If you’re heading to Manchester and want to have a good time with your friends or partner, then you can’t beat a few drinks in a classy cocktail bar!
Although the notion of a great cocktail bar is subjective, there are several similar themes we think you need: elegance, ingenuity, aesthetics, and, most importantly, a killer cocktail that tempts you to sip after sip.
So, without further ado, let’s get started on what we believe are the best cocktail bars in Manchester!
1. Alcotraz: Cell Block Three-Four
Alcotraz is a one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical cocktail bar inspired by Hollywood movies and television! What they do is bring historic jail stories to life.
Alcotraz: Cell Block Three-Four forms the perfect backdrop for enjoying a drink within a fun yet intimate environment, from the orange jumpsuits you get upon arrival to the actual metallic cells.
This prison-themed experience is hidden in the centre of Manchester in a basement! When you enter the bar, a notorious bootlegger (one of the establishment’s employees) will tell you to smuggle in booze to be utilised in the creation of delectable, bespoke cocktails. Because of the jail motif, there isn’t a set drink menu here.
The “serving” inmates will provide a variety of bespoke drinks every night based on the booze you “smuggle” in. Cocktails are made according to your specific preferences. A fun and unique experience – definitely one of the best cocktail bars in Manchester!
Address: 1A Watson Street
This is Man United legend Rio Ferdinand’s opulent Italian restaurant, cocktail bar, and celebrity hangout!
Housed in a gorgeous 120-year-old Grade II listed building at the top of Manchester’s famed King Street, just around the corner from The Royal Exchange. Given the amount of Rolls Royces and supercars parked outside, it’s no wonder the menu includes a wide range of good wines, vermouths, Champagnes, premium spirits, liqueurs, and some of Manchester’s finest cocktails.
Rosso prides itself on offering premium drinks without the luxury price tag. And the bar team has created a luxurious cocktail programme that carefully blends classic and more contemporary cocktails in a fitting homage to the locale. On the menu, custom cocktails are crafted with a combination of Italian styles and bold flavours.
Address: 43 Spring Gardens
A contemporary, light-filled cocktail bar with a heated outdoor terrace in Manchester’s centre, right off King Street. Vesper aspires to create the perfect evening – no matter the occasion – by drawing inspiration from the Grand Hotels of 1920s Europe and the golden period of excess. Ideal for a casual table of two, or a more luxurious party of up to 120 guests.
You can take your pals, mother, or significant other with you. Their staff is always delighted to assist in getting your evening off to a great start or ending it on a high note.
Their cocktail selection has something for everyone. We recommend choosing from their ever-changing gin and tonic menu, which is presented in a Spanish-style Copa de Balon glass with a handmade garnish of herbs, spices, and citrus to perfectly match each gin.
Address: 50 Pall Mall
4. ONE EIGHT SIX
This is Manchester’s coolest barbershop, and is only accessible by those in the know through a two-way mirrored door.
You can expect a line-up of soul, Motown, and RnB from the raised stage area, which is open seven days a week and has a rotating roster of artists and DJs every night.
Expect a selection of hand-crafted cocktails (each inspired by the barbers upstairs), as well as craft beers and liquors, great for unwinding before hitting the tiles. Housed in a Grade-II listed structure, which is located on Deansgate, this was formerly a courthouse, and the big prison doors are still present today, contributing to ONE EIGHT SIX’s uniqueness and hushed ambience.
Address: 186 Deansgate
5. The Alchemist
The name for this cocktail bar is inspired by the famous book of the same name. The bar is located in the heart of Manchester and is surrounded by numerous unique attractions and boutique shops making it a go-to spot for some cocktail treatment.
The Alchemist is all about celebrating the molecularly insane, and each cocktail is like a mini-theatre in a glass, captivating and enthralling patrons that come here.
‘The Legal One’ is a smoke-filled cocktail served in a bong. It’s an excellent choice for a genuinely unique cocktail. Alternatively, you can try the ‘Color Changing One’, which has been a long-standing guest favourite and serves the purpose truly! Easily one of the best cocktail bars in Manchester.
Address: 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields
6.Revolución de Cuba Manchester
We love this super lively cocktail bar, not only for its awesome cocktails, but also for the touch of Cuba you get here.
This fun and vibrant cocktail bar serves creative and enticing drinks at an affordable price. It’s worth queuing up for, and is famous for their tapas meals and cocktail sharers.
So, if you are looking to grab a few drinks with friends or celebrate a birthday or hen party, Revolución de Cuba is a great choice for its excellent cocktails, atmosphere and live music.
We recommend trying several of their rum-based cocktails, in particular the ‘Flamingo Collins’ which has a hint of Cointreau, ginger and lemon.
Address: 11 Peter Street
This hidden gem is a basement lounge and undoubtedly one of our favourite cocktail bars in Manchester.
With the dim lighting, this spot has a relaxed and cozy ambience perfect for chatting to your mates amongst the beautiful Victorian décor here.
The shabby chic layout with plenty of seating, along with some very talented mixologists and rapid service, makes drinking at Arcane a very enjoyable experience. We love the 70s and 80s music selection too and the knowledgeable and attentive staff. We highly recommend their ‘Rendezvous’ cocktail – a must-try.
Address: 2 S King Street
8. Dirty Martini
Great for gatherings, quick service and excellent food, drinks at Dirty Martini is the perfect way to spend your evening.
Whether you want to soak up the sun in their nice outside area with an espresso Martini and scrumptious Summer Bottomless Brunch, or want to feel cozy in their dimly-lit interior decor with a Cosmopolitan, you are guaranteed a great time.
This is one of our favourite cocktail bars in Manchester because of the great value happy hour – half price martinis, bottles of wine and Prosecco for less than £20, as well as very affordable beer and cider. Bottoms up!
Address: 1 Peter Street
9. The Liars Club
The tropical vibes, fun reggae and afrobeat soundtrack at this tiki bar, alongside the exotic list of cocktails and the 100 rum choices they have at The Liars Club, makes this a great drinks and dinner choice.
We loved their cheerful and fun cocktail masterclass and we highly recommend the ‘Flaming Zombie’ – the best cocktail at this little backstreet underground bar!
Expect funky cocktails, cozy seating areas, talented mixologists and great music until late – The Liars Club is also from 4pm to 4am everyday!
Address: 19A Back Bridge Street
10. Speak In Code
This speakeasy cocktail bar pays attention to detail in their drinks, menu and décor, and has unique 1920s classy vibes. The relaxed atmosphere, along with their great selection of signature cocktails, is ideal for catch up drinks with your favourite people.
The knowledgeable and passionate team here create innovative cocktails using their own infusions and teas. We recommend trying their late night bites and vegan nibbles – some of the best we’ve tried in Manchester – and the large selection of cocktails and whiskeys!
Address: 7 Jackson’s Row
11. Dusk Til Pawn
This cocktail bar’s unique interior décor replicates an old-fashioned pawn shop, including vintage guitars and televisions, giving this place a unique and special feel.
The chilled ambience, free play jukebox and comfy sofas here makes you want to just chat the night away with excellent cocktails in hand.
Enjoy some all-time classic cocktails or if you’re more adventurous, try their weekly specials – a great way to discover new tastes and ingredients, including pepperoni! What we highly recommend though is their Pornstar Martini.
Address: Stevenson Square
If you want a unique experience in a rock ‘n’ roll-themed cocktail bar, MOJO will be ideal to visit. This US-style diner is open till late, and the tasty food choices such as burgers and wings are a must!
One of our favourite drinks here is their prosecco cocktail called the ‘Killer Royale’ which is a perfect mix of Eristoff Vodka and prosecco.
The large variety of rum cocktails here will suit all tastes as will their unique alcohol-free invention CBD-infused ‘Mellow Mood’ cocktail – ingredients include apple juice, pineapple juice, agave syrup, mint and fresh lime infused with CBD, with a hint of THC. Easily one of the best cocktail bars in Manchester.
Address: 59A Bridge Street