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Manchester venue named Bar of the Year at the nation’s biggest bar awards

Schofield's Bar took New Bar of the Year as well as Bar of the Year for 2022, and NQ bar Mecanica also won an award

Last night, CLASS magazine announced its highly anticipated CLASS Bar Awards 2022.

Judged by bar experts from across the country, the CLASS Bar Awards recognises the talent, achievements and diversity of the UK bar scene. 

The awards, which debuted in 2003 and returned after a break in 2021, is the longest-running and most anticipated UK bar industry celebration.  

Representatives from the UK’s leading bars attended the awards on 24th May at Oval Space in Bethnal Green, London, along with internationally renowned industry personalities.

Schofield’s Bar in Manchester was the biggest winner among the 100 expert judges who voted, and made history by winning New Bar of the Year as well as Bar of the Year.

Opened in spring last year, Joe and Daniel Schofield’s debut bar, set in Sunlight House, has become an instant classic, winning plaudits across the UK.

Its period, classy looks – with dark woods and touches of green – and focus on five-star service has the all the hallmarks of world-class venue, said judges.

It is the first time that a bar has won both the New Bar of the Year and Bar of the Year titles. 

Schofield’s was also shortlisted for the category of Drinks Menu of the Year, while the bar’s Rachel Orange was also shortlisted for Bartender of the Year.

Joe and Daniel were also shortlisted for Bar Innovator(s) of the Year, as was Manchester’s Lyndon Higginson from The Liars Group.

Sterling, a new concept from the brothers behind Schofield’s along with leading wine expert James Brandwood, will soon take over the lower ground floor previously known as ‘The Vault’ at Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel.

The new cocktail bar, with a wine programme that fittingly reflects the history and glamour of this stunning building, is set to open this summer.

Sterling will also offer a bar snack menu developed by Lush by Tom Kerridge, the two-Michelin starred chef responsible for the Bull & Bear restaurant located in the former trading floor of The Stock Exchange Hotel.

Emerging Bartender of the Year this year went to Elena Wright of Mecanica in the Northern Quarter.

Elena is not only an innovative drinksmaker with a background in science, said judges, but a communicator and burgeoning host. 

The bar, which describes itself as a ‘hotel bar without the hotel’, opened in summer 2020, offering creative cocktails and charcuterie boards.

“I’m absolutely speechless,” said Elena.

“If you’d have told me this is where I’d be within a year of joining the industry, I wouldn’t have believed you, especially with being up against such incredible talent.

Photo: Lucas Smith Photography

“I can’t thank the whole of the Mecanica team (both past and present) enough, for always taking the time to teach me, answer my endless questions and give me opportunities to develop.

“They all deserve endless credit and recognition for what they’re achieving.

“I’ve been so pleased to see so many other women in the industry getting the recognition they deserve, such as Monica Berg, who was also credited at the CLASS awards, and more locally, Rachel Orange.

“And finally, congratulations to all of the winners – especially to Schofield’s – for bringing two amazing and deserving wins back to Manchester.”

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