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A connoisseur’s guide to cocktail bars in Manchester

A city which thinks a table is for dancing on, Manchester is internationally known for its nightlife, bars and pubs. For discerning drinkers wanting quality and choice, the city also has several establishments that specialise in one type of drink, complete with knowledgeable bartenders and appropriate ambience. Whether you’re already a connoisseur of a particular tipple, or are simply interested in a more spirited education, why not try one of these Manchester specialists?


Rum Shacks

Manchester has not one, but two Tiki-inspired bars where you’ll find enough rum to keep a fleet of pirates happy. Forget the Manchester weather and hang out in the tropical surroundings of the Hula Tiki lounge, found in the basement of 11 Stevenson Square in the hip Northern Quarter. There’s a choice of over 100 imported rums, some over-the-top decor (including tropical fish tank), and a fun-loving crowd who are always up for a party.

The Liar’s Club, meanwhile, found on Back Bridge Street near Deansgate, claims the Northwest’s most extensive collection of rum, set against a backdrop of palm trees, bamboo and an infectious party atmosphere. As well as selling classic rum cocktails, you can also order a full or half bottle of rum to mix as you see fit.

Whisky Dens

While most bars in Manchester tend to come and go, The Briton’s Protection pub on Great Bridgewater Street has seen over two hundred years of city life. This traditional quality pub hasn’t changed much over the past few decades, and remains popular with people of all ages. It also happens to house over 300 different whiskies. The list is dazzling, and includes Scottish single malts and blends, over 50 different American bourbons, and whisky shipped over from Japan and India.  


Champagne Bars

Best for those who love to live the high life, champagne bar Epernay, tucked away on Watson Street, is definitely worth checking out. Stocking a wide variety of vintage and rare champagne, the atmosphere is refined, yet lively. The bar staff are always happy to advise you on your champagne choice or steer you towards one of the bar’s famous champagne cocktails. 

Gin Parlours

Gin is currently enjoying something of a revival across the city, but one establishment is leading the way. Gorilla, on Whitworth Street, has a gin parlour stocking quality gin from all over the world, whipped up into a collection of classic and contemporary cocktails.


Written by Ruth Rosselson

Image credits:

The Liar's Club © Carl Sukonik
Champagne at Epernay © Epernay