American humourist James Thurber believed that “one [martini] is all right, two is too many, and three is not enough”. After spending a night drinking at Blinker, I’m inclined to agree with him.
The latest addition to Manchester’s ever-growing hospitality scene, this new cocktail bar from ex-Gordon Ramsay bars boss Dan Berger sits right at the top of King Street and is, quite frankly, dangerously close to my office.
There are three parts to the menu – a dedicated martini section, another focused on old fashioneds, and a third that changes seasonally to champion four local(ish) ingredients. This month, it’s all about mint, pomegranate, rhubarb, and nectarine.
The bar’s name itself is inspired by a vintage Prohibition-era cocktail, the Blinker, which lost favour for many years to its trendier and more mainstream counterpart: the whiskey sour.
Another word for blinders, some say the name references tackle used to cover horses’ eyes – but it could just as well nod to Prohibition rule-breakers blinded by methanol-laced moonshine, a hazard of the era.
Either way, it’s deliciously strong – and sits proudly at the top of the menu as Blinker’s signature cocktail.
A combination of raspberry, grapefruit, and rye, it blends winter citrus and corn whisky in perfect harmony and will do much to appease Pornstar martini fans once they realise their passionfruit favourite is nowhere to be found.
And if that doesn’t do it, Blinker’s Champagne martini certainly will.
Unable to resist that particular section, we dove straight in with a classic Martinez – which seemed fitting, being the direct precursor to the martini – before moving on to sample a dry Vesper martini and a sweet Champagne martini, both viscously ice-cold.
We try other things too: a sharp and frothy rhubarb sour, a fiery ginger and rhubarb drink, a tropical old-fashioned, and a Southside fizz, but after leaving I just can’t stop thinking about the martinis.
It’s hard to find a good martini in Manchester, or rather, it has been until now. There are a few usual suspects: the bar at Hawksmoor, or Schofield’s, but this is the first time I’ve seen a section here dedicated to exploring the classic, done well.
By the end of the night, I’m with Dorothy Parker – or at least, feeling mindful of the words often attributed to her: “I like to have a martini, two at the very most –After three I’m under the table, After four, I’m under my host.”
My advice: order some Gordal olives and almonds on the side to keep you going and, if you over indulge, prepare to feel a little sensitive the next day. Personally, I’ve no regrets.
Iconic Manchester nightclub Panacea reopens as IKaro, a new grill and champagne bar
This week, an iconic Manchester venue will reopen its doors with a brand new concept.
The legendary city centre nightclub known as Panacea is about to reopen as IKaro, a new grill and champagne bar on John Dalton Street.
The move follows an application for planning permission earlier this year and sees a new team into the former popular celebrity hotspot Panacea, which has been closed since 2015.
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.
Behind the menus are talented sushi chef, Lattawan Buchanan, who’s spent time at popular restaurants Ivy Asia and former ‘Masterchef: The Professionals’ finalist, Exose Grant.
Head Chef Exose Grant, said, “Our menu showcases the best of the land and sea. We’ll be using fresh, quality produce in the best possible way. Innovative and impeccably presented dishes that don’t compromise on flavour.”
Behind the bar, you’ll find countless varieties of Champagne including a frequently changing sommelier’s selection of rare bottles which, in keeping with the venue’s reputation as a go-to late-night haunt, will be served up until doors close at 2.30am.
Head of bars, Sean McGuirk, said: “Alongside our extensive ‘by the bottle’ offering, you can expect elevated classic cocktails, as well as some uniquely extravagant options.
“Our team will play with flavours and theatrics to deliver an experience like no other.”
IKaro will mark its launch with a VIP event on Saturday 23 September before doors open to the public on Wednesday 27 September.
The court heard how the attack took place as the youngster walked to her friend’s house.
As she walked past the address Valentine was staying at in his camper van outside, she was set upon by a pack of six dogs that were being kept both in the back garden and in the defendant’s camper van, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
The little girl’s older sister then bravely tried to wrestle the dogs off her as she was being attacked on the pavement.
It was only when her mother picked her up that the dogs ran off.
The little girl sadly sustained “serious injuries” to her face, scalp, hand, abdomen, arms, legs, back, and shoulder during the attack – which she has since had surgery for.
Following the traumatic incident, Valentine was arrested on Tuesday 28 March when his van was traced to Fallowfield in south Manchester, and the dogs were subsequently seized, before he was also arrested in connection with another incident back in December 2022 when a man was walking his pet Dalmatian.
Both the man and Dalmatian were injured after being set upon by the dogs, and a member of the public was said to have had to intervene.
Following his trial last week, Valentine was handed a 49-month prison sentence.
He was also banned from owning dogs for life, and has a 10-year restraining order after pleading guilty to eight charges of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, and possession of Class B drugs.
Speaking following the trial, DC Goodhand, of Trafford CID, thanked the victims for supporting the prosecution, adding: “Whilst nothing can take these experiences away from them, we hope that today’s sentence goes some way to allowing them to heal and move on.”
DC Goodhand also urged anyone with information relating to dangerous animals to report this to the police, so that “appropriate action can be taken”.