Electrik, Chorlton is T & H Autumn 2009 Pub of the Season
As award winning pubs go, Trafford & Hulme branch's Autumn Pub Of The Season is a babe in arms. In fact, when the award is presented to Chorlton's Electrik on October 15th, the Wilbraham Road bar will still be four months short of its first birthday. The brainchild of the local DJ pair Luke & Justin “Unabomber” – who found success with their Electric Chair club nights - the bar is situated in the premises formerly occupied by Revise Bar. Luke & Justin’s local celebrity got the bar plenty of press coverage in the weeks following the low key February 12th opening and they retain an active involvement in the bar, but day to day operation falls to General Manager Matt Robinson and a close knit team of bar & kitchen staff. While Revise was occasionally a cask ale outlet, it did not stand out in Chorlton’s thriving real ale scene and when Electrik first opened, many local CAMRA members passed it by assuming it would be more of the same. However, those who did stick their heads inside found that rather than the tentative toying with real ale of some newcomers, Electrik hit the ground running offering three well kept real ales from opening night. Although that initial selection were taken from the Thwaites stable backed up with stalwarts such as Black Sheep & Landlord, in the eight months since, Matt & his team have strived to offer as interesting and varied a range of beer as possible. These days, the permanent Thwaites Wainright is joined by two ever changing guests, usually from micro breweries. A direct relationship with the Lake District’s excellent Hawkshead Brewery sees a regular guest from their range, such as Lakeland Gold, Brodies Prime, Windemere Pale or Organic Stout. Other guests are sourced through the Boggart Brewery’s Distribution arm. Recent guests include ales from Boggart themselves, Dark Star and Purple Moose. A policy of alternating what is in the cellar means that it is rare for any one beer to be on sale for more than a couple of days before being replaced. The bar is blessed with ample cellar space so that there is almost always something ready to go on as soon as a beer runs out. Most importantly, the beer quality is always top notch. Hot food is offered all day every day in the form of Bangers & Mash. This may sound basic, but hidden behind this simple heading is a choice of six types of sausage (Cumberland, Toulouse, venison, pork and sage and a couple of vegetarian options) & four flavours of mash (classic, mustard, herb and champ). Add to this a selection of gravies, plus a choice of peas, beans or cabbage on the side, there is no shortage of variety. Although the Bangers & Mash is the flagship offering, the hot food offering has recently expanded to include sharing platters for those weekend lunches and is likely to expand further. A range of cakes is also always available. All ingredients are sourced locally. It’s not just CAMRA that have noticed Electrik – nomination as Best Bar in the Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards was forthcoming in just six months (result to be announced on October 7th). Despite such accolades and a healthy level of custom in these difficult times, Matt & his team consider the bar a work in progress. A quiz night has recently started up on Tuesdays and on Saturdays the bar hosts a vintage market. In August, a “secret garden” rear patio area opened to complement the existing outdoor seating facing Wilbraham Road. There are also developments expected on the drinks front. The guest ales have been so successful that the Thwaites Wainwright may be replaced by a third guest spot, although a fourth handpump is under consideration. We also hear that Real Cider is expected to be available in time for the CAMRA Cider & Perry Month in October.
Of a Friday or Saturday evening, the bar attracts the younger crowd that you would expect from its position on the Wilbraham Road strip, but outside of these times, it offers a warm welcome to all ages. Although by no means a Wacky Warehouse, Electrik is possibly the most family friendly pub in Chorlton without restrictions such as “out by 4.30pm” or “only if eating”. A small stack of toys and colouring books sit at the end of the bar for entertainment of the youngest of their customers (and to stop them running around disturbing other customers!).
Electrik combines the best of the modern bar and the traditional pub to give a venue that sits well in it’s surroundings without excluding those who are more at home in the boozer. The bar’s strap line of ‘publicsocialhousecafebar’ that appears below it’s logo on the sign outside looked pretentious when it first appeared. However, it is lack of pretension that means Electrik succeeds in being all of those things at the same time and this is the secret of it’s success. Matt & the team will be presented with their Pub Of The Season award on Thursday October 15th from around 8pm. Please join us in celebrating all they have achieved in their short time. A light buffet will also be provided.