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When we were a bar

We set up Sip Club on a £9,500 bank loan because our only option for an evening out in Stretford was one of the local pubs. I had been living in France for a couple of years previously so it seemed natural that every town could have a space where everyone would feel welcome. I wanted local people to be able to show up with on their own, with friends or with family, feel at home and bump in to their friends and neighbours. Styling itself as a 'living room with a licence' it had inclusivity at its core and encouraged people to meet by sharing their passions through workshops which were free fro the individual to run and free for others to attend.

Sip Club was born in an unassuming location above an estate agent in an office which had been an insolvency practice (unfortunately, it had gone bust). Our limited budget meant we had to beg our mates to help remove the carpet tiles and paint the royal blue walls, in a 'labour for lager scheme' though the roof tiles remained throughout our time. Much of the money went on installing the correct fire alert kit so we opened with just a few tables and chairs sourced in a charity shop. The first few months were peppered with people turning up for a pint carrying spare tables or chairs in order to have somewhere to sit. 

In its first year of existence, the bar won Greater Manchester City Life Best Bar, garnering more than 75% of the public vote. It went on to win numerous awards throughout its time including Trafford and Hulme CAMRA's community pub of the year in its final year.

Sip Club survived and thrived between April 2014 and March 2021 but never reopened after the Covid closures. However, during this period it had built a broad and strong community. For this reason we have decided to maintain the name and the community as we move into pastures new. 

Some of the fun groups to have survived the bar are the French Conversation Cafe, Ukelele Club and Speak Easy Poetry Club. 

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