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The swanky new Manchester cocktail bar housed in an old bank vault

Sterling can be found beneath Gary Neville's Stock Exchange Hotel.

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 21st September 2022

A new cocktail bar has opened in Manchester this week, transforming a disused bank vault into a sleek underground drinking den.

Appropriately named Sterling, it comes from multi award-winning Bury brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield and is accessed by its own entrance on Norfolk Street, just behind the city’s busiest shopping district.

Found beneath Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange Hotel, inside it all feels rather glamorous. Floor-to-ceiling wood panelling sets the tone, with low, low lighting making it acceptable to guzzle fiendishly strong cocktails no matter the hour.

Inside, time stands still. There is no signal or natural light, just a list of dangerously smashable cocktails, and a handful of small plates to carry you through to dinner. At one point, I emerge outside for a cigarette and am startled to discover it’s still light outside.

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The Fuji-San cocktail at Sterling. / Image: The Manc Eats
Image: The Manc Eats

Breezy servers float by to take our order, refill water, and check back on drinks (all exquisite). Rocking up at 5pm on the dot, the tequila-based Fuji-San, a refreshing mix of Silver Patron, cucumber, shiso and lime, makes for a refreshing sharpener.

The cocktail list here is split into two, with Sterling’s tried-and-tested classics on the left, and a list of house signatures on the right.

Elsewhere, there’s a fantastic wine list curated by leading expert James Brandwood, and a tempting bar snack menu, developed by Lush by Tom Kerridge, the two-Michelin starred chef responsible for the acclaimed Bull & Bear restaurant upstairs.

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Sterling is the next Manchester chapter for the award-winning trio – the third bar in the city from the Schofield brothers who recently won Bar of the Year and Best New Bar for their first opening in the city, Schofield’s Bar, at the Class Bar Awards 2022.

Read more:: The best cocktail bars in the UK have been revealed – and two are in Manchester

The team have unrivalled experience from across the globe winning International Bartender of the Year and working in some of the world’s most applauded bars, including Little Red Door, The American Bar at the Savoy, Singapore’s Tippling Club and Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney.

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Joe Schofield said “We have been planning this new bar for a long time and the doors are now open. Stock Exchange Hotel is a particularly meaningful venue for us as our mother used to work at the Stock Exchange. 

“Our grandmother also learnt to swim in the old pool at the basement in our original Schofield’s Bar location.  As we continue to evolve our operations in Manchester, it’s warming to have a connection to the past, as that very much reflects our approach to our offering.”

Image: The Manc Eats
Image: The Manc Eats

Read more: Inside Blinker, the new Manchester bar with a dedicated martini menu

Gary Neville, owner of the Stock Exchange Hotel said: “From the moment I walked into Schofield’s Bar some 8 or 9 months ago and met Joe and Daniel I felt like I was walking into an international quality destination but with a local feel and an understanding of the spirit of Manchester. 

Read more: ‘Honoured’ – Manchester bar reacts after winning UK Bar of the Year

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“We spoke about how we had grown up in Bury and the times we had there!  I genuinely can’t wait now for Sterling to open in Stock Exchange Hotel and develop this partnership with the Schofield brothers.”   

Sterling is now open for bookings and walk-ins. It will be open Tuesday-Friday between 5:30-12:30pm and Saturday between 2pm-12:30pm. Bookings are available via this link.

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Feature image – The Manc Eats