If you didn't have enough reasons to visit Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, here's another one for you. On the corner of Lever Street you'll see pink, glinting lights peeking out of the basement windows, and a single doorway beckoning you closer. Beguiled by the shining lights and curious stairway, we took a leap down the rabbit hole, and like Alice, found our own little corner of Wonderland: Guilty By Association.
Diving down the staircase, we were excited to take our first glimpse at the interior. An edgy yet minimalist look opens the space up, leaving plenty of room for crowds to gather. Low hanging light fixtures and tall tables create the feel of a cool and quirky urban hang out, whilst luxurious car seats and sumptuous leather booths offer a more private space. Silvery pipes and metal poles contribute to the look, toying with the appearance of a make-shift bar, but with a cutting edge that reminds you it's all top quality design.
A little while ago, we got tipped off that the garnishes at Guilty By Association would blow us away, and we've got to agree with them! Tucking into a mango and ginger sorbet, I almost forgot to try the Cheeky Tiki itself: an icy, strong and citrus punch; white and gold rum, mango, lime juice and their home made lemongrass syrup really bring the white beaches of the Caribbean to your lips. Another hit was the bitter-sweet Cookie Monster Mess; a chocolate, espresso and orange flavoured creation with Oreo infused bourbon. To me, this absolutely tasted like an ice cream cone softened with chocolate ice cream, a quick whip around the bar led everyone to agree (and left me half a drink short). Other triumphs included the popping candy, raspberry and passion fruit Sassy Bitch, and the sweet, tangy and wonderfully fragrant Thai Chi Tea, which is made with green tea syrup but none of the benefits, sadly. I should have known my personal favourite was going to be the sinful Bonnie's Breakfast: vanilla vodka, white chocolate and vanilla syrups, topped up with milk and cream, and shamelessly garnished with chocolate drenched marshmallows. At £6.50 a go, these Associates are sure to become many a cocktail lover's new best friends.
Curiosity definitely doesn't kill the cat at Guilty By Association, it hands them a drink! It was exciting to see how many people would wander down the stairs, ask what this place is all about, pull up a stool and stay for a drink. Meeting all these new faces, it was clear to see Guilty is set to become a new favourite amongst locals, in addition to an epic party night spot. At the bar I met a group of regulars from their sister bar Liquorice, and after a quick chat it was time for tequila shots, apparently! There's a great social mix here as anyone is welcome, couples snuggled up in booths whilst groups of guys and girls flirted and shared details of their exquisite drinks!
Guilty By Association has really hit the ground running; surrounded by Northern Quarter favourites, it is destined to join the elite names that draw crowds to the area from every corner of Manchester. Friendly, fun, and a relaxed interior that's in no danger of falling apart if you party too hard, GBA is a versatile spot that is sure to send social networks into overdrive following the weekend's antics. A final reminder is printed on the far wall, simply the words: Get Guilty. It's a cool nod to the ethos of the bar, that is, if you were here "that night", you were almost certainly a part of it.