The 'community' restaurant and bar that replaced a nightmare nightclub and can now serve booze

Despite concerns from neighbours, Witch Kings Rum in Levenshulme can now serve their artisan rum liqueurs, cocktails, draught beers, coffee and light bites.
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A new bar and restaurant has been given permission to sell booze to punters despite residents’ fears it could turn out like its ‘nightmare’ predecessor.

Witch Kings Rum in Levenshulme can now serve their artisan rum liqueurs, cocktails, draught beers, coffee and light bites, the Licensing Sub-Committee decided. This comes after neighbours on Slade Lane voiced their concern that it could turn out like the previous occupier of the building – The Gherkin.

Witch Kings Rum in Levenshulme, ManchesterWitch Kings Rum in Levenshulme, Manchester
Witch Kings Rum in Levenshulme, Manchester
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Graham Reid, a nearby resident and objector, told the committee in Manchester Town Hall how The Gherkin started as a vegan bistro and turned into a nightclub – and he does not want that to happen again.

“We have a constant problem with parking which is irritating,” he said. “People park across driveways at all times of the day and night. 

“It is a nightmare and it is getting worse. This will only get more (problematic)  as The Gherkin’s customers did park across our driveways.  I think there are drug dealings going on as well. I regularly see cars parked up with their lights on with their engines running and I am convinced they are dealing drugs. I am worried about this and how it is going to be stopped.”

Owners of Witch Kings Maxi Tin-Bradbury and Brandon Bissell assured the committee they will be serving 40 to 50 people at a time but stated they are not a nightclub and had no intention to be.  The pair ensured they would do what they could in order to keep customers and residents safe.

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They mentioned plan to work with Manchester Council about better signage over parking and urging customers to avoid driving to the venue where possible.  The duo ‘do not want to be a venue where people turn up to get drunk’, but to enjoy a drink with their food alongside jazz and acoustic music.

Owners of Witch Kings Rum, Maxi Tin-Bradbury (right) and Brandon Bissell (left).Owners of Witch Kings Rum, Maxi Tin-Bradbury (right) and Brandon Bissell (left).
Owners of Witch Kings Rum, Maxi Tin-Bradbury (right) and Brandon Bissell (left).

“We have no intention of being a nightclub, it does not work in this space,” Brandon told the committee. “We want to serve people at their tables.

“The previous setup is not what we are doing. If we were to do something stupid we would risk losing something we have been building for the last three years.”

Maxi added: “It has received a lot of positive reaction. We are trying to service the community around us.”

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The target demographic is young professionals and families – which the venue has seen success with during their fledgling weeks, the committee was told. There is also a plan to sell their produce online and via delivery for locals through third parties such as Deliveroo or JustEat. 

Co-owners Maxi and Brandon started Witch Kings three years ago. Their base rum is a blend of white rums from Salford Rum and Ninefold Distillery, which is then infused with a host of unique fresh and premium ingredients.

Agreement to the alcohol and entertainment licence allows them to be open until 11.30pm from Sunday to Thursday and 12.30am on Friday and Saturday. Speaking after the licensing hearing where they were granted a new premises licence on September 25, Maxi and Brandon explained they were looking forward to ‘moving forward’ and ‘proving themselves’.

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