Depending on who you talk to; whisky can mark the beginning of a good night or the beginning of the end. Some call it The Devil’s Juice others call it Satan’s Urine. It doesn’t matter what it’s referred to as: whisky is beautiful and one of the most complex and flavoursome alcohols. Just like anything that is a thing of wonder, it’s always best to enjoy it in great surroundings where the atmosphere is cracking and the supply seems never ending (always drink responsibly, people…)
If you’re of the school that hates whisky and shudders at the smell of it, then this article probably isn’t for you, but stick around anyway because these establishments are worth checking out for everything else they offer. As a bonus we’ve recommended a night to visit. You’re welcome. Here’s our edit of the five best places to drink whisky in Manchester.
5) Hold FastWhilst not considered a conventional whisky bar, Hold Fast boasts an interior and whiskey selection that not a lot of other places can offer you. Their whisky collection varies but always remains quality and the bartenders are never short of a laugh and a joke. The nautical theme of the bar is eloquent and the addition of a cinema room (kino) lets you chase that single malt with a vintage film, or if you’re not into watching old films, there’s games littered about the place and even some retro Mega Drives towards the back.
Recommended Whiskey Drink: Cutty’s Revenge
Recommended night to visit: Check out their website for a list of films they’re playing and on what night and choose your favourite, win win.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 12pm-12am Fri-Sat: 12pm-3am, tel: 0161 833 3197 Address: 8 Thomas St. Manchester. M4 1EU T: @holdfastbar
4) Bourbon and Black, DidsburyA short tram ride from Manchester city centre, this gem of a bar is well worth the journey. Bourbon and Black boasts over 50 American whiskies and pretty much live and breathe the stuff (please note, if a bartender breathes on you, politely order another whisky and move further down the bar). The whitewashed stone walls make for a terrific interior and the atmosphere is not too shabby either. Leave the car or bike or scooter or unicycle at home.
Recommended Whiskey Drink: Bourbon and Dark Chocolate Flip.
Recommended Night to visit: Every other Thursday is open mic night, whiskey and music are always hand in hand.
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs: 5pm–11pm Fri-Sat: 12pm–12:30am Sun: 12pm–11pm, tel: 0161 448 0383 Address: 704 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury Village, Manchester, M20 2DW T: @bourbonandblack
3) TrofNQIn terms of whisky, TrofNQ has always set the bar for others to follow. If we put aside the amazing atmosphere and music they continually pump out and admire their self-titled “Bourbon Bar” on the first floor. They boast 40+ specialist bourbons and constantly promote a “Bourbon of the Week” selling a premium bourbon of their choice for £2.50 a shot. You can’t argue with that. The staff are always friendly if not always fresh faced (alcohol is more than a job: it’s a drink,) and their clientele surprisingly doesn’t consist of the extended Printwork’s crowd.
Recommended Whiskey Drink: Rye’s Above It.
Recommended night to visit: Monday night’s open mic. If only for Crazy Horse.
Opening hours: Mon-Tues: 10am-12am Weds-Thurs: 10am-1am Fri 10am-3am Sat: 9am-3am Sun: 9am-12am, tel: 0161 833 3197 Address: 8 Thomas St. Manchester. M4 1EU T: @trofnq
2) The Whiskey Jar
We’re talking about the crème de la crème of Mancunian places to drink whisky. In fact these guys love it so much that they named their bar after the Thin Lizzy classic. The Whiskey Jar boasts over 600 bottles of the golden nectar…that’s not a typo. They have over 600 and they love to show each one of them off, they even won Gold International Irish Whiskey Bar 2014 which gives you an idea of their dedication and quality. Their recently refurbished décor and bar is a thing of rustic beauty and even their lights are encased by old whiskey jars. Make sure this is one of your first places to venture to on your whisky pilgrimage. Friendly staff and comfy couches are also a huge bonus.
Recommended Whiskey Drink: Their classic Whiskey Old Fashioned.
Recommended Night to visit: Tuesday’s Open Mic night – You’ll have to be quiet and you’ll be constantly reminded of that, but it’s one of the best open mic nights for miles around, made even better when sipping whiskey.
Opening Hours: Mon-Tues: 4pm–12am Wed: 12pm–12am Thurs: 12am-1am Fri-Sat: 12pm-2am Sun: 12pm–12am, tel: 0161 237 5686 Address: 14 Tarriff Street, Manchester, M1 2FF T:@WhiskeyJarNQ
1) Dusk til’ PawnIf we forget all the eye-rollingly predictable reviews about this bar, ie: it looks like a pawn shop but it isn’t really a pawn shop it’s a bar isn’t that crazy?! OMG they have a jukebox that’s free!?! (Yes they do have an exterior that looks like a pawnshop, yes they do have a free classic jukebox.) Then we can get to the really important stuff: the whisky. This place really is a Mecca for whisky drinkers. At last count they had over six shelves of the stuff (equating to around 60 bottles) and those guys know a thing or two about each one of them. The cosy atmosphere and dimly lit bar make for a fantastic evening – even if the bar is just a little too high for the bar stools.
Recommended Whiskey Drink: Million Dollars
Recommended Night to Visit: Thursday nights. Get to know your bartender and get to know your whiskey.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 3pm-1am Fri-Sat: 3pm-3am Sun- 6pm-1am, tel: 0161 236 5355 Address: Dusk Til Pawn, Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN T: @dusktilpawn