This is a great little spot on the Curry Mile. Fresh ingredients, tasty food and the whole place seems clean and pristine. But what's this? It's not just a restaurant. Oh no, here in the heart of Rusholme we have a music venue and club to go to. Seriously, we do!
It's a fab place to smoke hookahs and surprisingly you can enjoy everything from dubstep to thrash metal, live or otherwise. Weird and wonderful is the order of the day here and there are some great clubnights - it's very much the sort of bar you might not find yourself thinking is your thing, but you should step outside your comfort zone and give it a go. It'll be one of those ones you wind up telling friends about and it's certainly a fab place to end your Curry Mile night.
I've never sampled the shisha here, but there is a large terrace on which to do so. It never seems as busy as Musicana or the other shisha haunts further down the curry mile and to me it just doesn't seem as welcoming or as snug.
However, the upstairs room (bar-cum-club-cum-gig venue) is quite the opposite. I visited to see a friend's band as part of an Oxjam event. I'd seen friends' bands at larger venues such as Club Academy and the Roadhouse, which had always been embarrassingly empty and therefore had an indisputably terrible atmosphere. I'd almost given up. But this was for charity - I was assured that I was really doing the world a lot of good. Saki restored my faith in band nights. Maybe this was partly to do with the £2 doubles (they apparently now also have a £3 cocktail menu), but I had a really enjoyable night. The atmosphere was great, I met some friendly people and although the room was not packed, there was not that empty feeling I had experienced at other band nights.
All in all, a welcome break from the curryhouses of 'the mile', affordable and accessible for students, good for live music and the DJs play some funkin' good tunes.
Saki cafe is one of these places I will just never ever like. This also means it's a perfect opportunity for me to try out completely objective reviewing. I'm going to try and measure it on its merits as a whole, without biasing my judgement because I personally think it's about as exciting as an egg.
It's a shisha bar, a cafe, and a nightclub all rolled into one. While that could seem like an eclectic mix, it clearly pulls it off well as every single time I ever pass it in the evening it is fit to burst with the amount of punters crammed within. I've been there a few times, and the general atmosphere and music could only be described as my personal idea of hell, but I can see how it grabs the market it wants. It's loud, intense and cheap, serving the local young adults with exactly the sort of night they want.
If you like dance, dub-step, and other sorts of music from that particular direction, then you'll almost certainly enjoy Saki. Otherwise you'll steer well clear like I do.
See, that was fairly unbiased.
Hey culture smash! Sonic Youth posters rubbing shoulders with hookah smokers! This was always going to happen, and it's wonderful to have a place which caters simultaneously for the indie AND the Asian communities.
Upstairs you'll occasionally be able to witness live music. As the place is cheap/free to rent, budding concert promoters like to host their evenings here. You will, therefore, be able to witness a large selection of local unsigned acts as well as more niche international performers who deal variously in sludge metal and post-rock.
As a performance space, it's wonderful. There's no stage to speak of - and, if there ever were, it's now overrun by stacked chairs and tables. The effect of this is that bands are forced to use their monitors to corden off a small area of the room around which their audience can crowd. You are, therefore, face-to-face with the band. You confront them and they confront you right back. There's intimate and there's Saki Bar - and, like all the best venues in the city, here the space is so cramped that the music becomes a physical presence in the room.
And a fully stocked bar and lovely terrace area - here you can feel alive.
Saki Bar marks the start of the Curry Mile, and for me, was my first ever experience in Rusholme. I went, with a friend to a fundraiser/party in the upstairs function room at Saki Bar, and I have never been back since.
Not that Saki Bar was particularly bad - it wasn't - it merely was not my kind of place. The downstairs bar was completely deserted when we arrived, which we thought was a bit of a bad sign, although upstairs, it was crammed to the rafters. It made me wonder why the downstairs was so deserted - a question I have never quite been able to answer. Still, the bar was well stocked, the prices were reasonable, and the décor provided a certain semblance of atmosphere.
If I was to return to Saki Bar in the future, it would be to partake in the odd bit of Shisha, available in an outside terraced area which opens directly onto Wilmslow Road. I must say, I have a certain fondness for Shisha after a holiday in Egypt, and would happily return to Saki Bar for this reason, but otherwise, there are better bars nearer and dearer to my heart, so I will give them my custom.
I love this place. Saki has some fantastic gigs on during the week, but it really comes alive at the weekend! There's usually a clubnight on Friday or Saturday evenings - my favourite is Underachievers Please Try Harder, which takes place every other Saturday. It's a fun, unpretentious night where you can dance to lovely twee and Indie records until way past your bedtime. I think it's a 4am finish!
The bar itself is pretty cool too. It's on two floors, booze is cheap and there's a huge outdoor smoking/chatting area. Best of all, as it's right at the end of the curry mile, you can go for a boozy post-club take away afterwards!
Saki is a strange place. It doesn't look like the kind of place where you could attend a dubstep night, watch the 3000mph thrash metal band from Wigan, dance around like a loon to great soul music and listen to some prime slabs of '60s punk... but it is as I've been witness to all these things since it opened.
Popped on the end of Rusholme's curry mile, being out of town means that it's the kind of place that can gather up all those people who can't/won't get gigs in more established venues, leaving you with a place that unpretentious and willing to give anything a go.
In that respect, it's a valuable and fun place to take a punt on. Of course, in an age when people need things pigeon-holed before they try it out, it can suffer from being a little quiet in the week.
However, at the weekend, the place really kicks out the jams and can often been seen swarming with people in the biggish smoking area or on the balcony which joins the upstairs.
The beer is beer and the staff and mega-polite and get your drink to you politely and promptly.
Like I said, it's a weird little place, but all the more wonderful for it. It's surprisingly big too. You should check out what they're doing as there's fun to be had behind those doors.
I've absolutely no idea if they sell saki or not however.
Saki cafe is a funky spot. With DJs sets and live bands at the weekends it's less your ordinary shisha bar. Cheap drinks (£2 a double) and good fresh food are always on and the atmosphere is vibrant for such a strange little spot. So strange I struggle to pin point how saki cafe consistently pulls in the numbers but it does. The cafe is also home to some cool events such as love music hate racism and other student nights. During the day it's a funky mix of dub and soul and there is some great food on offer all very fresh, try the nutty baklava. In summary this bar offers a great respite from the student pubs around with great music, drink, smoke and food.
Saki Bar sits at the gateway to the curry mile, and is a bit of a cult hang out amongst students. The bar often hosts gigs and events and has a shisha bar attached, providing plenty of Middle-Eastern delights. Although the main attraction is the shisha, for me the prospect of the warm, delicious filo pastry of fresh baklava and a hot, spiced apple cinnamon drink is easily enough to draw me out of the confines of my student bedroom. Conveniently located at the start of Oxford Road's famous mile long straight of Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, it makes for the perfect end to an evening out with flat mates if you curry leaves you wanting more, providing a warm and lively atmosphere, even on the coldest of winter's evenings.
Café Saki is probably not the type of place I would normally go but went with some friends when I was in Rusholme. The music is pretty much sold and funk music, well it was on the Friday that I went. I found this place to have a very student and lively vibe which was good but made me feel a few years older. Perhaps one of the best features of this place is the face that they sell doubles for only £2 each. This is such a cheap night and when you consider its only £3 it really is one of the cheapest places around. Personally I had a great night because of the company that I was with, the music is not really my scene but I have no issues with the actual establishment. The staff were polite and friendly, and you get served pretty promptly.
Saki looks a bit like a standard Rusholme curry house, but it's actually a strange and wonderful club. Every other Saturday there's a night called Underachievers Please Try Harder - good for a coy dance to indie and unexpected choons. If you fancy a break, there's an outdoor bit where you can smoke an actual hookah. Half Twee As F*, half Turkish bath.
So many memories about this place. For me, it's like entering into a magical trance, reliving all them moments from the past, over and over again. I used to live in Rusholme, so this little place used to be my 'secret' place. I used to go there with my boyfriend, to smoke some shisha, enjoy their best drinks (I recommend apple and cinnamon), and play chess. You don't need to bring your own set, you can ask at the bar. The prices are excellent: A fiver for the shisha and around three quid for a drink. The best think about it? You can bring your own food, your own beer if you like. You will have a good time, you can go there with your friends, to enjoy a relaxing evening while you catch up with the latest gossips, or you can take your partner and have interminable conversation, while smoke full of flavor is dancing everywhere around you. Oh, and not to forget, the staff is brilliant. Absolutely amazing. They don't let you wait, they serve really quick, and if you are lucky as I was, to be a loyal customer, you get free hot chocolate and good discounts at the end.
Very studenty, have some great DJ sets on at the weekend and i think it's just been refurbished!
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