Manchester AfterDark

Manchester AfterDark

The Unabombers open a publicsocialhousecafebar kinda thing…

559 Wilbraham Road
M21 0AE

Opening hours:
Mon – Thurs 4pm – 11.30pm
Fri 4pm – 12.30pm
Sat 2pm – 12.30pm
Sun 2pm – 11pm

Electrik Facebook page

If you’ve been clubbing in Manchester for any amount of time, you are sure to have heard of the Unabombers. Their night, Electric Chair, brought a huge, eclectic range of the hottest DJs to the city over an incredible 13 years, and Luke and Justin grew from residents to headliners in their own right. With a career history covering everything from festivals and international gigs through to slots on Radio 1, the Unabombers are easily one of Manchester’s biggest clubbing forces.

So when they announced they were going to pull the plug on Electric Chair in December 2007, we were eager to know what was coming next. After all, the Unabombers have always made it clear that their hearts were in Manchester – surely they must have had something up their sleeve? But when we caught up with them before Electric Chair closed its doors, they were coy. Luke simply said, “We live and breathe Manchester. We’ve always done stuff in London anyway, but this is our home, this is where we live. The heart of the citadel will still be in Manchester. It’s about spreading the word outside the city walls but still keeping ourselves firmly rooted here at the same time.” So you can imagine our delight when, two weeks ago, the Unabombers very quietly opened the doors to their very own, brand new bar.

Electrik is right in the heart of Chorlton in the spot where Revise used to be, a couple of doors down from folk bar Dulcimer and a couple of minute’s walk from The Nook, The Bar and Abode. It is an unassuming sort of place, running with the tagline ‘publicsocialhousebarcafe’ and aiming for the feel of your own front room. Large windows take up the front of the bar, and inside it is very simple – stripped wood floors, wooden schoolroom chairs, knackered and weather-beaten old leather armchairs, pale yellow and deep orange walls. The only giveaways that this is the latest wheeze from the Unabombers is a singe large painting of the Electric Chair logo tucked into a corner, the distinctive Unabombers scrawl above the bar – oh, and a massive old jukebox at the end of the bar.

This jukebox is where it really gets interesting. They don’t plan to book many DJ’s in to play – instead, Luke and Justin have asked their greatest Electric Chair heroes to put together unmixed compilations of their favourite tracks, mixed in with the Unabombers’ own selection of rock, soul, disco, oddball Balearic and outsider pop. The jukebox is totally free so you can spend all night discovering quality new tunes for nothing.

Besides the jukebox, there are plenty of other things to keep you amused. A selection of board games are stacked up at the bar (Battleships, chess, Texas hold-em, that kind of thing). You could leaf through back-issues of The Face or check out Chimp, the city’s newest arty magazine. Or, of course, you could simply devote your evening to discovering your new favourite tipple. Electrik isn’t tied to any one brewery or investor so they’ve got an open-door policy on exciting drinks and alongside the obvious choices nestle all kinds of weird and wonderful beers and a surprisingly distinguished wine list. We particularly liked the Wainwright’s ale and the bottled Brooklyn lager, and we’re looking forward to working our way through the fridges over the coming weeks as long as our bank accounts hold up – they might be exciting, but the drinks here ain’t cheap.

Electrik is still very much a work in progress, and it shows. They don’t have a coffee machine yet, but they’ve drawn one on the wall in chalk so you can see it is on the way. By the time they’re finished there will be a food menu (they’re already excited about the sausage and mash), more sofas, more tunes on the jukebox, more everything. But the place is already showing promise, and we’re fairly confident in predicting that once word gets around, Electrik is going to become more than just another great bar in Chorlton.

Words: Claire Symonds


24/03/2009 by Neil Duckworth
Best bar in Chorlton... already!
Rated 5 out of 5

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