By Jack Dulhanty and Mollie Simpson
A post shared by Lystra Adams (@lystraadamsofficial)
Prioritising photos over food, vibes over value – what Boujee tells us about the direction of Manchester hospitality
It smells like roses that have been put in the microwave. A girl stands facing a wall stuck with what looks like a giant pink feather boa. “I’m desperate to get one of my…” she looks over her shoulder, at the camera, and kicks her leg up to show her shoe. I’ve been sat on a bench covered in flowers while my table is set. One of the girl’s friends comes over from the welcome desk, where she has been speaking with staff and, as if to temper the panicked photoshoot, says: “there’s more photo opportunities downstairs.”
I’m seated in what was once the Freemasons’ banquet hall – a grade II listed space and, at one time, Manchester’s most secretive. Which is wildly ironic, seeing it’s now a space tailor-made to be shared. Disembodied torsos of male mannequins dangle from the ceiling, while straight-spined staff with good teeth glide through the straits between tables. They deliver champagne bottles – lit sparklers lashed to the necks like bayonets – to eager huddles of iPhone cameras. Music pulses. Everyone’s shouting, then eating, then drinking, then springing from their seats for another photo. Everything’s pink.
Boujee Restaurant & Bar opened in May, a month after its sibling and neighbour – Terrace by Boujee, an all-pink pop-up space – opened on Bridge Street. The two ventures are co-owned and fronted by Real Housewife of Cheshire Lystra Adams, whose intro line on the show is: “Stay real. Stay loyal. Or stay the hell away from me.” Boujee typifies a trend in Manchester’s dining culture in which restaurants are simply a means to an end, the end being a well-composed Instagram post. […]