‘She didn’t have a clue!’: the moment this secret Manchester bar hosted a surprise fairytale proposal

There’s nothing that pulls on your heartstrings quite like a well thought out proposal. And what with Manchester fast becoming one of the most romantic destinations to pop the question, your chances of witnessing somebody else’s special moment is fairly high.

Last week, Jonathon Ward popped the question to his partner Jodie Leigh Jenkinson as they indulged on some of Manchester’s most impressive cocktails at The Washhouse.

The Washhouse is a favourite low-key haunt that has been open for almost four years. From the outside it looks like a dowdy, old school laundrette, but is in fact one of Manchester’s best kept dirty little secrets.  

The elusive joint is actually a cocktail bar and is the only one of its kind in Manchester.

Inside it is an intimate snug with a handful of candlelit tables and entry is gained by booking only. A prime spot for a romantic date, or even better, a proposal.

And on Saturday 11th May lucky revellers witnessed the heartwarming moment Jonathan dropped to one knee and proposed to his long term girlfriend.  

Jonathan (28), who has been with Jodie Leigh for 10 years, had earlier approached staff at The Washhouse to subtly enquire if they could create a cocktail that would discreetly disguise a ring.  

Bar staff quickly got to work and came up with the idea of filling up a bell jar (similar to the one from Beauty and the Beast) with smoke which, when lifted, would reveal the sparkler of a ring.

The happy couple, who are originally from Leeds, often visit Manchester for special occasions and have a great love for the city.  

“We love everything about Manchester, the shopping, the food and the nightlife!” says Jonathan.

“We visited the Washhouse back in December for Jodie’s birthday and we absolutely loved it.

“We love the concept and the cocktails are unbelievable – so that’s why I decided to pop the question there.

“I spoke with the guys at The Washhouse and they were really excited to be a part of my proposal, and they couldn’t help enough. They phoned me back with a couple of different ideas.

“I went with the Beauty & the Beast idea.

“They elaborated on it and made a champagne cocktail with the engagement ring wrapped around a champagne glass, topped off with the smokey jar. It was brilliant.”

After being together for 10 years you can imagine that, like any girlfriend, Jodie had been dropping hints to Jonathan for a while, but he insists: “She didn’t have a clue! The way they had disguised it in the cocktail really took her by surprise.”

And of course Jodie Leigh said yes, prompting the rest of the bar to cheer at her response.

The happy couple are hoping to get married in 2021 – and who knows, maybe they will end up having their big day in our great city, too.


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