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The 14 Best Bars in Manchester

Published On 06/06/2016 Published On 06/06/2016

Although Manchester is still figuring out how to dress in layers and walk in heels, the city's boozing game is seriously tight. With loads of bars all within walking distance of each other, this is a bar-crawl kind of town. So start early, stay late, and try to remember to drink some water along the way. Hungover you will thank you tomorrow morning.

Cane & Grain

Best multi-story booze playground:

Cane & Grain

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

Tackle C&G like a pro by following these steps: 1) Walk through the delicious meaty smells of the ground floor, sneak up to the hidden cocktail lounge upstairs, and knock back a couple crafty concoctions. 2) Head back to the ground floor and stuff your face with ribs and bourbon while surrounded by skateboard memorabilia. 3) If it’s a Friday or Saturday, make your way back up the stairs and keep going to the top where a mini tiki den will whisk you away to an island party till the wee hours of the night. Got it? Good.

Crazy Pedro's Part-Time Pizza Parlour

Best pizza & cocktails

Crazy Pedro's Part-Time Pizza Parlour

Address and Info

Spinningfields

Sure, you could come here early for pizza and booze -- ballast is important in the sport of long-game drinking -- but it's only later that this place really shines through the dark paint and intentional grime. This place originally opened as a pop-up, but the owners quickly realized it'd be cruel to tease drinkers with their breed of agave-fueled anarchy without doing it on the regular. Serving food and booze till 4am, you’d be a fool to miss this party.

MOJO Manchester

Best rock 'n' roll vibes:

MOJO

Address and Info

Spinningfields

After nearly two decades of pouring drinks and spinning tunes, this Manc institution is still the place for when you want shake things up and get down to rock & roll, old school punk, and the best guitar-driven tracks. Stacked with diner food till 11pm (hello boozy milkshakes) and a massive drinks list till 3am on the weekends, it takes very few prisoners.

The Liars Club

Best Tiki bar:

The Liars Club

Address and Info

Spinningfields

If you want a tropical holiday, but your bank account thinks that's a terrible idea, head to The Liars Club (conveniently located directly beneath Crazy Pedro’s). With a program run by the Tiki-tastic captain Lyndon Higginson, this mid-city island getaway filled with palm huts, over 100 rums, and plenty of fire gets seriously messy -- kinda like the last time you went on a tropical holiday.

Best spot for groups:

Tariff & Dale

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

While the 73-seat restaurant in the basement is pretty excellent, it’s the bar up top that gets our juices flowing. With high ceilings, lots of wood, and huge booths, plus an impossibly long bar with plenty of room to get those sweet libations flowing mouthward, it’s all super relaxed and easy here. Housed in an old linen factory, the best seat in this place is in the former lift, where you can hold court at the end of the bar and watch the crowd spin around you.

Hawksmoor

Best cocktails with a side of meat:

Hawksmoor

Address and Info

Spinningfields

After Hawksmoor became a meat-eating household name in London, it was only a matter of time before it popped up in the North. Located in an old courthouse and filled with dark wood panels, high ceilings, and plenty of places to perch, this place serves up blindingly great drinks alongside an array of beef cuts, sides, and extras. As with its southern counterparts, there’s a distinct art deco feel going on here, so channel your inner Gatsby and get ready to eat some steak.

Best whiskey bar:

The Britons Protection

Address and Info

Gay Village

This old-school pub might look like a dressed up boozer at a first glance, but if you like whiskey, this is about to be your new favorite spot. Loaded with over 200 different bottles, it’s a bit of a pilgrimage spot for the brown stuff where you will find bottles unavailable elsewhere in town. The interior sports an ornate living room feel, complete with fireplaces, multiple sitting rooms, and chandeliers, while the massive and hidden garden out back is perfect for those rare sunny days.

Dusk Till Pawn | Courtesy of Simon Ching and Rebecca Race

Best speakeasy:

Dusk Til Pawn

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

Although the name sounds like a reality show, and the front is covered with old guitars and random crap you might want to carry home -- especially after a few -- this is actually a bar, not a pawn shop. Slink into the leather seats, or hang at the bar and get busy with the bourbon list while you pick all your favorite tunes from the free jukebox. This place is known for its infusions and tendency to experiment, so don’t be shy about asking questions.

Best Asian eats & European beers:

Cottonopolis Food & Liquor

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

This former tailor shop in a Grade II-listed building has had a new lease on life with this recently opened bar and restaurant. Exposed brick, original floorboards, and an open kitchen give it all a very homey feel which somehow complements the Asian-inspired menu and heavily European beer list. Be sure to check out the tank beer, Krusovice, which is delivered weekly from the Czech Republic, plus the full cocktail menu from master mixologist Jamie Jones.

Under New Management

Best date spot:

Under New Management

Address and Info

Salford

The name here has flip-flopped a million times between Under New Management and Corridor, but either way, this intimate speakeasy serves up some of the best booze in town. With dark walls and low lighting, it’s easy to find a nook to share some candlelight with your date, and while the menu leans towards the classics, the world-class bartenders are always happy to experiment for your tasting pleasure. Even though the back bar has a more serious vibe, DJs help keep the attitude pretty light here by spinning Motown, soul, and disco until 4am.

Best spot for a big party:

Black Dog Ballroom

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

This is the destination for small outings that suddenly snowball into massive groups of 20. Rocking a subterranean warehouse vibe, it's got everything you need to keep a party rocking: food, booze, and a whole mess of pool tables. Plus, if you play your cards right, you might even get invited into the super-secret back room, where VIP treatment is the norm, with speciality service, a secret menu, and a mega-sexy vibe.

El Capo

Best tequila bar:

El Capo

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

When you want to embrace your inner fiesta, head to this tequila haven on Tariff St. Get schooled proper about the spirit on the ground floor with some seriously expert bartenders, or go downstairs to knock back some margaritas and get loose. Debauchery totally is encouraged; just blame the tequila afterward.

Pen & Pencil

Best all-day drinking spot:

The Pen & Pencil

Address and Info

Northern Quarter

From the same crew as The Violet Hour and Dry Bar, this Mad Men-inspired haunt is an all-day affair with a killer brunch game, and cocktails that would make Don Draper happy/sloppy. Snag a big table by the windows with your crew, or find a more secluded spot for some one-on-one time and settle in for a full-blown tipple -- just be sure to read the wallpaper in the bathroom, and try to keep a straight face as you walk back to your seat.

Best place to take Mum:

Mr Coopers House & Garden

Address and Info

Spinningfields

With multiple Michelin Stars under his belt, Simon Rogan's spot in Manchester means business. Classy, refined, and still totally chilled out, this grown-up bar works closely with the kitchen to put together a menu filled with house-made syrups, tinctures, and seriously unique flavors that come straight from the garden. The main bar feels a bit like a library or members club, but in the "your every need will be taken care of" sense, not the "you need a card to drink here" sense.

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Haley Forest is a food & drinks writer who swears she never almost set Liars Club on fire. There’s no evidence, and you can’t prove a thing. Follow her (mis)adventures on all things social at @HCForest.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Cane & Grain 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester , M4 1NA

Tackle C&G like a pro by following these steps: 1) Walk through the delicious meaty smells of the ground floor, sneak up to the hidden cocktail lounge upstairs, and knock back a couple crafty concoctions. 2) Head back to the ground floor and stuff your face with ribs and bourbon while surrounded by skateboard memorabilia. 3) If it’s a Friday or Saturday, make your way back up the stairs and keep going to the top where a mini tiki den will whisk you away to an island party till the wee hours of the night. Got it? Good.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Crazy Pedro's Part-Time Pizza Parlour 55-57 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BQ

Pedro’s has been serving up some truly bizarre and wonderful pizza combinations over the years. Try "Manchester’s Weirdest Pizza," the Dirty Northerner; chips, cheese, and gravy, all atop a pizza base. If that sounds strange, then get a load of the Resurreggtion: it's a dessert-style Easter pizza with chocolate sauce, marshmallows, brownie, meringue, and a creme egg. Normal pies like pepperoni and Margherita are also available, plus this spot has a constantly changing menu and a range of cocktails and beers ’til 4am.

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3. MOJO 59 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BQ

After nearly two decades of pouring drinks and spinning tunes, this Manc institution is still the place for when you want shake things up and get down to rock & roll, old school punk, and the best guitar-driven tracks. Stacked with diner food till 11pm (hello boozy milkshakes) and a massive drinks list till 3am on the weekends, it takes very few prisoners.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. The Liars Club 19A Back Bridge St, Manchester, M3 2PB

If you want a tropical holiday but your bank account thinks that's a terrible idea, head to The Liars Club (conveniently located directly beneath Crazy Pedro’s). With a program run by the tiki-tastic captain Lyndon Higginson, this themed mid-city island getaway filled with palm huts, over 100 rums, and plenty of fire gets seriously messy, kind of like the best tropical vacation you've never had.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Tariff & Dale 2 Tariff St, Manchester, M1 2FN

While the 73-seat restaurant in the basement is pretty excellent, it’s the bar up top that gets our juices flowing. With high ceilings, lots of wood, and huge booths, plus an impossibly long bar with plenty of room to get those sweet libations flowing mouthward, it’s all super relaxed and easy here. Housed in an old linen factory, the best seat in this place is in the former lift, where you can hold court at the end of the bar and watch the crowd spin around you.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Hawksmoor 182-184 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WB

Hawksmoor is set in a beautiful old courthouse, there's only one entree on the menu at this steakhouse that's not meat. Try not to get paralysed by choice: there are tons of options when it comes to cuts of beef, five different sauces, extras (like bone marrow and half a lobster), and a choice of a dozen different sides. What's more, sharing options (like the porterhouse or T-bone) are priced per 100g, so you can order based on how hungry you and your friends are. Try the smoked salmon with soda bread to start, and then dive in with an 800g porterhouse with extras of fried eggs and maple bacon.

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7. The Britons Protection , Manchester, M1 5LE

Don't be caught off guard by looks: this old school pub might look like a dressed up boozer at a first glance, but if you like whiskey, this is about to be your new favorite spot. Loaded with over 200 different bottles, it’s a bit of a pilgrimage spot for the brown stuff where you will find bottles unavailable elsewhere in town. The interior sports an ornate living room feel, complete with fireplaces, multiple sitting rooms, and chandeliers, while the massive and hidden garden out back is perfect for those rare sunny days.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Dusk Till Pawn Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1FB

This swanky spot's name might sound like a reality show, and the facade might be covered with old guitars and random crap you might want to carry home , but this is actually a bar, not a pawn shop. Slink into the leather seats, or hang at the bar and get busy with the bourbon list while you pick all your favorite tunes from the free juke box. This place is known for its infusions and tendency to experiment, so don’t be shy about asking questions.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Cottonopolis Food & Liquor 16 Newton St, Manchester, M1 2AE

Exposed brick, original floorboards and an open kitchen give this former tailor shop-turned-restaurant all a very homey feel which somehow compliments the asian inspired menu and heavily european heavy beer list. Be sure to check out the tank beer, Krusovice, which is delivered weekly from the Czech Republic, plus the full cocktail menu from master mixologist Jamie Jones.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Under New Management 6-8 Barlow's Croft , Salford ,

A dark, out-of-the-way speakeasy in Manchester, Under New Management is dedicated to the craft of making perfect cocktails. With a bevy of homemade drink syrups and a cocktail list that changes every few weeks, this is a haven for Manchester’s serious liquor aficionados. Under New Management also serves a full beer list in case you’re not into cocktails, and has a private 40-person room for all your speakeasy party needs.

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11. Black Dog Ballroom Tib St, Manchester, M4 1PW

The Black Dog Ballroom has every you need to get your night started right: rooftop bar? Check. Private karaoke booths and a chill, night-clubby basement bar? You got it. This spot scores bonus points too for offering great happy hour deals every Friday night from 5pm til party o'clock (read: all night long). Get Prosecco for 12 quid, champagne for 30, and select cocktails for four. Score!

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12. El Capo 12 Tariff St, , M1 2FF

This bespoke mezcaleria and small plates joint on the outskirts of the Nothern Quarter is where to go to start your night right.The friendly, chill vibe makes it a solid choice if you're looking a great cocktail on a weeknight or some Friday fun with friends (pro tip: after tapas, head to the the basement level dance floor. It can get rowdy, but sometimes that's exactly what you're looking for).

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13. The Pen and Pencil 57 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 2EJ

From the same crew behind some of Manchester's favorite cocktail haunts The Violet Hour and Dry Bar, this swinging 60s' inspired bar/booze den is a bright and fun retro bar that'll make you smile. The name of the game is strong, classic cocktails with a twist: from artisanal mezcal, to bespoke gin, these artfully crafted drinks are made with skill and noticeable attention to detail. Snag a big table by the windows with your crew, or find a more secluded spot for some one-on-one time and settle in for a full-blown tipple -- just be sure to read the wallpaper in the bathroom, and try to keep a straight face as you walk back to your seat.

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14. Mr Cooper's House & Garden The Midland Hotel, Manchester,

Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan's country house and garden cum restaurant is a refined affair, to say the least. Located in the Midland Hotel, this classy spot features a menu filled with house made syrups, tinctures, and seriously unique, herbaceous dishes that come straight from the very garden you're dining in. The swanky bar area has a members' only ambiance that'll make you feel like the most VIP there.

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