Monday, February 23, 2009

Heaton Moor watch

In the second of my very occasional entries about my locale, I can tell you that our much-mentioned and oft-visited local cafe bar, Room 311, has closed.

Rumours are that it wasn't profitable. I put it that way because speculating about bankruptcy might be premature (not to mention unfair) given that its sister cafe at the other end of Heaton Moor, The Orangerie, appears to be doing OK. We'll see. In these times of credit crunch and belt-tightening, no small business is invulnerable. I certainly hope it withstands the pressures.

A reliable source tells me that the location formerly housing Room 311 will re-open under new owners as a restaurant in a couple of weeks. We await its unveiling with eager anticipation.

It's a shame that 311 has gone, not least because it was nice to have somewhere local to pop into for a meal out with the kids every now and then, not to mention for a beer with friends from time to time (and even, on rare occasions, a drink for just the two of us). But I'm not entirely surprised or sorry when I think of some of the service we had there. In particular, the last manager there, in contrast to the previous manager Chris, made it very plain that those of us with young children were not welcome. She spent most of her time with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. When Hayley and I went in there at Christmas, Hayley could not resist saying to her, "Look, we've got no kids tonight, I bet that will put a smile on your face." It didn't though. And shortly thereafter we moved to the much friendlier - including family friendly - Town Bar Cafe just up the road, vowing to go there more often in place of 311.

A week later 311 was closed for good.

The family-unfriendly attitude was a bonkers policy, as the place was forever populated with new Mums and their new babies, often in groups, clearly ante-natal groups gathering together to share their first experiences. Clearly they failed to realise that such groups can often last for years. When I look around now at our friends in the area there are at least four couples from our ante-natal group with whom we still meet very regularly. (In one case they are God-parents to Lucy.) Hopefully the new place will open for lunch and be a bit more open minded!

Meanwhile the long-vacant Victoria Wine shop did indeed turn out to be another hairdresser. We now have 4 hairdressers within a stone's throw of each other. Not that I'm tempted to throw things at them. Well, not most days. I still go to the barber a hundred yards up the road. Much cheaper, and depending who's cutting my hair I get to discuss the finer points of MySpace or the possibilities for Manchester City ("richest football club in the world", as the City fans are forever pointing out.)

Finally, our local Brittania Fish n Chips Bar has relaunched as Theo's. I've heard that he's the nephew of the previous owners. I have to say that it was rare that I went there for my fish and chips, mostly because Heaton Mersey's Golden Gate chippy serves fish n chips of a consistently high standard, but perhaps I'll have to give the new kid on the block a chance. Anything to keep our little community thriving.