The disused underground public conveniences in the centre of Stevenson Square are (finally) up for tender as a "Cafe/Leisure Opportunity". With bar groups and independent proprietors squabbling for the venue, we went down for a cheeky look around.
Manchester has its fair share of bars and it's hard to stand out from the crowd. From Lounge 10 serving up absinthe fountains alongside fortune tellers and a grand piano and Dusk Til Pawn hidden behind cluttered window displays covered by metal bars and filled with vintage TVs, radios and instruments, there’s a whole host of creative bar operators out there to help you discover a great night out.
The Temple – a former public toilets on Oxford Street - has always been a hidden gem, but now it faces competition from some disused conveniences in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Out of action for the last 15 years and covered in brilliant, regularly changing artwork courtesy of the wonderful Out House project (supported by Fred Aldous), we were keen to have a cheeky look around the underground venue in Stevenson Square.
It didn’t disappoint. Much larger than originally expected with potential to open up the broken skylights in the ceiling, it's surprising that it's taken the council so long to cash in on this brilliant venue. While I’m sure a lot of the main bar groups have been having a look around and scoping out what’s possible we can’t help wish for a new independent in the area.
There’s plenty of competition out there and already lots of gossip flying around about who’s been down and had a look at the derelict site. One thing is clear, it’s a truly unique space that with the right input could become Manchester’s quirkiest, most talked about and popular bar… but who will it be?