TANK beer tick. Buttermilk chicken (or seitan) tick. Industrial chic tick. Another Groundhog day in the Northern Quarter. Yawn. So it’s good to see bar/eateries that break the mould. Fress on Oldam Street is one such newcomer; now it’s the turn of Flok.
The self-styled sherry and wine bar on Stevenson Square opens in softly, softly fashion from around July 20, its first singular statement, Spanish vermouth on handpull among the array of local ales. No, you won’t be able to order a pint of the potent 15 per cent stuff.
Flok with its emphasis on sherries and wines, primarily but not exclusively from Spain, is a sipping not supping kind of place, the sun streaming through he huge windows of the former Incognito gift emporium as ToM checked out the work in progress already creating that Med vibe. Inspiration is the Kafeneon, the old state-owned Greek coffee shops
in conjunction with Incognito head honcho Martin Hennin, it’s the latest project of Justin Parkinson, owner of West Didsbury’s Wine & Wallop and Folk. Flok is a twist on the latter and its bar manager Matt will be transferring over.
As you gather, we already like the distinctive ground floor main room, with some classy recycled wood and red leather banquettes, exquisite tiling and tables quirkily equipped with flexi lamps. In the basement there’s a huge bank safe feature, not quite as spectacular as the one at Jamie’s Italian but “somewhere we might hide the DJ”, according to Justin, who has indulged his predilection for colourful lighting downstairs. He is by trade an interior designer with a CV that includes Lime Tree, Jem & I and The Led Station.
These days, though, the grape is his obvious passion: “It’s aimed squarely at the more mature city dweller while also cultivating the younger crowd. It will be serving a large, interesting wine list and feature a Coravin list, which makes great vintages available by the glass on a daily basis.
“Our speciality will be sherries and Madeira showing you that there’s more to these drinks than your Gran’s dusty old bottle of Croft Original. Sherry is also the perfect pairing for so many exquisite nibble foods, especially our hand selected and changing varieties of jamon, along with some other charcuterie, cheese and bar snacks such as morcilla with vermouth, baby octopus and jamon meatballs.”
Ah, the ham. Indeed the only picture we could dredge up of Justin is jamon led (below).
Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN. Follow them @FlokManchester