… And we’re so ready to immerse ourselves in all of the wonderful clichés that make the season extra special. From the perfect mug of mulled wine to some of the most decadently decorated venues in the city, here’s our guide to the most festive bars and restaurants to visit this winter and Christmas period in Manchester.
1. The Oast House
An annual fixture at Christmas, The Oast House’s curious teepee is the perfect festive escape, with tons of live music, cold pints and winter warmers in the form of loaded pies to go around. Inside, guests can expect alpine-themed décor, warming fire pits, and plenty of seating to share with friends, as well as a fantastic menu of sharing boards and street-style food to enjoy. The Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard, M3 3AY.
2. The Ivy
Transforming for the winter into an opulent wonderland, you’ll find plenty of delicious cocktails to try out throughout the season. An eye-catching installation adorning the grand façade of the restaurant, with illuminated letters, featuring an oversized Manchester Rocks! slogan, a neon tiger and lightning bolts, meaning both customers and passersby can enjoy it, with festive touches indoors by way of food and drink. Expect mince pies, cocktails with Chivas XV Gold Whisky and Santa’s On His Way dessert featuring a red velvet sponge, cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate. The Ivy, The Pavilion, Byrom St, M3 3HG.
3. Albert’s Schloss
Albert’s Schloss’ grand, festive entrance has returned, with a helping hand of alpine food and drink to enjoy, too. From haus-baked sourdough and pastries, to Bavarian beers and the cosy, alpine dishes that Albert’s Schloss is already known and loved for, there’s plenty to feast on – alongside schnapps, hot chocolate, gluhwein and tons of live music and entertainment. They’re also serving up a festive kebab with all the trimmings to get you in the spirit! Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter St, M2 5QR.
4. Bar Hütte
Adding to all of the bars in Manchester Bar Hütte is back and better than ever, with a whole lot of festive spirit to take in. Whether it’s a bit of karaoke in your own private ‘hutte’ you fancy, or festive cocktails in the cosy bar, there’s a little something for everyone this year. Plus, you can get involved in a wreath-making workshop to really feel festive and have your home ready for Christmas. Bar Hutte, Great Northern, 235 Deansgate, M3 4EN.
5. 20 Stories
Dialling up the décor a notch for the festive season, 20 Stories has transformed its rooftop terrace into an Enchanted Forest and adding plenty of cosy touches. Providing panoramic views of the city, guests can enjoy the unique space with specially curated cocktails – all of which are inspired by the wintery months. Guests needn’t worry about feeling the chill, either, thanks to 20 Stories wonderful pergolas that are fully kitted out with warming fire pits. 20 Stories, NO. 1, 1 Hardman Square, M3 3EB.
6. The Whiskey Jar
One of our favourite cosy bars in the Northern Quarter, The Whiskey Jar is extra special come Christmastime. Boasting tons of festive décor to amplify its rustic interior, the hidden gem bar is the perfect place to warm up with a whiskey on a cold day, particular on Tuesday’s open mic night. The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, M1 2FF.
7. Escape to Freight Island
Escape to Freight Island is continuing to dominate this season – but not as you know it. Revamping itself as Winter Island just for the winter season, the popular entertainment and dining complex has so much to offer this Christmas – from brand new foodie spots (including cult fave Northern Soul) to a Christmas tree forest, a brand new ice rink and plenty of live entertainment. Not to mention all the stunning, twinkling lights! Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, M1 2PZ.
Opening in Spring 2021, Ramona has cemented itself as one of Manchester’s favourite bars in a very short space of time, and now, they’ve shown just what they can do in the colder months and festive season, too. Opening a stunning ‘Winter Village’ earlier this season, guests can retreat to their tipi and warm up by the open campfire, before enjoying Detroit-style pizza, tequila and more-ish hot chocolates. If that wasn’t all, there’ll be plenty of live music to enjoy, too, alongside cool tequila cabins, dance tent and a winter market. Ramona, 40 Swan St, M4 5JG.
9. The Refuge
The Refuge is bringing plenty of Christmas antics to the city this winter, including a lineup of Christmas carol performances and a magnificent mince pie menu. Kicking off the Christmas season just last week, the popular venue is serving a fantastic menu of festive food and drink (including the classic Christmas turkey dinner), alongside choir performances, festive markets and so much more. If that wasn’t all, the décor will be pulling out all the stops, too, with huge trees, twinkling lights and so much more to enjoy. The Refuge, Oxford St, M60 7HA.
10. Miracle on Cross Street
Back for for Christmas 2022, Miracle on Cross Street is one of the most festive bars in Manchester yet – with not only seriously impressive festive décor, but tons of incredible festive drinks on offer, too. From mulled wine to Espresso-ho-ho-ho Martinis, fans won’t be disappointed, particularly when they find out there’s plenty of festive grub on offer, too. Gorge on mince pies while taking in the twinkling décor, before trying out each and every festive-flavoured cocktail on the menu.