Anger as independent bars evicted from Manchester ‘food, drink and retail destination’

Anna Tutton inside an empty Vin-Yard wine bar (Photo provided by Vin-Yard)

There has been an angry reaction after five independent bars were evicted from a popular Manchester hospitality and shopping venue.

Hatch, a pop-up outdoor venue on Oxford Road, decided to axe the independent businesses and instead operate the bars themselves.

Bruntwood Works, the company that own Hatch, said the decision was made to “protect the future” of the space and that “without this change to the model Hatch would not be able to reopen”.

But with just weeks to go until outdoor hospitality can reopen; the decision has been met with disappointment from both owners and customers.

A photograph showing the inside of Hatch Photo © Gerald England (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Anna Tutton, whose wine bar and shop Vin-Yard was evicted, said the decision came as a surprise.

“They said they wanted to speak to us about the year and the plans ahead, and that actually turned into saying that we’re no longer part of their plans”, she said.

“They could’ve looked after us more and given us a bit of time - I think that’s my issue. We shouldn't be moving out during a lockdown, never mind going viewing other places in a lockdown.

“There is no way anyone is gonna be able to trade by the 12th April. We’ve sort of been left a bit high and dry.”

In addition to Vin-Yard, cocktail bar Number 8, tiki bar Clubhouse, Mediterranean restaurant Mezze, and bar Electrik Box were also evicted.

In a statement posted across social media, Bruntwood Works said: “This decision to part ways with some of the businesses has been very difficult but has had to happen in order to protect the future of Hatch, and the whole community of traders

“During the periods of lockdown we have ensured that no traders pay rent but of course the costs of maintaining the site have continued. Now, against this backdrop of exceptionally challenging conditions dominated by COVID-19, and in order to secure the future of Hatch, we need to make changes to the configuration of the site

“We continue to support all of our brilliant traders on site, including independent bar and microbrewery, Ol; independent coffee shop Takk; 12 independent food traders; 4 independent retailers and a range of independently owned service businesses too - from tattooists to barbers.”

A number of customers expressed disappointment on social media at the decision.

On twitter, one user wrote “This is a really disappointing move by Bruntwood and almost certainly unnecessary.”

A disappointed twitter user reacts to the news

Some of the evicted bars also took to social media to break the news.

Number 8, a cocktail bar, wrote on their Instagram, “It’s with great sadness that we announce Number 8 Cocktail Bar will no longer be trading at Hatch Manchester due to factors outside of our control.

“We’ve worked so hard over the last 2 years to weave our concept into the fabric of Hatch and it breaks our heart to think that we’ll no longer have a place there”.

Vin-Yard posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram writing, “It’s still a real shock, but we must finally share the news that we have recently been evicted from our premises at @hatchmcr, along with some of our boozy small business friends”

A screenshot from the Vin-Yard’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/vinyardmcr/

The evictions come in what has been a difficult period for both big and independent business.

Back in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that one in three UK hospitality firms feared they would not survive three months.

While research from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) found that branch closures by hospitality firms had increased by more than 75% in 2020, when compared to 2019.