Insider Interview: Chris Legh – Pop-Up King of Manchester

By: Katie Manning

January 17, 2013

We think it’s safe to say that Chris Legh and his partner Jamie Jones are causing a sensation in Manchester’s bar scene. Their summer and winter pop-up bars in Spinningfields, “The Yacht Club“ and “Ski Club” respectively, caused much speculation and hype due to their secret locations up until opening – and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Chris takes some time out to talk to us about the bar scene in Manchester, as well as his favourite haunts in the city”¦

Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to start The Yacht Club, and venture into pop-up bars in general?

I’ve been working in the events bar industry for over a decade and I enjoy developing and executing interesting concepts. Our bars all being pop-ups enable us to continually keep things fresh and exciting.

The Ski Club

Ice Scuplture at the Ski Club © The Ski Club

What is it about Spinningfields that attracts you in particular?

Spinningfields is one of the most vibrant areas of Manchester and definitely the most up and coming. In the summer it’s also the place to be, with their great events program and big screen events like Screenfields.

How would you characterise nightlife in Manchester at the moment?           

Possibly the most diverse and exciting in the UK, it’s got everything from events like Warehouse Project, all the way through to some of the most innovative cocktail bars in the country. All can be reached in a taxi for under £5.00, so they’re accessible too.

Épernay Champagne Bar

Épernay © Ã‰pernay Champagne Bar

Where are your favourite places in Manchester to a) grab a drink and b) take a date?           

a) Depends what time of the night and what condition I’m in. For nice quiet cocktails I go to Épernay, for Dive bar antics Liar’s Club or Hula. b) Neighbourhood is a great addition for food and drinks.

Neighbourhood Bar

The Neihbourhood Bar © Neighbourhood Bar

What are your Top 3 restaurants in the city at the moment?

Australasia is a favourite, always consistently good, SoLita is great new addition and I also like Evuna for Tapas.

SoLita Manchester

SoLita’s Specials © SoLita

Plans for the future (after the Ski Club)”¦?

We’re bringing back The Yacht Club in March this year, but we’re giving it a new angle with a new destination theme. We are also going to be operating bars at various events and festivals, so lots to do.


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning