The old image of the hotel bar being a stuffy, boring little dive filled with lonely businessmen, prostitutes and the odd chain-smoking lounge singer is pretty much dead.
Manchester’s hotels have embraced the 21st Century and created some of city’s best bars which just happen to be located in a hotel. Here’s our list of the best.
The Refuge @ The Principal
I think there would be a riot in the streets if I didn’t include The Refuge in this list, because not only would it expose me as being clueless about the subject matter, it will upset a great many people who love the food, drinks and legendary parties that The Refuge does so well. The Winter Garden is a stunning space in which to chill with a Gin and Tonic, and the small plates that they offer are always top-notch. Their Sunday Roast Sharing Platter is a belter too, as is the Manchester Kebab that they offer. Basically, I’ve not got too many bad words to say about The Refuge, and you probably don’t either.
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
0161 233 5151
Cow Hollow Hotel
The new kid on the block, Cow Hollow Hotel has only just opened in the NQ, right next to the Police Museum, and it’s a beauty. They spent some serious bunce on doing up this once clapped-out building and it definitely shows. As you enter you’re immediately greeted by a lovely little bar area which is basically just an Instagrammer’s wet dream. It certainly looks the part, as do the drinks – which mostly revolve around the only two major food groups you should worry about – cocktails & bubbles.
The Cow Hollow Hotel, 57 Newton St, Manchester M1 1ET
0161 228 7277
Brasserie Abode @ Abode Hotel
One of Piccadilly’s only real gems, Brasserie Abode is a stylish haven away from the dirt, grime and incessant shouting outside, and the perfect place to have a cheeky little drink with some mates or stuff your face full of some proper food. They have daily Plat du Jour dishes, there’s Live Music every week and their Sunday Socials are bloody brilliant. For £25 you can get a lovely Sunday Lunch with Bottomless Prosecco for a few hours. Good that innit.
Brasserie Abode, 107a Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2DB
0161 200 5665
Great John Street
Home to the likes of Take That and the Backstreet Boys when they come to town, Great John Street is a cracking hotel located just opposite the Old Granada Studios which features a belting rooftop terrace. In terms of boozing and socialising, not only is the rooftop perfect for a sunny Manchester day, there’s also the homely little Oyster Bar which is great for a bit of relaxing, downing Prosecco and reading the novels of Proust.
Great John St, Manchester M3
Mr Cooper’s @ The Midland Hotel
The place where Mr Rolls & Mr Royce first met in 1904 and decided to knock together a few engines, the Midland Hotel is undoubtedly one of Manchester’s most impressive landmarks and has housed many a visitor over the years. It’s also reported that Hitler was a big fan of the architecture, and that he ordered the Luftwaffe to avoid bombing around the Town Hall so as to preserve the building. Located inside, you’ll find The French, as well as Mr Coopers which is perfect for a few bevvies and some food. Their gin selection is outstanding and although I’ve yet to eat here – I’ve heard it’s very, very good.
Mr Cooper’s House & Garden, The Midland Hotel, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS
0161 235 4781
Hold Fast & The Patron @ Hatters Hostel
Not technically hotel bars, actually more hostel bars – don’t let this fool you – you won’t find a bunch of sweaty backpackers with dreadlocks and trust funds in Hold Fast and The Patron. Well you might see a few but they will definitely be in the minority. Located beneath Hatters’ Hostels on Newton Street and Stevenson Square these two bars have become an excellent addition to the NQ night scene. Hold Fast offers a grungier, more relaxed vibe, while The Patron offers some excellent small plates, a top selection of beers and the best place to sip and watch the NQ go by.
Hold Fast Bar, 50 Newton St, Manchester M1 2EA
The Patron, 42-44 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE
The River Bar @ The Lowry Hotel
The reason I’ve included the River Bar in this list isn’t because it’s a lovely space in which to relax and while you day away (it is), or because it’s got a good little selection of bar food (it has) but because it’s got some of the best Gin & Tonic action in the city including a massive range of tonics which manage to completely revolutionise your G&T world. Pair some Hendricks with a bottle of 1724 Tonic and you’ll never go back.
The Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Pl, Salford M3 5LH
Club Brass @ Hotel Gotham
Housed in one of the city’s best and most striking art deco buildings, Hotel Gotham is going for that exclusivity sort of vibe and it seems to be working. Housed within its thick walls is Club Brass, which is exclusive to guests and to members – so you won’t get any random riff-raff in there asking you for change or trying to sell you DVD’s out of a Bag for Life. The venue would fit perfectly into a 1920’s period drama thing, what with all of the brass, top hats, pocket watches and polished brogues.
Hotel Gotham, 100 King St, Manchester M2 4WU
Cloud 23 @ The Hilton
Quite possibly the most famous hotel bar in the city, Cloud 23 has been the place to go for anyone wanting a spectacular view of the city from above, while slowly sipping cocktails and admiring the ambience. Sure, the views have been usurped by the higher vantagepoint of 20 Stories, but don’t let that put you off – looking out over the city is just as good here and you can even mess about with that bit of glass floor and really feel a bit of vertigo induced adrenaline.
Cloud 23, Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ
King Street Townhouse
Another entry from the Eclectic hotel group here, King Street Townhouse is a relative newbie on the scene and features some fantastic views from its various bars and terraces. You can tuck into their Afternoon Tea options, there’s the Bottomless Brunch on the weekends, or if you just want a few strong Vodka’s while reading the latest issue of Viz, it’s perfect.
King Street Townhouse, 10 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AW