Cane & Grain
This Northern Quarter bar is spread out over three floors, each with its own identity. The ground floor rib restaurant and tap room takes its design inspiration from the Cast skate shop that used to occupy the space, while the vibe is a bit more chilled in the New York-style cocktail bar on the first floor. Meanwhile, the top floor is given over to the Liars Lounge tiki bar. Essentially these three floors represent the three crucial tenets of Cane & Grain: beer, bourbon and rum. Hard to argue with that!
In our round-up of the best venues in Manchester, we gave a lot of love to Trof for the excellent work they’ve done in bringing a dash of quirky style to the city’s live scene, via The Albert Hall, Gorilla and The Deaf Institute. That same cool streak can be found in Trof NQ (the NQ stands for Northern Quarter). In a world where the more niche you are, the better, Trof NQ bucks the trend by being many things and excelling at them all. You can dance yourself clean till the early hours, show up the next day for brunch or a Sunday roast, swing by for an intimate gig or work your way through their impressive list of bourbons. Whatever you choose, you’ll be impressed.
Dusk Til Pawn
Ways in which the award-winning Dusk til Pawn isn’t as good as the bar in From Dusk Till Dawn: no Salma Hayek. Ways in which Dusk Til Pawn is better than the bar in From Dusk Till Dawn: incredibly cool pawn shop theme; no vampires; some of the best cocktails in Manchester; no vampires; brilliant jukebox; no vampires. Now if only they could do something about Salma Hayek…
If you’ve read our guide to Manchester cheap eats and gig venues then you’ll already know that we love Gorilla. At the risk of hyping the place up to unhealthy extremes, it’s a genuine contender for the best bar in the city. Not only is the food consistently great (seriously, this might be the best brunch in Manchester), the place is cool without ever seeming like it’s trying too hard. When Trof took over, they did away with the old café bar and decked the place out in reclaimed school furniture, covering the ceiling with school floorboards. It’s unique and hip but not in a groan-inducing way. They also get a great spread of buzz-worthy bands in the venue at the back, just for that impossibly cool cherry on top.