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Winter warmers: 18 cosy Manchester pubs and bars

Confidentials    6 months ago

The nights are flipping freezing, Beetham Tower is whistling through her two front teeth and all we want to do is snuggle up with our mates and a great cocktail.

Luckily Manchester is a veritable warren of excellent drinking establishments that tick all the boxes and then some. We’ve whittled together some of Manchester’s best cosy pubs and bars that are known for their cocktails, kegs, snacks and small plates to keep you roasty-toasty even in the most inclement weather.

  • Lamb rump with potato rosti and broad beans served at 10 Tib Lane, a French restaurant in Manchester city centre.
    Manchester City Centre

    10 Tib Lane

    Bars

    10 Tib Lane is one of the brave new openings of summer 2021; a time when securing staff and supplies, never mind diners, is an ongoing challenge for everyone. 

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Atlas Bar

    Bars

    Atlas Bar is known as one of the originals of Manchester’s modern cafe-bar scene. And for its extensive collection of gins – over 570 varieties and counting.

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  • The kids menu at The Black Friar - a family-friendly restaurant in Manchester.
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    The Black Friar

    Pubs

    The Black Friar stood empty and unloved for almost 20 years before reopening in summer 2021 after a substantial renovation project. Now a modern British restaurant and a traditional pub, it has two distinct settings with menus to match.

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  • Edinburgh Castle Manchester Table
    Ancoats

    Edinburgh Castle

    Pubs

    The Edinburgh Castle is a fortification for fortifying yourself, full of hearty British fare. This defence against hunger has two parts. No, not motte and bailey, but an upstairs restaurant and a downstairs pub. Upstairs, downstairs and all the connotations that go along with that.

    The downstairs is a traditional old pub with a welcoming drinking zone and a separate eating area. Traditional pub or not, this is much more than just some Scampi Fries. In fact, this is some of the very best pub food in the city.

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  • Cocktail served at the Jane Eyre in Manchester
    Ancoats

    The Jane Eyre

    Bars

    The Jane Eyre is a self-styled ‘neighbourhood bar’ offering seasonal food, classic cocktails and local beers. Presided over by Eyre siblings Jonny and Joe, it is, mildly disappointingly, not a Gothic homage to the Yorkshire based tragic-heroine but actually named after their late mum. 

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    The Fountain House

    Pubs

    The Fountain House is the newest lodger of the Gothic-arched Memorial Hall sitting one corner of Albert Square, and its modern old-fashioned surrounds and plentiful portions of proper pub grub – mostly British but with a little European inspiration – do the imposing building proud.

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  • The cheese and meat sharing board at Haunt - a recommended wine bar and coffee shop in Manchester city centre.
    Manchester City Centre

    Haunt

    Bars

    When Peter Street lost its Caffe Nero it gained Haunt, an independent coffee shop and wine bar. Stepping inside, you feel like this corner spot in the beautiful St George’s House, with its views of the Midland Hotel and Central Library, has finally got the classy occupier it deserves.

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  • A classic negroni at cocktail bar Henry C in Chorlton, Manchester.
    Chorlton

    Henry C

    Bars

    Serving up city centre-standard cocktails in the suburbs, Henry C is a cosy neighbourhood bar in Chorlton with a heavy New Orleans influence.

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  • The Marble Arch - a cosy pub in Manchester.
    Manchester City Centre

    The Marble Arch

    Pubs

    George Orwell may have named his ideal (and imaginary) pub The Moon Under Water but Wetherspoons on Deansgate was not what he had in mind. It’s The Marble Arch which has all the qualities that mark it out as the perfect boozer.

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  • Steak at Mr Thomas's Chop House in Manchester.
    Greater Manchester

    Mr Thomas’s Chop House

    Pubs

    Thomas Studd and his wife Sarah established their Chop House in booming Cottonopolis in 1867, and it’s still going strong, serving up top-end pub grub in the famous tiled back room restaurant along with flagons and snifters in the bar and on the sunny St Ann’s Square terrace.

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  • The terrace at The Oast House in Manchester
    Spinningfields

    The Oast House

    Pubs

    From the same stable as The Botanists around town, The Oast House boasts those “famous” Hanging Kebabs and, with its copious outside space in the middle of Spinningfields, is a favourite as a bit of a city centre sunny spot.

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  • Inside Overdraught MCR, a craft ale bar in Levenshulme, Manchester housed in a former bank.
    Levenshulme

    Overdraught MCR

    Bars

    Overdraught MCR opened its doors in October 2019 with a name that’s a cheeky nod to the previous incarnation of the venue as a TSB bank.

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  • Drinking in the sun at The Peveril of the Peak
    Oxford Road

    Peveril of the Peak

    Bars

    The Grade II Listed Peveril of the Peak dates back to the 1820s. It’s had quite the history, and is now one of Manchester’s most iconic pubs thanks to its unique green-tiled exterior.

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  • Project Halcyon - one of the Manchester cocktail bars that made the 2024 Top 50 Cocktail Bars list.
    Manchester City Centre

    Project Halcyon

    Bars

    The Halcyon Project Distillery is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a unique and immersive cocktail experience in Manchester. Owned by the Zymurgorium Group and run by brothers Aaron and Callum, this bar is located in the heart of the city in the Bonded Warehouse and boasts its own in-house distillery.

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  • A cocktail served at Speak in Code - one of the best cocktail bars in Manchester
    Manchester City Centre

    Speak In Code

    Bars

    Finding itself resting in the top 20 of the top 50 cocktail bars in the whole of the UK, Speak In Code makes everything in house and is passionate about flavour exploration, hospitality, oh, and hip hop, which inspires the drinks menu.

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  • Cocktail served at Three Little Words
    Manchester City Centre

    Three Little Words

    Bars

    Three Little Words is housed under the arches at the lesser-visited end of Watson Street, near Beetham Tower. Inside you’ll find the Spirit of Manchester gin distillery, a cocktail bar, and a kitchen serving small plates with thoroughly decent cooking. It’s certainly a place worth knowing about.

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  • Two bottles of red wine on display at Wine & Wallop, a wine bar in West Didsbury, Manchester
    Didsbury

    Wine & Wallop Didsbury

    Bars

    Conveniently located opposite West Didsbury Metrolink station, Wine & Wallop Didsbury is a cosy retreat where you can sample an interesting selection of wine, micro-brewed ales and cask ciders, accompanied by a light lunch or a few nibbles.

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  • Manchester City Centre

    Wood & Company

    Bars

    With its disguised entrance and back street location, Wood & Co has the feel of a secret speakeasy only frequented by those in the know. The unmarked door is on South King Street, in between Cross Street and Deansgate. Descend the steps and you’ll find yourself in a tiled, sleek space centred on a marble bar that stretches the length of the room.

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