The sunshine-filled nature of Tiki bars seems somewhat out of place for Manchester, but when the weather is at its worst, there is no finer rebuttal to the cold and rain than a night out at the Northern Quarter’s Hula Lounge. Located in Stevenson Square, Hula Lounge’s rum filled cocktails and summery interior are the perfect remedy to any seasonal affective disorder.
Hula Lounge perfectly embodies the feeling and atmosphere of a secret beach hut on the edge of a secluded beach, despite the fact it’s under Manchester’s grimy streets! As I ventured down the bamboo adorned stairs, peered through the luminescent fish tank and push open its door, I was hit with the full organised chaos of the bar's design. From the jumble of items on the wall behind the bar, to the floral patterned pillars and walls full of polaroids of some of the bar’s more crazy nights, and even the Puffer fish light fixtures, sitting at the bar of Hula Lounge makes you feel like you’re in the midst of a hula hurricane of parties and good times.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
The atmosphere and clientele of Hula Lounge greatly differ depending on when you visit. For a quiet, chilled out drinking session, you can copy me and go on a mid-week evening when you can still hear the bartenders' jokes, although with drinks being served until 2am from Monday to Thursday, and 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, the party times of Hula Lounge are home to one of the wildest party atmosphere in all of the Manchester. With the regular DJs pumping out a skanking mix of reggae, hip-hop house and everything in between, and the licks of the fire that comes with some of the bar's more daring cocktails, the weekend party goes on further into the night than any other bar in the Northern Quarter. Hula Lounge perfectly caters for the party animals who want to stay out till 2am on weekdays, as well as for those who just want a quiet drinking session with one of the huge sharers.
The Food and Drink
Hula Lounge has a huge range of cocktails, including sharers such as the Volcano Bowl (£16) and the gigantic Powder Keg (£55), to more traditional cocktails like the Zombie and Caipirinhas (£7). Every cocktail is served with the same flair and style from the skilled bartenders, and is packed full of carefully selected rum and fresh fruit to make each one beautifully looking and tasting. As well as the cocktails, Hula Lounge also serve all the staples of modern bottled beer, with the Jamaican Red Stripe beer (£3.30) being one of the most popular.
On my visit, both I and my partner-in-crime plumped for a cocktail each, I chose the delicious Fiji Fizz and my friend chose the fruity Sweet Leliana (Both £7), before moving onto the fiery Volcano bowl. All of our drinks were delicious and incredibly moreish, and were perfectly complimented by the fun-loving nature and jokes of the bartenders.
Hula Lounge never fails to send off any of its patrons with a huge grin on their face, either from the one-drink-more effect of their cocktails, or from the contagious atmosphere of the toe-tapping music and the dance floor. Just make sure to book one of the cosy booths for your own private space in one of Manchester’s most popular and busiest bars.