"It’s really nice to see how diverse our customer base is"

Manchester Food and Drink Festival is right around the corner, culminating as always in the annual MFDF Awards. As sponsors of this year's Bar of the Year award, DesignMyNight caught up with all of the award nominees to find out why they should get your vote. Next up Oxford Road's multi-purpose venue, Gorilla

Andy Jane explains why Gorilla deserves to come out on top at this year's MFDF. Photo: Edward Tang

Name and occupation:

Andy Jane, AGM


Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth St W, Manchester, M1 5WW

Sum up your bar in three words: 

Relaxed, welcoming, diverse.

Ok, now tell us a little bit more about it: 

We are an independently owned bar, restaurant and music venue that has looked to revitalise this part of Manchester, offering something for everyone. We have focused on great customer service, a good variety of music, quality products and locally sourced food to ensure we are providing a great experience for everyone who walks in. We are also unique in the fact we can offer all these things as well as a very interchangeable venue space which hosts live music, comedy and cutting edge club nights.

How long have you been open, and how has the bar changed in that time? 

Gorilla has been open just over a year and half and started as a bar and restaurant. We have since opened our live music venue as well as changing the upstairs bar into a Gin Parlour with its own separate cocktail list. We have also opened one of the side rooms off the bar as a private dining space. 

Photo: Edward Tang

What aspect of your bar are you most proud of? 

It’s really nice to see how diverse our customer base is and that we have so many regular customers that continue to come and support us.

What do you think makes your bar unique? 

You can come in for breakfast, lunch and dinner have a few cocktails and then watch a live band, see some great comedy and have a dance until the early hours of the morning. I do not think many places in Manchester can say that.

What’s your signature drink? 

Personally I would say our Chocolate Manhattan. It’s a really well balanced twist on a classic that is still accessible to people who don’t usually drink short cocktails, but has enough depth to excite anyone with a discerning taste.

What makes a great bar in your opinion? 

An honest welcome, relaxed but attentive service, good music alongside particular attention to detail, with staff who you can see believe in what they are doing.

What would it mean to you to win this award?

It would mean a huge amount to us. It would be a great way to show the whole team here that the constant time and effort they have all put in since we opened hasn’t gone unnoticed, and has been worth all those mammoth long shifts!

Why should people vote for you?

I hope the people that have visited Gorilla and have seen how much we care about their personal experience and that we are a bar that always are looking to improve.

Have Gorilla got your vote? Vote for them now at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival website. Voting closes on Monday 1st October. 

See all MFDF Bar of the Year nominees