If there was ever a building befitting of the word ‘manor’ this is probably it.
An immense sandstone creation, set back from Stainbeck Lane opposite the popular cottage-like Mustard Pot pub in Chapel Allerton, this behemoth of a building is a strange beast.
The site was once home to the city’s Serbian National Welfare Club before being renovated and turned into a bar/ pub and christened Suburban Style Bar.
Now well established as the fittingly-named Manor, it has morphed into Chapel Allerton’s only real specialist sports bar.
Since Barfly’s last visit, the big branded signage outside the Manor has gone but the all-guns-blazing, flashy interior unfortunately remains.
Projector screens, plasma screens, pool tables and table-top football fixture calendars make it clear what this place is about although on the midweek FA Cup night we dropped in it was notably quiet.
In spite of its grand exterior, the Manor is pretty earthy and slightly tacky in places on the inside – take the feature wallpaper designed to look like buttoned leather and the brightly coloured striped chairs and swirled carpets.
The dark red leather-clad, wood-topped bar is the lengthy centre-piece inside, backed by bright multicoloured wall panels that are lined with a broad array of spirits.
At one end of the venue’s weathered wood floor are a couple of pool tables and some raised seated sections, while at the other there is a more modern split-level space featuring a basement with patterned cream booths, below a separate upstairs section.
To add to the bold styling, our visit to the Manor was backed by Motown, RnB and rap music including tracks from the likes of Notorious BIG and Black Street.
Drinks-wise there is a pretty broad offering in here, which is mainly based around eight classic cocktails, a range of wines, spirits, dozens of bottled beers and ciders and about half a dozen varieties on tap including Magners Golden Draught, San Miguel and Stella Black. A single order of ginger beer and spiced rum with a bottle of pear Kopparberg set us back a reasonable £7.50.
As a building, I’m a big fan of the Manor but as a bar, I can take it or leave it.
In Chapel Allerton, this place is aiming to sit in the middleground between bars like the Pit, Zed and the Woods and pubs like the Mustard Pot and the Regent.
The suburb’s popular bars are quite fashionable, sophisticated cocktail specialists, while the pubs are both welcoming, homely and crammed with real ale.
The Manor delivers neither a homely feel or a stylish, refined offering, but it does offer sports galore and an, if anything, intriguing space.