14 February 2020 16:40
For the alternative Valentine's Day, don't confess your love over discount wine and a rollie. Instead, check out our list of the best places for romantic tipples across the city. THE BAR AT HAWKSMOOR (M3 3WB) If being yourself hasn't worked so far and you want to try something new, you could pretend to be dark and mysterious at Hawksmoor. Claimed to be one of the best bars in Manchester, this lamp-lit, serene and sexy bar is really a beauty to be beheld. Their cocktail list is extensive and you'll be hard pressed to find one that doesn't taste like pure sophistication.
Take the Reformed Pornstar for example, their own take on the popular drink but this time with Absolut Elyx, passionfruit, jasmine tea and champagne. The bartenders are also incredibly skilled and are willing to make you anything you like, from the classics such as Manhattans, Martinis and Marys to more obscure historical drinks like sidecars, sours and Pegu clubs (look it up). It's a little more formal than your average bar, with strictly table service, but when has there ever been a better time to invite your mum up to iron your shirts than Valentine's? On a side note, the food at Hawksmoor is also a treat from start to finish and the service tops it all off, so if you're still thinking about where to take your partner on a date, this might be your place. CULTUREPLEX (M12TP) If you are yet to read our article on 'Manchester's best new hang out', you will not be acquainted with the city's coolest space. The bar at Cultureplex offers DJs, food, cocktails, dancing and more – it's hard to think of a better way to spend Valentine's. If you're looking for a place to take your partner to show off a little or somewhere their ex never took them, look no further than Cultureplex. This year, the venue is putting on two different events for those looking to spend Valentine's with their other half and also for those who are still searching for love. If you are yet to sort dinner plans then Cultureplex are offering their original, delectable menu as well as some sharing dishes to "encourage a deep and intimate connection with your partner". But if you're going there in search of next year's Valentine, then prepare for a night of drinking and dancing at their "real life Tinder" party. SQUIRRELS (Owens Park, Fallowfield) No, I'm not joking. You may laugh but it was actually where my partner and I met. Maybe don't go here especially for a drink with your Valentine's date. And don't call up trying to book a table. I'm sure the best the bar might be able to do in terms of romance is a three course meal consisting of Scampi Fries, Scampi Fries and Scampi Fries. This is more of a spot for the singleton freshers in need of a 'Tiki Fire' and the opportunity to try their hand at flirting. If it goes as well as my romantic experience there did you'll also be stopped halfway through a sentence with the line, "Well, anyway, nice to meet you buddy". BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (M4 1LW) When I first heard of this underground, porn-plastered cocktail bar I was tempted to phone the police. But in between pictures of genitalia you may find some absolutely delicious cocktails to the backdrop of disco DJ beats. My personal favourite is the 'Love Bite', a frozen raspberry cocktail with gin. However, Behind Closed Doors is the perfect place to end a night with a few more cocktails and a dance. Located halfway down Oldham Street at the heart of the Northern Quarter, here is a 'debauched' bar where you can phone the barman from your booth. Plus, with their instagram bio being 'Sex, Rugs & Funk 'n' Soul', what's not to like about BCD? The decor and atmosphere always make for cracking selfies and once you get used to the fact that everywhere you look there's a phallus, it gets much easier to enjoy your drink and indulge in romantic conversation.