What’s cooler than being cool? Well obviously knowing about these secret hotspots in the city centre – the hard to find drinking dens well worth seeking out. They’re the kind of places you’d take that mate who thinks he’s been everywhere and seen everything.
These joints aren’t your average run of the mill; they’re cool, classy and just a little bit sassy. If you like your bars on the more exclusive side, this list might just help you find a new favourite.
Keep an eye out for the newest cocktail bar to hit Manchester. Down a narrow stairway and, unsurprisingly, behind a closed door lies this drinking den of debauchery and indulgence which opens later this week. This sleek, sexy and downright sleazy throwback bar is one that has to be visited to be appreciated. Order yourself a Furry Cup, a mix of Absolute Kurant Vodka, Gifford Creme De Mure, lemon, egg white and white peach and shaken hard for a foamy top. If you’re feeling kinky, maybe try the 50 Shades of Earl Grey.
91 – 95 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
This quirky little bar tucked away somewhere between South King Street and John Dalton Street will probably be the best discovery you make in some time. Look for the Goods Entrance sign and remember, good things come in small packages, especially in the form of Running with the Devil cocktail. It’s hot.
South King Street, Manchester, M2 6EX
The location and design of this venue – the word Arcane means “hidden, mysterious and understood by few” – goes a long way to fulfilling what owners Mark Taylor and Gary Kilroy were looking for and takes a bold step away from the area’ s many concept bars.
2 South King Street, Manchester, M2 6EX
This pool and cocktail bar is a subterranean world of nostalgic arcade games 60 feet beneath the entrance to Dogs n Dough. The pool tables are made with some of the finest cloth in the world and they use the same balls as in the Mosconi Cup. The arcade machines are all custom built. As are the cocktails – try a Fistful of Quarters (£8.50) made up of rum, gingerbread, raisin and almond.
17 Bow Lane (just off Cross Street), Manchester M2 4JN
This is one washhouse you’ll want to visit. A bar that to all outward appearances is a laundrette. Ignore the guy as enter and walk through the false washing machine door for a very Narnia-esque experience. But instead of a frozen wasteland, you’ll enter a refined, dark, leather cladded, table service speakeasy. The cocktails are as naughty as the dirty deep house played by the DJ in the corner. And as good as any other cocktail bar in Manchester. It’s difficult to believe why anyone would keep their lips sealed about this decadent drinking den. Just leave your laundry bag at home.
19 Shudehill, Manchester M4 2AF
Dusk til Pawn is one of the Northern Quarter’s best kept secrets. Discreet? These cool kids have got it more than covered. From the front it looks like a quirky little Pawn shop, but step past the facade and be welcomed into one of the finest cocktail bars in Manchester. With a jukebox, killer cocktails and a speakeasy vibe, Dusk til Pawn is one of Manchester’s best secret bars – well worth a visit if you’re looking for something a little different when it comes to Manchester nightlife.
Stevenson Square , Manchester, M1 1FB
The newest addition to the Black Dog Ballroom family, The Bunker is an extension of Black Dog NQ and offers DJ sets, quiz nights, a ping pong table – and a huge dance floor. Fall in on Friday nights for weekly club night, Juicy, with wall to wall hip-hop, R&B and garage bangers. Saturday night sees resident DJs and special guests bring their massive dance floor to life. Other weekly nights include Bare Bones: Acoustic Mondays and Fizz Face Friday where you can grab a £12 bottle of Prosecco between 5pm-1pm.
Basement Affleck’s Palace, Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
This London-based cocktail bar chain, which launched in the Barton Arcade as the group’s first location in the North West, offers more than 150 cocktails. Be At One also have a smartphone app which includes a personalised ‘Appi Hour’ and a randomly-generated cocktail for £5 available every day through the ‘Be Appventurous’ feature.
13 Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BB
The Science & Industry within Cane & Grain is a subtler affair with full table service. The focus is to provide customers with a new and exciting style of dining and drinking. The team is headed by award winning Massimo Zitti. A dedicated drinks laboratory has been created for experimentation with flavour and scientific techniques.The lab has led to the creation of a number of innovative cocktail creations, including Massi’s famous edible perfumes which he sprays onto the rims of glasses. Find the door & relax with the best cocktails this side of New Orleans.
49 – 51 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1NA