Tusk, a lively bar in the Northern Quarter, transported us away from the grey streets of Manchester to an exciting safari of African heat and bassy beats.
With a luminous tropical fish tank embedded into the wall, floor-length tribal print drapes, and shelves holding an array of rustic paraphernalia, it didn’t take us long to lose ourselves in the earthy, vibrant décor of the bar. Rustic animal skin drums hang alongside ivory horns and antlers, which protrude from the wall, and emphasise the glance towards Africa that the bar achieves. The venue is vibrant and sumptuous; an indigo haze hung in the air on this particular evening, which was punctuated by accents of fluorescent orange from the candles, creating a colourful and romantic vibe.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
We visited on a thriving Thursday night and found groups of in-the-know bohemian types who were well into their party. The DJs were playing a flawless playlist of reggae, hip-hop, R ‘n’ B and house; the bassy vibrations unified everyone at the bar as Bob Marley’s ‘Stir It Up’, Pharrel and Jay Z’s ‘Frontin’’ and other tunes reverberated through the space. The sound system was so absorbing, they could get away with playing nursery rhymes and it would still sound like a sexy underground party. The bar staff are so fun and friendly that they couldn’t even restrain themselves from joining in, doing shots, dancing along to the music, and showing off their party tricks.
The Food and Drink
The bar, in the middle of the venue, was an oasis of fabulous cocktails; there was an on-going herd encircling it like a watering hole. We tried the Leopard cocktail which blew us out of the water. With fiery red chilli infused rum, this was the chilliest cocktail I have ever tasted – a single sniff almost singed my nostril hairs. The lychee, guava and coconut cream brought into the mix made it a truly gorgeous drink (but only for those who really like their spice). My companion tried the Elephant cocktail which was made with raisin infused rum, white chocolate and banana. It was served in a voluptuous tall glass with two translucent straws for tusks, banana slices for ears and a banana leaf for a trunk.
Tusk bar, being at once rustic and vibrant, injects a refreshing reference to Africa in the Northern Quarter’s bar scene. With a sprinkling of creative flair, a dash of culture and a huge glug of cool, Tusk is truly unique among the other Northern Quarter bars.