Bar watch: Manchester House's cocktails
There are few bars in Manchester that can count spectacular sunsets as one of their draws. Manchester House, on the added-on 12th floor of a high rise Spinningfields office block, is one of them, and the cinematic views from its Lounge bar are some of the best around.
The place to enjoy them come the summer will be on one of the indoor/outdoor terraces at each corner of the building - and if the sun shines and the soft-top roofs go back, they will be mobbed.
But, during this particularly inclement spring, indoors is the only option. And it's not a bad one: it could have been a big, cold space but it has been sympathetically broken up into cosy corners by smart leather sofas, moodily lit cubby-holes and bar seating, and so it's a good idea to do a loop of the floor to choose your view.
On one side, you'll be looking out to Salford and Bolton (a good spot at sunset); on two other sides, out over Manchester. The last gives you an unspoilt panorama of the most impressive spirits bar in Manchester - stocked with rare bottles from one end of the building to the other.
Considering the obvious efforts to exaggerate the opulence at the top of this tower block, and the premium level of the commonly used spirits, the drinks are pretty competitively priced. I start with a Pink Lady (£10) - a twist on the classic White Lady - served straight up and made with luxurious helpings of Plymouth gin and grenadine.
I picked it at random, having flicked through the cocktail bible on the table - obsessively detailed, with 100 cocktail options. But after that, I let the barman lead the way. He mixes me an Aviation (£9) - the pleasingly subtle splash of violette giving the Portabello gin he handpicks a chance to be tasted - while my buddy gets a shot of Nikka Coffee Grain whiskey (£14.40), served over a fat square of ice and very easy going.
That gives me a taste for whiskey, so I try two more cocktails: a signature and a classic. First up, Blood & Sand (£9): action packed with Woodford Reserve, cherry marnier, red vermouth and orange juice, but incredibly delicate on the palette. It's romping home with the taste award until I try the bar's Smokey Old Fashioned (£10) - smoked at the table then capped, it's the sexiest, sweetest drink I've ever had in Manchester.
Manchester House, Tower 12, Spinningfields. For bookings, T: 0161 835 2557
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