Time to try out some new places in Manchester! To make the post-lockdown planning a little bit easier, we’ve rounded up the best hidden and secret bars that Manchester has to offer… If you can find them that is.
1. Behind Closed Doors
Discreetly placed between a body piercing shop and a t-shirt printers, Behind Closed Doors sits behind a seedy-looking door that could easily be mistaken for a private entrance to either of the shops next door. When you do find the door, guests are led down a suspicious staircase, decked out with XXX signs that could have you wondering if you’ve stumbled into the wrong place.
The basement speakeasy features old fashion decor with a sexy twist – with raunchy artwork dotted around the space and plastered all over the bathroom walls. Tables feature fully functioning vintage rotary phones that can be used to call up the bar for a cocktail, the menu for which is worth getting a little tipsy for! Behind Closed Doors, 93 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LW
2. The Washhouse
The Washhouse has been around for a while, with hidden bar fans going wild for the theme. The exterior of the bar features a faux laundrette that to the average passerby would seem genuine, but fortunately, this place is more interested in spinning a good cocktail than the actual washing machines.
Guests are required to play along with the theme, and to get in must call up and make a booking using the service names on their website. Then, when you do arrive, you’ll find a phone on the wall where you’ll need to tell the operator you want to wash some dirty clothes. Only then can you go through the inconspicuous giant washing machine and enjoy the fun. The Washhouse, 19 Shudehill, Manchester, M4 2AF
3. One Eight Six
A newcomer on Manchester’s secret scene, One Eight Six is a brand new cocktail club for 2020, tucked away behind a mirror in a fully operational barbers shop. The bar doubles up as a music venue, with live acts regularly performing at the cabaret-style venue. The bar is great for dancing, with dancing on the tables actually encouraged! Fancy a haircut and a cheeky drink, anyone? One Eight Six, 186 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WB
4. Science & Industry
A long-time member of the secret bar scene in the city, Science & Industry is one of the cities favourite speakeasies, completely hidden away behind a secret door in the Northern Quarter’s Cane & Grain. The door is pretty difficult to find, however, with it blending right in with the wood-panelled walls of the American-themed bar.
The mysterious hideaway is the perfect spot to sneak away from the NQ’s hustle and bustle, serving up an array of tasty cocktails and often having live acoustic acts throughout the week.
5. Dusk Til Pawn
Dusk Til Pawn is one of Manchester’s true hidden gems, with cocktails and more all hidden behind the facade of a pawn shop. There’s even stock in the windows sure to trick the casual observer!
The chic but understated speakeasy hidden behind the pawn shop’s barred doors offers up a great place to kick back and relax with a drink, with a free play jukebox, DJs playing on weekends and an extensive cocktail menu with plenty to try. Dusk Til Pawn, Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN
6. The Fitzgerald
Tucked away down the Northern Quarter’s back alleys that could easily be mistaken for a wrong-turn in New York, The Fitzgerald is a romantically lit speakeasy, specialising in cocktails, live music and of course a subtle Great Gatsby theme.
The bar is decked out with beautiful vintage decor and glassware and has a really chilled atmosphere – a great getaway from an otherwise busy Stevenson Square. Live jazz and blues can be caught on weekends before the lively bar transforms with DJs playing soul, disco and funk until the early hours. The Fitzgerald, 11 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DB