Best mates Oliver Calveley and James Fennell say their new bar in the heart of Altrincham’s revitalised Market Quarter is the “perfect” place to launch their second venue.
The 27-year-olds, who have been friends since meeting at school near York at the age of 13, have grown revenues at popular West Didsbury bar The Drawing Room by 50% since taking it over last year.
They’ve now acquired the former Apres Wine Bar site on Shaw’s Road – just yards from Altrincham Market – and are throwing an opening night party for all this Friday.
Oliver and James originally set up in business together as owners of an online craft beer retailer called Brewbank, but it’s by branching out into bars that they’ve really begun to taste success.
And they now hope to have cracked a winning formula for their new venture, which will be called The Cellar.
Oliver explained: “We’d been hearing a lot about the revitalised Altrincham and I’d been coming here at the weekends and loving the Market Quarter. We happened to be looking for a bar when one day the opportunity with this bar flashed up on James’s phone.”
“It’s totally ready,” James added, “so we haven’t really had to anything with it – it’s perfect for what we were looking to do.”
The only change the pair will be making will be on the drinks side. While Apres was largely a wine bar, The Cellar will offer more than 30 cocktails to go with another 30-plus wines, while they’ll also be adding a couple of draught beers.
“I don’t know anywhere else that will have such a range of both cocktails and wine,” said James. “And even if you’re not a cocktail drinker, if there’s a particular spirit you like, there’s generally a cocktail you can make from it.”
“We’ve learned that if you have a quality cocktail menu, people will come back,” added Oliver.
Other changes at The Cellar will see it becoming more of a bar than a restaurant, so the food offer will be kept to a weekly steak night and – after a month or so – cheese and meat boards.
And there will be the addition of a “bottomless brunch” on Sundays, featuring unlimited Prosecco and Bloody Mary.
Downstairs, The Cellar’s very own cellar is available for hire as a party venue and will also be used for wine, whiskey and rum tasting evenings.
And outside, with long summer evenings just around the corner, Oliver and James plan to take advantage of the bar’s reputation as a fantastic spot for al fresco drinking by adding an awning and some heaters.
This Friday’s launch night is open to all and will feature free tasting drinks, canapes and live pianist.
“It should be a real party atmosphere and we can’t wait to open,” said Oliver. “Taking on the first bar in Didsbury was a lot of work, but now it feels like we’re on to the growth aspect of the business, and this being the first part of that is really exciting.
“Altrincham is a great area and it’ll be great to get to know the locals.”
The Cellar Fine Wine & Cocktails, 10 Shaw’s Road, Altrincham, WA14 1QU