It's hard to believe that only a year has passed since Kosmonaut launched. In that short time this Brooklyn inspired Northern Quarter cocktail bar has not only tripled in size but evolved in character, from intimate speakeasy to self assured multi room bar, diner and club(ish) with its own distinct personality. Having reviewed Kosmonaut when it first opened a year ago, we returned to see whether the spark's still there now the honeymoon period is over.
Located in a former warehouse on the up and coming Piccadilly end of the Northern Quarter, Kosmonaut's decor looks to its industrial heritage for inspiration, keeping things simple for the most part and allowing the space to speak for itself. Stripped floor boards, exposed red brick and industrial light fittings create an environment that's urban yet not self conscious, while quirky touches here and there (a pair of vintage barber chairs at one end of the room, for example) add interest without feeling contrived. The main bar area is dark and sexy, with booths lining one wall, a long bar flanking the other, and little nods to NYC such as the flashing 'Walk / Don't Walk' street light mounted on the wall. Adjoining this room is an even larger (relatively new) second room laid out in more of a canteen style with murals and local artwork on the walls, while downstairs the basement offers a cosy spot for drinks, intimate club nights and all important ping-pong parties.
Clientele and Atmosphere
Located on a relatively quiet fringe of the Northern Quarter, Kosmonaut isn't easy to find for the first timer - and this, blissfully, means that it manages to pass largely undetected by the area's weekend invaders whilst still filling up with a nice crowd of down to earth Northern Quarter drinkers. Friday and Saturday nights are busy and buzzy, while week nights see local workers and residents stop by for post work drinks and eats. The crowd on the whole is cool but not pretentious; stylish but not hipster and lively but not lairy. In short, they seem (touch wood) to have got it spot on. Well done, Kosmonaut.
Food and Drink
Having opened initially as a cocktail bar, Kosmonaut started off by offering a few burgers and sandwiches before letting it all hang out with their food offering earlier this year. Offering pretty much everything the gentrified hunter gatherer could look for in a menu, Kosmonaut's kitchen mixes up US and UK influences to great effect, with dishes ranging from the Manchester Egg to the Snoop Dog (a 100% beef dog topped with pulled pork, onions, roasted red peppers and BBQ sauce). Hot dogs, burgers, pizzas, platters and sandwiches prevail, as well as delicious salads and a selection of 'mains' ranging from Moules Marinier to Beef Brisket served in a mug. It's a slighty hectic offering but it works well; the Americana and hearty English influences infusing to offer something warm, exciting and rustic. Accompanying all this, the drinks offering is varied and expectedly well informed; with a decent selection of wines, artisan beers and a manageable selection of crafted cocktails served up by highly trained mixologists.
In one short year Kosmonaut has moved from the hyped up new kid to the grown up mainstay, living up to its own buzz and evolving in surprising ways to ensure its longevity in a marketplace where people can all too quickly move onto the next big thing. 12 months in and Kosmonaut is still very much the place to be for pre-club drinks in the Northern Quarter (it closes at 1am), and if it manages to remain just under-the-radar enough to keep the right sort of crowds coming in whilst being welcoming and inclusive - a tough balance to maintain - then long may it continue to flourish.