It isn’t very often that you come across something utterly perfect.
The term ‘small but perfectly formed’ is nauseatingly overused, but I cannot bring myself to think of anything else to describe Henry C, much to my (and my editors) disdain. He can’t think of anything better either.
A homage to New Orleans cocktail maverick Henry ‘Carl’ Ramos who was famous for his tiny cocktail bars, his signature Ramos Gin Fizz and being completely tee-total while doing it all, Henry C’s in Chorlton is a table service cocktail bar which is hands down one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets.
The ‘micro-cocktail bar’ trend is a well-loved establishment down in London, but it isn’t something Manchester has cottoned on to just yet. And is it exactly this that makes somewhere like Henry C’s down in Chorlton so special – it is utterly unique, quiet, simple and quite frankly everything you need from a bar.
Ran by a lovely couple – Joe and Sophie – who have a candid mission statement of wanting to give their customers three things; great drinks, fantastic service and a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere which has you going back again and again.
You’ll immediately feel at home in the cosy interior. The bar sits in the corner, flanked by a wall covered in bottles. When you sit at the bar, it feels as if you are sat inside a drinks cabinet – and a tidy, modern and well-decorated one at that. All in all – Henry C’s feels like a home away from home and that is exactly the point.
They tell me that (other than Mr Ramos) the bar is simply inspired by the bars they like to drink in. Taken from their bar-hopping travels in Europe, the bar and menu is worldly-wise, mature and unapologetically cool – for use of a better term.
It is easy to get chatting to someone – everyone is there for the same thing; the drinks. With an inspired menu which is simultaneously prompted by history and the finesse of modern mixology, Henry C has a drink for every moment, every person, and every taste.
The menu, which changes every three months to keep things fresh, is concise yet inextricably exciting. From classics to Henry C originals to modern twists on old-fashioned drinks – to call it spectacular would be an understatement of epic proportions.
On my last visit, I sampled the delectable Milk Punch (£7.50) which explains the general vibe of the cocktails at Henry C perfectly. It takes Bourbon and mixes it with milk before straining it and combines it with citric acid, sugar, burnt caramel and finished off with soda. It’s a grown-up cream soda which is like nothing you have ever tried before.
Equally, The Road to Jalisco (£7) is a delight if you are into your tequila. Notes of Aperol, yellow Chartreuse and lemon keep things fresh while the Mescal mist on the outside of the glass brings a smokey note which tempts your nose on every sip.
If an Old Fashioned is your tipple of choice, and to be honest, even if it isn’t – you will fall in love with the Wuyi Old Fashioned (£8). The Whiskey is combined with Benedictine, bitters and a lapsang souchong-infused sugar for a fragrant and aromatic twist on a classic.
I could go on and on about drinks, but I’m not. I would be here for days if I did, and I want to encourage you to get yourselves down there and explore the menu for yourselves.
Alongside your drinks, you can get stuck into a wide offering of food in the form of snacks and more substantial bits like poy-boys, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches.
As you can imagine, Sophie and Joe have the same approach to their food as their drinks to great effect. Simple things are executed perfectly and quickly with minimal stress – from the Cured Caper Berries to their Bloody Mary Beef Brisket Bloomer there is nothing on the menu which dips below the standard of being utterly sublime.
On an evening, you can expect to find tables filled with small groups of friends, chatting, laughing and having a good time. There is no nonsense at Henry C- so expect to have a great time in a relaxed environment and prepare to make a friend or two along the way.
Granted, Henry C’s is a bit of a destination venue and a tad off the beaten track from the central hustle and bustle of Chorlton nightlife, but what that brings is a loyal clientele who return time after time, never failing to bring their laid back vibe along with them.
All that’s left to be said is if you like good drinks and even better company in a chilled environment- then Henry C’s is going to knock your socks off.
Henry C, 107 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9GA