Manchester doesn’t have many bars as stylish and welcoming as The Fitzgerald on Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.
Best described as an atmospheric drinking den, this great-looking bar has a vintage feel, harking back to America’s prohibition era – except with better drinks.
Suiting the speakeasy vibe, this hidden gem only opens its doors on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, but during those times it’s a hive of activity.
Throughout the month, you’ll find comedy events, body-positive burlesque shows and, most fitting of all, the UK’s best singers performing a trio of live sets throughout the night.
You’d probably expect to hear wall-to-wall jazz covers, but just like Manchester, The Fitzgerald likes to do things differently.
Here, you’ll hear a melting pot of different genres, such as soul, dance, blues and R&B, as well as those timeless jazz standards.
Depending on the evening, you can expect to lounge back with a cocktail on one of the ultra-comfortable low-slung sofas and simply soak up the amazing music.
But you’re just as likely to see everyone up on their feet and dancing along to pitch-perfect funk and soul songs, performed live through the superb in-house sound system.
During a recent visit, Manchester’s own flame-haired chanteuse Domonique took command of the stage, wowing the room with her incredible voice and inspired mash-ups of songs and genres (a smoky, laid-back version of Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And The Waves was a true standout moment).
Happily, The Fitzgerald doesn’t go in for snooty chin-stroking. Domonique has a great line in patter between songs, cracking gags and keeping the crowd in the palm of her hand – helped in no small way by that brilliantly likeable Northern accent.
It’s a rare treat to hear vocals so good, in such an intimate venue in Manchester, especially for free.
The Fitzgerald’s other regular live singers, including Hayley Russell, Jody Findley and Natalie Ciufo, keep the quality just as high while putting their own unique spin on things.
An evening at The Fitzgerald is a truly memorable event and one you’ll want to introduce to all your friends.
It’s a stunning looking space, with candles, vintage furniture and even classic black and white films projected onto a back wall.
The cocktail menu has some unique gems (the Oriental Sling is one of the city’s very best drinks), as well as some classics, and the expert bar staff are always keen to put together something new and special.
Even more impressively, the crowd just get it. You’ll find a bunch of friendly people with that typical Mancunian lust for life, but they’re a darn sight less raucous than the rest of the Northern Quarter’s party people.
It’s the ideal place to start a big night out, but be warned, you’ll almost certainly end up seduced into sticking around for another drink or three.
When it comes to ambience and live music, The Fitzgerald is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Welcome to your new favourite secret bar.