Manchester has got street cred and soul in abundance. It’s one of the coolest cities in the north, and just when you think it can’t get any cooler, it goes and cuts the ribbon on brand new Peter Street venue: Impossible Manchester. As a former student at the University of Manchester, I can preach the above with 100% confidence in my claims, but 4 years down the line, it’s awesome to see what the 'Capital of Cool' has offer outside of the Joshua Brooks guestlist and a sticky night at Fifth Ave.
Like something straight out of a Tim Burton film, when you step over the candlelit threshold of Impossible Manchester, what you see on the surface is but a mere illusion. What meets the eye is a botanical boutique bar/restaurant, framed by draping red curtains and lavish chandeliers which give a nod to the immersive theatre venue that lies beneath. The Theatre du Impossible promises to bring an innovative new approach to the Manchester party scene while the cocktail bar breathes a new lease of life into modern mixology.
If you’re looking for something a little more intimate however, you can head straight upstairs to The Gin Nest, which is said to seat just 70 covers at capacity. The ‘Ginpossible’ Gin Nest is a secret mezzanine venue with its very own private bar and comprehensive collection of 72 gins and interior design goals to boot. Somewhere between hunting lodge and speakeasy, The Gin Nest is quite literally, a true hidden gem.
Any fully fledged foodie will understand the sharing tactic – you find a partner in dine to take along; you both place your orders on the back of a pinky promise to go halfsies and you get double the bang for your buck. We did exactly this and chose a selection of small plates from the tacos menu and the Shared Plates & Starters list.
We went for the Bacon Topped Fries -featuring crushed Frazzles – (£3.50), the Crispy Duck Spring rolls with Plum & Schezwan Sauce (£7), the Traditional Spanish Style Chorizo Croquettes with sundried tomatoes (£7), The Phat Cow chilli beef taco (£3.50) and the Moroccan pulled lamb taco with apricot, almond, cinnamon and tzatziki (£3.50). Each taco might have come served on a corrugated license plate but it was the humble-but-delicious bacon fries and croquettes that stole the show for us. Not even the Iced Cherry Parfait (£6) or the insanely indulgent Chocolate Pave (£5) with peanut powder we wrapped up with could steal their thunder.
If like Joey you do not share food, you might be more attracted to the list of hearty mains featuring everything from steaks (from £16) and Beer Battered Cod (£13.50) right through to Cajun Monkfish (£18) and Moules-Frites (£12). If you dare to dine on the more experimental side of things, there’s always the Mick Dundee (£19.30) crocodile meat on the burgers menu or the Skippy kangaroo chilli taco (£4). This manifold menu has definitely been cleverly crafted to make you sit up and listen.
As well as the plethora of distils on offer, The Gin Nest also houses a cryogenic freezer which churns out delicate, frozen G&T ‘sorbets’ of sorts. These bitesize blocks of frozen gin and tonic come served on a silver platter with their own bespoke garnish and if that doesn’t make them cool enough, they’ve been dubbed Lady Rhoden’s Fella Repella (£7). This nifty piece of machinery compliments the alcoholic mist condenser for a revolutionary, ‘Impossibubble’ experience of molecular beverages, unique ingredient combinations and new consumption methods that throw two fingers up in the face of tradition. Ah, what a time to be alive.
From sampling the Chocolate Chili Cheesecake cocktail (£7.50) and the Strawberry & Rhubarb Fizz (£9.50) from the cocktail bar over dinner, I can vouch for its perfect balance between quality and frivolity. All too often novelty can take precedence over substance with a whacking great price tag to boot but these guys have shaken up the hierarchy of priorities and got it just right.
For a dinner date, a bite to eat during a lazy lunch hour or something to snack on when the gins have you feeling a little fuzzy on a school night, Impossible Manchester is great. The food is perfectly palatable and a whole lot of fun but where this cool new hangout truly excels is its flair for mixology and its drinks repertoire. From the cocktail bar to The Gin Nest to the late night theatre, this Manchester venue is about to take the Spinningfields nightlife scene by storm, just you mark my words.