In a coup for the city’s bartending scene, some of Manchester’s best cocktail bars have been named amongst the UK’s creme de la creme – with two ranking amongst the top 10 in the country at the Top 50 UK Bars awards.
The prestigious list, released annually, named four Manchester bars in total at a glitzy awards ceremony in London last night.
Coming in at number eight on the list this year was hidden Manchester cocktail bar Speak In Code, up two places from the year before, whilst ranking highly in fourth place was the brilliant Schofield’s Bar, having moved up twelve places on its 2022 ranking.
Spring Gardens cocktail bar Blinker, opened less than a year ago by ex-Gordon Ramsay bars boss Dan Berger, also ranked in this year’s top 50 – coming at number 41.
And there was an honourable mention for Zymogorium’s newly-reopened Project Halcyon bar, located in the Bonded Warehouse beneath the Old Granada Studios, which took home a special ‘One to watch’ gong at last night’s ceremony.
Whilst London once again dominated the list, there were still a large number of northern drinking spots included with a total of 14 of the Top 50 Cocktail Bars to be found in Scotland and the north of England.
In Leeds, Tabula Rasa, (#48), Hedonist (#45) and Below Stairs (#42) were all recognised for their top-notch drinks, atmosphere and service, whilst in Sheffield natural wine bar Bench (#50) and cocktail bar Public (#39) were also given honours.
Liverpool bar Present Company also cleaned up at the awards, ranking at number 20 – a jump of 23 places from its 2022 position.
Over in Scotland, meanwhile, Edinburgh bars Panda & Sons (#6) Bramble (#13) and Hey Palu (#27) all got a mention, as did secret Glaswegian bar The Absent Ear (#25) and natural wine and cocktail bar Lunar (#49).
The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list is compiled by bar industry experts and offers a unique perspective on where those in the know like to go for a drink.
Each year, the list is chosen by a mixture of bartenders, bar owners, writers, critics, and other hospitality professionals.
To ensure each region in the UK has an equal opportunity to shine, voters are broken down into six geographical regions. Each voter then has four votes, including for one cocktail bar in their region and three others from anywhere else in the UK.
Top 50 Cocktail Bars community manager, Charli Tomney, said: “I am so excited to bring back this event with a bang. We have a real variety of bars, some with a capacity of 24 people some with 300. There are bars with spirit specialities, new bars that have opened just months ago and some female-owned businesses from across the UK.”
Chris Lowe, publisher of Top 50 Cocktail Bars, said: “We have created Top 50 Cocktail Bars to help people find the best bars, which are often hidden, around the UK.
“London still has more bars on the list than any other city but having almost all of the UK’s major cities represented showcases the explosion of great venues on the cocktail scene.”
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Stockport restaurant becomes only the third in Greater Manchester to receive four AA Rosettes
Where The Light Gets In in Stockport has been awarded a fourth AA Rosette, becoming only the third restaurant in Greater Manchester to receive the accolade.
The huge loft-like restaurant, tucked up the stairs on the top floor of an old warehouse, has a surprise menu every day.
With chef patron Sam Buckley at the helm, Where The Light Gets In plans each service around what produce they can forage, farm or find from local suppliers.
It means a dining experience that will never be the same on each visit and has earned it plenty of national and international acclaim.
Where The Light Gets In can now add a fourth AA Rosette to its crown, alongside its Michelin Green Star (awarded for sustainable practices).
It’s a ‘huge achievement’, they said on receiving the award. The only other Greater Manchester restaurants to hold this many AA Rosettes are the Michelin-starred Mana, and long-standing fine-dining restaurant Adam Reid at The French.
Where The Light Gets In said: “We are so thrilled to receive 4 rosettes from the @aa_hospitality.
“This is a huge achievement that highlights just how hard our team works to create an engaging and innovative experience for our guests each night.
“As proud as I am to receive this acknowledgment I am even more proud to work with the team that have achieved it.
“Thank you to the AA for your recognition and thank you to the team that makes me giddy to be here.”
Inspectors for the AA said: “Right in the centre of the old industrial part of Stockport, Where The Light Gets In is across the street from the Victorian market and accessed via steps to the top floor of a former coffee warehouse.
“Inside, red brickwork and plain floors with Scandi-style furnishings are illuminated by large windows and the lounge, kitchen and dining room all share same open space. Tables face the chefs and there are seats at the kitchen counter for those diners who want to be ringside.
“The style is somewhere between Scandi and Japanese, with occasional influences from China, and there’s a strong sustainable, no waste ethos.
“Flavours are defined, interesting and balanced. BBQ lobster tail dressed with lobster oil and sea buckthorn butter sauce might precede tender pork fillet topped with tiny pieces of crackling, purple spouting broccoli and spicy steamed pork dumpling. Finish with burnt apple sorbet and artichoke vodka.”
The new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this month | October 2023
October will be a big month for new restaurant openings in Manchester, with some of the most high-anticipated launches of the year taking place.
There is, of course, Sexy Fish, that hugely glitzy London establishment that’s moving into Spinningfields at long last.
Also branching across into Manchester in October will be Louisiana fried chicken legends Popeyes, Leeds’ favourite ramen house House of Fu, and Broadway Diner, where wait staff sing musical numbers at you while you eat.
You’ll also find new restaurants to check out right across Greater Manchester, from an Italian restaurant in Stockport’s Underbanks to a couple of new spots at Kampus in the city centre.
Keep reading for all the new restaurant and bar openings in Manchester this October.
Bondi Bowls, Kampus
Bondi Bowls will open its first permanent base at Kampus this September, offering healthy choices to residents and visitors alike.
Bondi Bowls first began life as a delivery-only service during the pandemic before taking on residencies at street food markets Hatch and Freight Island.
Set up by founder Jamie Tones, a chef who has worked in kitchens around the world, the menu takes inspiration from his time in Sydney with a selection of different açaí and poké bowls.
Diners will find an all-day brunch offering from morning to night with global flavour inspirations from the likes of India, Mexico, and Australasia.
Finally, Manchester Victoria is going to have a decent beer bar – and we honestly cannot wait.
The team behind Piccadilly Tap and Euston Tap are at last gearing up to open their new taproom at the city’s original train station, and are promising commuters their arrival will mark a new chapter with ‘no more £7 pints’.
Progress on the site seems to be ticking along nicely with an opening date due in the coming week.
Opening date TBC
Love From, Kampus
A new alcohol-free pop up bar experience is taking over the bungalow-on-stilts at Kampus next month, promising a series of events that don’t rely on booze.
The pop-up, open between 12 and 22 October, is founded by Karl Considine, who hosts the What Next podcast and shares stories of sobriety.
Love From will help to pave the way for the rapidly-growing alcohol-free market as more and more people turn their backs on booze.
Manchester’s iconic nightclub Panacea – a celeb favourite – has reopened its doors as Ikaro, a new grill and champagne bar.
This lavish newcomer has announced its arrival with huge LED screens that light up John Dalton Street with stunning graphics.
At the restaurant, diners will find two menus focusing on two different elements, fire and ice. On the first, you’ll find Grilled Lobster Tails, Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye, and Australian Wagyu Tomahawk.
On the second an array of Sushi and Sashimi such as Torched Hand Dived Scallops and Bluefin Tuna Otoro.
House of Fu, Portland Street
An all-time favourite of our pals across the Pennines in Leeds, House of Fu will be making its first foray into Manchester in October.
The ramen restaurant will bring their modern ramen, rice bowls and small plates to Manchester from 11:30am every day.
The venue also boasts a late-night party spot, state-of-the-art karaoke rooms, and a private dining room, offering a brand-new feasting menu for parties of up to 30, alongside their everyday menu.
Opening Friday 20 October
Birria Brothers Tacos, Northern Quarter
You probably already know Birria Brothers Tacos – they had a queue going right down Oldham Street during one of the many lockdowns when they popped up at Koffee Pot.
And now it’s official, with the team taking over a chunk of Koffee Pot’s cafe and tiling above the door shouting ‘TACOS’ to passers-by.
The order of the day here is almost always traditional birria tacos, a Mexican dish where slow-cooked bef is stuffed into corn tortillas, ready to be dipped in the rich cooking stock.
Sexy Fish, Spinningfields
One of the most luxurious and highly-anticipated openings of the year is due to open this month, with Sexy Fish taking shape in the former Armani site in Spinningfields.
The Manchester restaurant will be the third global outpost for the restaurant concept, which has already seen electrifying openings in London’s Mayfair in 2015 and Miami’s Brickell district in 2022.
On the menu will be high-end sushi, a large Champagne collection with a selection of the world’s top vintages from leading estates, and an excellent sake wine selection.
OpeningThursday 12 October
New Wave Ramen, Tib Lane
New Wave Ramen has built a reputation for having the best bowls in the city, despite not having a restaurant space of its own – until now.
The Mackie Mayor legends have taken up a two-storey space in a historic building on Tib Lane, serving signature ramen bowls and small plates from the binchotan-fired grill, alongside sustainable seafood.
These giant bowls of broth and noodle are so moreish you could drink gallons of the stuff.
All of us Mancs over a certain age will remember Cord, the legendary Northern Quarter boozer that opened at the turn of the millennium.
Now the founding team behind that institution are heading to Stockport to open Alfredo’s Social, an Italian social, in the Winter’s Building.
They’ll be serving authentic Neapolitan pizza, small plates, salads and charcuterie, with ingredients sourced locally or even grown in their own allotment.
Opens Saturday 14 October
Popeyes, Piccadilly Gardens
FINALLY – Louisiana’s famous chicken chain Popeyes is opening its brand new Manchester restaurant this month.
Known for serving fried chicken dishes with sides like red beans and rice, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes with Cajun-style gravy, Cajun rice, macaroni & cheese, southern-style biscuits, and coleslaw, it’s opening a new location on Piccadilly Gardens.
And then there’s the breakfast menu, with dishes including the Big Breakfast Roll (a sausage patty, egg, streaky bacon, and American cheese in a soft bun), a variety of sausage, bacon, egg and cheese muffins, cajun hash browns, and its famous Louisiana buttermilk biscuits served with cinnamon sugar or Nutella.
Opening Thursday 26 October.
A Broadway-themed diner where the wait staff serenades you with hits from your favourite musicals is set to bring a little razzle-dazzle to Manchester.
Staff at Broadway Diner, which comes from the team behind Karen’s Diner, will sing hits from iconic Broadway musicals, like Oliver!, Rent, Lion King, Hamilton, Cats, and more.
The new musical diner, which is set to open in the Trafford Centre later this year, will also host performances from local artists in a bid to give back to the local community and offer a platform for up-and-coming homegrown talent.
Opens Sunday 22 October
Things to do and events in Manchester in October 2023
Oast House Teepee – The Oast House has confirmed that its legendary Christmas tipi draped in twinkling lights is set to return for the festive season. The Teepee will be made up of three tents joined together with a huge open hub. It opens on Wednesday 11 October.
Madre Sunday roast – Kampus’s excellent Mexican restaurant Madre is launching a Sunday feast menu, where you can order a choice of meat cooked Mexican-style, accompanied by traditional sides including salsa, papas con crema (roast potatoes but better), Refried beans, Elote and grilled cabbage.
Evelyn’s new menu – This Northern Quarter institution has a shiny new menu from October, with seasonal dishes focusing on Levantine and Pan-Asian flavours. New additions include whol Cornish sole, Za’atar lamb chops, picanha steak, and chocolate soufra.
Indy Man Beer Con (IMBC) – Manchester’s enormous celebration of independent breweries is heading back to Victoria Baths between 5 and 8 October. There’ll be talks, tastings, street food, merch, and everything else a beer-lover could possibly want.
Strike Steak at Hawksmoor – Hawksmoor decided in summer to start selling absolute bargain steaks whenever the trains were on strike (so, always), and are now switching the deal up. For £15, you can get a Hawksmoor burger with beef dripping chips, between 12pm and 3pm, on strike days (30 September, 4 October, and 6 October).
Bundo does Oktoberfest – To celebrate Oktoberfest, Bundobust have shaken a spice rack over some iconic German dishes for hungry punters to enjoy alongside a cold German beer. A proper match made in heaven if you ask us. The limited-edition specials will be available until Sunday 15 October,
Bottomless curry at Zouk – For National Curry Week, Zouk’s famous bottomless curry offer is back, with all-you-can-eat curry for £20 per person. The deal is available from Monday 2 October to Friday 6 October, with 120 bottles of Cobra given away each day to the first people through the door.