If Manchester had invented the cocktail bar, it would be a no-nonsense oasis, with great music, serving hearty, unpretentious drinks and have a really cool vibe.
“The newest bar on the scene, it’s a little off the beaten track, which is a good thing…”
And that’s just what The Liquor Store is. The newest bar on the scene, it’s a little off the beaten track, which is a good thing, a little like Corridor. It’s on Blackfriars behind Tescos and the Red Hot Buffet (I am telling you this because they do not have a website as yet for directions), and is well worth a visit.
The Ginger, Gay and I went because we had missed the official launch (The Gay ran out of petrol on Deansgate or his dog ate his car or some such), and we were looked after by the lovely Adam and Andy who has created the cocktail menu.
It is proud of its Manchester roots (the guys behind it have been part of the scene for some time) and there are discreet homages throughout, from the menus (each one has different images on it) to the photos on the wall.
It’s wooden floors, no-nonsense tables and chairs decor has been designed to allow the 100 or so capacity crowd to have fun without worrying about coasters or spilling things – it has a 3am license which makes it even more appealing for night owls.
Andy certainly knows his stuff and the cocktail menu has been pared down to 25 of the best with new concoctions that he has created as well (these are marked with TLS), but he says they are happy to do any cocktail people want and this was borne out when he made me a scrummy porn star martini.
In fact, the guys here are only too eager to please. From instantly downloading a track just for you to play over the impressive sound system to nipping out and getting you fags. That’s not just cos we’re press, they will do it for anyone.
Prices are incredibly reasonable with cocktails from £6, the house champagne is £45 and prosecco is £17.75. The wines are all American and the beers include Brooklyn, which tasted like a cross between lager and proper man’s beer (bitter ale).
We tried the Breakfast Martini which comes with a pastry and was just lip-smackingly tasty. I thought it was a little like a liquid sorbet with its cool citrus flavours that does remind you of the first meal of the day.
The Rye Port Cobbler, was a hearty mix of rye whiskey and port, with lemon and sugar to sweeten and trickles warmly down your throat with a real kick at the end.
But my favourite was the Reverse Thyme Mojito. This takes the guys two weeks to prepare (not while you’re waiting obviously), because they infuse the Havana with thyme themselves, then mix with fresh lime juice and thyme sugar syrup. It is really gorgeous – the Gay said it tasted of Christmas – and you just need to pop down and try it basically.
We could have stayed all night chatting to the guys and drinking (it’s that kind of place) but we had to hot-foot it to the Annies launch.
Independently owned, The Liquor Store is adding extras as they develop and see what the crowd really, really wants. This includes a bar snack menu after Christmas and making more of the outside area.
They have also launched Bloody Mary Buffets for Sundays when they will open an hour earlier (11am) for the hare of the dog market and they don’t mind if you come in your PJs.
You get a shot of vodka and then you can add your own ingredients – or Andy will make one for you if you can’t get your act together.
On the I Love’o’meter
I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!
The Liquor Store, Maybrook House, 40 Blackfriars Street, Manchester, M3 2EG.
0161 834 6239