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A quirky new neighbourhood cocktail bar is bringing ‘chilled elegance’ to Deansgate

'The relaxed atmosphere in Municipal is what will set us apart from other city bars' says owner David

A new bar has opened on Deansgate – and it has plans to be a city centre cocktail bar with a neighbourhood feel.

Taking over the former CP Hart bathroom showroom, Municipal spans 265 – 267 Deansgate, with 72 seats on the top floor and 16 seats in the basement plus a range of “quirky Instagram areas”

David Sharp, owner of Artisan Hospitality Group who are behind Municipal, also owns Artisan Bar in the new cookhouse development in Warrington and cut his teeth working in hotels in Manchester from the age of 15.

He has gone on to build a career in hospitality working in America, Asia, and Europe.  

“The definition of Municipal is a collection of towns in a city. The name encapsulates exactly what we’re about,” says David.

“We’re putting a spin on the meaning of our name with our collection of independent gins, beers and wines.

“The Great Northern is upping its game and I’m delighted Municipal is part of it. 

“People now pick which area of Manchester they want to go to, whether it’s Spinningfields, the Northern Quarter or Ancoats, and Deansgate is becoming a defined destination in the city.”

The bar only serves spirits by the double, and there is the opportunity to buy the bottle with accompanying mixers and fruit garnish.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the stage will host conceptual live music including Ibiza jazz, swing, and diva vocalists. 

“Municipal is bringing a chilled elegance to Deansgate,” says David.

“We’ve partnered with Two Brothers coffee engineers from Altrincham, so customers will be able to enjoy coffee from 10am six days per week and then seamlessly flip to our bar offering.

“All our cocktails are designed by name and content, including ‘Tropic Like It’s Hot’ and ‘Empire State Wall banger’.

“We’ve got a great wine list and some nice beers, including our own called Municipal lager, which we’re working with Mobberley Brewery on.”

For the décor, the team have repurposed what was already on the premises and created different areas including a lounge, a VIP area, a swing, and a window seat.

The colour scheme is all pale blues, pinks and greens, with the original wooden floor in place, and it aims to be a welcoming space for families, too.

“Municipal is family-friendly, and we offer some tasty mocktails,” says David.

“During 5.30 pm -7.30 pm, there will be an area where families can feel comfortable.

“We’re planning on introducing bar snacks and Afternoon Tea Sundays further down the line.

“We’ve also decided to only offer table service, which is still pretty rare in the city.

“The relaxed atmosphere in Municipal is what will set us apart from other city bars.”

David says he has always wanted to open a bar on Deansgate and has walked the pavements outside Municipal for years waiting for the right premise to become available – so when it did, he pounced.

“The concept and idea of Municipal is something I’ve been planning for years. It just feels like the right place and the right time,” he says.

“We’re near the biggest car park in Manchester and Deansgate tram stop. We’re also close to the casinos and the Hilton, the museums and all the towers going up; Deansgate is a sea of rejuvenation.” 

David has big ideas for the Municipal city brand with plans to roll out other bars in Liverpool and Leeds and also in areas around London, including Elephant and Castle, Brixton, and Clapham.

“Many of the bars across Manchester are all the same. The same drinks, the same décor, and the same lights,” he says.

“If Manchester wants to have this reputation of being a world-renowned city, it has to make more of an effort to do things differently.

“Our plan is to build a reputation in the area similar to Atlas Bar, which we’re big fans of.

“We want to create that feeling of a neighbourhood bar on Deansgate, which I don’t believe is available in the area, or in Spinningfields or the Northern Quarter.”

Municipal plans to open at the end of June 2022.

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