The Five Best Bars in Manchester's Northern Quarter
My 5 favourite places to visit for spirits, cocktails and, of course, pizza.
Manchester is a big place. Perhaps not as big as the moon, but certainly large enough to get lost in - which is a critical problem if you have limited time to sample the city's bars. The Northern Quarter is only a short distance away from Piccadilly railway station, so is an obvious choice for setting the ball rolling; and, after much deliberation, I've finally narrowed down the five best bars available...
I like Cottonopolis because it makes me feel as though I’m inside the MasterChef kitchen. It’s as though at any moment Gregg Wallace could pop out and criticise me for dropping half of my meal all over my clothes.
The bar focuses on Asian cuisine and drinks, particularly Japanese.
All of the food is so exquisitely presented and expertly cooked and the cocktail range in particular presents so many original concoctions that even boring old me takes an interest (I usually find cocktails to be flamboyantly overrated, but when it comes to a pink peppers, melon and flowers creation even I become intrigued).
It’s based in a gorgeous Grade-II listed building that provides a vast and bright room for meal eating and cocktail slurping.
Bars like Crazy Pedro’s aren’t usually my thing, but it’s an especially good place to visit during a proper night out – and always hits my list of bar crawl joints.
It’s bright (literally glowing) and has the bonus of selling a wide array of spirits until 4am in the morning (not – admittedly – that I’ve ever lasted that long. It’s called being sensible and definitely has nothing to do with being weak and pathetic).
Food is also a fantastic accompaniment and pizzas can be ordered throughout the night topped with anything from traditional cheese and tomato to Crème Eggs (yes, you read that right).
It’s a one-stop maker and curer of hangovers.
Allotment is likely one of the most popular drinking establishments in Manchester, down in no small part to its vast selection of gins. Of course, it was always at an advantage by spotting the gin trend coming early.
It’s a cosy atmosphere inside: wood-covered walls providing a comforting barrier from the outside world and creating a beautiful Christmas experience when the decorations are up.
Plus, they have saxophones; and who doesn’t love them?
It’s boring I know, but I’m still going to go for a blood orange gin each and every time.
It took me a while to work out what the name might stand for, but I’m guessing “NQ” refers to Northern Quarter. Sherlock Holmes at your service *tips cap*.
64 is presumably the average number of drinks each customer consumes.
The most fantastic feature of this bar is that it’s like walking straight into the 1980s – although I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking with a Stranger Things monster.
There are dozens of retro arcade games to play from Crazy Taxi to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which has the best theme tune ever) and the décor is out of this world, with walls filled with space rocks and mushroom clouds.
The Whiskey Jar
The Whiskey Jar is undoubtedly my favourite Northern Quarter bar.
Not only is it filled to the brim with loads of popular and exclusive whiskeys, it also supplies my absolute favourite: Glenmorangie Original.
The place really is one of those locations that you never want to leave, with red brick glowing in the walls and the regular feature of live jazz artists.
But, if that still hasn’t sold you, there is one last overpowering brilliance: soft, leather, button-backed Chesterfield sofas and wingback chairs.
Overall it’s a combination that’s more inspiring than heaven itself.