Review: Black Dog Ballroom, Manchester


Last night my boyfriend, my brother and I went into Manchester for our weekly ‘pub night’, where we complain about work and have a laugh. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anybody! We went to a bar called Black Dog Ballroom which we’ve been to a couple of times, but unfortunately it never seems particularly busy. In this day and age, I worry when somewhere I enjoy spending my time doesn’t get a lot of custom, because it seems so easy for shops and venues to be shut down with the wave of someone’s overly manicured hand!  Therefore, I am going to try and encourage any Mancunians out there, or indeed any visitors or tourists to come to Manchester and try out this swanky establishment!

Black Dog

Hidden down a slightly dodgy-looking alleyway next to Oxford Road Train Station lies this diamond in the rough. It is next door to a well know cocktail bar chain called The Font, a place many people mistake for making really nice cocktails. No no no no no! Step through the glass doors to Black Dog Ballroom, and you’re playing a whole other ballgame (excuse the terrible pun!).  To begin with, you’ll be met by shiny things! Shiny walls, shiny floors and a shiny bar! It already oozes a little more class than The Font. You step up to the bar, pondering the drinks options when you’re eyes come across the cocktail menu. There in lies the treasure. Although the list consists of approximately ten drinks, they’re all pretty damn delicious! There’s also something for everyone; fruity ones which taste completely virgin, ones laced with whiskey for the msaculine, lumberjack-type customer, sophisticated and classy drinks, and even one for those nursing a hangover (the Bloody Black Dog). They also have a great selection of beers, wines and spirits for those not interested in mixing their alcohol into an amalgamation which will undoubtedly take them to hangover station the next day 😉

Aside from the drinks, Black Dog Ballroom is also the proud owner of three pool tables, for which you pay by the hour. This is, I feel, a much better system because most people who play pool (me excluded) will be quite good at the game, so they’ll get a lot more for their money. The Ballroom is also host to a fancy roof terrace with it’s own bar and barbecue, so in the summer it’s the perfect place to soak up some rays.

I know I sound like I think this is the best place in the world, so here’s where the inevitable ‘but’ occurs…their food is not very good. Last night (granted it was 10pm, maybe not the time to be getting the best chef in the place) we ordered a selection of bar snacks – chicken wings, onion rings, garlic bread, nachos and cheesy chips. The chips and nachos were good, I’ll give them that, but everything else was pretty poor. The chicken wings had to be dipped in a pot of sauce, which annoyed me because I love it when they arrive dripping delicious calorific barbecue sauce, the garlic bread was about as thick as a piece of cardboard and tasted much the same too, and the onion rings didn’t consist of much more than grease. Beware if you stumble across Black Dog in search of more than alcoholic sustenance; you might not get what you bargained for.

Despite the disappointing food, however, I’d still rate it an 8/10 for all round awesomeness. As well as having great aesthetics, drinks and amenities, they also play some damn cool music. Any James Brown fans would be pretty happy to find themselves in this little corner of Manchester. All in all, definitely worth a visit! If you find it’s not quite up to your taste, you could also visit their bowling alley just around the corner called Dog Bowl.

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