Martinis in Manchester – 11 of the city’s best cocktail bars

Take a trip to the Northern nightlife mecca and swap dirty Jager bombs for classy cocktails at some of the city’s premier locations. It’s no secret Mancunians love a good night on the tiles. With new suave lounges and hideaway bars popping up all over the city, a cool cocktail culture is sweeping through the streets. Whether it’s a classic mojito or quirky signatures you’re after, Manchester’s mixologists have a drink that’ll take your fancy. Here’s our list of the best cocktail bars in Manchester. 

1. Be At One Manchester – 13 Barton Arcade

via Facebook @BeAtOneManchester

Located just off Deansgate, Be At One is serving everything from sweet and sour to spicy with over a hundred cocktails on their eclectic menu. Set in modern interiors, edgy neon lighting and vibrant dive-bar-esque décor, the champions of bar tending are creating the ultimate urban party vibes in the heart of the city. Boasting some of the most unique concoctions on the scene, a night a Be At One is sure to be bursting with flavours. 

2. The Refinery Spinningfields – 1 Hardman Boulevard

via Facebook @refineryspinningfields

Home of the kitsch cocktail, the inventive mixes at The Refinery will have you bending over backwards for more. Sitting in the XYZ building, the contemporary industrial-style bar/restaurant offers an all-day escape from the busy streets of the Northern metropolis. Fronted by floor-to-ceiling windows, the bright, airy space prides itself on its highfalutin seasonal cocktail menu influenced by global trends. As if the drinks weren’t enough, book in at the weekend for a bottomless brunch that’ll have you rolling out the door. 

3. Albert’s Schloss – 27 Peter Street

via Facebook @AlbertsSchloss

One place that definitely doesn’t just do what it says on the tin, the Bavarian style beer cellar is mixing up a delectable range of Alpine inspired cocktails. Giving a whole new meaning to sipping on a cold one, the Bohemian bar is hidden in the heart of the city underneath the iconic Albert Hall and is guaranteed to be an experience you won’t want to forget. 

4. Vesper – 50 Pall Mall

via Facebook @vespercocktailbar

Inspired by the grand hotels of 1920s Europe, the sleek, light-filled bar located just off Kings Street aims to create the perfect evening no matter the occasion. Elegant, sophisticated and simply chic, the space is reminiscent of the golden age of self-indulgence and mixes its drinks to match. 

5. Science and Industry – 49-51 Thomas Street

via Facebook @ScienceAndIndustryMCR

Nestled in the hipster Northern Quarter, this themed hideaway takes the science of mixology to new levels. The bar has a dedicated drinks lab so you can cook up the ultimate concoction of fruity flavours or whatever else takes your fancy. Hidden behind a secret door, you have to know where to look to find the cocktail oasis. Decked out with antique glassware, wood-panelled walls, and taxidermy animals, the watering hole is a not-so-subtle nod to the era of roaring speakeasies and is located on the ground floor of Cain and Grain. 

6. Cottonopolis – 16 Newton Street

via Facebook @cottonopolisfoodandliquor

Tucked away in a warehouse-style venue, the Asian-inspired bar/restaurant is serving up some of the most quirky cocktails in the city. Themed on Japanese idioms, the drinks are a mixture of weird and wonderful flavours that fuse together in ways you’d never expect. Referencing Manchester’s industrial past through its name, stripped red brick walls, chrome design and cerulean accents, cocktails here look too good to drink but taste even better when you do. Find it on the corner of Newton and Dale Street and make sure to try ‘Pulling Water to My Own Rice Paddy’. 

7. The Fitzgerald – 11 Stevenson Square

via Facebook @TheFitzgeraldNQ

Another speak-easy themed spot, this cocktail club is named after Great Gatsby writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald – I’m sure you can already imagine the vibes inside. Dark interiors, low sofas, cut glassware and a sophisticated ambiance lend to the feeling of being transported back in time to the Prohibition. One more of the Northern Quarter’s nightlife gems, the drinks encapsulated the wealth, creativity and innovation of the era just as much as the décor does. With one of the best gin collections in the city, an few cocktails here will add a touch of class to your evening. 

8. Bunny Jackson’s – 1 Jack Rosenthal Street

via Facebook @bunnyjacksons

Inspired by a New Orleans harmonica player, Bunny Jackson’s is famous for its range of rough and ready cocktails. The American themed ‘dive bar’ is churning out all the classics as well as some concoctions of their own such as the Southern Smash. Good for more than quenching your thirst, the venue has also made headlines for its 10p boozy chicken wings – cheap and cheerful has never looked so good! 

9. Cabana – Unit 10 The Corn Exchange

via Facebook @CabanaBrasil

Always wanted to party in Rio? Well now you can at Brazilian themed cocktail bar, Cabana. Serving local favourites such as flavoured Caipirinhas and some of their own inspired blends, the bar creates an urban eclectic feel that’ll have you up on the dancefloor in no time. Motivated by the beaches, markets and streets of modern Brazil, the interiors of up-cycled design features, denim banquettes, pipe lights, kites and cheese-board tables, echo the ethos perfectly. 

10. Arcane – 2 S Kings Street

via Facebook @arcanebar

Making waves on the Manchester cocktail scene, the bar hidden in the basement of the historic Queens Chambers building, is a sight for sore eyes. Arguably one of the most daring, diverse spots, the mood-lit location has kept the majority of its original Victorian charm which has been mingled with modern features to create the ultimate late-night hideaway. Right in the centre of town, Arcane should undoubtedly be added to the list of the best cocktail bars in Manchester. 

11. Lola Lo Manchester – Deansgate Locks

via Facebook @LolaLoManchester

Part club, part bar, this next location seamlessly fuses a sleek night of cocktails with a party hearty dancefloor. The tiki-tavern is bursting with creative cocktails delivering a taste of the beach in every sip. Breathing a fresh vibrancy into Deansgate Lock, sip on frozen margaritas to the beats of the DJ until the early hours and snap a selfie in the designated secret selfie room. A night of wild fun guaranteed, let your hair down and embrace the energetic vibes at Lola Lo.


Heading to the north soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of the best cocktail bars in Manchester using the hashtag #ryanairstories – you might even be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.


Flights to Manchester


- Lucy Norris