Manchester is an exciting place to be as there’s always likely to be somewhere new and different to try, and it’s just full of hidden gems. Jen Scrafton takes a look at 10 of the best bars in Manchester.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet pint of locally brewed ale in low-key surroundings, or a chic and stylish cocktail bar, Manchester has everything you could want in a city drinking scene.
The Whim Wham Café
Situated under the railway arches on Whitworth Street West, the vintage décor and music of Whim Wham are in keeping with the ’40s style gin saloon theme.
It’s cozy and quirky, and has a relaxed atmosphere. Its location makes it ideal for drinks before or after trips to the Palace Theatre or Bridgewater Hall, or as a precursor to gigs at the Ritz or Gorilla. In the daytime try its locally brewed ales and popular regionally-inspired food menu, especially the traditional Sunday roast –great value with two courses for £12.50. And in the evenings it would be a shame to miss out on one of their gin-based cocktails from the extensive and exciting-sounding menu, such as the Vimto Smile.
64 Whitworth Street West, M1 5WQ. Tel: 0161 236 0930 (website)
This chic cocktail bar sits in the in the heart of Spinningfields, and with its stylish urban design it is the perfect venue for after-work drinks for Manchester’s city professionals. During these times it has a great bustling atmosphere and its glass walls and outdoor seating also make it a nice sunny day destination. It makes for a stylish start to a more refined evening at the weekends and the cocktails are pretty exciting, though not cheap. My favourite is the White Cosmo: a gin and elderflower cocktail, complete with a frozen orchid.
3 Hardman Street, M3 3HF. Tel: 0161 817 2950 (website)
When I think of Bakerie I think of amazing wine and tasty themed bread boards. It’s based in the Northern Quarter and seems quite out of the way, so has a great chilled atmosphere. It also feels open and friendly thanks to the long tables and benches and large open seating booths.
The bread-based menu comes highly recommended, particularly the famous Bakerie boards – a selection of freshly baked breads with either a range of meats, cheese, seafood or vegan nibbles and chutneys/sauces. To drink try something from the extensive wine selection – I’d recommend the Torres Vina Esmerelda.
45 Lever Street, M60 7HP. Tel: 0161 236 9014 (website)
Dukes 92 is based in the Castlefield area of Manchester and is a prime location for some al fresco drinking and dining. The vast outdoor terrace/ beer garden by the canal side means that it’s a hugely popular drinking spot during the warmer months when the sun’s out. It is a relaxed and chilled place for a pint in the daytime, and stylish evening haunt too. Why not try an icy cold cider on a hot summer’s day?
18 – 25 Castle Street, Castlefield, M3 4LZ. Tel: 0161 839 8642 (website)
The Liars Club
Down in a basement situated not far off Deansgate is a Caribbean-themed Tiki bar selling a vast selection of rum. With its pirate drinking den décor complete with palm trees and barrels for tables it does look quite kitsch, but the extreme cocktails served in pirate chests, real pineapples, tin cans or accessorised with fire – and the cool vibe – more than make up for it. If you’re brave try the flaming ‘Zombie’ cocktail with rum, absinthe and liquors. It’s so extreme there’s a limit to just two per customer!
19A Back Bridge Street, M3 2PB. Tel: 0161 834 5111 (website)
[Lammars – picture: Julia / Flickr / CC]
Lammars is a late-night bar located at the very edge of the city centre in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The building is a converted textile factory, and while it retains some of the original features such as bare brick walls, Lammars creates a fun and quirky environment with its interesting choice of decorative items, from the pop art paintings and chandeliers to the golden eastern-themed sculptures. It’s a great choice for late-night socialising thanks to the DJs, who play some ’70s and ’80s classics.
57 Hilton St, M1 2EJ. Tel: 0161 237 9058 (website)
The Oast House
This olde worlde wooden shack is quite out of place amongst the chic glass fronts of Spinningfields’ designer stores. But there’s really no other place like it in Manchester city centre.
It’s fantastic for its big outdoor space which is always popular on summer afternoons, as is the outdoor BBQ which provides burgers and hanging kebabs. It’s also nice on a cold winter’s night too – if the inside is full you can always wrap up warm and sit outside, and in the run up to Christmas you’ll find new exciting things like their Curious Teepee, where you can escape into a festive haven of open fires, snuggly rugs and fairy lights.
The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, Crown Square, M3 3AY. Tel: 0161 829 3830 (website)
Kosmonaut is your typically cool Northern Quarter bar, with a New York minimalist feel to the décor (exposed wood and pipework, and some school house chairs alongside the comfy sofas for good measure).
It’s not trying to be fancy and has a nice chilled atmosphere which makes it popular with the after-work crowd. It’s slightly out of the way but the burgers are fantastic, and with WIFI and a ping pong table both promoted on the sign outside the door, it’s worth hunting down. Why not try something from their selection of artisan beers and craft cocktails?
10 Tariff St, M1 2FF (website)
Corbieres Wine Cavern
[Corbieres – picture: Diego Sideburns / Flickr / CC]
With its discreet side-street entrance, Corbieres is fairly hard to find. But it’s worth the effort.
You drop down some steps to an underground cave bar, which does get pretty warm and cosy but is renowned for having the best jukebox in Manchester. This is the definition of a hidden gem. For drinks the best option is probably the selection of local ales and bottled foreign beers, but really the jukebox and cool vibe is what attracts the crowds.
2 Half Moon St, Manchester, M2 7PB. Tel:0161 834 3381
[The Fitzgerald – picture: Facebook]
This Gatsby-style speakeasy bar is a wildcard entry to the list as it only opened recently, and having not yet attracted a following it remains to be seen whether it will stand the test of time.
However, as a late night venue with a 1920s theme seen in the jazzy music, staff outfits and luxurious décor, it is likely to become a popular destination. It’s a classy cocktail lounge that sits above the chic and lovely Rosylee Tearooms in the Northern Quarter, and the secret(ish) entrance along the side of the building adds an element of excitement. When it comes to drinks it’s all about the cocktails here!
11 Stevenson Square, M1 1DB (Facebook page)
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