Save Saki’s Soul Kitchen

I’ve been lucky enough to come across a few places in a few cities with exceptional company and magical atmosphere. These are bars where people get falling-down drunk and yet there’s never an unkind word or aggressive stance. These are the places Jim Morrison was thinking of when he sang: ‘Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen/Warm my mind in your gentle stove/Turn me out and I’ll wander, baby/Stumbling in the neon groves…’

Saki Bar is a great, lively pub at the point where Rusholme meets Oxford Road. It features excellent music as well as benefit nights for Oxfam and No Borders. An average night encapsulates exactly the kind of vibrant, multicultural leisure the council says it wants to promote. Nevertheless it has revoked Saki’s license.

I don’t see the council has much of a case here. The grounds are noise nuisance, but Saki is on a main road with Oxford Road bars on one side and Rusholme’s restaurants on the other. Face it – there is going to be some late night noise whether Saki’s there or not; you can walk into an Indian place and get a table at midnight, easily. The Evening News reports ‘problems with groups of ‘rowdy’ drinkers gathering on the streets outside in the early hours of the morning.’ Since the smoking ban, that’s been the case with every bar that still has a clientele. If the council is serious about coming down on noise nuisance it should close the corporate drinking barns in the city centre which generate far more aggravation than anywhere in Manchester’s independent bar scene.

Saki’s appeal is up on September 20, and its owners have lodged a petition:

In February 2010, Saki Bar based in Rusholme, Manchester, had its license revoked on the grounds of noise complaints by local residents. It has an appeal against this decision on September 20th 2010.

Saki Bar will be appealing on the grounds that they have done everything asked of them to eradicate the noise complaints. Since this decision and prior to it, they have worked closely with Manchester city council and the local police to make sure the bar is operating in a safe and responsible manner.

The police visit the bar at least every weekend, and have at each point been satisfied that the owners and managers are doing everything possible to resolve this situation.

The soundsystem and noise levels are regularly tested. There are notices across the bar reminding people to leave quietly at the end of the night. Any clubnights or bands that do not comply with this, are not allowed to use the venue again.

In the 2 years that Saki Bar has existed, it has become a very important bar for Manchester’s music scene. It is commonly used by many of the city’s most responsible and passionate music fans. People use the bar because it is very supportive of local music. It has also commonly been used by charity events such as Oxjam.

The effect of losing Saki Bar as a venue would be very damaging to Manchester’s bands and DIY music promoters. They have done everything within their means to address the noise issues and continue their good work. Therefore, we invite anybody that supports this notion and values Saki Bar as a safe and responsible venue to socialise, to sign the petition.


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