…but I have, and there’s a hidden, secret courtyard of booze and street food down there that’s just waiting for you to visit.
2018 saw a couple of impressive new additions to the small little town of Royton in Oldham, which managed to drag it kicking and screaming about a decade into the future.
I reckon they’re on about 2003 now.
Okay, sorry – I can say that because it’s my ends and my mam owns a butty shop in Royton – so I know just how excited she was when she heard that a Craft Ale bar would be opening up, and how she was even more excited to hear of a new Gin Bar popping up right next door too.
“It’s the new Didsbury” could be heard being shouted from the rooftops, and although that’s still highly unlikely, both The Secret Sip and Gin & Juice are great and hide a very exciting arrival for the people of Royton – a hidden courtyard serving up loads of booze and hosting an impressive selection of the city’s best street food vendors.
‘The Courtyard’ is a unique tiny space round the back of the bars, accessed through an old iron door round the side on Shepherd Street.
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Once home to a couple of industrial-sized wheelie bins, owner Chris Ashley has transformed the space into a cracking outdoor boozer and food hall – a result of the restrictions placed on venues during the 2020 COVID pandemic.
Head through the iron door and you’re essentially in a tiny back garden, complete with beer hall tables and benches, most of which are under cover (let’s not forget that awful Oldham weather) alongside a dedicated food ‘hatch’ which has hosted an impressive list of street food vendors.
This week sees Indian street food legends ‘Tikka Chance on Me‘ take over, and in the past the courtyard has seen Lucky Mamas, the Quesadilla Crew, Nasi Lemak, Archchi’s and loads more come through the doors and fire up the ovens.
Not only that, the Courtyard has a dedicated bar, brewery, quiz night, running club, cycling club, football club and I’m sure there’s a load of other things that I missed out on during my brief visit a few months ago.
Since I stopped living at my mams and moved to Stretford I’ve not been back, but it looks like The Courtyard has just gotten even bigger and even better – so it seems like a repeat visit is going to be necessary.
And it should be for you too. Check out their socials for information on who’s down there, what they’re serving up and what’s happening…