Dear Sailor – Inside the secretive new Manchester bar that comes with a strict list of house rules

Dear Sailor is very mysterious indeed...

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 22nd November 2023

The idea of a ‘secret bar’ is pretty much dead these days, with the rise of social media revealing any and all hidden gems across Manchester.

But a brand new bar that’s opening its doors this weekend has done its level best to keep an air of mystery about it.

Dear Sailor has kept its Instagram account private, only accepting follow requests from a select few.

It’s teased details like its inspiration (prohibition-era jazz speakeasies in Tokyo), and its menu (championing flavours of South-East Asia like yuzu and shiso), along with blueprints of the bar design.

It describes itself as ‘The whisper of the town’.


But otherwise, there have been no press releases, no star-studded parties, and no sneak peeks. It’s not even listed on Google Maps yet.

That’s all about to change, with Dear Sailor ready to host its launch weekend from Friday 24 November.


And despite its efforts to keep things under wraps, it’s aroused a fair bit of interest over the last few weeks.

For as much as Dear Sailor might be trying to arrive in Manchester with an air of mystery, it’s in a prime location with plenty of footfall.

It’s opening its doors directly across from Sexy Fish in Spinningfields, taking over the former Wolf Street Food space off Spinningfields Square.


The space divides into two areas – a covered outdoor terrace with long banks of seating (they’ve built a large extension, with a wooden cube now jutting out onto The Avenue), and the main bar space.

It’s been completely transformed with a towering, illuminated bar at one end and a golden wave of fabric hanging overhead.

The walls inside are painted with blue waves while a brown leather banquette twists all the way around the bar.

Another unusual feature about Dear Sailor is its list of house rules, which forbid any name-dropping, any loud behaviour, and hats.

‘Gentlemen’ are also not allowed to approach ladies inside the bar, with women encouraged in the house rules to ‘lift your chin slightly and ignore him’.


Dancing on the furniture is allowed as long as you take your shoes off first, and punters are asked to leave the bar quickly and silently.

One of Dear Sailor’s rules also states: “Do not bring anyone unless you would leave that person alone in your home. You are responsible for the behaviour of your guests.”

Dear Sailor is open in Spinningfields now and bookings are live here.

Dear Sailor in Manchester’s full list of house rules

  1. No name-dropping, no star f*cking.
  2. No shouting, or other loud behavior.
  3. No fighting, no play fighting, no talking about fighting.
  4. Gentlemen can remove their hats. Hooks are provided if necessary.
  5. Gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies. Ladies, feel free to start a conversation or ask the bartender to introduce you. If a man you don’t know speaks to you, please lift your chin slightly and ignore him.
  6. Do not linger outside the front door.
  7. Shoes off when dancing on the furniture.
  8. No sports wear/caps.
  9. Do not bring anyone unless you would leave that person alone in your home. You are responsible for the behavior of your guests.
  10. Exit the bar briskly and silently. Please make all your travel plans and say all farewells before leaving the bar.

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Featured image: The Manc Group