City leader praises £3.5m refit by Chop House group set to breathe new life into city icon. The Albert Square Chop House launched on Thursday 8th November in the grade II listed Memorial Hall building across Manchester’s civic square from the Town Hall.
The lunchtime event in the presence of Manchester city council leader Sir Richard Leese and chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, officially opened the latest addition to the renowned Manchester-owned Victorian Chop House Company.
The Venetian Gothic style building dates from 1866 and it has lain vacant since the Square Albert pub closed its doors at the premises a decade ago.
Now it has been transformed by a magnificent £3.5m refit into a dining pub, an 80-cover restaurant, a private dining boardroom and a function room with 21st century facilities, creating 72 new jobs. A boutique hotel is also planned on the upper floors.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, says: “This is a magnificent building and it is great news that a Manchester firm is breathing new life into it. It represents a significant investment by the Victorian Chop House Company and will also create much-needed jobs. In these difficult economic times, it is heartening to see regeneration projects like this in our city centre and the entrepreneurial spirit it represents is vital for Manchester’s future success as we move towards recovery.”
Business partners Roger Ward and Alister Cook are proud to rejuvenate the landmark city centre building, taking it into its third century. Roger says: “We are hugely excited at the prospect of giving the city centre’s finest historic square a high-quality dining and drinking destination. English Heritage says this is probably the finest building of its type in the country and I am really excited to be bringing it back to life.”
Designed by Thomas Worthington, the Memorial Hall was originally built for the Unitarian Church and was also a meeting place for Victorian groups and societies, including Sir Charles Hallé’s choir.
The owners worked closely with English Heritage and Manchester City Council to ensure original features have been retained. “The refit is a mix of historic and contemporary styles,” Roger says. “I’d love this to be a catalyst for more life in Albert Square and a real asset to the city.”
Looking across Albert Square, the building faces Manchester Town Hall, which was completed 11 years later in 1877. “The Memorial Hall is right at the heart of Manchester’s history and we are delighted that Sir Richard and Sir Howard can join us for the opening,” he adds.
Mr Ward currently operates Sam’s Chop House and Mr Thomas’s Chop House in Manchester city centre, as well as a Sam’s Chop House in Leeds.
The third floor hosts a 100-capacity function room, which will retain the Memorial Hall name and target business conferences and other events. Its proximity to Manchester Town Hall and Manchester Registry Office will make it a popular wedding venue. The same floor includes a 20-seat Boardroom with state-of-the-art communications and presentation facilities.
The restaurant will deliver the same best of British hospitality and a similar menu to the existing Chop Houses – classic British food with a modern twist, using fresh local ingredients grown by regional suppliers.