The world is becoming smaller, so they say.
Whether it’s Twitter allowing us to contact Ricky Gervais in a click, or Kevin Bacon rearing his head on our screens to hammer home the idea that any two people on earth are linked by a mere six connections, there’s no getting away from the fact that what was once just ‘abroad’ is now within touching distance.
Now, thanks to the Neighbourhood restaurant and bar in Spinningfields, you can jump off the bus in Manchester city centre and walk down to New York.
Their new ‘Brunch Club’ is inspired by similar events in the Big Apple where the drinks flow like a Saturday night and you’re encouraged to get up and dance all in the comfort of your favourite afternoon eatery.
Neighbourhood’s first event, on Sunday afternoon, began at 1pm with the funk of Jamiroquai reverberating through Avenue North and the champagne already flowing for the hardest of weekend party-goers.
‘The party starts at brunch’, according to Neighbourhood, which the sceptical among us may have thought an impossibility when Saturday’s hangover tells us that Sunday was a day for clearing up pizza boxes and vodka bottles strewn across the living room floor.
However, the restaurant’s brunch crowd had no intention of letting a weekend of debauchery stand in the way of a fully-blown afternoon party. Ladies dressed to the nines and the city’s gents were out in full swing and with a mimosa (champagne and fruit juice) on arrival, it was easy to brush off any lingering effects of the weekend and get straight into the party spirit.
TASTE OF NEW YORK: Madison cocktail and friendly Neighbourhood dancers
It wasn’t just the sultry funk and flowing booze which mirrored a New Yoik (typo intended) brunch club, as preppy-dressed waiters in tailored shorts and white shirts bounced past neon pictures of chiselled male torsos outside American launderettes to make 1pm the new 1am.
The brunch menu is a combination of the best breakfast cuisine imaginable and burgers obligatory to any eatery taking influence from our friends across the Atlantic, as well as salads, fresh fish and cereals.
I plumped for Eggs Norwegian – smoked salmon on toasted muffin with wilted spinach, hollandaise sauce and two poached eggs – which tasted as good as it looks.
At £8.95, it’s also very good value for money – especially when you consider a standard pub breakfast would be around the same price.
The Full American Breakfast of two eggs cooked to your liking, smoked pancetta, sausage and buttermilk pancakes is also a worthy and authentic option, but if you’re hoping for a slap-up filling meal then perhaps the former is the way forward for the same price.
While the menu is varied enough, it seems that the real focus of the Brunch Club is on the party vibe, and getting punters to enjoy an alternative Sunday experience.
The service was prompt and friendly, and sure enough the cocktails began to flow.
The brunch menu has its own limited selection of basic concoctions, as well as a range of fizz and wine, but there is a full cocktail menu available on request which features a spectacular ‘look at me’ range of tipples.
AFTERNOON PARTY: Neighbourhood’s Brunch Club in full-swing
Served on a slab of wood half-resembling a railway sleeper, the Madison comes in a teacup with a pinky froth giving it the look of a boozy cappuccino. Verging on sickly-sweet, the donut and chocolate sauce accompaniment means this is one for those who want the fruitiest of afternoon starts.
Still just before 2pm, perhaps it’s a wise choice as ‘New York’s hottest female DJ’, Lexey, is only just winding down the Daft Punk to take to the decks as the star attraction.
With Porn Star Martini in hand (martini with passion fruit, served with a shot of Prosecco), we listened as the funk faded and deep house beats straight outta New York began, with a few club, dance and contemporary hits thrown in for good measure.
Picture the scene: by mid-afternoon DJ Lexey is sound-tracking a ‘flash mob’ of breakdancers who hurtle out every hour to perform all manner of body-popping contortions, a number of us are wearing huge Kanye shades, holding inflatable microphones and even the odd Viking helmet, and Newcastle United right-back Danny Simpson is at the bar welcoming the admirations of everyone. (NB: admirations of me).
It’s up for debate whether Sunday afternoon ever will be the new Saturday night but Neighbourhood are certainly doing everything they can to make it that way.
If champagne, outlandish cocktails and the taste of New York sounds like your perfect trip, then clear your diary and fob off the roast because the weekend now starts on Sunday.
To get more information on Neighbourhood, Manchester, or to see their full menu, click here.