Manchester may not have received any new Michelin stars at the ceremony earlier this week, however it certainly makes up for it when it comes to cocktail bars. Announcing the winners yesterday evening (February 6), Top 50 Cocktail Bars revealed a number of Manchester spots had made the list as some of the best in the UK, with one bar in the city coming out on top.
The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list is compiled by the bar industry, making it a unique list of venues those in the know like to visit. The organisers recruit over 100 industry experts which make up the voting academy, from bartenders and owners, to drinks writers and influencers in order to curate an extra special list that has something for every type of drinker.
In previous years, London bars have dominated the list but this year saw Manchester shine brighter than most cities with four cocktail bars making the cut and one receiving a special award. Coming in at first place for this year was Schofield’s Bar, run by sibling team Joe and Daniel Schofield, rising up the rankings jumping twelve places to the top five in just a year, coming fourth place last year. In the last year, the bar has also won accolades including ‘Bar of the Year’ at the CLASS Bar Awards and named in the World’s 50 Best Bars list.
Top 50 Cocktail Bars said: “Together, they had a vision to return home to Manchester to open their now impressive venue, which sits on the corner of the iconic Sunlight House, an art deco masterpiece by architect Joseph Sunlight.”
The organisers also praised the Schofield brothers for including their favourite books that guests can read while sipping a cocktail, a rather unique offering for a cocktail bar. Some of the book and cocktail combinations include Casino Royale, served with a Vesper Martini; Cocktail, served with a Singapore Sling; and The Old Man and the Sea, served with a Mojito.
Not far behind Schofield’s in fifth place was Blinker, which came in at 41 last place, located at the top of King Street on Spring Gardens. the judges for Top 50 Cocktail Bars gave praise for their non-alcoholic serves and admired the snacks available to enjoy with your drink such as truffle crisps, cacio e pepe toasties with three types of cheese and black pepper or a sausage roll with mustard.
Adding to the list is underrated city centre haunt Speak In Code who came eleventh in this year’s awards. The Spinningfields bar serves up creative cocktails with a 1920’s vibe, hidden down a quiet street just off of Deansgate.
The award organisers said it was the “high quality service, delicious food and of course outstanding cocktails” that made the bar worthy of the top ten, with its “imaginative list of ingredients to its exciting plant-based menu”, in particular, making it rather special. Speak in Code was described as “an an exceptional venue in the north of England and a must visit for those near and far.”
Also making the Top 50 Cocktail Bars list was Project Halycon coming in at 20th place, which was crowned ‘One to Watch’ in 2023 having opened in October 2022, and they weren’t wrong. Project Halycon, which features in BBC show Domino Day, boasts its own Absinthe parlour and the judges said the bar’s opulent interior ooze personality with the theme of birds running throughout the venue.
Plus, not only did four Manchester venues make the top 50 list but the organisers also gave a special award to new LGBTQ+ cocktail bar on the block Red Light, crowning it ‘One to Watch’, which is chosen to highlight a bar which hasn’t made the list but has all the makings of a Top 50 bar.
For the full list head to the Top 50 Cocktail Bars website here.