From boarded up room with no door to a Manchester institution – The Liquor Store celebrate its tenth birthday

“To think it was just a boarded-up room with three windows, packed to the rafters with legal papers when we first moved in… I think we can look back now and all be proud of what we’ve achieved here….”
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A Manchester institution is celebrating their tenth birthday with a huge party next week.

The Liquor Store, tucked in behind Deansgate on Blackfriars Street, has built a name and reputation for itself for being one of the best bars in the City over the past ten years.

We spoke to Doug Waldron, who co-founded the bar with Brett Collier about their humble beginnings at a derelict part of Maybrook House where the journey began.

humble beginnings

Doug said: “It’s crazy looking back at pictures of it as a boarded-up building back in 2012.

“The blueprint was always what we have now, a great bar with some indie rock and roll music with cocktails and late night parties.

“When we went to see potential venues, the landlord showed me the old Kiki’s site which used to be a restaurant on Parsonage Gardens. It was huge so in the end we didn’t go for it, as the figures didn’t quite add up.

“When we found the location, it was a bit of a fluke really.  We were walking back from the old Kiki’s site and we walked past this boarded up building and the landlord mentioned it as an afterthought – ‘we’ve got this but no idea what you could do with it’ kind of thing.

It was the location of the current Liquor Store, on the corner of Blackfriars Street and The Parsonage.

It’s fair to say the initial impression were modest.

Doug continued: “It was boarded up, no front door. Just three boarded up windows. It was the back of the old nightclub which was called Venus, I think.

“It used to be Sound Garden and Heavy JB’s back in the day.

“We were met with a big empty concrete room that had been bricked off by the previous owners.

“We went in through the fire exit. It was used as storage for a load of legal papers, just boxes and mess everywhere.”

But something about the site clicked with Doug and Brett, as they ended up shaking hands there and then to take over the place.

“I just thought, actually yeah we can do something here.”

They had plenty of work to do, as there was initially no floor, no plumbing and no electrics. It was just a big concrete empty space.

“We worked away and bounced some ideas about – luckily for me my wife is a designer so we got it all together.”

But they have gone from strength to strength, winning the Eat Sleep Drink awards twice for best bar, and getting some great reviews along the way.

Doug said: “We’ve had some brilliant reviews over the years, and that’s always very satisfying.

“To get a great response from the public, that’s always a great highlight too. It’s always nice to see celebrities having a great time on the dancefloor.

“I feel that we’ve built a great reputation here. Everyone treats us like we’re their favourite little bar and that’s just great. It means were all on a similar wavelength and the atmosphere is always great.

“It’s a great community of people, nobody ever causes any trouble.

“The best highlight for me always seeing a packed dancefloor bouncing on a night out. You can’t beat it. That’s what we live for.”

Famed for its excellent cocktails, amazing team and quality rock n roll tunes The Liquor Store has received a huge amount of praise from both the public and the press having won various awards and boasting some of the greatest on-line review rankings in Manchester.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, The Liquor Store are hosting a party on November 24th.

The party starts at 6.30pm with a  late license until 4.30 in the morning, promising to be an epic knees up.

Music will be provided by duo Ellie & Raj, with DJ Jon Lowe taking over late into the night.

Not only this, Jagermeister are providing a huge Jager ice luge, Jameson Orange will be providing a drinks cart and Molson Coors will be providing a Madri station with free drinks throughout the night.

Hammonds of knutsford will be providing a drinks reception to kick things off in style.

The Liquor Store will also be putting on the drink’s menu with the best ten cocktails and drinks they have served since opening in 2012.

Ate Days a Week will be providing the munch with a massive BBQ throughout the day and night.

All the old staff will be returning for the party, and Doug has reached out to all the old regulars.

Everyone and anyone who has been involved in the Liquor Stores successes has been invited back for the event.

There will also be a live Auction looking to raise funds for the Make A Wish Foundation with prizes, experiences and gifts, so don’t forget your chequebook as they are looking to raise about £1000 for this amazing charity.

Doug said he was ‘proud’ of what they had achieved at the bar since it opened.

He said: “I think it would be fair to say we’ve become a bit of a Manchester institution.

“Everyone knows it, everyone’s been here. A lot of people can’t remember leaving which I always take as a compliment.

“To me we’ve created a place with an amazing atmosphere, amazing staff, all down to the guys behind the bar who’ve created this great party every night of the week.

“Looking back and seeing the place full of people dancing is always the biggest complement to me.

“Long may it continue.”

Wanna be there? – Liquor Store are asking for everyone to find their old pics and vids of Liquor Store nights out and share them on social media!

Simply post with the hashtag #LiquorStoreMCRis10, tagging in @LiquorStoreMCR and if they use your pic/footage for the party you will get a ticket to this mega celebration!

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