Manchester's Northern Quarter loses another institution as Black Dog Ballroom closes after 15 years

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It boarded up its doors on Tuesday and updated its website with a simple announcement.

A popular Manchester bar has unexpectedly closed for good, ending a 15-year run in the heart of the Northern Quarter.

Black Dog Ballroom, a bar and pool hall in the basement space beneath Afflecks Palace, boarded up its doors on Tuesday and updated its website with a simple announcement saying ‘Black Dog Ballroom is now closed.” It is also listed as ‘permanently closed’ on Google. 

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The bar was founded in 2009 by the entrepreneur duo behind a number of other Northern Quarter bars, including Cain and Grain, Crazy Pedros, the Bay Horse and the Liars Club tiki bar, which also closed its doors in December 2023. It changed owners in 2018, along with its sister venue Dog Bowl, a bowling alley, arcade and cocktail bar on Whitworth Street.

Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter has unexpectedly closed for good.Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter has unexpectedly closed for good.
Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter has unexpectedly closed for good.

It is understood that Dog Bowl will remain open. It is currently hosting Smash and Dash burgers as its pop-up kitchen, as well as several retro arcade games by games bar NQ64. The owners have not made a statement on the closure and there has been no mention on the Black Dog Ballroom’s social media pages. The last Instagram post was made three weeks ago, which simply included information about the bar’s happy hour and kitchen opening times. 

Black Dog Ballroom is just the latest closure in the city centre, with several popular spots announcing similarly bad news over the past year. Most recently, Northern Quarter cocktail bar and Japanese restaurant Cottonopolis announced it was closing ahead of a big rebrand, following several other Northern Quarter closures in 2023, including CBRB and El Capo. 

Another shock closure from the last few days was Greens in Didsbury. Owner Simon Rimmer, a TV chef known for presenting Sunday Brunch, made a public statement outlining the pressures facing the hospitality industry. He said that Greens was ending its 33-year run due to rent increases of 35%. 

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Manchester’s night time economy advisor, Warehouse Project boss Sacha Lord, has also been vocal about the difficult time the hospitality sector is currently suffering. He commented on the closure of Greens on X, saying: “Sadly, I believe this is the tip of the iceberg. Hospitality URGENTLY needs a reduction in VAT,” sentiments he repeated during an interview on BBC 5live just yesterday. 

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