Unbeknownst to many, there is an award-winning cocktail bar hidden beneath Coronation Street‘s original cobbles serving up some of the best drinks in the city.
Recently named ‘one to watch’ at the UK’s Top 50 Bar awards 2023, Project Halcyon has also just won the Best New Bar award – voted for by a community of some 17,000 hospitality staff at this month’s Manchester Bar Awards (MBAs).
Brought to Manchester by the team behind Zymogorium distillery, it originally opened in early 2020 – launching just weeks before the Covid 19 pandemic hit.
Like many other operators, the secret speakeasy – which is connected to the working distillery for Manchester gin makers Zymogorium – closed its doors during lockdown, then quietly relaunched in late October last year beneath Old Granada Studios.
Since reopening, it’s been flooded with accolades. General Manager Adam has just been named amongst the UK’s top 100 bartenders by World Class UK, whilst house bartender Reah Owen recently won the Rising Star award at the MBAs.
And yet, somehow, it’s still managing to fly under the radar as one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets – although, considering all the awards the team is winning, we expect this won’t remain the case for long.
The bar is something of a labyrinth with numerous corners to explore within its underground warren. As well as housing a large bar at its entrance, it’s also home to a dedicated absinthe parlour, Salon Vert, which has been painted to look like a woodland scene and features vintage crystal absinthe fountains.
Elsewhere, there’s a still room and laboratory where the team uses chemistry equipment to create all the insane ingredients that go into their cocktails.
Add to this a self-playing grand piano and a rare collection of expensive spirits, and it’s safe to say Project Halcyon is very much up there with the city centre’s best cocktail bars.
As for its current drinks menu, open it up and you’ll discover that each signature cocktail is accompanied by a stunning illustration of a rare bird.
Choices include ‘Fourteen Days’, a long, tart drink that nods to the Halcyon days of Ancient Greece, and ‘Phoenix Down’, a smoky combination of smoky, nutty bourbon with bitter back notes that symbolises rebirth and eternal life.
Elsewhere on the list, you’ll find the brilliantly-named cocktails ‘Act of Vanity’, a combination of melon liqueur, blueberry and Veuve Cliquot champagne, and ‘Murder of Crows’, a moody and short mix of spiced spirits that promises to be both dark and funky.
The bar also serves up a list of six house classics, all of which are prebatched, prediluted and kept at -14 degrees ready to be poured at your table. Interestingly, though, because the drinks are already kept at the right temperature they aren’t diluted with water but rather with a variety of house-made concoctions.
General Manager Adam told The Manc that the most famous of these is the house vodka martini, made with Boatyard vodka, Cocchi Americano vermouth and clarified banana juice as the dilute.
“It makes for this insanely creamy, flavourful martini that’s classic but approachable,” he said, adding: “Our approach to the bar is that the science is for us to worry about, the hospitality is for the guests.
“We don’t put all this crazy techy stuff at the forefront of what we do. We prioritise good, classic, personal hospitality first and foremost.”
The bar also boasts a vast collection of rare and expensive spirits – and amongst the usual suspects, such as Louis XIII cognac, sit some interesting pieces like the latest seasonal release from Nc’nean and Elena Wright, the latter a close friend of the bar and an award-winning Manchester bartender.
It also serves up a strong selection of wines and beers, not to mention a cracking gin and tonic. Of course, being run by one of Manchester’s original craft gin distilleries, we’d expect nothing less.
Feature image – Project Halcyon
Drinks prices at Parklife 2023 as thousands party in the sunshine
There are few situations that will fill people in Manchester with as much joy as dancing in the Parklife fields beneath blue skies and sunshine with a cold drink in hand.
And the weather forecast for this weekend has delighted ticket-holders, with temperatures hitting as high as 29 degrees on Saturday.
Parklife attendees are in for an absolute scorcher and are being encouraged to stay hydrated.
Festival-goers are allowed to take in an empty 500ml clear water bottle to refill at water points on site.
But if you’re looking to buy drinks at Parklife, this is what the bar prices are looking like.
You’ll be facing prices of £6 and above for anything alcoholic, while soft drinks start from £2.50.
As well as the main festival bars, there are several bars sponsored by drinks brands, including Jagermeister and Bacardi.
It’s pretty standard pricing (sadly) these days for a huge festival like this. Below is a breakdown of all the drinks prices for Parklife 2023.
Beer and cider
San Miguel – 440ml can – £6.20 Somersby Cider – 440ml can – £6.50
Bacardi Mango Mojito – 250ml can – £7.50
Rose – 375ml half-bottle – £15 White – 375ml half-bottle – £15
Alcohol-free and soft drinks
0% Erdinger can – £6 0% grapefruit paloma – £6 0% Moscow mule – £6 Pepsi Max/7Up Free – £2.50 Red Bull (various flavours) – £3.50 Still water – £2.50
Spirits and mixers
Bacardi Spiced – £10.50 for 50ml doubles, £7 for 25ml singles Bacardi Carta Blanca – £10.50 for 50ml doubles, £7 for 25ml singles Bombay Sapphire – £10.50 for 50ml doubles, £7 for 25ml singles Eristoff Vodka – £10.50 for 50ml doubles, £7 for 25ml singles Jack Daniels – £10.50 for 50ml doubles, £7 for 25ml singles
Vodka and Red Bull – £11.50 for 50ml doubles, £8 for 25ml singles Tropical Rumbull – £11.50 for 50ml doubles, £8 for 25ml singles Watermelon Ginbull – £11.50 for 50ml doubles, £8 for 25ml singles
Patron Silver Tequila – £9.50 Jagerbomb – £6 each, or four for £20 Jagermeister Cold Brew Coffee – £7 Jagermeister ice cold shot – £6
The Lawn Club closes temporarily after bar brawl at event leaves ‘trail of blood’ on floor
The Lawn Club has been temporarily instructed to close after a fight last weekend left a trail of blood on the floor outside.
The popular Spinningfields sun-trap bar has said that it’s cooperating fully with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council while the incident is investigated.
A report from GMP said that ‘a large group of people’ were fighting at the city centre bar, one of whom reportedly was seen with a gun, which was thankfully not fired.
At 10.25pm on Sunday 4 June, North West Ambulance service reported that a male had been stabbed in the leg but ‘the knife was no longer in his leg and they didn’t know where it was’.
The victim got up and walked away, and has still not been traced.
The incident happened during an event that was organised by a third party promoter.
The Lawn Club provided CCTV footage to officers, which showed two males arguing before a third appeared with a black handgun.
A spokesperson for the venue said: “On Sunday 4th June, an incident occurred at The Lawn Club, the premises operated by Hardman Bars. This was during an event organised by a third party promoter.
“As a result of this incident, we have been instructed to close the premises temporarily. We also recognise and fully comply with the request by GMP and Manchester City Council, received at a hearing on 07.06.23, for a temporary suspension of our licence while the incident is investigated and reviewed in full.
“We are cooperating entirely with GMP and Manchester City Council to provide any information they require in relation to the incident.
“We’d like to reassure our customers and the community that this is an isolated incident. But nevertheless, the safety of our team, customers and the community is of the highest importance to us. As such, during this period of closure, we will be actively working with the authorities and relevant parties to review all policies and procedures in place at the premises.”