Why drag your mates around a load of different bars when one bar has it all? Great cocktails, great food, dancing, live music, karaoke, a next-level private dining space and looks that kill – get yourself a girl who can do the lot. That girl is Blues Kitchen.
Now two years old, Blues Kitchen Manchester is fully in its stride, and it’s difficult to think of another spot that does so many different things well. Aesthetically, it bangs, with beautiful vintage tiles, stained glass salvaged from an abandoned church in Queens, New York, thrift store monkey lamps and classic American bar lights from a run down tavern in Milwaukee. There’s always a new detail to notice.
Live music comes from a spectacularly eclectic gig calendar and regular in-house live bands – pretty much any day of the week you can get up and dance to a live band. But if you prefer to create your own entertainment, did you know there are karaoke booths that hold 5-25 future X-Factor stars too? We haven’t even got started on the food.
So here’s your plan for a decadent Friday night: hire the private dining room and book a karaoke booth for after dinner, meet in the bar for happy hour (£6 cocktails 5-7pm) before heading downstairs beneath the blaring music and crowds of partiers above, right into the belly of the beast that is the Blues Kitchen.
The etched glass door of the PDR opens to reveal a long, polished copper table and panelled mahogany walls. Wrought iron lanterns softly glow to enhance the antique tiling and brass framed mirrors. At one end, a blue stained glass window reads: “Truth, music, love,” the essence of Blues Kitchen. It feels like a secret Masonic meeting room, or somewhere you might escape to next time that siren alert goes off on your mobile phone.
Even better, it has a cocktail list so you can carry on drinking. You might order burnt pear old fashioneds, negronis and sazeracs (someone orders a pint of lager) as you slide into the comfortable leather seats wishing you’d worn smoking jackets.
A banquet of dishes starts to arrive, all the kinds of foods you want with beer and cocktails. Crisp, hot and tangy buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dressing, cajun popcorn squid and the ooziest spinach and artichoke dip with a lid of grilled cheese and jet black corn chips for dipping. Henry XIII-worthy platters are piled high with sticky BBQ ribs, great hunks of crispy buttermilk fried chicken and mountains of slaw with extra pickles. Edible taco bowls filled with avocado salad and topped with lime-spritzed grilled shrimp bring a burst of freshness. It’s food for a motley crew of mates to get messily stuck into, no airs and graces. It’s fine, you’re in your own private dining room, you can really let your hair down here.
Desserts are suitably depraved, deep fried Oreo donuts with salted toffee sauce, squidgy dark chocolate brownie with a melting quenelle of ice cream creating rivulets between the cracks that turn the colour of Coco Pops milk, and a cuboid of white chocolate and banana cheesecake with a ginger base. You order a few espresso martinis to keep things lubricated. This is the life indeed.
Your mates are well impressed but you have so much more for them. You head upstairs to your private karaoke booth you’ve pre-booked to crack out your best Lizzo impression. It doesn’t matter you sound like a hungry cat that’s just had its tail pulled, you’re among friends. All that’s left now is to keep the party going til the early hours with Blues Kitchen’s free club night. Why would you ever need anywhere else?