AS THE ORIGINAL industrial Northern city, cocktails mightn’t be Manchester’s definitive feature, at least not compared to football, and the Gallaghers…

However, the last decade has seen numerous great bars spring up around the centre of town.

The edgy Northern Quarter – think a Northern Shoreditch – is home to a number of spectacular drinking establishments that are difficult to navigate alone (it doesn’t help that most of them are actually hidden); Deansgate’s throng of revellers may have you running for the hills, or at least the next train home; and don’t even get us started on Picadilly.

We have distilled Manchester’s many cocktail bars down to five options, each complete with suggested drinks and food.

Can you visit them all in one weekend?


Wilderness is the epitome of everything current, and dare we say it — ‘trending’. Set over three floors in a prime location in the Northern Quarter, it’s all about the seasonal, the sustainable and the foraged. You’ll find cool bartenders, tattoos, natural wine and incredibly tasty cocktails. The atmosphere is refreshingly relaxed, and communal style-imbibing is encouraged (there’s also a private chef’s table in the basement). It’s a popular spot so you can get amongst the activity on the ground floor or head upstairs to the cocktail bar for more serious, sit-down cocktailing vibe where the 360˚ open bar might bring out the bartender (or thief) in you.

Two To Drink

  • Changes (aquavit, dry vermouth, jostaberry pickle) – £9.50
  • Nebula (pisco, bitter orange, raspberry, lemon, clarified milk, pastis) – £9.50

Two To Eat

  • Short Rib, bone marrow, IPA onions + nasturtium – £14
  • Roast Monk Fish, burnt lettuce, chive + brown shrimp – £18

30-32, Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1ER;


Regal and refined, Hawksmoor is buttoned-up Britishness at its best. Its restaurants are equally cracking, but its bars have been winning awards left right and centre — there’s even word of a NYC branch on the horizon, which is no surprise because they don’t do things by halves. Everything here is done well and the cocktail list is split into four eccentric (but non-intimidating) sections. The food menu is a handful of the restaurant’s highlights curated for snacking and sharing, with a few larger plates for the ravenous. The plush bar is reached by a grand staircase, giving the air of entering a historic stately home — a stately home with impeccable staff, an awe-inspiring spirits collection and damn good cocktails, that is.

Two To Drink

  • Rise & Brine (gins, bitters, olive brine cordial, Campari-like aperitivo) – £10.50
  • Camarillo (rye whiskey, suze, grapefruit, lemon Hawksmoor Session IPA) – £11.25

Two To Eat

  • Hawksmoor hamburger – £13
  • Roasted scallops - £4.85

184-186, Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WB;

Grand Pacific

A moody tropical paradise of sorts, Grand Pacific is indeed very grand — an ideal spot if you’re pushing the boat out and fancy something a bit more elaborate and showy, or just want to feel like you’re on holiday. The ceilings are astronomically high and the Titanic-esque windows are impressive in themselves. It’s a listed building, opening as a high-end, elites-only club in 1871; each cocktail features an exotic twist and is served with an admirable level of excellence and precision. Bag a seat at the beast of a bar, which is a statement in the centre of the room, sip on a Yuzu Negroni, people watch, and relax in the Instagram-hungry, palatial vibe.

Two To Drink

  • Yuzu Negroni (yuzu sake, Antica Formula, Campari) – £10
  • Lady Lamington (coconut rum, Chambord, apple, gingerbread foam, coconut) – £9

Two To Eat

  • Thai Steamed Mussels – £7.50
  • Asian-Spiced Duck Cottage Pie – £13.95

50 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1EN;

Wood & Company

Wood & Company is a no-nonsense, no-messing, no-frills basement bar that quite simply serves the city’s best cocktails every single time. Dodging the standard gimmicky speakeasy trademarks, it is casually elusive but you don’t need to jump through hoops to get in. Just head down the unassuming staircase and you’ll enter a low-lit drinking den ideal for catching up over top-notch drinks without too much distraction; a place where the bartenders mean business and are suitably friendly and hip. Everything about Wood & Company is likable and pleasant, much like your perfectly stirred Manhattan. Just remember to eat first, because you won’t want to leave.

Two To Drink

  • 40-Love (vodka, Aperol, strawberry, whey, basil) – £9.50
  • Manhattan (tequila, rum, sweet vermouth, black banana) – £10

39 South King Street, Manchester, M2 6DE;

The Jane Eyre

Perhaps the most delightful (and pocket-friendly) bar on this list, The Jane Eyre is nothing to do with an orphaned girl, it is actually named in memory of the owners’ Mum, Jane Eyre. A neighborhood bar with divine cocktails, the food menu is a genius selection of British classics served tapas-style — with a special mention going to the spectacular list of toasties on offer. The day-to-night theme means you can enjoy a blinding night out on a Friday, breakfast on a Saturday, a magnificent roast on a Sunday and a boozy brunch in between. The Jane Eyre absolutely nails every aspect of what a great neighbourhood bar should be.

Two To Drink

  • Fool’s Gold (sherry, tequila, lime, black walnut, cinnamon, ginger ale) – £8
  • Red Bonnet (raisin-infused Dolin Rouge and Cynar, gin, Maraschino) – £8

Two To Eat

  • Braised Beef Toastie – £6
  • Seabass ceviche – £6.50

14 Hood St, Manchester M4 6WX;