So it’s always been on our agenda to hit up some of the less hipster, more rough and ready bars and pubs on the NQ scene and here at The NQ Review towers we like a challenge, so we set ourselves a mission to hit as many as possible of the “less popular with the popular crowd” places as we could in one day. Suffice to say there were some surprises, some good, some less so.
Opposite that ever so popular bus stop at the bottom of Oldham Street sits one of the two Bar Waves to be found in Manchester, this one sitting underneath the infamous Sacha’s Hotel. Our visit to Bar Wave was relatively early in the day, so beer googles were not yet fitted and with some trepidation we descended the stairs to the bar.
The vibe in Bar Wave was ‘somewhat tired looking working mens club’, with the bar propped up by lonely drinkers, complete with “red top” of choice newspaper and décor straight from a bygone era. A hotch-potch collection of poorly tuned TVs (all on different channels) provided most of the subtitled entertainment, supported by a juke box and a selection of well worn bandits – in all it was easy to see why this place has never featured on our regular NQ excursions, of course the sign asking patrons to refrain from pissing on the floor in the toilet doesn’t add to the appeal either.
On to the drinks, surely we’d feel better with some more booze swilling about our guts? Well not so much, the selection was so cheaply generic it was laughable, a facsimile of the days when the pump selection had four taps, a basic lager, an export strength lager, a “smooth” bitter and the obligatory Strongbow, as expected supplemented by a standalone Guinness pump. The fridges didn’t fare much better, an additional selection of unimaginative bottled beers, and a selection of eyewatering brightly coloured vodka based soft drinks for the kids. On to the order, a selection of cheap lager (San Mig was “off”), Guinness, and a vodka diet coke. First the good(ish) points, it was cheap, cheaper than I have seen in a long time – £1.85 for a pint of lager. Now for the bad, it was all served in plastic glasses, something we are never a fan of, even the bottled drinks were decanted. That was the first sign of woe, it was early afternoon after all and I don’t think we looked rowdy, and I doubt Derek in the corner was known to kick off. On tasting it went from bad to worse, the lager wasn’t great, but drinkable, the vodka was described as tasting like “turps and dirty water” and the Guinness was by all accounts intolerable, left with barely a few sips taken from those with the misfortune to order it.
In short, we had to visit in order to cross it off the list, just don’t expect us to venture in again.
Bar Wave @ Sacha’s
Food: Bar Food, Crisps and nuts
Drinks: Lager, ale, wine, and questionable spirits
Related City Centre establishments: Sachas Hotel Bar
Bongo rating: 1/10