1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
The Alchemist opened in November 2010 and quickly established itself as a stalwart member of Manchester’s vibrant food and drink scene. Situated in the heart of Spinningfields and boasting a fabulous outside terrace, the Alchemist is open for morning coffee, lunch and dinner and offers everything Living Ventures are renowned for – excellent service, innovative cocktails and great food. The utmost care is taken in sourcing and using the finest ingredients, coupled with molecular drinks-making techniques which will surprise and confound every palate! There is even an outside bar where you can enjoy a relaxing drink on the grass during the Summer months.
Exciting new cocktail bars seem to be popping up in and around Manchester all the time, however, finding a showstopper is quite rare. The Alchemist is a spellbinding haunt that captures every single element I look for in a good cocktail bar, wraps it up in a little parcel and pops a big, shiny bow on top. So what makes it so special I hear you ask? Firstly, the wonderfully unique setting, the decor really delivers on WOW factor. Bright, chic, quirky with a subtle undertone of ‘witch doctor’. You sit at big, old antique tables surrounded by skulls, potion bottles and other mysterious and intriguing artifacts The chemist vibe is harmoniously balanced with comfort and style, a chilled ambience and the friendliest bar tenders. Possibly the best touch is the year round outdoor seating terrace. You perch under little heaters, cocktail in hand and relax as chatter fills the air; it’s a very continental affair.
Secondly is the outstanding cocktail menu. I remember on my first visit I was completely and utterly spoiled for choice by a vast selection of molecular concoctions. In no particular order I will talk you through my favourites. First is the “Rosebud”, a refreshing mix of dried rose buds, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Rose Liqueur, Lemon Juice and Sugar served in a vintage milk bottle. It’s light, floral and gorgeously girly. The next is possibly the most random, amazing and utterly weird thing I have EVER drank. The “Lemon Cherry Pie” is something only Willy Wonka himself could dream up. English Cherry Sour, Cherries, Russian Standard Vodka, Limoncello, Lemon Juice and Sugar. I sipped… I pondered… I sipped again…I pondered… Yes, It actually tastes like pie. A cocktail with an overwhelming taste of pastry? Insanely moreish and more than a little bit wacky!
As well as crazy concoctions they also serve up the classics, my favourite being the “Passion Fruit Mojito“. Bacardi Superior Rum, Passion Fruit Syrup, Fresh Passion Fruit, Lime Juice and Mint. A tropical and delicious take on a staple. Another little favourite is the “Lavender & Coconut Daiquiri” – Bacardi Oro, Koko Kanu, Coconut Cream, Lime Juice and Pineapple Juice topped with Lavender Foam. It’s a summer holiday in a glass. Fresh and punchy with a distinct floral undertone.
The bartenders are utter professionals, part of the fun is watching these talented individuals put together cocktails with a bashful side of showmanship, I am head over heels for their take on a simple iced tea. The “Dry Iced Tea” takes its name very seriously with a cascade of dry ice and its own tea pot. Russian Standard Vodka, Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Cointreau mixed with Lemon Juice, Sugar, Coca Cola Foam and Soda Water. It’s presented to you in a glass teapot, smoking away like something from hocus pocus, with a tumbler of foam and a rather large globe of ice. The to die for cocktail menu is what sets the Alchemist apart from other bars, there is a cocktail for every possible taste and I guarantee you will leave impressed and planning your next visit.
The third little factor that keeps me returning time and time again is the wonderful, talented and welcoming bar staff. I have never visited anywhere that takes cocktail making so seriously but with so much fun. The Alchemist cocktail policy states ‘We are Proud to Stay true to the principles of Professional bartending and as such We Free Pour all Cocktails in accordance With the Weights and measures act (1985)’. All the cocktails are hand-crafted, taking the utmost care in sourcing and using the finest ingredients and techniques available to them. From start to finish it’s so clear to see that these guys are masters of their trade. If you don’t know what you fancy they will help you choose based on your tastes and preferences. They are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly resulting in a warm and welcoming experience every single visit.
It’s not hard to see why it has quickly become my favourite bar in Manchester. Professional, chic, welcoming and unique, The Alchemist is where superb cocktails meets outstanding service in a wonderful environment and a cocktail menu that knocks your socks off. Following its success and popularity the good Living Ventures folk opened an Alchemist on New York Street in late 2012. Lucky us, we have two!