ON A CHILLY August evening I met up with a rather lovely man in the spot that’s locally famous for being where the city lawyers like to chatter, eat and drink very well indeed.
Dukes 92 is located at the bottom of Castlefield. The bar and grill sits next to the number 92 lock on the canal. (It was meant to be numbered “1” but because a Yorkshireman built the canal, he couldn’t deal with the idea of a number 1 being in Lancashire. Sigh.)
Castlefield is an affluent area with boutique bars, converted mills and Victorian stables, canal boats, big bridges and blue fairy lights threaded through the trees with the odd butterfly in the summer. It still manages to be calm, even with the radio stars and joggers passing through. The fact that it is next door to glamorous Deansgate could go someway explaining why Castlefield bleeps a little below radar.
The city centre is deathly quiet at about 9pm, so there’s no point meeting anywhere around there on a Sunday. Whilst I played it safe with a Black Russian, he got himself the Godfather: an Amaretto, JD and coke – and they weren’t too skimpy on the servings either. Although £6.00 is a tad steep when you can wander over to Deansgate Locks at Revolution for £4.99 daiquiris, it’s cheaper than Northern Quarter and at Dukes you pay for great service, cuter seats and a much subtler experience.
Five shires cheese sandwich, £5.50
Bottle of Saint Emilion-Montagne, £24.00