The One-Stop Guide to the Best Bars in Manchester

Jul 27 2023

For choices of bars in Manchester, the good news is there are plenty. In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour through our picks of the best for every tipple…

Drinking – the great leveller. From the movers and shakers of high society to proud and sturdy labourers, a great bar brings everyone together.

Unique atmospheres play host to smooth drinks, outstanding eats, and conversations that animate dull evenings. And nowhere is this more true than in the storied streets of Manchester, where a thousand new tales unfold each night in the city’s bars and venues.

We here at Kampus are proud Mancunians – we’ve been brought up here, tried and tested in our city’s authentic canal-side culture – so who better to guide you through Manchester’s watering holes than us?

Yes, we’ve decided to put together this comprehensive guide to help you plan the perfect afternoon or evening at some of our favourite food and drink spots in Manchester. Whether you’re looking for a classic cocktail, a bustling beer garden, or simply a beautiful spot to unwind after work, we’ve got you covered.

Tailoring our picks by what’s inside the bottle, we’ll be dividing up our guide by alcohol type, taking a look at:

  • Wine Bars
  • Manchester Gin & Distilleries
  • Beers & Breweries
  • Cocktail & Artisan Picks
  • Whiskey Favourites

Wonderful Wine Bars

The ancient favourite meets the modern age in a series of bars that ooze ease and sophistication. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor summer suntrap or a warming winter retreat, you’ll find a fantastic selection of gorgeous wines waiting for you on the streets of Manchester.

The Beeswing

We had to start here. Overlooking the thriving canal-side gardens of the Kampus neighbourhood, The Beeswing is a not-so-hidden gem offering a unique selection of wines from slopes as far away as Georgia, Lebanon, and Greece – all hand-picked under the expert supervision of founder Anna Tutton.

Rich reds and refreshing whites await, so pick a glass and head to the sun-trap terrace, which absolutely soaks up the sunshine on those beautiful bright days. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and socialise while taking in the city’s unique atmosphere.

And if you love a bite to eat, you won’t be disappointed – co-founder Joe Maddock has prepared a set of small plates to accompany each glass that will set your senses alight. How does lamb kofta with an Israeli chopped salad and pimento whipped feta dip sound?

Bonus points for The Beeswing – it’s one of Manchester’s many accessible venues, with a lift allowing you to get up on to that sought-after terrace. And did we mention the venue’s seasonal wine tastings?


Named after the beautifully mellow wine-producing region of France, Provence is an all-day wine bar that doubles as a coffee house. This venue seeks to simplify the experience of enjoying wine, becoming a popular spot for those who long for a relaxed space to eat, drink, and socialise throughout the day.

Set in Spinningfields – a hub of culture, finance, shopping, and entertainment at the heart of the city – Provence has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to pleasing visitors.

You see, Provence groups wines according to ‘wine occasion’ rather than the typical division by region or flavour profile, so you can choose a glass that matches your mood more than anything else.

Add to this ‘wine-oke’ nights, which (surprisingly enough) combine wine and karaoke, as well as the opportunity for bottomless brunches on a Saturday afternoon, and you have a unique space for leisure and pleasure at any time of day.

Manchester Gin

Manchester is rich in history and this even extends to its spirits, but one stands above the rest as a symbol of the dedication and passion which characterises the city – Manchester Gin. There are a few special ways to enjoy this notoriously strong spirit.

The Spirit of Manchester Gin Distillery

Jennie Wiggins and Seb Heeley started out by distilling gin in their dining room, but from these humble beginnings emerged the now iconic Manchester Gin. The Spirit of Manchester Distillery tells the story of this unique gin, where over a million bottles are produced each year.

A visit to the distillery will allow you to sample an award-winning range of gins, including Signature, Raspberry Infused and Wild Spirit – all in sight of the magical distillery that makes them.

You’ll also find Three Little Words next door, a cocktail bar that elevates the famous gins (and a host of other spirits) into an array of colourful and creative concoctions. It also happens to be a chic space dripping with Mancunian character and gorgeous brickwork.

All of this is less than a mile away from Kampus, so you can take a lively walk from the bustle of the neighbourhood through the city streets to get to the distillery and bar. Never let it be said that we’re not close to the heart of the action!

Atlas Bar

Another venue offering bottomless brunches, Atlas Bar has become a Manchester icon over more than 25 years in business. The bar specialises in (you guessed it) gin, and here you’ll find over 570 gins waiting for you, whether you want to enjoy them neat or mix them into a series of tasty cocktails.

That’s not all though, because (literally) on top of all this you’ll find the roof terrace, one of the biggest and best in the city, where you can sit back and relax beneath the colours of the Mancunian sky with one of those bespoke cocktails we just mentioned.

There are also creative extra features like Gin of the Week and Gin Supper Club, which are sure to keep you coming back to this favourite gin-haunt time and time again.

Brilliant Beers

What can we say about beer that hasn’t been said before? A drink so universal that it sometimes defies description, Manchester is full of venues that give this classic beverage plenty of space to express itself. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites.


YES is four floors of pubbing and clubbing, which seems to have it all – not least an endless supply of cold beers to enjoy in the venue’s beer garden.

Owners Now Wave (Wesley Jones and Jon Wickstead) have made this spot a hit with music lovers, who turn up in droves to check out new album launches, unique local bands, and a revolving set of DJs.

So what else can you find on the four floors of this fiercely independent watering hole?

The basement becomes a club. On the ground floor, pizzas, fried chicken, and vegan fare from Pepperoni-Playboy and Firebird Hope are quickly becoming iconic.

The first floor is the musical heartbeat of the venue, while right at the top you’ll find the roof garden, home to YES’s famous Negroni.

YES keeps it all simple. As its website proudly proclaims ‘cheap pints’ (or alternatively ‘fancy drinks’) are the order of the day. No-nonsense spirit in the heart of the city. What more could you ask for?

Well, how about this? YES is only a 9-minute walk away from the middle of Kampus. Whenever you’re in the mood, head on down for your fill of beer and live music. Need we say more?

Cloudwater Unit 9 Taproom

Cloudwater has been brewing beers since 2014, with its headquarters at its central brewery in Manchester. Next door to the brewery you’ll find Unit 9 Taproom, a bar bright with contemporary design, where you can enjoy over 20 of Cloudwater’s characterful pale ales, IPAs and lagers.

Cloudwater beers are known for their distinctive designs, featuring art from a range of contemporary creatives. At Unit 9, you’ll find the place lit up by quirky features to make your adventure through beer a fun and relaxing one.

But wait, what’s this? Cloudwater is coming to Kampus! Yes, the renowned brewery is bringing its newest beerhall, complete with diverse flavours and stylish art, to the Kampus neighbourhood.

We’re sure that this particular new neighbour is going to be very, very welcome indeed.

In love with Manchester’s beers and bars? Kampus is the place to stay

Maybe you came for a weekend and couldn’t get enough of our city’s music, people, and bar scene.

Maybe you’ve always lived here but are looking for the perfect spot to call your own.

If what you want is to be at the heart of Manchester, within easy reach of all the bars in this guide – or in other words, where all the action is – then take your pick from one of our incredible city apartments, including:

  • Minto & Turner
  • Minshull Warehouse
  • North Block
  • South Block
  • The Stack


The Kampus neighbourhood comes with a lifestyle that’s difficult to beat, and offers you the very best of Manchester’s bars (not to mention cafés and restaurants) right on your doorstep.

With us, the key to the city is yours.

Colourful Cocktails

Cocktails add colour to any night out, and give mixologists a chance to express their art through the medium of alcohol. Discover how Manchester’s buzzing creative culture is giving birth to unique new mixtures, with a handful of our favourite cocktail bars.

The Alchemist – New York Street and Spinningfields

Seeking a touch of darkness and mystery? Slip into The Alchemist, with a choice of two venues in Manchester’s city centre – New York Street and Spinningfields.

The Alchemist is renowned for the theatre of its cocktail offerings, which come with displays of mystery and showmanship designed to intrigue and delight. Spinningfields, with its dark history of gin palaces and opium dens, is the perfect birthplace for the bar, and where you’ll find the original Alchemist.

The lushly dark interior of The Alchemist is sure to stimulate your senses, and makes the ideal place for atmospheric late-night cocktails.

If you want to enjoy something delicious but with a little less theatre, you can also choose from a selection of cocktails – classic and contemporary – without the show. However, we recommend going for something dramatic at least once – that is, if you want the full Alchemist experience set in the historic streets of Manchester.

After all, it’s not every day you’ll be treated to a blood-red cocktail served in a transparent distiller’s flask as fragrant smoke pours out?

Speak in Code

For an atmosphere completely different from our previous entry, try Speak in Code for tempting New York vibes.

This bar will welcome you with a soundtrack of inviting lo-fi hip-hop, while brick walls, darkly elegant woods, and touches of leaf-green combine to create a timeless, absorbing lounge feel.

Knowledgeable bar staff bring the whole experience to life, delighting you with an array of signature cocktails. These are finished off with fine details like homemade lime cordial and even sustainable touches like banana skin bacon (trust us, it works).

The whole menu has a musical feel, divided into three sections – Signatures, B-Sides, and ClasSICS. Some of the cocktails on offer are untitled, relying on the quality of the concoction rather than the magic of words to bring pleasure to the drinker.

Finish it all off with thoughtfully designed small plates (many of them vegan friendly!) to accompany your drinks, and you have a night to remember.

Wise Whiskeys

Whiskeys bring their own special energy to any drinking session. With connotations of the Scottish Islands and smoke-filled Tennessee drinking rooms, find out how Manchester brings this uniquely characterful spirit to life.

The Whiskey Jar

Combining incredible live music with a warm and intimate stripped-back setting, The Whiskey Jar plays host to open mic nights that are considered some of the very finest in the country.

That’s not to mention the stunning menu of whiskeys on offer, from Scottish to Irish, and American to Japanese – an amazing mixture of tastes, aromas, and textures from around the world.

The setting is perfectly atmospheric, with warm woods, exposed brickwork, and cosy lighting bringing smoke and soul to your night out.

Here you’ll find events to suit any taste, with Whiskey Tasting Sessions, Comedy Clubs, The Whiskey Experience, and even (oddly enough) The Beer Festival.

In our eyes, it’s yet another example of what makes Manchester great – flavours and ideas from all over the world, brought to life by our resilient local culture. We put our own spin on things, and we do it with pride.

The Britons Protection

If you’re after a great example of that (sadly) dying breed – a traditional English pub – then look no further than The Britons Protection.

Complete with a beer garden, and with an interior that’s just about as traditional as it could be – right down to the bar stools – this establishment typically stocks over 300 whiskeys.

The Britons Protection is well known to locals and has built its reputation on word of mouth rather than any fancy advertising schemes. So, if you’re looking for whiskey tasting sessions in an authentic atmosphere, then this is the place for you.

And did we mention that the place has two (yes, two) fireplaces? Perfect for enjoying a glass of the dark stuff, or a pint of real ale, in the harsh depths of winter.

Drinking on Canal Street

This list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention our city’s famous Canal Street – a beacon of national pride and conveniently located a mere one minute away from the Kampus neighbourhood and its stylish apartments to rent.

Why is it called Canal Street? Well, as any Mancunian knows, the street follows a fair stretch of the Rochdale Canal.

If you’re looking for a place where bars and clubs line the paths and entertainment awaits seven nights a week, then Canal Street is likely to tick your boxes.

Within is the Manchester Gay Village, a point of pride for locals where everyone is welcome. From drag shows to inclusive watering holes, there’s no end of exciting things to do in this diverse and vibrant area.

Find your home in the heart of Manchester with Kampus

So, where does Kampus fit into all of this merrymaking?

Well, the answer is simple.

If you want to live in a gorgeous apartment right in the middle of Manchester’s incredible culture – bars and all – then Kampus is the place you want to be.

Our five apartment blocks come with a range of one and two bed apartments for luxury city living.

Choose from:

  • Minto & Turner
  • Minshull Warehouse
  • North Block
  • South Block
  • The Stack

Each block has its own beauty and character, but they all bring you the same amazing facilities. The benefits of living at Kampus include:

  • A gym that’s free to use for all residents, with fitness classes at no extra charge
  • Super-fast broadband with speeds of up to 250mbps
  • Access to all gardens and terraces across Kampus
  • Access to rooftop cinema, terrace, and private dining room
  • 72-hour maintenance guarantee for peace of mind
  • Kampus team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Living with Kampus means living in a community with access to a series of stunning social spaces. Maybe you want to hire the private cinema for a night, or perhaps you’re planning an evening on the rooftop terrace. With Kampus, you can do all of this and more.

The Neighbourhood

One of the best things about living with Kampus has to be the neighbourhood. This beautiful canal-side garden is thick with leaves and flowers, not to mention bustling with bars, cafés, and restaurants.

Visit Pollen, your local bakery, for artisanal breads and pastries. Ascend to The Beeswing for drinks and light bites on a terrace that soaks up the sun as it passes overhead. Try Yum Cha for authentic Dim Sum served in elegant bamboo.

And that’s not all. Because of the neighbourhood’s fantastic location in the heart of the city, you’ll find yourself within walking distance of most of the bars featured in this guide. It honestly couldn’t be more convenient!

With even more bars and eateries coming soon, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you live with Kampus.

Events and Facilities

Kampus is just three minutes away from Piccadilly Station, so you’ll always be well connected when you stay with us. Plus, the leafy relaxation of Sackville Gardens is the same distance away on foot. We sure like to make things easy for you here.

Finish it all off with an exciting array of events and classes, including boxing, fencing, life drawing, and pilates, and we’re sure that there will never be a dull moment in the neighbourhood.

All of this and more, in the heart of Manchester. With Kampus, living just got livelier.

For more information or to enquire about any of the properties listed above, our team is on hand to assist you in any way we can. Book an apartment viewing today to begin your Kampus journey. We look forward to showing you around!


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