Dark, cold evenings, relentless rain, hordes of Christmas shoppers… We can understand why you don’t much feel like leaving the house in winter. Frankly, hibernating seems like the only sensible option.
But take a look at these warming food and drink spots and you might just change your mind.
From pubs with roaring fires, proper food or epic whisky selections to an Après-ski style pop-up offering luxury throws, hot water bottles and blankets, here’s some places worth braving the cold for this winter.
— Alberts Schloss (@AlbertsSchloss) November 5, 2015
This new Bavarian bier palace from the Trof family is huge, and you’ll spot a real fire in the centre of a high table as soon as you go in. Keep going past the bar, and you’ll find Albert’s snug, with comfy sofas, rugs and a roaring fire in a beautiful vintage fireplace. Albert’s Schloss is Manchester’s first Tankovna, serving the freshest Pilsner this side of the Danube along with ten heritage brews on the taps, Alpine cocktails, homemade Schnapps, and an uber wine list. Food-wise, expect cracking steaks, heavenly burgers and seasonal specials together with Bavarian flatbreads, sausages and schnitzel – perfect for keeping out the cold. It’s only just opened, but already it feels like a Manchester institution.
27 Peter Street, M2 5QR – albertsschloss.co.uk
Stalybridge Buffet Bar
Drinking real ales at Stalybridge Buffet Bar, one of few remaining Victorian station buffet bars, dating from 1885. pic.twitter.com/jAQIqJml4T
— Louise Rhind-Tutt (@lrtpublicity) November 8, 2015
It may be slightly further afield, but whether it’s on your route or not, make sure you take a trip to Stalybridge Buffet Bar, one of the few remaining Victorian station buffet bars, dating from 1885. It’s like stepping back in time at this charming bar, which has retained the original marble-topped bar, back fittings and the welcoming fire. The stylish bar is a veritable museum with photographs of the station in its heyday, railway and other memorabilia – and there is also a superb selection of real ales. Try a few and settle in for a session – though you may end up missing your train home.
Platform 4, Stalybridge Railway Station, Rassbottom Street, SK15 1RF – beerhouses.co.uk
— Hawksmoor MCR (Lucy) (@HawksmoorMCR) October 22, 2015
With the best steaks and roast dinners in town, mac and cheese that’s worth a trip in its own right (ohhhh the shortrib mac and cheese…), champion chips, and an excellent red wine list, Hawksmoor is a winner when it comes to warming winter food. We can’t get enough of the bar menu, either – from shortrib nuggets and brilliant burgers (check out a special Christmas burger this year) to the shortrib French dip: a braised beef shortrib sandwich with Ogleshield cheese and French’s American mustard, served with bone marrow gravy for dipping. Oof. And as for the sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream…
184 – 186 Deansgate, M3 3WB – thehawksmoor.com
— Bonbon Boutique (@Bonbon_NQ) October 28, 2015
Hot chocolate and winter go hand in hand, and Bonbon does some of the best in town. Brought to you from the team behind neighbouring Teacup Kitchen, this artisan chocolatier and café has a lovely boutique feel. They offer great quality artisan coffee, alongside stunning hot chocolate – a rich Latin-American style chocolate espresso. Cakes are gorgeous, and you must try the bonbons, handmade on site and crafted from world-renowned Valrhona chocolate, whilst you’re there.
9 John Street, M4 1EQ – bonbonchocolate.co.uk
The Briton’s Protection
— City Arms (@cityarmsmcr) June 22, 2015
If winter makes you long for a traditional pub with cosy nooks and crannies to hide away with a warming whisky and a real log fire, then you couldn’t wish for more than The Briton’s Protection. They boast a vast selection of whiskies – over 300, in fact – and regularly hold Manchester Whisky Club events, but with such a huge selection there is something for the novice as well as the connoisseur so don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation. They also have an extensive range of local real ales, and two of the rooms have roaring fires.
50 Great Bridgewater Street, M1 5LE – britons-protection.com
The Liars Club
Photo: The Liars Club / Twitter
You’re guaranteed a warm welcome, no matter how bad the weather, as you descend the stairs into a tropical Tiki hideaway at The Liars Club. Boasting the North West’s largest collection of rum with over 100 varieties, they’re open until 4am daily for fun and flamboyant cocktails – try a flaming Zombie or a potent El Diablo. Sharing cocktails are served in elaborate Tiki volcanoes, coconut shells and pineapples, and the laid-back soundtrack fools you into thinking you’re in far more tropical climes than rainy Manchester.
19A Back Bridge Street, M3 2PB – theliarsclub.co.uk
— thisisGORILLA (@thisisgorilla) January 25, 2015
Nestled under the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West, Gorilla is a great place to escape from the bad weather outside and treat yourself to some great food and drink. Grab a booth by the window and you can look out at driving rain and treacherous winds whilst tucking into a mammoth breakfast (served until 4pm), Sunday roast, burger or bar snack – we especially love the salt and pepper chicken wings. The mezzanine bar hosts their Gin Parlour, a relaxed and sophisticated den dedicated to the consumption of glorious gin.
54-56 Whitworth St, M1 5WW – thisisgorilla.com
The Marble Arch
Photo: Tobias Alexander
You can’t beat a traditional real ale pub with a great menu and a real fire when it’s cold, wet and windy outside, and The Marble Arch is just perfect. The beautiful listed building, which housed the Manchester brewery until 2011, has 11 hand pulls that dispense their own beers and respected guest breweries. Look out for a cask selection that might feature Marble Manchester bitter (4.2%), Ginger (5.1%), Earl Grey (6.8%) or Chocolate Marble (5.5%), tasting of coffee, cocoa and licorice with a quenching bitter finish. There’s a brilliant bar menu too, featuring warming classics such as corned beef hash with poached egg and bacon, hearty fish chowder, and Lancashire lamb hotpot.
73 Rochdale Road, M4 4HY – marblebeers.com
Mr Cooper’s House bar
— Tweed Brew Co (@TweedBrewCo) November 3, 2015
Going for a drink at arguably the finest bar in the city feels like a real treat whether you’re sheltering from the weather or you want to treat yourself after braving the Christmas shopping hordes. There are some great winter ales on offer from Tweed, whilst the cocktail menu includes a Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned – which feels perfectly Christmassy in a pleasingly grown-up way. If you’ve been struck down by a winter lurgy then try a Penicillin, with lemon, honey, ginger and sweet and smoky whiskies. Tempting bar snacks by Simon Rogan include pork scratchings with apple gel, or maple syrup and pecan popcorn.
The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, M60 2DS – mrcoopershouseandgarden.co.uk
Following the success of last year, Bar Hütte has returned to Spinningfields until 3 January, featuring ten hüttes (available for walk-in or for reservation) with different themes. The ‘carol-oke’ hüttes give guests the chance to show off their vocal skills, the disco hüttes provide more of a party feel, and the Après-ski hüttes are fitted with soft, luxury throws, hot water bottles and blankets – perfect for keeping out the winter chill. All reserved hüttes come with table service from Bar Hutte’s fully licenced drinks bar – check out the Gin Apple Winter Toddy.