Whether you prefer a classy cocktail, a perfectly poured long drink, or a pint in a cosy pub, there’s something for everyone in Manchester. This bustling city in the north offers one of the best nights out in the country, so why not leave the car behind and take the train to ‘Madchester’ for a fun-filled weekend? We’ve picked out the best bars in Manchester with something for everyone.
Best cocktail bars Manchester
There’s nothing quite like getting dressed up and heading out to sip on cocktails all night long, and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cocktail bars in Manchester city centre. Check out some of our favourites for inspired cocktails, cool interiors and the best atmosphere the Manchester bar scene has to offer.
The cocktail bar owned by Manchester Gin, recently crowned Independent Drinks Producer of the Year in the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, this award-winning bar is the place to be for delicious gin cocktails.
This basement bar opened in 2016, and is now considered one of the top bars in Manchester, thanks to its opulent setting and interesting drinks menu. We recommend the signature cocktails, with unique takes on classics - like the Tabasco-infused Old Fashioned.
With a nod to Manchester’s industrial past, and a delicious Japanese-inspired food menu, this beautiful bar perfectly blends old and new, east and west. It’s one of the best cocktails bars in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, with unique flavours you’ve never encountered before including plum sake cocktails - perfect for washing down some of the best sushi in town.
There are no gimmicks here - just great cocktails. Tucked away on Jackon’s Row in Spinningfields, one of the city’s best eating and drinking areas, this stylish bar has an imaginative drinks menu and a selection of small plates in case you get peckish.
Quirky bars Manchester
There’s no need to head to your average boozer in this city, with a different quirky bar on every corner. These cool bars in Manchester are well worth making a reservation for when you visit the city.
Imagine you’re drinking cocktails in jazz-age New York with this elegant bar that doubles as a music venue. It channels the 1920s in everything from its glassware to its opulent decor - although the live music is a more eclectic mix, with everything from blues to modern acoustic on the schedule.
This Northern Quarter bar is the epitome of Manchester cool, with an exposed brick wall interior and cosy seating scattered around this converted mill. There’s more to the menu than just whisky, although if you like a single malt, it’s definitely the place to go.
This quirky bar is a gamer’s paradise, as it’s packed full to the brim with modern and retro arcade games - but if games aren’t your thing, you’ll be happy with the drinks menu too, including an extensive cocktail selection and a rotating choice of craft beer.
This Deansgate bar sits below a barber shop, and offers one of the coolest live music venues in the city that’s also ideal for grabbing a drink or two. Book a table to guarantee a seat, but bear in mind that the dress code is ‘smart elegant’ and trainers won’t be accepted.
Secret bars Manchester
We love the experience of finding a hidden gem, and we’re sure you do too. These are some of the best hidden bars in Manchester, whether they’re proper speakeasy-style bars or are simply off the beaten track.
If you like dark, moody aesthetics and Bloody Marys, then this Northern Quarter bar, hidden behind the facade of a pawn shop, is a must-visit. There’s a whole menu dedicated to Bloody Marys, but there are plenty of other options to choose from including an impressive bourbon collection, and the knowledgeable bartenders are always happy to whip up a bespoke drink for you.
Blink and you’ll miss it. This seriously cool bar is hidden behind an unsuspecting doorway on Oldham Street - head down the stairs, past the neon signage and you’ll find yourself in this decadent old-school speakeasy with X-rated inspired decor. The best bit? The rotary phone on every table for ordering cocktails from the bar.
It looks like a launderette from the outside, but it’s best that you don’t bring a bag of laundry to this secret bar. Bookings are essential - you can find a booking form on the bar’s website - and when you arrive, let them know you’re here to wash some dirty clothes.
Another secret bar, this time hidden behind the exterior of a corner shop, this Northern Quarter bar is packed full not only of great cocktails, but also retro sweets, chocolate bars and slushies.
Best new bars in Manchester
The last couple of years have been hard on the hospitality industry but there has been a slew of new openings in Manchester over the last few months. Here are some of the best new bars and pubs.
Based in the Northern Quarter, this bar bills itself as a cocktail and sandwich bar - perfect if you’ve ever craved a bagel or burger with your drink. The cocktail menu features interesting in-house mixes and there’s a separate menu for beer and wine, if that’s more your thing.
This bar, restaurant and live music venue serves southern-style BBQ street food alongside an extensive drinks menu. It opened back in May and has proved to be popular for its soul food offerings and vintage bourbon collection.
This European-style bar is open all day long, serving breakfast pastries in the morning and tapas-style dishes in the evening, all accompanied by fantastic drinks and riverside views. Find it in modern Deansgate Square.
Getting there by train
Are you ready to check out the best bars this thriving city has to offer? Book your train trip to Manchester now - and remember, when you book in advance, you’ll get the best prices.