The Schloss is opposite the Great Northern Warehouse on Peter Street, in what can be referred to as downtown Manchester. I’d seen the place, at a distance, a couple of times and watched crowds of people outside, doormen with Kangol-esque hats dipped over one eye, young professionals with jawlines in blue suits and dresses toying with notions of modesty. Before I knew anything about the place, I felt drawn to it.
When you talk about places to go out at night, to eat or drink, certain adjectives specific to the nature of the outing crop up. You hear ‘studenty’ a lot, as in, “it’s pretty good, quite cheap, really studenty”. The ‘after-work’ descriptive is how I would begin to talk about Albert’s Schloss.
I very rarely think about what to wear when I go to review a place however in this circumstance, I specifically chose a shirt; a nice shirt, white, second-hand Paul Smith. I don’t know why I felt the need to conform to the idea I had of the kind of clientèle the Schloss entertains, I just knew I wanted to arrive in a shirt.
The way diners interact with the greeters and maître d’hôtels is fascinating. You know you’re judged and classified the moment they set eyes on you. The shirt in question pulled a wonderful wool over the eyes of the woman who showed us to our table. There was something egotistically comforting about feeling that, because a single item of clothing, I belonged in the sleek yet gemütlich atmosphere of the two million-pound brainchild of what has been humbly dubbed Mission Mars Ltd.
Mission Mars Ltd. is a combination of two restaurant/bar groups. One half being the owners of Trof, The Deaf Institute, Gorilla and The Albert Hall. The other, Inventive Leisure plc, the owner and operator of Revolution Vodka.
So these two titans in Mancunian hospitality pooled their resources, with the aid of a £2 million Growth Capital Loan from Santander Corporate & Commercial, and set about transforming a beautiful Grade-II listed building into a beautiful beer hall and cook haus.
My dining companion, a guitarist from the post-punk group ‘Weird Will’, and I were shown to are window table at 7:30 on a Wednesday night. The whole place was full. In a what must be 150-plus seat venue this is saying something.
Our waiter was lovely, and I’m not often overly complimentary of waiters—but this one deserves a special accolade as, towards the later part of our meal he came over with two very golden, very free beers. They had been poured by accident and he was wondering if we wanted them: “You are probably my soundest table,” he shrugged. Win.
The beer game at Albert’s Schloss is serious. There are eleven umlaut-infested tap beers, from various Czech and German breweries and myriad of different bottled options. We opted for Pilsner Urquell and Dortmunder Vier; at £5.00 and £4.60 respectively, it’s not a cheap pint, but remember that about two of those five pounds goes towards the atmosphere.
As for the food. Don’t go to Albert’s Schloss for the food. If you do find yourself eating there you won’t suffer too badly but still, it’s like Austro-German pub food. The chicken liver paté (£6.50) had the unsettling consistency of whipped cream, but the house baked bread it came with was good. To give credit where it’s due, my house smoked wurst (£5.00) was deliciously moreish but the pickled cabbage it came with had a dust-like impact on my mouth, and the kraut was not a great deal better.
For mains I stayed traditional with a chicken schnitzel (£9.50) which was overwhelmingly average and my partner chose fish frites (£12.00). A sincerely ridiculous name for battered hake with chips. He seemed happy enough though.
Go to Albert’s Schloss. The atmosphere is incredible. I’ve heard great things about their Friday and Saturday nights with live bands, roving saxophonists, and spinning wax. So go, eat before you go, but go nonetheless.
27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR