2018. That definitely just happened.
There’s only a few hours of it left but this is probably the first chance we’ve had to sit down and think about what went down this year and it’s safe to say it’s been another crazy year for GRUB. I don’t know what we expected to happen when we started out in 2014 but I don’t think we visualised where we are today heading towards our 5th birthday. Bit mad and 100% down to all you lot that come out and support us especially those that sought us out in the early car park days before we had fancy new fangled things like roofs and proper furniture etc. Cheers.
The summer was obviously one big sweaty mosh pit of fun, much sweatier than expected. This meant our oversized beer garden was brimming all summer long and fun things happened like a CO2 shortage (which nearly totally sunk us). It was brilliant to see so many faces enjoying the Mayfield Gatehouse and I’m not complaining but it did take us by surprise. We had sat down at the beginning of 2018 and recruited extra staff and designed the space and upgraded the bar so we could easily deal with a few more visitors than 2017; well about 30% more of you came out every week and we were again tested to our limits. I’m a broken record I know but our team here at GRUB deserve the highest of praises for their work, it’s a silly job and we don’t pay them enough but they still slog their guts out. We love them.
The other side effect of an insanely busy summer at GRUB is that we were distracted from other objectives for the year mainly being we didn’t get chance to develop Fairfield Social Club in to the space it needs to be. It’s STILL a work in progress but starting now we’ll be pushing to get exciting events happening in there 7 days a week ranging from established nights to debut events across the full spectrum of art & entertainment. If you’ve got an event that needs a home or you’re thinking of starting to get involved in events of any kind drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s have a chat.
We’re also committed to supporting new traders and we have to put our hands up to not doing enough of that business this year. Again we’re going to change that. First things first we’re putting on a free entry new trader workshop on Wednesday the 9th of January. Taking the microphone on the night will be Charlotte from Bakeorama, Eddie & Neil from What’s Your Beef and Mark Laurie (director of street food for the National Caterer’s Association). They will be answering questions on topics including the best use of social media, menu design, getting gigs and how to avoid the most common mistakes when just setting off. Last year this event was totally sold out so if you’re interested check out the link HERE to book your free tickets and get the full low down. Beyond that we’ve got plans to be involved in a very official push to kick start lots of new street food businesses and find them homes here in Manchester, more news on that soon.
The other surprise of 2018 was the volume of people that wanted to celebrate their permanent union in our railway arch, Fairfield Social Club became a wedding venue. It was an absolute JOY to see some of the loveliest people I have ever met in my life have such splendid days in our mucky Victorian warehouse building. Definitely some of the most stressful (everything has to be perfect!) and 100% the most rewarding events we have ever been involved in. Summer 2019 is almost full of weddings already which is lovely, we have one or two Saturdays and a few Fridays/Sundays left if you fancy getting hitched and then having a party at our place. Get in touch if so.
Also we had a baby. Woof. Serious business. But all good stuff. We’re very happy. Thanks 2018.
2019. That is definitely going to happen very soon.
And we’re planning our biggest year ever.
If everything goes to plan GRUB is going to expand this summer in more than one direction. We’re looking at a new summer home which is a fair bit bigger than last year (*prays for hot summer*) which means more beer, more traders, more fun. We’re looking at new sites across Manchester (and further afield) so you may well be able to get GRUB in more than one place in 2019. If you know of anyone with a big outside or industrial space going spare please do give us a nudge. There will be some extra special GRUB Food Fairs sprinkled throughout the year (anybody for a full weekend stacked with the best burgers in the UK for example?). Our goal really is to make GRUB the biggest and best street food event in the UK and we think we can get there without compromising our values.
A big focus for us in 2019 will be pushing forward with making our events and spaces as inclusive as possible. Veganism will be a big part of that as the UK carries on its crazy embrace of what we believe is a super positive and compassionate movement that we will always support and we will strive to show vegan food can be absolutely amazing. Expect more vegan dedicated events, more vegan food & drink options as standard. We have also always been a place that has zero tolerance of discrimination or abuse of any kind although we’ve never really articulated it properly. We’ve always just called it the ‘no dickhead policy’ but helpfully we were introduced to the Everyone Welcome Initiative in 2018 which is much more eloquent and effective. You can check out what it means by visiting their website by clicking here, you’ll also see their policy on the walls in our venue and at our events and we hope more bars and pubs adopt it as it’s a really useful tool for dealing with unpleasant people (dickheads).
One thing we have to hold our hands up to as being exclusive is that in 2019 we will be going cashless. We know that this does exclude some people, some people that really don’t need to be excluded, and we’re really very, very sorry about it. It is a social failure on our part. With that said now is a hard time for food & drink businesses and for us to survive (just look at the bloodbath of closures just recently) we have had to make some hard decisions. Because some weeks we were losing money on accepting cash we felt this had to be the way we went. Please accept our apologies and please bring your card next time you visit us. Please note food traders will still be accepting cash as normal!
Outside of GRUB we’ve got some big events coming back in 2019. We’ll be pouring lots of northern beer at The Beer Up Here, we’ll be swilling smashing cider at Fairfield Cider Fete, we’ll be hosting the wonderful Full Fat fest, Futureshock Wrestling will be grappling throughout the year, our three day vegan fest ExtraVEGANza returns the last weekend of January and before all that occurs we’ve got the third ever WINTER BEER FEST which you should all come along to (but it will sell out so snap your tickets up by clicking here). Got lots more planned too.
One final note, we need a new manager to join our team. If you’re of good moral fibre, not afraid of quite literally back breaking work, with some experience in bars/pubs or events, enjoy a spot of office work, have a real passion for independent food & drink and you can work under your own initiative then please send your CV across to Joe@grubmcr.com and he will furnish you with the full details of the role.
We hope you all have had a lovely 2018 and where you haven’t I hope 2019 brings you lots more fun and good times.
All the best
Jules & Bailey