Sleuth has fond memories of Brannigans.
Whenever he felt too full of joy, too optimistic, too rigid with excitement about life’s ripe potential he’d go in there, get a dose of reality and stumble out humbled and contrite.
First the Dutch gent had bagged off with a forty year old Gorton divorcee which was legal if unexpected, then he’d been caught by security in the toilet corridor having an intimate snog. Finally he’d jumped on a table and begun shouting, “This is life, this is sex!” Remember he was sixty five. At the very least.
But now Brannigans has closed, the parent company placed in receivership, the body being shredded by insolvency bods Begbies Traynor. It’ll have to be Fridays on Oldham Street now for Sleuth’s dose of hyper-reality.
Brannigans has ascended to the great beyond of Manchester barland, wherein some sodden Nirvana dwell the likes of Ronnies, Henrys, Life Cafe, Square and Teasers; where it’s a Slow Comfortable Screw against the Wall for eternity.
Maybe that's a shame. Sleuth can play several Brannigans' scenes in his head.
One involves a Bavarian Trade Union group in the year 2000. This was composed of fifty year old male officials and twenty something female secretaries. To an amazed, and frankly bladdered audience, the older German men and their younger ladies paired off ballroom dancing style and waltzed around the dancefloor.
They waltzed to ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ by Duran Duran which was being covered live by a band who resembled the bad guy extras from Miami Vice. Within four bars of the song the locals had retreated to the edge of the dancefloor and were twisted double with laughter. The band meanwhile were looking around wondering about the exact quality of the ‘night-enhancers’ they’d taken before coming on stage.
On another occasion there was a group of Dutch visitors who were staying at the Midland Hotel and had ‘heard’ Brannigans was a ‘good night’. It was for one of them.
A sixty five year old Dutch social housing consultant had to be physically carried back to his hotel after various incidents. First he’d bagged off with a forty year old Gorton divorcee which was legal if unexpected, then he’d been caught by security in the toilet corridor having an intimate snog. Finally he’d jumped on a table shouting, “This is life, this is sex!” Remember he was sixty five. At the very least.
It was perhaps the Low Countries’ lowest moment in terms of reputation in their entire history.
Then there was that charlatan Derek Acora making up a ghost story in the former Albert Hall for the Most Haunted TV show. If there is a ghost in the 1910 building then that’s because the place was solidly temperance when it was built. The money came from the Manchester and Salford Wesleyan Mission, an organisation that thought alcohol was perfectly beastly. They would not have approved of the ‘Drinking, Dancing and Cavorting’ tag upon which Brannigans built its seedy reputation.
But that’s all in the past.
As Cougar Leisure Ltd go into administration, the lights dim and Peter Street turns another page, one perhaps less stained with vomit.... and less saturated with MEN journalists trying to do shock stories about Britain’s drinking culture. Given that only the rubbish Bar 38 and Walkabout remain on the ‘strip’ means that maybe the place is due a reinvention. What about a group of massive teashops? Let's start 2011 in a genteel manner.
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