Liquorice is a cocktail bar on Pall Mall just off Manchester's Kings Street, a short hop away from Piccadilly Plaza and slap bang in the middle of some great restaurants, including Chaophraya, Jamie's Italian and Rosso. In fact, Liquorice itself used to be an Italian place, then last year the owners decided to shake things up a bit (and that included the drinks!), so Liquorice was born, and it hasn't looked back since.
Liquorice is pretty swanky, as is to be expected this end of town – a glass/metal/stone combo that extends up the office building above. Step past the handful of street-side tables and things mellow out a bit, with wooden tables, leather banquettes and muted walls which are brought to life by the lighting, which is fab. Spotlights highlight the angular space, creating different areas of ambience; shadowy corners or limelight centre stage depending on your mood, who you're with and how much you want to be seen. This cocktail bar is the kind of place that exudes cool and confidence in bucket-loads, partly by presenting itself as a fairly blank canvas. The colour and character is added to by the people who walk in the door and, of course, the cocktails themselves; gorgeous shapes that glitter and glint, jewel-like sculptures brimming with colour and texture. But more on them in a second.
The Atmosphere & Clientele
On weekdays it's a popular haunt for the after-work crowd and pre/post dinner drinkers who slink in for a cheeky Old Fashioned before heading out for food. But Liquorice has done a superb job of creating a space that you would also also be very happy to spend the whole evening at. It has a really chilled out vibe, with cracking music (plenty of Manchester bands, plus whatever else takes the DJs fancy) and chatty staff who have the skill and expertise to recommend/modify/make up drinks so that you're perfectly happy with what you get.
One thing that made us happy was the prices – unlike a lot of Manchester cocktail bars, the beauties we tried were still hitting the sub-£6 mark; their happy hour (6-8pm weekdays) is cheerful enough to put a smile on anyone's face, especially the deals they have on traditionally pricier choices. Two martinis for £11? Yes please.
During the day there are fresh pizzas on offer – and we've been promised that evening snacks are on the way soon, but it's most definitely the cocktails you come here for. The bespoke cocktail menu has been designed specifically for Liquorice and as such the cocktails won’t be found anywhere else, they are one of a kind. The Rhubarb Triangle is a sweet gingery and herbaceous delight – and the signature Liquorice Sour, garnished with Liquorice allsorts and all, is a must.Their twist on the Old Fashioned was divine too – but if you're not a huge cocktail fan, fear not – there is a good selection of wine, beer and bubbly, too.
In a city with more cocktail bars than you can shake a Cosmo at, Liquorice is one that certainly stands out from the crowd for the creativity and quality in every glass. This is a place where the happy art of mixology is celebrated as a thing of beauty and not just as a means to an end. Yes there are the usual suspects on the menu, but I'd definitely recommend going off-piste and giving the guys and gals behind the bar the chance to wow you.