A couple of weeks ago we experienced what has got to be one of my favourite, most unforgettable Menagerie Moments to date. While on the last leg of the European stint of his ‘The Man of the Woods Tour’, the legendary Justin Timberlake and his dancers came to party with us.
On the Tuesday night before Justin’s show at the Manchester Arena on the Wednesday, we got a phone call from one the dancers to let us know they were celebrating a birthday and wanted to come down to Menagerie. We organised somewhere private for eleven of them in the restaurant, but we never thought for one minute that Justin would be joining them. When they all came in, Justin strolled in casually and I think for a minute all of the staff, including myself and Helen were totally in shock and awe.
We showed them to their table so the celebrations for dancer, Maja Kereš’s birthday could begin. In true Menagerie style we had to go all out and show them how us Mancunians do turning one year older; cue an elephant strutting down our catwalk, with a birthday plate in hand, followed by me with sparklers to give the night that true Menagerie flair. As this was going on, Justin was just returning to the table and now it was his turn to look shocked. The troupe loved it and all wanted to get involved. It was an absolute honour to help such an amazing group celebrate a special occasion.
After a great night, the dancers invited us along to the show at the Manchester Arena as a thank you for making their evening so special. I couldn’t believe it, and I think I might have even said ‘YES’ before they could finish extending the invitation. What can I say – I’ve been a fan since the NSYNC days.
We thought that would be the end of it, but at 7pm on the night of the show, we got a call to let us know that because the whole team had loved everything so much the previous night that they wanted to come back and have their after party with us at Menagerie. With it being their last night in Europe before heading back across the pond, we wanted to make it a night for them to remember so they left our great city on a high. So before we headed to the show we planned the after party, booked fire performers and organised to have food and drinks waiting for them when they arrived.
After pulling everything together, Helen and I made our way to arena, and it’s safe to say we were a little more than excited. We went backstage to say ‘hi’ to all the lovely dancers thats we’d met the night before and then headed to the floor to see them perform. We were right next to the stage and at one point Justin was singing and smiling at us from the stage which was amazing and totally surreal.
As they arrived, we served up our Babydoll cocktail to welcome them in a style – if you haven’t tried this, it’s a deliciously sweet mix of red berry and mango vodka, vanilla and finished with a prosecco top for that added sparkle – it’s a must to get your Friday night started, or in this case, a Wednesday. As their tour DJ played popular hip hop and RnB tunes from our birdcage we served up sushi, tacos and sliders – a firm favourite with our customers. This was followed by our popular jewellery boxes of shots, which we sent out filled with our finest patron – I hope there were no sore heads the following day!
When I created Menagerie, I set out to make it an amazing place to work for all of my staff with an atmosphere like no other, and to see Justin’s crew teaching all my staff their dance routines was incredible – everyone was up and dancing together, including Justin and it’s something I’ll never forget.
We partied into the early hours and by Friday we’d just about recovered from the excitement, but it was a really busy day for me – I didn’t stop until about 8pm when I sat down for a bit of food in the restaurant. My plan was to head home after a bite to eat and get changed, put some makeup on and then head back to Menagerie for Friday night, but as we all know, sometimes things just don’t go to plan; however for the turn of events that night, I didn’t mind forgoing my plans. While I was eating, Tyson Fury and his friends arrived so I went over to say ‘hi’ to everyone. As the evening progressed, it was great to see them all having such a good time, so we decided to do one of our new signature champagne shows, ‘The Big Bad Wolf’ and asked Tyson to get involved. He was more than up for it, so Tyson starred as himself while Helen and I dressed up as Supergirl and the rest of the team joined us on the catwalk as rabbits. The wolf got up on the middle of his table and continued dancing – sparklers in hand.
Just as I returned to being Karina from my short but sweet stint as Supergirl, I got a phone call saying that Kevin Hart and the crew from Netflix, who are filming his latest documentary, wanted to come down. We set up a table for him and made sure we had plenty of Hennessy lined up for them – their drink of choice! He was such a great guy, really chilled and was telling us how much he loved Archie’s and wished they had one in LA. It was an eventful and fabulous evening!
Never in my wildest imagination did I expect the events of the last couple of weeks to unfold how they did. Thank you for making the last days of summer just as amazing as the rest have been guys!