Smoked Honey Pisco Sours And NYC-Style Meals: Trying Out Stevenson Square's New Bar

DesignMyNight Drops By | DesignMyNight

Public is the latest pick of Stevenson Square, Manchester bars; a new name courtesy of the team behind The Daisy, Evelyn's, Gooey, Mughli and more. Phew, quite the repertoire. With everything from curry mile favourites to brunch destinations and Insta-famous cookies under their belt already, how would this NYC-inspired spot fare? I headed over for after-work drinks and a bite to eat to find out.

Public Bar Stevenson Square Manchester | DesignMyNight

Find the new Public bar on Stevenson Square in Manchester. 

From a bustling setting in the Northern Quarter, we slipped inside the venue to be met by a stripped-back yet stylish space. Complete with those signature industrial-look ceilings you see all over Manchester and complementary retro hints, the interiors here certainly got our seal of approval. The Public Manchester menu promises food inspired by New York City's Chinatown, while drinks come in the form of beers or innovative signature cocktails, including frozen numbers and riffs on classics. 

We dove straight in, ordering a smoked honey pisco sour (£10) and salted plum old fashioned (£11) at the bar. Thanks to the traditional version of the former being a favourite of mine, this drink already had a lot to live up to - and it's one I'll be thinking about for a long time. The muddle of spirit, lime and burnt butter calvados float was blended with smoked peach honey for a boozy pour that went down all too easily. Consider me impressed. Meanwhile, my other half happily sipped away on his concoction. An old fashioned is generally a drink I avoid but a go-to for him, so I only gave it a quick try. This twist took a lot of the edge off for a non-whiskey drinker like myself, with bourbon cleverly balanced by umeshu (plum wine), cherry-smoked salted plum cordial and the subtle kick of szechuan. I'd even return and grab myself one of these bad boys.

Public Bar Manchester Menu | DesignMyNight

Cocktails, anyone?

Next up, that NYC cuisine. We got a trio of the small plates to share, which came very quick after ordering, alongside a burger (£12) to split and it was more than enough for a meal between two - although we could've just as easily added the chicken sando too for extra indulgence. Our succulent patty was slapped into a potato bun, layered with American cheese, pickles, onion, tangy sauce, and house ketchup that also came in a handy slice form to minimise slip 'n' slide. This tasted more like something you'd get in an actual burger shop, boasting a smoky meat flavour and lashings of toppings in equal measure, so I'd definitely recommend.

On the side were the char sui sticky glazed pork belly sticks (£7) - perfectly tender bites in a gorgeous sauce that edged towards sweet - and those pullable hot oil gun gun noodles (£8.50) you've seen all over Instagram or TikTok. The noods were as moreish as I was expecting, with crispy chilli oil clinging to each ribbon, but had a high price point considering their simplicity. The wings (£6.50) here were slightly on the salty side, yet the kung pao flavouring still hit the spot and got a thumbs up from my poultry-loving partner. 

Public Bar Manchester Review | DesignMyNight

From beaut burgers to dainty drinks, all avenues are covered by these guys.

The DesignMyNight Digest

In a sea of bars across this popular square, Public stands out. The two twists on classic cocktails we tried were divine, while food was dished up in record time; with burgers a definite hit and the smaller plates a more mixed bag. This place strikes a balance between affordability and quality though - ideal for a quick date or group outing without feeling like you've skimped too much.

  💰 The damage: £55 for food and two cocktails.

  📍  The location: 9 Stevenson Square, M1 1DB.

  👌 Perfect for: A tasty meal at fast food speed and after-work drinks.

 ⭐ Need to know: Rainy days mean 'unhappy hour' of £6 daiquiris and £4 pints - yes please.


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