Andy Smith, Kendal Calling founder, and Jason McGuire of Manchester Coffee have finally opened their highly anticipated doors to 33 Oldham Street. Following in the wake of new Mancunian gem ‘YES’, 33 Oldham Street is three stories of rooftop views, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and music.
33 Oldham Street is perhaps Manchester’s first audiophile bar and we got an exclusive look at the venue the night before, where Rob Bright and Coleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy shook the walls and warmed the decks.
Audiophile — “What does that mean?” I hear you say. It’s a person who is enthusiastic about the reproduction of high-fidelity sound. Back in the ’90s, way before computers were powerful enough to also be your home entertainment system, homes had a landline, television, and yes a HiFi (High Fidelity) Sound System. I recall evenings where my dad would have friends round, bringing stacks of CD’s underarm to be heard on our HiFi system. They’d revel in the sound, exchanging tunes, drinking liquor of some sort … and the music swallowed them up. Gone.
This is the recollection that came to mind when I arrived at 33 Oldham Street. The ground floor is a café by day and cocktail bar by night; enter the first floor and you’re in a listening lounge dedicated to precisely that, listening. It’s unlike any bar I’ve ever been to.
Usually, the music is incidental, just there to set the tone for your chatter. You occasionally tune in to take in your favourite banger being piped through the speakers, which by-the-way are often hidden. At this bar, the music is the focus and you could not ignore the speakers if you tried, two five-foot high PMC MB2SE speakers with two MasterSounds SL silver turntables at the centre.
The room itself is warm and welcoming, with comfortable seats for you to recline in with a drink in hand. It also doubles up as a workspace for DJ’s during the day and “is as acoustically perfect as a state-of-the-art recording studio”, according to Manchester’s Finest.
In the coming months, there’s a generous offering of ‘selectors’ taking over the decks. Rob Bright and Coleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy led us through the opening night, masterfully choosing records to match the tone of the room. At one point I left for the gentlemen’s room (hi-fi speakers accompanied me there too) and came back to what seemed a different room due to the change in music.
These guys are paying incredible attention to the details of sound reproduction, from the sound system to their selectors, and frankly, it’s hard to match. If these initial impressions are anything to go by, I can’t wait to go back.