Doors close at some of Manchester’s best-known bars as firm goes into liquidation

MAD House

A company which owned a some of Manchester’s best known bars and restaurants has gone into liquidation with the loss of around 125 jobs.

Mark Andrew Developments – or MAD – owned 11 high profile venues across the city including four in the Northern Quarter.

The news is the latest blow for Manchester’s restaurant trade.

There were three high-profile casualties last month – Manchester House, The Artisan and most recently The Rabbit which is owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs.

Rabbit in the Moon

MAD’s portfolio included the Walrus, The Blue Pig, Tusk and Rosylee in the Northern Quarter.The company also had three Hula venues across the city including restaurants in Heaton Moor and Didsbury.

The Blue Pig, one of the most popular bars in the Northern Quarter, was bought out of liquidation in March by Mark Andrews.

Blue Pig

All of the bars were all closed by MAD Ltd and the staff sent home earlier this week.

The firm was run out of its offices known as the MAD House in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.

The firm opened the Lazy Lizard in The Printworks last year but the venue closed after just 10 months.

The Printworks

Jonathan Hawkins said: “I can confirm that after 15 years the business has gone into liquidation.”

He added that staff were informed of the closure either in person or via email on Tuesday.

Mr Hawkins spoke to the Manchester Evening News. He said: “We always try to do things right by people.

“I went to the sites myself and spoke to the staff privately. It broke me. It was one of the most emotional things. I can’t thank the staff enough about how they reacted and helped secure the site.”

Mr Hawkins said most of the bars were profitable but the firm has struggled with high business rates and rising costs. The costs at the Lazy Lizard were a major factor.

Last year MAD secured a multi-million pound funding deal to expand across the region but the losses at the Lazy Lizard badly affected the firm’s balance sheet and led to the bank recalling the loans.

Andy Burnham and Sacha Lord

Sacha Lord, who has been appointed “Tsar” of Manchester’s night-time economy by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham broke the news on social media.

He said that ‘a large operator, with many bars in the Northern Quarter’ had gone into liquidation but he ‘expected there will be a quick rescue package’.

He added: “They have great bars in the Northern Quarter with some big profit generators within that group.

“I do expect a package quite quickly in terms of a sale.

“If it is true, I hope they look after the staff in the way they should as, sadly, it’s the staff who will need the help right now.”

MAD was set up in 2004 by managing director Mark Andrew and started with the opening of M20 in West Didsbury. The bar later became a Hula venue.

The firm described itself as an entrepreneurial, independent hospitality group with a “fun-loving approach and a world-class team”.

It claimed to have created some of Manchester’s most-loved bar concepts including the award-winning speakeasy bar, The Fitzgerald.

Mad opened the first cocktail bar on High Street in the Northern Quarter with Walrus, and were the first to bring tiki to Manchester with its Hula brand.

Unite hospitality organiser Anthony Curley said: “This is a devastating blow for workers who have powered Manchester’s local economy.

“With it being so close to Christmas, these workers will understandably be very worried about what the future holds.

“It is very sad that things were left to get to a stage that all venues were closed and workers have been let go in this way.

“Unite will wait for the company to make a formal statement before commenting further, but we urge any workers affected by the announcement to get in touch with us.”

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