Finding a decent cocktail in Manchester, England’s northern capital has become a pleasantly easy business over the last few years. New bars have cropped up in this bustling city and the array of cocktails, from classics to experimental, now has the potential to leave you in a seriously dizzying twist. When we opened our barbers in Manchester last year, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of this city’s alcoholic concoctions.
We’ve rounded up some of Manchester’s great cocktail bars that you should visit.
With cocktail names such as “A frog in a well knows nothing of the great sea”, and “Wake from death and return to life”, Cottonopolis’ cocktail menu positively straddles a finely-balanced line between art and beverage. It’s hard not to appreciate the immaculate attention to detail and the evident love for mixology on display in this somewhat experimental, Japanese influenced bar. With a flair for visuals and unexpectedly good flavours, it is no wonder that Cottonopolis won big at the critically revered Imbibe UK Awards last year, where they won ‘Avant-Garde list of the Year’ and ‘Drinks list of the Year Overall’.
Situated in a beautiful listed building in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Apothem serves up a list of ‘twisted classics’ and ‘Apotheca originals’. For negroni lovers (who doesn’t love a good negroni?), it is well worth trying the Blood orange negroni, a combination of Bulldog gin with Campari, sweet vermouth, blood orange & Spanish bitters, served with an orange twist. It is the small details on classics that make this bar such a treat; the alter caramel and orange rum old fashioned, for example, is not to be missed.
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Those with a love of American culture will love Bunny Jackson’s. Here you can indulge in a range of classics and ‘forgotten gems’, many which boast a decent splash of bourbon, and come at a more agreeable price — especially Old Fashioned Fridays, where you can enjoy the American classic for £5 between 5 pm—7 pm — which makes Bunny Jackson’s a good choice for students in Manchester, and anyone else who fancies a great cocktail.
Albatross & Arnold
It’s impossible to talk about great cocktail bars in Manchester and not mentioned this swanky downtown joint. Mixologists here have a tendency to go for local influences and there is a huge range to choose from. Like many great cocktail bars, while they have the classic down to a T, it’s sometimes best to just chat to the specialists and let them work their magic according to flavours that you like — you won’t be disappointed.
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As the Alchemist states on its website, Spinningfields was described in the 19th century as a “den of iniquity, teeming with opium dens, gin palaces and alehouses.” Sounds nice. But what it lacks today in opium dens it certainly makes up for with excellent cocktails. This is a modern-day den offering a touch of “chemistry and theatre”. The enthusiasm and care for details of the mixologists here stands out. We recommend the Mad Hatters, a vodka-based beverage with delicious citrus flavours. For gin lovers, a Lightbulb Moment will hit the spot.