Cool And Quirky Bars In Manchester

We know your game. You're looking to impress mates or dates by taking them to the best drinking dens, aren't you? That's perfectly understandable - our city sure comes up trumps on the eccentric hangouts front. Whether you're searching for a themed watering hole to jet you off to a more exotic climate or a top-secret basement boozer, get stuck into cool and quirky Manchester bars here.

Last edited by Scarlett Welch

Last updated on 13th June 2024




Three Little Words

A must-visit for any gin fan, Three Little Words is the sleek bar that sits next to the Spirit of Manchester distillery, which has been voted as Best Bar Team of The Year by Top 50 Cocktail Bars. Venture here to learn all about the science behind the perfect G and T, before feasting on a mouthwatering menu of international plates like harissa carrots with hummus or crispy chicken in chilli sauce, paired with signature cocktails, as well as sumptuous roast dinners on a Sunday.

Alcotraz Manchester: Cell Block Three-Four

@ Alcotraz Penitentiary: Manchester on Various dates from Friday 14th June 2024

A cool and quirky bar in Manchester city centre, Alcotraz is bringing together smuggling, supping and speakeasy vibes in one fun prison-themed experience. Your task? To sneak a bottle of your favourite spirit past the guards so the talented inmates can turn it into a tasty tipple, while snapping mugshots in your orange jumpsuits and dodging the warden.

Bingo Balls Manchester

ULTIMATE PARTY PACKAGE

This quirky spot is no stranger to party vibes in a pink setting. Bingo Balls Manchester not only has an adult-sized ball pit to dive into, but also booths to book, cocktails masterclasses to head to and DJs keeping you dancing 'til the early hours. They've got fun-filled events on every night of the week, promising the best of RnB, hip hop and throwback classics.

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The Lawn Club

Cocktail Club and 3 other offers

Boasting stylish private dining pods, an outdoor bar and an ivy-laden terrace that's perfect for summer, The Lawn Club is the perfect spot for alfresco drinks whatever the weather. Located in the heart of Hardman Square, this place is a wonderland of outdoor seating, with two-for-£12 cocktails from 5 'til 8pm Sunday to Thursday - from the Candyfloss Martini to a blackberry mojito. You can even nab a bottomless brunch here, featuring mouthwatering pizzas and endless mimosas.

BLVD

After cool bars with DJs in Manchester? Inspired by uber-luxe spots of New York, LA and Miami, BLVD is a venue like no other. Mosey over to the Spinningfields venue for a mix of international small plates and expertly mixed cocktails at this Instagrammable spot. Once the sun goes down? The live entertainment and late-night fun come out to play, with some of the UK's top DJs playing on a weekly basis.

On The Hush

Quirky cocktail bars in Manchester's Northern Quarter are topped off by On The Hush, a place where smoking drinks comes served in stiletto-shaped glasses and dishes include wild mushroom pasta with creamy truffle sauce and spicy chicken or halloumi burgers. Not only that, but there's bottomless brunches on Saturdays or Sundays and all sorts of fun interiors, including a full-sized phone box, colourful furniture and lots of greenery.

Lane7 Manchester Deansgate

It's not just the neon-splattered interiors that make Lane7 Manchester Deansgate such as quirky spot to drink; it's also home to a wicked lineup of activities and games - we're talking shuffleboard pool, shooting pods and even private karaoke rooms. While you try your hand at arcade games or bowling, enjoy gourmet burgers and loaded fries from Fat Hippo, as well as Drumstick lolly cocktails, boozy slushies or pints.

The Liquor Store

On the corner of Blackfriars Street and Parsonage, you'll find the neon signs and exposed brick walls of The Liquor Store. With cocktails named after The Walking Dead, the globe's best liquors and martinis as big as your head, this place sure knows how to get a party started - with late-night music and drinks until 3am every single night. This spot is great for private parties too, thanks to their cosy booths and bespoke outdoor areas.

Immersive Gamebox

Immersive Gamebox is the kooky hangout serving up a whole range of interactive fun, meaning it's making our list of the quirkiest activity bars in Manchester. Spend a night smashing blocks and catching coins across your own private pad, with several different 60-minute experiences to choose from including Squid Game and an alien aptitude test.

The Whiskey Jar

One for the dram lovers amongst us, this Tariff Street spot is whipping up all manner of heady concoctions, spread across two floors in a Grade II listed building. Fronting some moody lighting, live entertainment, cocktail classes and even a terrace for barbecue grub come summer, there's plenty to sink your teeth into at The Whiskey Jar. Fancy a boogie? Head downstairs to their basement bar for DJ sets and disco balls galore.

Salt Dogs Manchester

When it comes to the best bars in Manchester city centre, Salt Dog Slims is right up there. There's bespoke cocktails like the Instant Power Sour or an elderflower-infused Pink Panther, alongside classic and loaded hot dogs, a cool playlist, pool tables and a beer vending machine if you want to skip the queues. They're not short on entertainment here either, from resident DJs on the weekends to a legendary monthly quiz night with some seriously crazy prizes.

Dog Bowl

Happy Hour and 5 other offers

Start stretching out those arms, make sure that lunge is in check and (most importantly) get practicing your victory strike dance; Dog Bowl is a playground for the city's big kids. The kitchen is open 'til 1am, meaning you can chow down on tasty burgers, pizzas or loaded fries from Smash and Dash whatever time your game finishes. This Oxford Road watering hole is strictly a competitor's zone, so bowl on.

The Blues Kitchen Manchester

From bourbon-laced cocktails and classic concoctions to a choice of live jazz music or DJs, Blues Kitchen is bringing a taste of America's deep south to Manchester. You can also pair your drinks with low 'n' slow cooked meat or juicy burgers. As for fun events, check out their RnB and Afrobeats nights every Friday or the hip hop orchestra brunch come Saturday, both of which promise non-stop bangers while you party.

The Fitzgerald

2x Cocktails for £12

Vintage charm meets cocktail finesse at this unique bar. A wonderland for those who love a dash of 20s-style debauchery, Fitzgerald is primed for Prohibition-inspired evenings of sipping craft cocktails, curling up in romantic nooks and swooning over live jazz and blues musicians every Thursday night, alongside DJ sets on the weekend. They even offer bottomless brunches here too, complete with buttermilk chicken, halloumi or classic beef burgers.

Mean Eyed Cat Manchester

Tiki Hideaway 2 - for - £14 Cocktails and 2 other offers

Looking for a cool and quirky bar to meet your mates at? Head to Mean Eyed Cat Manchester, a Johnny Cash inspired hangout that oozes 1950s Polynesian vibes, featuring secret tiki bar downstairs and rum runner cocktails coming with your very own mini cowboy hat. Tuck into buffalo chicken pizzas and try wild flavoured shots like chocolate chip cookie and pecan pie.

1UP

1UP is a cool game bar that's arrived in Didsbury, bringing with it a whole load of cards, consoles, arcade machines and pinball. Not only that, but the cool space itself follows the theme - think an eight-foot Donkey Kong, Pac-Man garden and Tetris blocks in the toilets, almost all of which is custom-built. And if all that gaming has made you hungry, you can munch on everything from chicken wings to plant-based burgers here.

Flight Club Manchester

Afternoon Fizz

Bringing you some bold signature cocktails, tasty pizzas and tech-savvy dartboards for you to challenge your friends on, this cool watering hole on King Street is an experience like no other. The interiors are fairground-themed, adding a little whimsy as you challenge your friends at a huge range of quirky games. Looking for the best boozy brunches? Check out Flight Club's weekly socials, which feature unlimited pizza paddles and a whole bottle of prosecco each while you play.

11 Central

How does a Salford Quays bar with its very own gin school sound? Brought to you by the team behind beer brand Seven Bro7hers and gin brand Four Sis4ers, 11 Central is a top joint with lots to offer, including a mouthwatering menu featuring beef Wellington with smoked pomme puree, plus curried monkfish. It also comes equipped with its very own large terrace overlooking the waterfront, industrial interiors and live entertainment throughout the week.

NQ64 Manchester Peter Street

Gather your friends and get down to NQ64 on either Peter Street or Manchester's Northern Quarter for a fun-filled, nostalgic evening packed with all your favourite games from your childhood. Enter the glowing neon playground to find an array of retro consoles and pinball machines, as well as the likes of Guitar Hero and Super Mario Bros. Feeling thirsty? There are themed cocktails for that, like the Kirby, made with Beefeater pink gin.

Boom Battle Bar Manchester

Boasting shuffleboard, karaoke, 'crazier' golf and axe throwing, Boom Battle Bar in The Printworks is certainly up there on our list of quirky Manchester bars. The cocktails here are oh-so Instagrammable and delicious too, from the Fruit Bomb to a spiced mango margarita. And if you worked up an appetite? There's a crackin' menu for that, including pizza, loaded fries, nachos and wings.

Sixes Cricket Manchester

Bottomless Brunch

Gunning to get on the crease? Sixes Cricket lets you do just that in their high-tech batting nets, with plenty of drinking to be done while you're at it. They've even got a state-of-the-art AR bowling simulator at this fun-packed spot too. Better yet, they're fronting classic dishes like burgers or loaded fries and a swish Champagne bar to boot, so you can really make a night of it.

Sandinista

Promising regular live music and Cuban-inspired drinks, Sandinista is a quirky cantina bar named after The Clash's Fourth album. You can find plenty of other rock and roll influences at this place too, from album covers on the walls to the bands that play here. Enjoy tasty tapas too, alongside a fantastic choice of cocktails, wine and beers on tap.

Impossible

Spread across three spacious floors, Impossible is giving guests an array of entertainment that spans from theatre to cabaret, giving it a place as a great choice of bar in the area. This spot is both inspired by creator Aaron Mellor's travels and Mancunian icons, and it's even got a hidden bar that served 63 different types of gin. Take your dinner plans up a notch, with an inventive menu of British classics like mussels and steak, alongside handcrafted drinks taking centre stage.

Project Halcyon Distillery

On the hunt for a cool, laidback cocktail bar? Make a beeline for Project Halcyon Distillery, which was voted 21st in the Top 50 Cocktail Bars for 2024, despite having been open for less than 18 months. Oozing slick, 1920s speakeasy vibes while playing modern jazz hits and shaking up a range of quirky liquid libations, using unique ingredients like Ming River Baijiu, it's simply perfect for intimate date nights and relaxed evenings with pals. And if you prefer a more straightforward drink, try out their range of wines and rotating beers on tap too. What's more, they've even got their very own absinthe parlour.

Point Blank Shooting Manchester

With simulation shooting games alongside two for £12 cocktail happy hours and speakeasy bar vibes, Point Blank Shooting Manchester is one quirky pick for your evening out. There are multiple guns to test out your skills with and over 200 different scenarios to choose from on their big screens, from target practice to hostage situations. Topping it off? Bottomless pizza brunches on Sundays, of course.

Via Manchester

Hosting vibrant drag shows, live DJ sets every weekend and the creative cocktails to accompany, Via is not to be missed on the city's nightlife scene. Sashay your way to this venue in the Gay Village and you won't be short on friendly vibes or entertainment. And if you fancy a bite to eat before the wild nights here, check out their menu of stone-baked pizza, gourmet burgers and three for £12 tacos.

Sunset by Australasia

Candy colour schemes and a leafy terrace are the name of the game at this unique haunt. Sunset by Australasia is one of the top Instagram bars in Manchester thanks to its all-over pink decor; perfect for warm summer days with frozen cocktails or cosy meals of sushi, oysters and more. They even offer a cute afternoon tea here too, served in bento boxes with optional boozy bevs.

7 Sins

If you want a game, chances are that this neon-lit subterranean den has got it. 7 Sins is an underground world hiding all sorts of fun, from shuffleboard or pool tables through to darts, beer pong and arcade classics. Feeling thirsty? Fill up on 'Gram-worthy shakes and creative cocktails which are two-for-one until 7pm everyday - we're talking a boozy Disco Iced Tea or the bubblegum-infused Carn-Evil, as well as delicious burgers from Smash and Dash.

The Alchemist Manchester - New York Street

With three bars across the city, The Alchemist is a great choice for scientific-looking cocktails which incorporate everything from dry ice to smoke, like a citrussy Foam Alone or the Zombie Apocalypse, served in a laboratory-style beaker. The New York Street venue is a favourite, with a party atmosphere come the weekend and a menu of international eats such as Korean fried chicken burgers and crispy halloumi flatbreads.

MOJO Manchester

American rock 'n' roll joint MOJO takes inspiration from the best New York dive bars, with some of the finest cocktail classics and unique creations Manchester has to offer. Step into this neon-lit haven of rock 'n' roll for late-night parties complete with live DJs and tasty concoctions. Are they serving up the most potent zombie around? Just maybe. 

Corbieres Wine Cavern

Take a trip to this cave of French wine on King Street, where you can enjoy delicious drinks, mouthwatering pizzas and regular live music sessions. Corbieres Wine Cavern specialises in vino as you might expect, but the hidden bar also boasts a great selection of beers from around the world and cracking cocktails to boot. They've even got an old-school jukebox, and when you spend a fiver here between 4 and 8pm Tuesday to Friday you'll get a free pizza to enjoy too.

Jimmy's

A firm choice for live music, Jimmy's has got rock 'n' roll running through its veins. Band posters decorate walls, there's knickknacks collected from touring artists, and a long list of acts taking to the stage. The support? Great beer, classic cokctails and comfort food, including crispy fried chicken burgers, fish finger butties or loaded fries, with bottomless brunches available every Saturday too.

Speak in Code

Bringing New York vibes to Spinningfields, Speak In Code is a tucked-away, cosy drinking den touting exposed brick walls, low lighting and botanical decor, which has secured itself a place on the official Top 50 UK Bars list. Their menu is entirely plant-based, with cocktails named Track 1 through to Track 12 and featuring everything from shiitake mushrooms to tobacco-spiced liqueur, as well as some twists on classic serves like the SiC Old Fashioned.

Night and Day Cafe

This popular live music venue is pumping out the tunes until 2am Monday to Saturday, with performances every single night of the week. They've hosted everyone from Jessie J to The Manic Street Preachers in the past, so there's something for everyone to enjoy while sipping on a cracking choice of beer and craft ales. And if you swing by in the daytime? Expect a traditional pub atmosphere with delicious pizzas to top it all off.

YES

If its live music and alfresco drinking sessions you're after, check out what the folks at YES on Charles Street are up to. Expect some of the hottest global artists performing live across the iconic pink gig room and cool basement stage, with past names including Wings of Desire, Yard Act, Giles Peterson and Ghoulish. You'll also find quirky art exhibitions, pop-up screenings and plenty more on the suntrap terrace space. As for refreshments, enjoy affordable pints and classic cocktails galore, as well as street food from We Can Be Gyros or Pepperoni Playboy Pizza.

Dusk til Pawn

For cool places to drink, Dusk Til Pawn is unbeaten. Hidden behind the pretence of an old pawn shop window, this quirky watering hole is made up of comfy sofas, a blasting jukebox and top-notch cocktails, including a unique twist on the classic Old Fashioned. DesignMyNight awarded this spot as Manchester's top hidden gem in 2015, so be sure to swing by for concoctions and killer tunes in a unique setting. 

The Washhouse

Laundry day getting you down? With more than just soap suds and wash cycles on offer, this pick of quirky secret bars in Manchester is a hideout for those in the know. Go for a tumble through the dryer, where you'll discover a lair of potent libations, banging house tunes and late-night antics. Though it may be a bit of a competition to secure a space here, we promise it's well worth the queue.

Blind Tyger

Taking its inspiration from the prohibition era, Blind Tyger is a speakeasy-style bar found hidden underneath Sandinista on Old Bank Street. This sultry spot is decked out in all sorts of trinkets, as well as intricate glassware and dark furnishings. As for the drinks, expect all the classics as well as signature serves like a custard-themed Lisbon Tart or the White Jamaican, putting a Caribbean twist on the traditional white Russian.

Club Brass

After cool rooftop bars in Manchester? Head up to the seventh floor of the Hotel Gotham, where you'll find exclusive cocktail den Brass, featuring original 20th Century glazed tiles, art-deco furnishings, bespoke light fittings and speakeasy vibes. This private members club certainly has an exclusive feel to it, as well as elegant drinks and fantastic views of the city.

Northern Monk Refectory MCR

Northern Monk Refectory MCR is a laidback dining room and cosy basement bar all in one, situated in the Northern Quarter. This spot is a top choice for craft beer, thanks to 18 keg lines, four cask lines and a fridge full of refreshing bottles from all around the world. Even better, you can find delicious street food from Cardinal Rule, a quirky South American vendor which is one of the only places in the UK that serves US-style biscuits.

Menagerie

Phones at the ready, this is one of many seriously pretty bars around these parts. Located in a former Salford office block, Menagerie boasts Instagrammable interiors, including bird sculptures suspended from the ceiling, neon signs and plenty of floral features, to accompany your Champagne or cocktails. Not sure what to pick from their extensive list of concoctions? We recommend the Pink Lady, combing gin with rose liqueur.