I promised to try as hard as possible to review affordable restaurants in which people can actually eat on a daily basis. Therefore, this week I have chosen to review a bastion of Manchester student life, Font bar. This burgeoning Manchester chain, is most famous for its great value cocktails. Set directly opposite Owens park halls of residence, nestled amongst fried chicken shops, it is not hard to see how the lure of £2 drinks has made its Fallowfield branch the busiest bar in the area. However, this is a food blog and therefore I went with the aim of reviewing its cheap, student focused menu.
I have not always been a fan of font bar, I can never resist a cheap cocktail but I feel it never quite lives up to the hype. The atmosphere is lively but not particularly conducive to great dinner conversation as the music is always slightly too loud. I also loathe having to wait for 20 minutes a the bar to get a drink but thats just because I’m far too impatient! I think I like the quirky decor although I haven’t quite made up my mind about the half gruesome half cool paintings in the upstairs sofa area.
Despite the music and hoards of freshers I was still very ready to enjoy my dinner, particularly as I had 50% off vouchers! In this respect I was thoroughly disappointed. I did not enjoy my dinner at all. I had what was described on the menu as Philly Steak Melt: minute steak, caramelised onions and cheese in a toasted ciabatta, sounds good right? Well what I got was steak overcooked to the point of incineration, a couple of frazzled onions topped with a glob of congealed cheese all served in a cheap white bun that bore absolutely no resemblance to ciabatta. To be frank I was pissed off to have to pay £3.25 for it, let alone the £6.50 that it should have cost!! What really annoyed me was the assumption that students are stupid, that we will eat anything, that we don’t understand what nice steak is and we don’t know what a ciabatta looks like. That assumption is entirely wrong, in fact students are probably the most discerning target market, we want value for money above all else. Yes we appreciate cheap food and this does remain one of the cheapest places to eat out in Fallowfield, however, we do not appreciate being ripped off and £6.50 for a rubbish meal is a rip off. Me, I would rather go to the chicken shop next-door.
Above all Font is not really a normal bar, it is more like a giant pre-drinks at someone’s house. The drinks are cheap, music is a bit loud and controlled by someone with an innate inability to read the room and there are always people falling over in too-high-heals. However, the atmosphere is lively, pretty much everyone is having a good time and did I mention you can get a cocktail for £2?! The only thing you must remember is to avoid the food at all costs unless you are willing to be thoroughly disappointed or are so pissed you can’t tell your arse from your elbow, if you find yourself in the latter situation you’ll probably quite enjoy it!
Cost: £8 a head for dinner and drinks.