Hospitality, Manchester, Manchester News, News

General Manager at Landmark Manchester Pub Toasts a Decade of Success

The general manager of a landmark Manchester city centre pub and boutique hotel is marking a decade in the job.

Alex Allan, who was appointed as manager of the Abel Heywood in December 2014, has helped establish the Hydes brewery-owned pub as one of the star attractions of Manchester’s famous Northern Quarter and secure its reputation as one of the city centre’s firm favourite places to stay.

Salford-based Hydes appointed Alex to head up the team at The Abel Heywood after it originally acquired the premises in 2014 as an almost derelict, fire-damaged former textile warehouse and invested millions transforming it into the eye-catching landmark building that it is today. The Abel Heywood opened in the Northern Quarter in 2015.

Alex, who has worked for Hydes for 14 years having run a previous establishment in the city, was responsible for originally ‘scouting’ the rundown building on Turner Street and bringing it to the attention of the management team, who were looking for suitable pub premises to acquire and invest in.

The past decade has seen the Abel Heywood go from strength to strength, becoming one of the first premium dining pubs to provide boutique hotel accommodation in Manchester. Since opening, the city has witnessed the launch of more than 25 new hotels yet the Abel Heywood has held its position in Trip Advisor’s top 10 since day one, with 2,675 approved reviews, the most of any hotel in the current list.

After 10 years as an iconic destination in the Northern Quarter, the Abel Heywood is about to receive a £200k makeover. The pub closed on 25th February for a full interior refurbishment including new booth seating, modernisation of all existing Victorian-style decor, new external signage, lighting, and a revitalisation of the bar areas. It re-opens to the public on 9th March. 

The on-site boutique hotel which consistently has a 99% occupancy rate, will remain open throughout the renovations, with plans to refurbish the hotel at a later date. 

Housekeeper, Jackie Gardner, has also been at the Abel Heywood since the day it opened, further adding to the overall appeal of the characterful 15 room boutique hotel.

Alex Allan said: “I’ve put my heart and soul into The Abel Heywood and loved every single minute of the journey so far. I’ve navigated some challenging periods such as Covid and the subsequent lockdowns, plus the ongoing cost of living crisis, but it remains a hugely popular venue for drinkers in the city centre alongside day trippers and visitors to Manchester who want somewhere quirky yet cool to stay overnight.  

“I’m immensely proud that the Abel Heywood has become such an integral part of what the Northern Quarter is all about. It’s great for the local economy and brings in lots of business to this part of the city. Hydes have been great to work with throughout, backing me and the team to give the Abel Heywood an unmistakable identity all of its own, yet it’s still very much a Hydes pub with quality ales and food available every day. We’re very much looking forward to the makeover to give it the subtle refinements and modernisation that it deserves.”

The Abel Heywood is no stranger to life in the limelight. It was used as a pub backdrop in the hit nineties BBC television series ‘Cutting It’, has appeared on numerous programmes since and counts celebrities such as Christopher Eccleston, Shaun Ryder, Dave Spikey and the Courteeners amongst its list of famous patrons. The upstairs bar is occasionally used as a green room for nearby filming productions and has welcomed stars including Alison Steadman and Robson Green.  

Managing director of Hydes Brewery, Adam Mayers said: “Alex is a first-rate manager and has done an outstanding job at The Abel Heywood. His energy and commitment is second to none, and we completely support his vision and direction. The passionate and committed team will ensure continued success when it reopens post-refurbishment.”

The refurbishment of the Abel Heywood is part of an ongoing multi-million-pound investment programme across the Hydes’ estate. Over the last few years, Hydes has invested over £10m in pubs across its estate including its first acquisition in five years, and it intends to continue this investment throughout 2024.

Adam Mayers continued: “We’re happy for such an iconic building to receive a major refresh, yet fully retain all the character and history it is renowned for, which is very important to us and our customers. And in the capable hands of Alex and his outstanding team, we look forward to the Abel Heywood re-opening its doors and continuing to be one of the most well-loved and talked about destination pubs in the city centre.”

Hydes, with its brewery in Media City, Salford, was formed in 1863 and supplies beers to wholesalers, pub companies and other brewers throughout the UK and a pub retailing estate of nearly 50 pubs across the North West of England and North Wales.

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