Underhype and overdeliver – that could well be the mantra at Mecanica, the new (ish) Northern Quarter cocktail bar on Swan Street.
Boasting the likes of Phillip Aldridge (formerly of Manchester’s only Michelin starred restaurant Mana), alongside skilled bartenders from institutions like Dusk Til Pawn, Australasia, and London Cocktail Club, it’s already getting some serious recognition amongst Manchester’s industry crowd – as well it should.
Quietly opened in August to replace Alphabet Brewing Co‘s short-lived cocktail and wine venture The Quick Brown Fox, the swanky new drinking den is all amethyst hues and brushed velvet – giving the whole place a sort of sultry, up-to-no-good swagger that really comes into its own under the cover of darkness.
Reminiscent of a sexily-lit hotel bar, it feels like the sort of place saucy swines might go to conduct an affair with a lover. The only thing missing, in fact, is a room upstairs.
We jest, but it’s not far off the mark. The hotel theme is a deliberate one, carrying through to the menu – a collection of elegantly assembled cocktails that draw inspiration from famous hotel rooms, both real and fictional.
From ‘Coco Chanel Suite’, which echoes the legendary fashion designer’s famous diet of champagne and caviar (and even includes a spritz of no. 5); to ‘Fear and Loathing’, served as two separate drinks you are encouraged to enjoy apart before blending together, the execution at Mecanica is just as impeccable as its concepts.
In ‘Fear and Loathing’, cuttlefish ink in a coupette delivers the ‘fear’ element, whilst gooseberry-led aperitif Sipello merges with grapefruit to provide a shot of ‘loathing’ – mirroring that famous scene in which Thompson’s characters find themselves holed up sipping mezcal and Singapore Slings.
Described as a ‘drink of two parts’, whilst you’re told to enjoy it however you please we enquire how the bartender would recommend it drunk and are told to first sip them separately, then together, for maximum effect.
Elsewhere on the menu, cleverly concocted drinks reference Wes Anderson’s 2017 short Hotel Chavelier, John and Yoko’s infamous Montreal ‘bed in’, and Tennessee Williams 1961 play Night of the Iguana – in which an alcoholic tour guide spirals out of control in a night of pure debauchery at a Mexican hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
Mood lamps on each table, meanwhile, use a colour-coded system for service: with the green meaning ‘go’, blue meaning ‘content’ and red meaning ‘bill, please’ – so at the touch of a button, smart, well-informed bartenders appeared out of nowhere to tell you in minute detail the inspiration behind each drink. A genius touch.
Given that this particular quarter of Manchester is teeming with shouty concept bars, each clamouring for its own identity but pouring a near-identical list of party drinks, Mecanica offers a refreshing break from the norm.
Sleek, stylish and oh-so-sexy, it’s doing a bang-up job of honouring some of the capital’s top hotel bars whilst bringing something new and exciting to shake up the old Northern Quarter format of days gone by.
A must for any self-respecting Mancunian cocktail lover, it’s bringiing something new to the Northern Quarter – and we’re absolutely here for it.
Feature image – Mecanica
Capitalising on its elite credentials, this Thursday 18 November Mecanica is hosting an exclusive Heart Cut Gin masterclass with Sipsmith – bringing an experience previously only available at the London distillery to Manchester for the first time.
Priced at £15 per ticket, alongside an exclusive unique tasting you’ll also be treated to three complimentary drinks created by its expert bartenders and gin samples from the Sipsmith collection.
To find out more and book, follow Mecanica on Instagram here. To book for the Heart Cut Gin masterclass, click here.
A bar in Manchester has made the move to introduce a ridiculously cheap drinks deal, pricing a number of its most popular bevs at just £2.50 each.
Yes, that’s right. Every Friday night for the foreseeable future, Alvarium in the Northern Quarter will be serving up bottles of beer, alongside spirits and glasses of red, white and rose wine at a super low rate.
Perfect for helping those struggling with the high cost of, well, everything right now, this is a way to get the Christmas presents sorted and still go out celebrating the festive season with your mates. Happy days.
The Northern Quarter bar, which stays open until 1am on Fridays, launched a new extended happy hour earlier this summer that saw it offer two bottles of San Miguel for £5, two cocktails for £10 and bottles of house wine at £12.50 each.
Now, however, Alvarium’s owners have taken things a step further – taking the pricing structure back to the nineties with a range of £2.50 drinks available every Friday.
As well as wine and beer, you’ll find tasty spritzes sitting alongside other festive-themed cocktails like ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ (a mix of brandy, bourbon, lemon, cranberry and orange) and ‘Winter Berries’ (vodka, apple, passionfruit, grenadine and lemonade).
Sharing the news online over the weekend, the dog-friendly cocktail bar and kitchen wrote: “INTRODUCING THE FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL.
The bar has previously hosted kitchen pop-ups from the likes of vegan kitchen Black Leaf, Manchester slab shack Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria, and Abeja Tapas Bar.
Now it has taken its food offering back in-house, serving up a selection of locally-sourced meat and cheese boards loaded with an array of pickles, chutneys, crackers, giant slices of sourdough and more – perfect for soaking up all that cheap, cheap booze.
To find out more, head down this Friday to check it out for yourself. Lord knows we could all do with a cheeky discount this month.
Feature image – Alvarium
A traditional cafe serving retro favouties has opened on the third floor of Affleck’s
A brand-new cafe has opened on the third floor of the iconic Afflecks building, offering an all-day menu of British classics, from breakfast through to closing time.
Serving cafe classics, Third Floor Rising will dish up quality breakfasts with specialities including meat, vegetarian and vegan fry-ups and breakfast rolls, BLT, teas, coffees – basically everything required to kick start the day.
There’s also a solid list of homemade favourites – such as Tommy’s homemade pies, paninis, toasties and filled rolls, alongside Sarah’s tray bakes and cakes.
Third Floor Rising has been brought to Afflecks by husband and wife team Tommy Heaton and Sarah Abell – long-time Afflecks fans who felt that it was the perfect space for their new venture.
With a wealth of experience in hospitality spanning over 20 years, the pair decided now was the time to open their first space and atop one of the city’s most iconic buildings was too good an opportunity to miss.
As one of Manchester’s most famous café spots rises again, the inspiration for the name comes from the book of the same title written by author Hilary Mantel when she worked at Affleck and Brown.
The cafe will be serving breakfast from 10.30am when Afflecks opens, as well as lunch and drinks all day long, designed to refuel hungry shoppers, visitors and traders alike.
The drinks menu includes coffees, smoothies, milkshakes and coolers. All of this will be brought to customers in a relaxed, homespun atmosphere with carefully considered vintage inspired interiors.
From handwritten, daily-changing menus, to original 70s printed wallpaper, owners Tommy and Sarah wanted to emulate their own home and love of all things retro in the surroundings for the city’s new community cafe.
The welcoming space also reflects the amazing light and history within the building with its panoramic windows looking out onto the Northern Quarter. Plants and artwork from fellow Afflecks traders City and Bloom and Egoiste Gallery adorn the space.
Commenting on the launch, Tommy said: “Since we’ve joined we have loved getting to know everyone, from the cleaners to the management to the stall holders and the techs!
“It feels like a family – a family we are proud to be part of. We are excited about the next few years as we plan to serve up hearty, homemade food in one of our favourite places in the world and we hope other people will love it too.”
AJ Martyn, General Manager at Afflecks, added: “We are thrilled to welcome another amazing independent business to the Afflecks community.
“Third Floor Rising is the perfect fit for the cafe space and we think the classic menu will really appeal to our customers. Tommy and Sarah have poured so much into the concept and we’re excited to be supporting them on their journey.”