“ City: Manchester „
I went to Kro today, there are a few in the city and this one the review will be about is the one on oxford road near the University of Manchester students union. Kro is a Danish bar and it is pretty classy. It has two outdoor areas, one on the front and one on the back, both which have sunny and shady areas, (obviously depending on the weather and time of day) and covered areas.
Kro is a nice place to have a coffee and a Danish pastry or cake, or just a drink, or you can have a full meal there. They have a pretty extensive menu or typical bar food like burgers, grills, breakfasts and sides and snacks. A burger of big size, but without chips or anything is £7 and to add chips I think was £1.20 - a bit steep I think. They have some more Danish inspired things on the menu like the "Danwich" sandwiches which I think is pretty cute although I have never tried one.
The decor is ok, it is white walls etc with dark wood, and they they have some posters up etc, today there was some about an accident locally which I though was good as it is a good place where someone who knows the person they are asking for might go. They also have a table thing with loads of local info like club nights and arty events etc. The only thing is that it is an old building and the floors are dark and not that even so I think if it was dark inside it might be a bit hard to navigate around, expecially if someone wasn't too steady on their feet!
At the bar there is a wide rang of drinks and loads of flavoured vodkas and other spirits and liquors. A corona cost £3 so to be honest I think it has pretty standard nice bar prices.
All of the staff I have ever encountered in there are really nice and friendly, although today it took a while to clear our plates but I think thats because we were outside and it was pretty busy. Despite this though, it only took about 20 minutes for them to bring us our food which I don't think is bad really.
The toilets were upstairs and I didn't see a dissabled one but these were ok, nice, big, high sinks but not really enough paper towel and for a classy place they could have been more nicely decorated. I think there is some seating upstairs but I have never eaten up there or seen the seating area so I can't really comment sorry.
I miss Manchester's bar scene so thought I would review one of my old favourites Kro Bar. It is a mini chain of classy bars, which I just adore.
If I said to you that Krobar was Danish inspired bar what would you think? Perhaps you might think yummy bacon and pastries or perhaps you would think oh no all the bar staff will be wearing horned Viking helmets and fake blond plaits and Valkery costumes.
Be rest assured there are no tacky references to Denmark in these rather classy bars. It is Danish inspired as the bar's name comes from the Danish word for a pub or an inn Kro. The owners are also Danish in origin giving it an authentic touch. They do Danish pastries, bacon and Danish specialities though
The original Kro bar is located in a Georgian terrace opposite the Manchester University Student's Union on Oxford Road. It is pretty easy to get to using public transport as it is on the busiest bus route in Europe. On approaching the Krobar you will see a beautiful classic building with outdoor seating. In the summer months this outdoor space is chock a block with both students and young professionals sipping a beer or glass of wine and enjoying the sun.
The Krobar is on two levels. I must admit I really have not ventured up into the second floor apart to use the toilets. So I can not comment on this however the downstairs seating is pretty spartan but comfortable. There is no fake Victorian furniture here. There is also more outdoor seating outside. It is a very pleasant place to sit. I have been to the Krobar a few times after work and find it a nice atmosphere with a mixed crowd as I have already mentioned. I have always found the Krobar to be fairly clean and not too noisy or smoky so it is a great place to meet friends and chat.
The menu for the Krobar is fairly large with just about something for everyone. Although I have not tried the breakfast menu they have a wide range of items combining traditional ingredients and different types of breads and bagels. They do a humongous breakfast for six pounds and bagels and sandwiches are £3.95. This might be more a treat than an everyday breakfast as I feel that it is a wee bit expensive .The bar opens at 8.30 for breakfast,.
The Main Menu is quite expansive and has something for everyone. The roast dinner with a pint of either Carling tempted me or London Pride for just under £6 but opted for a vegetable enchilada. My sister had stuffed roasted peppers and Duskman had the Farafal pasta, which was pasta with chicken in a white wine, cream and red pesto sauce. We also had a side order of sweet onion bread. The prices are reasonable. I do no think any of our meals were over £6 or £7. I noticed the steak at £9 was the most expensive thing on the menu. They also do a wide range of sandwiches and wraps between £2 and £5. They also do home made soup. There is a deal to get a soup and a sandwich for about £4-£5. They also do some Danish specialities such as Danish sausages, Frikadelle and Danish breaded plaice. All food according to the website is freshly cooked and the products come form environmentally friendly sources.
We had to wait about fifteen to twenty minutes for our meal to be served. I do not mind this as I know that it is not just going to be heated up in a microwave. The meals arrived all at once and the service was friendly. My dinner was very nice with chunky vegetables, and a nice amount of spiciness. There was a lot of tasty tomato and cheese sauce surrounding the enchilada. I felt the portion was a decent enough size . The roast peppers were declared delicious and lovely and sweet by Fiona. I had a little taste of Richard's pasta and it seemed tasty. The onion bread rounded off a nice meal.
Yes I know we are in a bar and I have not mentioned the drinks. They have a fairly extensive wine list with bottles costing12 or 13 pounds and a house wine 9.50. My sister had a glass o the house white and said it was nice and dry. For the beer drinkers among sat you they seem to have a fail selection of both common and less well known beers specialising in European beers. I am sure it was here I was first introduced to Hoegarten. I had a half of a Bavarian wheat beer which I felt was distinctive and very easy to drink (I will try to remember the name for those of you beer aficionados). With Richard's pint of Storngbow the drinks total came to around six pound. I would not say Krobar is the cheapest place for drinks but it's a nice place to drink and they do have a good selection if you are looking for something unusual. They also have a range of coffees for in the morning or for those who are teetotal (the building was once owned by Manchester Temperance Society) Apparently you get a free croissant with every large mug of coffee. Another reason for visiting the Krobae.
The toilets were cleanish and were a mixture of modern and old with those big square sinks I associate with sculleries.
Krobar is an independent bar but there is also the Krobar2 further up Oxford Road towards the City Centre. They have also recently opened the new café in Manchester Museum also on Oxford Road. Just to note Krobar was Citylife's bar of the year in 2000 and Krobar2 won the same award in 2002. Oh and for those in Manchester City Centre Kro catering do delivery services so you do not have to face the hoards of students.
Kro has recently opened a new branch in the new Piccadilly Gardens development in Manchester City Centre. I visited on a couple of times and was suitably impressed with it.
It is more like Kro2 as the building is very modern with very little personality. However it has big windows and thus is an ideal place to be seen or do a little bit of people watching. . Luckily re is a separate restaurant area which is more spacious and slightly quieter the music was certainly quieter and I could hear myself think. I also liked it as it was not at all smoky. It was an ideal place for a good old gossip over a bottle of wine and nice food.
The menu was shorter and slightly more expensive than I remember the original Kro bar being. It has a real emphasis on fish dishes but there are also two vegetarian dishes and a couple of steak type dishes however it was still very nice. The first time had a big bowl of Moules Marinere (£7.99) which came with slices of fresh crusty bread. We shared a bottle of nice rose wine, which was about £13, and a side order of lively crisp chunky chips. The puddings are delicious and not too sickly. . My friend's strawberry gateau was exquisite stacked. It looked too good to eat. I had a really nice pear dish. We rounded it off with a shot of Countreua. This was the part of the meal I was most disappointed with as the ice had melted and it tasted watered down. The other niggle I had with Kro Piccadilly is that the toilets are a right trek from the restaurant area.
The service was friendly and pretty prompt although I was bemused about how we would order at first, as there were no staff in sight when we sat down for food.
Would I recommend Kro?? What do you think I am going to say? Of course I would recommend it.. It may not be the cheapest place but it is reasonable and is not pretentious. All in all it is a great place with a nice mix of people with a lovely menu and some interesting beers. What more do you want from a bar!!
There is actually more than one Kro-bar in Manchester, so I'll mention the two I know ( I think there are 3 or 4).
The Kro in kro bar is apparently Danish (or it might be Finnish?) for Bar. So it's name is bar bar. I think they chose it because it sounded funny, but the bar does have a slight Danish/Scandanavian influence.
The original Kro bar is directly opposite the Manchester University union, which leads, obviously, to it being dominated by one particular group; yes, students. However, the prices mean that it's not too rowdy a crowd. It's situated in an old Georgian/Victorian townhouse, with bench and table seating outside at the front and back, a long thin room downstairs and a similar room upstairs. Inside, it's mostly tables, although with (usually) bar service. Inside, it can be a little dark, due to the distance the middle is from any windows. There's usually ok music playing, tending towards the moby/coldplay type.
The second kro bar (Kro2) is nearer the metropolitan uni, but because it's also close to the BBC, lots of offices and the city, it has a slightly older crowd. It is purpose built as the ground floor of an office building with all glass walls. it's a really cool design to look at but, basically, it's all window, no walls. Which means you can watch the street really well, but it makes me feel like I'm on display in the zoo. It's also seated with bar service, and with a bench and table beer garden.
The drinks are what you expect from any vaguely good bar; lots of bottled beers, a couple of lagers - including some Scandanavian ones - on tap, decent wine list, lots of spirits. My OH always moans about the lack of bitter on tap, but then I don't really think it's that kind of bar. Prices for a pint draught are in the £2.50-3 range. They also do hot drinks; however, the cream on the hot chocolate always seems to be off, which puts me off.
The food in the first kro bar (haven't tried kro2 for food) is adequate - lots of nachos, tortilla wraps, burgers, potato skins etc - which are all fine as pub food goes, but it's not a place you'd go to for the food specifically - it's just convenient and adequate. As a guide, the nachos are about £3.50 and the burgers about £4 - £4.50.
Atmosphere - well, I'm not crazy about either kro bar, kro2 because it feels like a fish bowl, kro 1 because I always end up next to some noisy, arrogant student git who's bragging about something or other loudly. Plus the staff in the first Kro (but not the 2nd) seems grumpy and more interested in chatting among themselves. Plus both are at lunches and in the evening, very busy and sometimes (thurs-sun nights) standing room only.
Would I recommend them? Kro2 is worth a look for the design and it's not bad as a stop on a pub crawl, though I'd never be able to stay in there all night (cost/noise). Kro1 is convenient for my classes and is better than canteen food, but I'd never really bother specifically going there.