CLOSED JANUARY 2011
OPEN again FEBRUARY 2011
Barolw Moor Road, Chorlton.
Saturday night and this time it makes sense - good food, plenty of 'atmosphere', the staff were efficient and friendly, the place very busy and even the lone ale was OK - this time Wainwrights. It's never going to a favourite of ours but that presumably isn't their intention - if you're into this sort of place or just like new things you may well have a good evening here. - That's quite enough Charango-ing for us for a while.
Revisit April 2010
After ‘Anonymous’ below praised the place so highly we decided to go back to check – a younger member of the team dragged ‘Grandad’ back to Charango on a Wednesday evening – long after he should have been in bed. It was much quieter than the Friday, unsurprisingly – though there were a few tables of people chattering away. In fairness the menu looked pretty decent though the beer situation was poor. Down to one ale which was actually bad – freezing cold with a coagulating head, vaguely sour and poorly kept, which at £3 is a bit daft. It was the Dulcimer beer, Blonde on Blonde.
Clearly this isn’t a place for the beer drinker so there’s no point going on about it. It seems the sort of place for dressing up a bit, sipping cocktails with ‘the girls’, sharing tapassy-type nibbles and having salsa lessons – none of which is our bag. Though being on the side of the road that gets sun in the evenings and having the large outdoor area means this place will almost certainly be rammed all summer.
Assuming it's one group of people (or person) in charge of both Dulcimer and Charango, their differences make more sense - presumably Dulcimer's covering the 'folky beery' end of things and they're hoping Charango is seen as a bit more dressed up and cosmopolitan. If the naming convention is stuck with I'm looking forward to their third venture - 'Banjo', in which toothless red-necks drink burbon all day. Perhaps Chorlton's not ready for that one.
This was, until recently, Ostara. It is now a Latin themed bar named after a small South American instrument. The place is noisy due to the loud music playing, and it was very busy when we were there. There is a large outside terrace, which was also well used.
On the plus side, the lighting in the place is subtle and low - which works well with the red painted walls. There is also one real ale on handpump, which is unusual in bars like this. The place is more set up for drinkers than Ostara, which was much more of a restaurant (serving seasonal British food) than a bar. The outside space will also be a bonus in the summer.
I'm not sure such a bar is necessary in Chorlton. It feels gimmicky because of the theme, and it is certainly far from an ideal venue for a few quiet drinks.