Manchester’s Black Dog Ballroom brand has recently launched two new exciting concepts; Mexican themed Xolo and cocktail and rib venue Cane & Grain.
Xolo, a Mexican themed tequila den, can be found underneath Black Dog Ballroom New Wakefield Street, close to Oxford Road, in the space which previously housed basement nightclub Underdog.
Cane & Grain was unveiled to the Mancunian public on the 10th July this year and was shortly followed by Xolo which was opened on September the 15th. Cane & Grain is located in the city’s famous Northern Quarter and offers diners and drinkers alike a place to sit back, relax and sample an array of rum, ribs, bourbon and beer.
Cane & Grain is situated on Thomas Street and replaces what used to be Thomas Restaurant and Bar. The new venue is set over three floors; the ground floor bar, the Rib Joint and Tap Room, takes inspiration from Cast, a legendary Northern Quarter skate shop and party hang out. The ground floor evokes an 80’s feel, referencing the hedonistic skate scene in its design, which includes a wall with tiles made from used skate boards, limited edition skate decks and 80’s skate posters. Drinkers can choose from a wide selection of craft beers.
Cane & Grain’s first floor provides guests with a relaxed, understated hide away to unwind in. Featuring antique glassware, copper bar tops, the largest Chesterfield in the world some the infamous taxidermy squirrel light fixtures the First Floor Bar is the ideal place to leave the stresses of daily life behind. The drinks menu concentrates on classics old and new, whilst the bartenders home-make all their own syrups and cordials.
The top floor of Cane & Grain houses tiki paradise, The Liar’s Lounge, which is the little sister (with bigger attitude) of The Liar’s Club. Decked out as a tiki hideaway with bamboo clad walls, 6ft marlins and plenty of rum based cocktails, the sun is always shining in the Liar’s Lounge.
Lyndon Higginson, from the team behind The Liars Club and Cane & Grain, said:
“There is a distinct lack of classic cocktail bars in Manchester and our first floor is going to fill that gap. We aren’t just aiming for the best bar in Manchester; we want to be the best bar in the world.”
The food offer at Cane & Grain includes a mouth watering selection of ribs and sides which has been created by Executive Chef Barry Gamble. Unlike other restaurants serving American style food, the sourcing policy at Cane & Grain echoes that of the Black Dog group; meat is sourced from traditional butchers within the North West and everything is made in house. The kitchen features two smokers, imported from America, to ensure the food is as authentic as possible. The menu takes American style food and gives it a cheeky twist – the sauces on the ribs include Rum and Cola Cubeand Vimto.
Ross Makenzie, founder of the Black Dog Ballroom Group, commented:
“This concept is something totally new for us and we are glad to have revealed it in the Northern Quarter where our Black Dog Ballroom success began. We have built a strong team around Lyndon and Barry and hope to offer spectacular food and drinks with something a bit different from what the NQ is used to.”
Xolo has been designed by Cheeky Tiki who also undertook the design for sister bar Cane & Grain and is an homage to the Mexican Day of the Dead – think sugar skulls, Mexican wrestling masks and a dark, broody atmosphere.
The 400 capacity venue offers a bespoke list of cocktails inspired by Mexico’s favourite tipples and based around Tequila, including frozen Margaritas and sharers such as the Zombita; a mix of tequila, tropical fruits and fire. If these drinks aren’t to revellers tastes they can always sample the delightful Tijuana Sangria which mixes tequila, red wine, lemon and orange, creating mouth-watering results.
Xolo is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday until late and welcomes ravers from all over to partake in the Mexican inspired madness. Saturday nights have been named Xolo Loco and partygoers can expect to sample delicious cocktails and shots whilst dancing to party anthems until 4am.
With regard to Xolo Ross Mackenzie commented:
“We like to keep our venues exciting and different and wanted to create something new for this season’s fresh wave of students in our Black Dog Ballroom. Xolo, meaning the Mexican Bald Dog, is all about tequila, frozen margaritas and late night party tunes.”
Clarke Gough specialise in high end shop office and bar fitting offering fit out services across all industries. The firm has been trading for 12 years and since their inception has worked on an array of high profile projects including Black Dog Ballroom, Liars Club, Dog Bowl, Kellogg’s Head Office, Adidas Y3 on Conduit Street in London, as well as Hervia Bazzar in Manchester and BMW and Mini.
Most recently Clarke Gough was involved with the creation of Black Dog’s Mexican themed bar Xolo and Cane & Grain. Andrew Clarke, from Clarke Gough, commented:
“We carried out all of the building work including the electrics, plumbing, joinery, painting, plastering and floor coverings. We have built up a good working relationship with the owners of Cane and Grain and Xolo over 10 years and we pride ourselves on the fact that our work still looks good years after the work has been fitted. We greatly appreciate the repeat custom given by the client and would like to think that we offer a quality service.
“We pride ourselves on giving a good quality service to all customers starting with a detailed itemised quote and finishing the fit out work on time and to a good finish.”
Cheeky Tiki specialises in themed design and build projects and have been in operation for eight years. Since their inception the firm has worked on a plethora of projects including Cocobananas, Mahiki and have worked on all of the Lola Lo bars.
We caught up with Jamie Wilson, one of the firm’s Directors, to find out more about Cheeky Tiki’s recent involvement in Manchester’s new XOLO and Cane & Grain venues. Jamie commented:
“We worked as the designers on both projects as well as working on the specialist build parts of the projects. The team worked alongside the main contractors on both projects and designed the Tiki bar at Cane & Grain.
“It is always good to be working on projects that push the boundaries. We pride ourselves in our creativity and attention to detail on all projects that we work on.”