A Connoisseur’s Guide to Cocktail Bars in Manchester

By: Ruth Rosselson

May 27, 2013

A city which thinks a table is for dancing on, Manchester is internationally known for its nightlife, bars and pubs. For discerning drinkers wanting quality and choice, the city also has a number of establishments which specialise in one particular type of drink, complete with knowledgeable bartenders and appropriate ambience. Whether you’re already a connoisseur of one particular tipple, or are simply interested in a more spirited education, why not try one of these Manchester specialists?

Rum Shacks

The Liars Club, Manchester

The Liar’s Club © Carl Sukonik

Manchester has not one, but two Tiki inspired bars where you’ll find enough rum to keep a fleet of pirates happy. Forget the Manchester weather and hang out in the tropical surroundings of the Hula Tiki lounge, found in the basement of 11 Stevenson Square in the hip Northern Quarter. There’s a choice of over 100 imported rums, some over-the-top decor (including tropical fish tank), and a fun-loving crowd who are always up for a party. The Liar’s club, meanwhile, found on Back Bridge Street near Deansgate, claims the northwest’s most extensive collection of rum, set against a backdrop of palm trees, bamboo and an infectious party atmosphere. As well as selling classic rum cocktails, you can also order a full or half bottle of rum to mix as you see fit”¦

Whisky Dens

Britons Protection Pub, Manchester

Briton’s Protection Pub © Briton’s Protection

While most bars in Manchester tend to come and go, the Briton’s Protection pub on Great Bridgewater Street has seen over two hundred years of city life. This traditional quality pub hasn’t changed much over the past few decades and remains popular with people of all ages. It also happens to house over 300 different whiskies. The list is dazzling, and includes Scottish single malts and blends, over 50 different American bourbons and even whisky shipped over from Japan and India.

Champagne Bars

Epernay, Manchester

Champagne on offer at Epernay © Epernay

For those eager for a taste of the high life, champagne bar Epernay, tucked away on Watson Street, just off Deansgate, is definitely worth checking out. Stocking a wide variety of vintage and rare champagne, the atmosphere is refined, yet lively. The bar staff are always happy to advise you on your champagne choice or steer you towards one of the bar’s famous champagne cocktails.

Gin Parlours

Whim Wham Cafe, Manchester

Whim Wham Cafe © Cat Camp

Gin is currently enjoying something of a revival and two establishments in Manchester are leading the way. Gorilla, on Whitworth Street, has a gin parlour stocking quality gin from all over the world – whipped up into a collection of classic and contemporary cocktails. A stone’s throw away in one of the railway arches is the vintage inspired Whim Wham cafe, “an epicurean eatery and gin saloon”. This unusual establishment harks back to an earlier age, not just in its decor, but also in its traditional meals and selection of gin-based cocktails. Stocking 18 gins in total, the Whim Wham Cafe has carefully considered each spirit, tailor-making house cocktails with homemade syrups designed to bring out the flavour of each gin. Try the Jealous Frenzy, made with French saffron gin, chilli gin tincture and pear cognac.

Header photo © Carl Sukonik

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Ruth Rosselson

Ruth Rosselson is a writer, researcher and community facilitator based in Manchester. A city-lover through and through, Ruth loves going to gigs and eating out at her favourite Manchester restaurants and cafes. A keen scuba-diver, she’s still in search of the elusive (but very large) whale shark, and also loves country breaks in the UK. Her favourite UK spots include Grasmere in the Lake District and Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

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