Manchester is becoming quite a coffee destination, with a growing scene to rival the city’s legendary indie beer culture. We’re thrilled today to feature our first Build-Outs of Summer from Manchester, and if you’re building out this summer across the greater United Kingdom, do get in touch.
As told to Sprudge by Will Woodhouse-Banks.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Set in the heart of Manchester’s upper King Street area, Roc & Rye is a unique craft coffee and cocktail bar. Inspired by the classic American whisky cocktail, Roc & Rye is a blend of timeless elegance and Mancunian swagger. A unique haven in the heart of the urban north.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Roc & Rye is hidden inside our landmark, Grade II listed building designed by Alfred Waterhouse who was also the architect behind the Manchester Town Hall. We’ve worked hard to design the flow and layout of the inside to work well for both table and bar service. We have a huge focus on mise en place behind the bar for our baristas and bartenders to ensure they can work efficiently while being able to engage customers. The interior is inspired by the 1920s art deco era with a few modern twists.
What’s your approach to coffee?
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from successful cafes that I like the style and work flow of and tried to condense their ideas and my own into various areas of speed, quality and consistency.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’re really excited to be working with Origin Coffee Roasters from Cornwall. At launch our house espresso will be their Pathfinder blend which is made up of two coffees from El Salvador, one washed and one black honey processed. Depending how things go and how their offering changes seasonally I want to keep something exciting available for our customers to try in the other hopper. We’ll be serving it using Nuova Simonelli Mythos One grinders and a three group La Marzocco Linea PB. We’ve got batch brew on offer which at launch will be a washed Nicaragua and we’re also working on getting nitro cold brew on the go and are currently experimenting with different coffees for that.
Further down the line I’m hoping to introduce a premium filter option inspired by our whisky offering. If you want a whisky you can have the house whisky, which I am comparing to our batch brew, or you could choose from one of our 100+ other premium whiskys from a variety of origins at varying prices. My plan is to use our vac-pack machine and freeze individual portions a la Michael Cameron so we can have a menu of exciting filter coffees from multiple origins including rare varietals. Origin have an incredible Hartmann Geisha from Panama at the moment that retails for £20 for 150g and I’d like to get my hands on a bag for our premium offering.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Our official launch was Friday 7th July so we’re open now!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
I’m really excited to be working with David Cole our Head Bartender/Drink Development Manager. Back of house we have a specially fitted out cocktail laboratory where I’m looking forward to be working with David on combining the two halves of the business we both look after. Expect modern coffee cocktails on tap and classics with well extracted espresso and nitro.
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