For all you gin lovers out there, here is the definitive Gin Crawl for the city, complete with easily downloadable (and printable) map...
Pretty much the city’s go-to place for gin, you can hardly move in Atlas without bumping into a bottle of the stuff, or at the very least, some punter guzzling it. They’ve apparently got over 300 different types of it, which is a number I’m inclined to agree with, even though I’ve not actually counted the bottles behind the bar. They have every incarnation of gin you can think of too – including a Roast Dinner Gin and a KitKat Gin.
Try – Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin with Tonic
Atlas Bar, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
I’m always impressed with the range of booze on offer at any of The Botanist venues – not just the gin but their beer selection is always extensive, with a long list of obscure, foreign bottles that are just begging to be slammed. We’re talking about gin here though, and The Botanist not only has a rather large selection of different spirits on offer but some fantastic cocktails too. Grab their massive menu and go to town – they’re all great.
Try – Rhubarb Gin Old Fashioned – Portobello Road stirred with rhubarb, black pepper and grapefruit zest.
The Botanist, 78 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW
When I was living in Barcelona I was amazed by how much the Spanish (and Catalan) people loved a Gin and Tonic. There I was thinking all they supped was Sangria and Estrella and instead they were knocking back the Gin like it was going out of fashion. It will come as no surprise then to learn that this brilliant Spanish deli/restaurant on Deansgate offers a massive range of Spanish gins to tuck into while eating small plates of meat and cheese.
Try – Lola & Vera with Vichy Catalan Tonic
Lunya Deli, Restaurant & Bar, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BB
Even though you have to traipse through a load of make-up counters, skirts and blokes clobber to get there, once you’re in the Second Floor Bar & Brasserie in Harvey Nichols you’re in for a gin treat as they have about a million bottles of the stuff available, as well as one of the best Gin & Tonics in the city. What makes it so good? A combination of Bombay, tonic, strawberry and black pepper. Oh, and they also have the shop here too – should you want to take some home with you.
Try – The Ultimate Gin and Tonic
Second Floor Bar & Brasserie, Harvey Nichols, 21 New Cathedral Street, Manchester M1 1AD
Tucked down the side of that little cobbled road next to the Cathedral, Alston Bar & Beef specialise in big slabs of meat, served up with an array of sides, butters and sauces. But we’re here for the gin, and it must be said – there’s a shit load of the stuff knocking about. They’ve even got a massive list of tonics to go with it too, including a brilliant Cucumber & Watermelon one that turns any gin into the best gin you’ve ever tasted.
Try – Plymouth with Double Dutch Cucumber & Watermelon Tonic
Alston Bar & Beef, Cathedral St, Manchester M4 3TR
A proper old school boozer, The Bay Horse in the NQ almost certainly aims to appeal to all of the Audrey Roberts out there with a big stonking list of gins available from behind the bar. They’ve a load of different gins on offer, as well as a Copa menu where they’ve paired them with certain tonics and touches. The Nordic Mist with mint and lime is a winner.
Try – Daffy’s – Nordic Mist, mint, lime
The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
Even though they say that they specialise in Sherry, Flok on Stevenson Square is the perfect place for a massive goblet of gin, complete with more ice than the deck of the Titanic and enough shrubbery to make Charlie Dimmock’s bra fall off. They usually have a ‘Gin of the Week’ which is about a fiver – perfect for anyone who is watching the pennies – and it’s typically some obscure gin from Outer Mongolia that you’ve never heard of but tastes divine.
Try – Spanish G&T, tonic and accompanying garnish
Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN
Right in the heart of the NQ, Tariff and Dale is a great drinking den and they also offer up some pretty decent food to soak it all up with. As you’d expect (with them being on this crawl) their range of gin is very impressive, as well as their menu of Gin Copas – which is basically specific gins paired with specific tonics and shrubs.
Try – Three Rivers, Grapefruit Zest, Black Pepper with Fever Tree Indian Tonic
Tariff & Dale, 2 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FN
Although their selection of gin isn’t as extensive as some other places on this list, Cottonopolis win through due to their fantastic cocktail menu, which features some gin numbers which are a must-try for anyone who enjoys the strong stuff. I’d probably go as far to say that their ‘Gold Coins to a Cat’ cocktail with Tanqueray gin infused with strawberry, acai liquer, watermelon sake and lime is the best gin cocktail available anywhere in the city.
Try – Gold Coins to A Cat – Tanqueray Gin Infused with Strawberry, Acai Liqueur, Sake Watermelon, Lime
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
A cheeky little hidden gem in the NQ, I think a lot of people tend to miss Allotment – plonked precariously on Dale Street just looking like some sort of old blokes’ boozer. Well next time you’re in the area – pop in – and you’ll be in for a gin treat of epic proportions as they regale you with their extensive selection, impressive cocktails and wide range of foliage and shrubbery which will just make that gin 10x better.
Try – Sicilian Spritz – Three Rivers, Limoncello, Lemon Juice, Peach Syrup, Soda
Allotment, 24 Dale St, Manchester M1 1FY
If you’re not in Gorilla for a gig, or a Roast Dinner on a Sunday then you must be in there for their gin. Simple. The weird little bit upstairs has been marketed as a proper Gin Parlour, a place where you can tuck into the copious amounts of mother’s ruin on offer without being distracted by the mucky masses. They usually have a ‘Gin of the Week’ which is usually a bit cheaper – should you be a peasant.
Try – Dirty Work – Agnes Arbor gin and Dolin Dry infused with olive and bay leaf
Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth St, Manchester M1 5WW