The Union’s guide to the finest bars and restaurants in the North West.
At last, we have arrived at the greatly sort after and long-anticipated final day of the saddest and driest month of the year! In turn, we also mark the first month down in our commitment to being the ‘the new us’, but just how many of us actually managed to keep those all-important ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutions?
The truth is, making new year's resolutions is always much easier than keeping them. Whether it was to go to the gym more, to eat healthier or to go completely t-total for dry Jan, only 19 per cent of us on average actually manage to keep our resolutions (most of us break after just 7 days). However, for many, today marks the first month of their success, either within their own personal resolutions or if they were one of the 4.2 million of us that set out to put the alcohol to one side post-Christmas. Either way, we wanted to say congratulations, and provide you with our top ten picks, whether your in Liverpool or Manchester, of places to celebrate this momentous occasion (or in our case commiserate it).
It wasn't that long ago we were bringing in the new year, with the excitement of what January can bring, but now it's time to put down that flavoured tonic water and non-alcoholic beer, as we bring in fab Feb and raise a toast to all of us, failure or not.
What better way to celebrate the end of Dry Jan than in the famous Liverpool ‘seafood’ restaurant otherwise known as Jenny’s Bar. Hidden away on Liverpool’s Fenwick Street this disguised speakeasy will have you dancing to disco until 3 am. You can't just stumble across this place, but if you know, you know! What looks from the outside as an old seafood restaurant will have your head spun, as you venture down the cloaked staircase to reveal an extravagant, 70s tribute to the speakeasy tradition, with patterned walls of gold and green, crushed velvet and mirrored ceilings. The drink of choice here is, of course, a decadent cocktail and, with the menu changes every month, you'll always be in for a surprise!
Gino D’acampos restaurant and prosecco bar is one of our personal favourites, not just delicious Italian cuisine but also for the guaranteed great atmosphere it never fails to provide. The prosecco bar is always bustling with the sounds of deep house from the live DJ filling the room and although this bar can get super busy, the hard-working staff ensure everyone is served and having a good time. You can even enjoy bar snacks and pizza at the bar providing you with an endless list of treats and tastes to try (if you haven't already indulged in the restaurant beforehand). For a taste of the vibrate Neapolitan lifestyle but efficiently closer to home, located on the beautiful Castle Street, our drink of choice is a classic Italian Negroni. However, drink with caution as after a couple of these you'll be wishing for dry Jan again! Salute!
Transporting you back in time, the beautiful Puffin Rooms is a subtle tribute to the 1930s with live Jazz, over 200 rare whiskies and a late hour cigar store. This lounge environment if the perfect location to raise a toast to your new year resolutions, kept or not, whilst relaxing in a perfectly designed quilted armchair. Located within the historic Albany Building on Old Hall Street, our drink of choice here is also the house Old Fashioned or better known as an ‘Old Tabashioned’ made with their independently-bottled Stalla Dhu Islay whisky and you must sample a fine Havana or New World cigar to go with!
Liverpool Gin Distillery
The Liverpool Gin Factory is inspired by Liverpool itself. Found on Castle Street, Liverpool Gin Distillery is located within the very heart of the city and is known for putting the famous Liverpool Gin on the map! Here you can enjoy an array of flavoured Liverpool Gin with all sorts of accompaniments. Our drink of choice is the original Liverpool Gin served with the ideal pairing of orange and mint for that crisp and refreshing feel; perfect if it’s going to be your first sip since new year! This first-rate gin is also produced on-site in a 600L copper pot, which, for some reason is called Margrette. You can find out why during one of their extremely popular gin tours. If gin isn't quite your thing, then not to worry, head downstairs and discover the dark spirits bar, which has over 60 rums and over 100 whiskeys from all over the world.
The Royal Institution
The Royal Institution is a private members club famous for its extravagant whisky and cocktail bar ideal for any celebration. Founded in 1817, the club is known for being the heart and soul of the intellectual and artistic hub within the city of Liverpool and has often been referred to as the Royal Society of Liverpool. Located on 24 Colquitt St, it is an ideal meeting point to enjoy sophisticated drinks before heading out into Liverpool. Housed within this beautiful building is the independent spirits merchant Whisky Business, making our drink of choice here the classic Old Fashioned. Of course, this is a members-only club, however, for any of our customers who are subscribed to our mailing list, say the word and you could be celebrating in style this weekend through our membership!
If you’re heading out in Manchester then where else but to celebrate than the colonial-style bar and restaurant, The Grand Pacific. Located at the top of King Street, this extravagant and beautiful reformed club always provides an exciting and lively atmosphere and with their show-stopping twenty-five seat long bar, you almost feel transported to the Raffles Hotel In Singapore. Their expert mixologists add a drop of playfulness to their creations and with that our drink of choice has to be their Salted Caramel Espresso Martini. Deliciously sweet if you’re wanting to try something new. With a late license and DJs playing eclectic tunes, these cocktails will be sure to flow.
If you want elegance, style and impeccable service then the Dakota Bar and Grill, located within the extravagant Dakota Hotel on Ducie Street, is a must-visit. This place oozes Glamour with its dark candlelit interior. Here. it is essential that you try, in the words of Dakota the ’Original and best’ cocktail on the menu, a good old, never failing, Whisky Sour. Made with Disaronno, Pisco or Bulleit Bourbon, it’s sure to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing. Meanwhile, make use of their exclusive Cigar Terrace, private for those enjoying a carefully curated selection of luxury cigars.
If you fancy heading out for some great food, then Australasia is at the top of the list. Hidden beneath the hustle and bustle of the Manchester street, is a stylish sanctuary of delicious food, relaxed atmosphere and superb wine list. For beer, we recommend trying a lucky buddha, it is the new year after all, but if wine if what you're after then our glass of choice would be the Gavi di Gavi ‘Lugara from Priomte Italy (white) or the Pinot Noir, Saint Clair, Marlborough, New Zealand (Red).
Restaurant Bar and Grill Manchester
If we get some winter sun then you can't go far wrong with Restaurant Bar and Grill and their sleekly polished outside terrace. Attracting a cosmopolitan mix of diners, John Dalton Street’s Restaurant Bar and Grill is still a magnet for businessmen and women alike. It has remained, for over a decade, the place to be and to be seen, and with its chilled and contemporary atmosphere, bustling with city centre energy, why wouldn't it be? Our drink of choice here, and rightly deserving of its place, is an ice-cold pint of Moretti on draft.
And Finally, with the extensive and highly creative list of Asian inspired cocktails which can only be found at the legendary Tattu in Hardman Square, this has to be our go-to destination for a night of celebration. Not only will the drinks menu leave you simply spoilt for choice, the food menu will equally not disappoint and before long, the majority of this exciting menu will be ordered. Their drinks menu, in particular, offers many surprises, written with an element of secrecy and suspense in mind. Although we would suggest you try them all, our cocktail of choice is the famous Geisha’s Secret. We would love to tell you what this is made with but no one knows, as Tattu say, ‘it's their best-kept recipe.’ Meanwhile if you are out with a group, Tattu is designed for those who love to share! So enjoy a sharing menu or even some of their sharing cocktails; the secret mix served in six-shooters is our recommendation. See you there!