Monday, November 16, 2009

Come fly with me

Could you use some exotic booze? (And, really, who couldn't – we could only rustle up an M&S champers bottle and some old Absolut for the picture accompanying this post). Well, hold on to your hat. According to this Caterer story, Manchester Airport plans to restyle a decommissioned Terminal 1 control tower as a bar.

And not just any bar, either. "We're hoping this becomes a venue to rival some of the city centre's most sophisticated venues," says the airport's commercial director. "Our intention is to produce an experience that far exceeds all current expectations of a great bar."

An admirable ambition, but a tall order – even if you sidestep the question of what exactly qualifies as a sophisticated venue. Manchester has some skyline bars already, of course: Cloud 23 in Beetham Tower and The Modern at Urbis, coincidentally home to some tasty golden-age-of-air-travel graphic design. Both have that must-visit quality that doesn't necessarily translate into atmosphere or repeat custom. And airport catering? Rare is the table that hasn't left Hale and Hearty with the urge for a fistful of reds from the in-flight service.

Still, the airport project has USPs. Like, say, it's in an airport control tower. You can expect the 360-degree panoramas that are – I'm assuming – handy for air traffic control. Then there's the rural setting, albeit relative in the context of an international travel hub. It's also not a strictly airside concern. Get the right operator and the Cheshire fringe could have a new favourite watering hole.

Sinatra, of course, would have had you straight through check-in and non-stop to Mumbai. But then, he also thought you might enjoy a one-man band in 'llama land', so the sensible money's on waiting to see what happens next. If it opens, I'll certainly go.

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