Police find GUN and suspected drugs at glitzy celeb launch night of Habbibi restaurant in Manchester

The restaurant's glamorous launch party was attended by a host of famous TV stars
-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)


A gun and suspected drugs were found at a restaurant during its glitzy launch night in Manchester city centre, the Manchester Evening News can reveal.

Police attended the launch party for Habbibi, a new £3m restaurant and bar in Spinningfields, which was attended by a host of celebs, shortly before 9pm on Saturday (June 8).

It is understood the firearm was found in the toilets of the fancy venue on Hardman Boulevard. Police were then called out at 8.45pm and located the gun, before a quantity of suspected drugs were also seized and were sent for testing.

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Habbibi's owners took over the former Refinery bar site in the XYZ building. Guests at the launch party on Saturday night included a host of famous faces from TV.

Love Island stars were in attendance as well as a host of Corrie stars. The Manchester Evening News understands the firearm was uncovered in a toilet cubicle. The alarm was raised and police were called out to the restaurant. No arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: "At around 8.45pm on Saturday 8 June 2024, we were called to reports of a firearm being located at a business property on Hardman Boulevard in the city centre.

"Our officers attended and recovered the firearm in question. A quantity of suspected drugs were also seized and sent for testing. The firearm was made safe at the scene and no arrests have been made. Investigations are ongoing."

Dancers entertain diners at the launch night where the gun was found
Dancers entertain diners at the launch night where the gun was found -Credit:Vincent Cole

The owner of Habbibi, Zack Issak, said in a statement issued to the MEN: “We are saddened and shocked to confirm that on the evening of Saturday 8th June, during our Manchester launch event, a member of the Habbibi team discovered a firearm on site.

"As a venue we immediately took all appropriate action, notifying the police and securing the weapon in our safe until officers arrived to safely remove the firearm from the premises. The police were able to confirm that the firearm was not loaded. All of our guests were completely safe and at no stage was there any wider danger. There is an ongoing police investigation so we are limited with the information we can share at this time.

"This is of course not how we wanted to start our journey, to join the vibrant and buoyant hospitality scene in Manchester as a new venue. However we want to reassure all of our guests and the residents of this great city that this is an isolated incident. We will share further information as and when we are able to, and will continue to work closely with the police.

"Whilst we are still in shock at the incident, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far and look forward to welcoming you all to join us at Habbibi and to show people how amazing the culinary scene in this great city is!"