Solomon Grundy is Withington’s understated cool-kid-on-the-block. Its true glory only really known by locals, we wanted in on the secret and so went along to decipher the je ne sais quoi of the venue.
With a quaint yet cool exterior and ‘Solomon Grundy’ painted on the window, it’s easy to pass by and head to more well-known café bars in the area. But whoa, stop right there! As you enter, there is an old, golden gramophone perched on the bar as well as other aged brass instruments that hang about on the wall. A quirky metal lighting feature dangles down from the ceiling and rustic stressed wooden tables adorn the space, decorated only by a single warming candle on the evening we attended. The venue achieves an unpretentious and welcoming yet stylish ambience, with plenty of quirky decorative pieces hidden in nooks and crannies. A place with real heart, warmth and soul, Solomon Grundy is a great place to hang. The décor has just enough character to please, but is not too loud to turn anyone away. Just peek inside and see for yourself!
The Atmosphere and Clientele
The atmosphere of the venue is really the star of the show. On the evening we attended, a live band were playing classic reggae tunes and drawing in curious punters who were passing by. The event attracted faithful reggae lovers too, who were standing up, dancing and pumping their fists at the choruses. A turbaned woman, with concealed dreadlocks, was perched in the corner sketching the band, whilst bopping to the beats. Clearly, Solomon Grundy is a place where you can thoroughly absorb the upbeat atmosphere but still find a space of your own. Everyone is welcome; everyone is welcoming. The venue is itself one big chill pill.
The Food and Drink
Brekkies, Veggie Brekkies, Light Bites, Bagels, Butties and mains are all on their casual café menu. With a renowned hangover-easing breakfast available, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, tapas style light bites and a freshly made soup of the day, there is something to satisfy everyone. We tried the Pinchos tapas dish, which comprised of chicken skewers marinated in cumin, paprika, garlic and coriander, and was garnished with an alioli dip. Second to greet our palates was the Empanadas, which was chorizo (or feta and mint or spinach, depending on your choice) in a sweet tomato sauce. A substantial list of beers and other bottles, such as the Spanish Cruzcampo, kept my companion watered, whilst I was happily indulging on rum and cokes in true Caribbean spirit.
Don’t underestimate Solomon Grundy; it could become a great acquaintance of yours. I will certainly be going back for their live music nights, and recommend that you attend too.