when booking the booth. You can also include their Private Ballroom in your karaoke package which comes complete with plenty of seating, a pool table and your own private bar! The karaoke runs until at least 3am (it was booked solidly from 10pm – 3am when we went) and has the biggest selection of songs I’ve ever seen. All touch screen of course and updated weekly so you’ve got the biggest chart toppers to sing along to as well as plenty of your old favourites. It’s definitely worth a visit so don’t forget to check it out. And remember – you can also book a table online at any of the Black Dog Ballrooms including Dog Bowl and Underdog right her on DesignMyNight!