It is widely assumed that the cocktail as we know it today is an American invention. We beg to differ. It started life as a Victorian concoction designed to cure ailments and the first recorded use of the word cocktail as a drink appears in The Farmer’s Cabinet from 1803.

“Drank a glass of cocktail—excellent for the head.”

There are plenty of watering holes dotted around the city that can make you a pretty decent cocktail. The difference is these seven establishments go the extra mile. Many of them have set trends that have rippled across the city. Some have bartenders who have invented their own elixirs that give a nod back to old Victorian remedies. These bars won’t just help you kick off your night right, they will take your drinking to the next level.

Whether you’re looking for some grade A cocktails or for an intimate outpost to cosy up in, this city has options galore. If you like your bars on the more exclusive side, with a touch of Victorian flare, this list might just help you find your favourite.

So without further ado, here’s our pick of the best Victorian-style cocktail bars in Manchester.

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