This subterranean speakeasy was the first outing of this now well-established chain of Americana. Along with its sibling venues Black Dog NWS (housed in the former Space venue near Font) & Dog Bowl, an inventive bowling alley on Whitworth Street West, Black Dog Ballroom underneath the world famous Afflecks Palace has enough to bring the punters in day or night, whether it’s spending a rainy afternoon on the well priced pool tables in the back hall, a decent value lunch or dancing the night away until the early hours, Black Dog has it all.
Having been coming here since its opening, some of our fondest memories are grabbing a cheeky Friday lunch and hanging out with Bruce (the black dog for which the venue is named) & whilst the venue has evolved it still retains its original charm. Food wise there’s a selection of pizzas, burgers & hot dogs alongside salads & bar snacks (think loaded nachos & wings). On the drinks side there’s a focus on cocktails with a well enough stocked back bar to meet most agendas, while the beer selection is more limited than at many NQ venues but includes some options to avoid those tasteless generic lagers. Priced at NQ averages, expect to pay around £8 for cocktails & don’t expect too much shrapnel back from a fiver for a beer.
As well as the main bar, it’s also worth noting there is a more relaxed back room cocktail bar accessible to those lucky folk in possession of a Black Dog collar tag!
One of Black Dog‘s USP’s has always been its late late licence (to 5am on weekends) and because of that this place does tend to get really busy later on, particularly Thurs-Sat. This, however, has lead to a fair share of controversy & negative press over the years and after 9pm on weekends the staff are obliged to swap your glass mugs for plastics for the rest of the evening which we here at TNQR are never fans of (although it must be said the staff will transfer your drinks with aplomb & without spillage!)
That said Black Dog remains a crowd pleaser and has become an established fixture in the fabric of the NQ.
Black Dog Ballroom
Classification: Bar/pool hall
Drinks: Cocktails/lager & spirits
Related City Centre establishments: Black Dog NWS, Dog Bowl, Xolo, The Liar’s Club, Cane & Grain, Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour
Bongo rating: 7/10