The term ‘northern grit’ gets banded around a lot but it’s a term that aptly describes the way Manchester’s food, drinks, and entertainment industry has coped in 2020.

Since March, there have been restrictions put in place for virtually every bar, restaurant and event space, and, while things were relaxed during the tail end of summer, lockdown 2.0 has seen businesses slide back into uncertainty and fear about what Christmas, and 2021, has in store.

However, despite all this, there is light in the darkness so in today’s blog we’re going to be showing off two Manchester-based businesses that, rather than shrinking from the challenge, have conjured up some of the aforementioned grit and ensured that the show goes on!

Bringing The Party To Residents

One such company is Moda, Angel Gardens who have struggled to provide the kind of lifestyle to their tenants that is so integral to their brand and the reason they are such a popular entity in central Manchester.

On Friday 27th November, however, they hosted their very own virtual ‘Big Night In’. This isn’t their first go at bringing the party to their residents though, oh no, to date, residents have taken part in pasta making workshops with The Pasta Factory (with supplies dropped to their door), made their own pizza with Noi Quattro DIY pizza kits and enjoyed beer tasting with Northern Monk.

They’ve also tried out Whiskey tasting with Great Drums, gin tasting with Grape & Grain, and enjoyed wellbeing sessions and kept moving with workout classes from Hero wellbeing.

On the 27th November though, things went east and, with the night starting off with drinks from The Drinks Drop, featuring delicious cocktails from the likes of Albert’s Schloss and Crazy Pedro’sMughli then gave everyone a sneak peek of their cook-at-home kits, with Onion Bhajis & Samosas followed by Butter Chicken.

The night was almost perfect, all that was missing was a few tunes! Thankfully, Moda had teamed up with another Manchester business, One Eight Six, who hosted Dean Mac & The Sublime Seven, a group that put on a set of Motown classics and RnB hits.

As a 2020 night in goes, it was pretty much perfect!

Speaking of live music, we thought we’d bring to your attention an event that is taking place on 12th December in association with Events and Artist management company Six15. In another show of strength, despite the economic and social restrictions we’re facing, the team at Six15 are launching their Aparté Box.

‘A Party. Apart’ Why Big Nights In Are Cool Again

Billed as ‘A party. Apart.’ This 4-hour live event will be taking place from 8pm on Saturday 12th December. People can choose from 4 Aparté Boxes ranging from the Tier 1 box, which features a bottle of fizz and some cake, all the way through to the Tier 4 box which is packed with, wait for it, a wide selection of festive bakes from Suzanne Thorp at The Frostery, a selection of cake pops by Polka Pops, eight special cocktails designed for Aparté, featuring all the deluxe garnishes including candy floss and popping candy, a cheese and charcuterie platter to feed two from The Little Platter Company. A bottle of prosecco and a bottle of Manchester Gin.

Prices start from £45 and all the products featured in the box are from local Manchester-based businesses. So not only will you have a great time but you’ll also be supporting local businesses.

To purchase your box, visit this link:

“I think it will be a challenging road to recovery and businesses and livelihoods will be lost along the way but if we can support each other, as I know the people of Manchester can, then I am positive we can bring the scene back to life.”

We had the opportunity to speak to Tom Lormor, who is Co-Founder and Director of Six15. We started by asking him how the last 6 months have been:

“The current pandemic has made life extremely difficult for anyone involved in the entertainment or hospitality industry.

“We’ve received very little support from the government and many of our friends and associates working in our industry have been left in difficult positions financially.

“As a company, we have tried very hard to stand by our team and support them in every way we can.”

He added: “We’ve had to look at cash flow and make cuts where possible to our outgoings, which has led to us having to make some difficult decisions along the way, as I know many businesses have, but we’ve made an effort to adapt and pivot with new ideas and existing areas of our work.

“Our business operates as a 360-degree music and creative platform and over the years we have slowly built on to the other arms of our company, which has allowed us to continue trading in some capacity during the lockdowns.”

We then asked about the Aparté Box and where the idea came from: “There had been some discussions over this some months back, but it was only recently that company co-founder and director Daniel “Dax” Smith decided we needed to do something a bit different.

“We’ve already hosted a number of live streams so why not include a party box to coincide with that and do something a little different for Christmas.

“The whole team at Six15 got behind the idea and it grew very quickly from there. We have worked very closely to develop the idea further with Red Floral Architecture and Julie Perry Events and as a team, the concept of Aparté came to life.

“Everyone was really keen to involve local suppliers and friends of our brands to fill the Aparté box as it’s so important right now for us to support each other.

“Many businesses have lost out through weddings and events being cancelled, so coming together to create an amazing, socially distanced, Covid secure, virtual party was a must! Aparté really is a Party. Apart!”

“Manchester is a fantastic city filled with great people and amazing businesses. If we all work together I don’t see any reason why the nightlife scene cannot recover.”

Despite the gloom, however, Tom is confident Manchester will be back to its best in 2021: “I am unsure of what life looks like after the pandemic, as I know many others are, however, one thing I am certain of is that Manchester will come back from this!

“Manchester is a fantastic city filled with great people and amazing businesses.

“If we all work together I don’t see any reason why the nightlife scene cannot recover.

“I think it will be a challenging road to recovery and businesses and livelihoods will be lost along the way but if we can support each other, as I know the people of Manchester can, then I am positive we can bring the scene back to life.”

“Forming great working relationships and building a network of local suppliers makes it so much easier to run my business.”

How Local Manchester Businesses Are Helping To Throw The Party

A key element of the Aparté box, as well as having a good time, is about supporting local businesses in and around Manchester. One of those businesses is The Frostery which is run by Suzanne. We were lucky enough to ask her a few questions and began by asking why working with local suppliers is important to her: “Forming great working relationships and building a network of local suppliers makes it so much easier to run my business.

“Not only is it beneficial for the local economy it gives me greater flexibility.

“I can react quickly to last-minute orders and I can support other suppliers by recommending them to my clients and vice versa, which in turn gives confidence to our clients with their choices.”

Speaking about the furlough scheme, Suzanne said: “The government support has been really helpful especially the furlough scheme as I employ a team of skilled cake makers.

“I recognise that there are many businesses that have missed out on government help during such a lengthy period of time when the events industry has been paralysed.

“The government help I have received has meant I have been able to retain my staff which was a priority for me.”

Another local business benefiting from this online event is Julie Perry Events. We spoke to Abi Mallion and asked her why working with local suppliers means so much: “Here at Julie Perry Events we feel it is extremely important to support our local businesses and suppliers in order to boost the local economy and create a sense of community.

“In these uncertain times, it is especially important to come together and support each other now, so that we will be around to blossom again in the future.”

Abi has mixed views on the furlough scheme and the wider government response: “With regards to the events industry as a whole, the furlough scheme has been successful as it has enabled businesses to suspend their activities but remain trading during the pandemic, without that support a large number would not have survived.

“However, our industry friends that are self-employed haven’t had the help they have desperately needed until recently, sadly this has come too late for some and has resulted in a number of businesses closing their doors for good.

“The main issue within the industry is there will be little activity and no real growth until the vaccine is distributed and people are allowed to socialise again in larger numbers.

“Under current restrictions and the reintroduced tier system, people will still not be able to gather in large numbers in event settings which essentially will further decimate the events industry.

“Until the vaccine is readily available and people are freely allowed to mix, companies will have to rely on Government schemes to support them.”

For More Information, Be Sure To Get In Touch

There is still a great deal of uncertainty but here at Manchester Young Professionals, we’re heartened to see all these local businesses lending each other a hand, offering support and putting on a show all at the same time.

If you want to receive more information about the Aparté boxes be sure to check out their website. Also, if you love events then you should also get in touch with us here at Manchester Young Professionals. We love putting on genuinely awesome networking events that allow young professionals to connect and interact with each other. For more information be sure to contact us or visit our Instagram!