When I look at the myriad of articles currently being published on the rise of alcohol free I sometimes wonder whether Manchester is indeed a state of its own; the good old Republic of Mancunia. I simply don't see a preponderance of good alcohol free options around Manchester. It makes me wonder if people here are completely glued to their beer while the southerners turn to low and no.
But then I chat to people and I realise that the people cutting back or cutting out altogether are very much there, they're just in the shadows. A quiet minority who are waiting for options and opportunities in order to don their dancing shoes and open their wallets once more.
Because let's face it; on nights when you're not drinking, hanging out with people who've had one too many and tripped into boorish boozers can be insatiably dull. And paying through the nose for coke from a hose is incredibly off-putting.
Is bearing all that in mind, here's a round up of my favourite places to go alcohol free in Manchester, taking into account suggestions from friends and focus groups.
- Cosy Club, Corn Exchange
A fantastic alcohol free cocktail list in Central Manchester with real attention to detail, not just sugared water. It's got a great vibe as well which isn't too rowdy or stag/hen centric.
- Mersey Way Workshop, Stockport
By far the best of my craft workshop experiences, the Mersey Way Workshop offers a chilled environment to try out loads of things including pottery and woodwork. Prices aren't through the roof and they do a lovely filter coffee while you work.
- Sadler's Cat, near Victoria Station
My favourite alcohol free beverage of late is from renowned Manchester brewers Cloudwater. Its' not a beer, it's not a water, it's a hopped water. Full disclosure it's etc wateringly pricey but if I'm not drinking I'm often also looking to treat myself so I don't mind too much.
- The Botanist, Deansgate
This one comes as a disclaimer. It came highly reccomended to me at one point for having a really beautifully thought out cocktail list which rivalled the cocktails. However, on further discussion/research, it seems that stuff is often sold out even for the house favourite. This probably wouldn't happen with the most sought after cocktails.
- Withington Baths, Withington
Ok so a swimming pool is a bit of a random choice for an alcohol free space but this baths is BEAUTIFUL and has the most fabulous Art Deco spa area. They do an evening session 6.30-9.30 pm on a few days a week after which you can hit up one of the ace restaurants in Withington. My favourite is the bustling little Japanese, Kyotoya. What a fabulously elegant way to go alcohol free and such a short hop from Manchester.
- Lucky Saint on draught, wherever they do it
Honestly, draught Lucky Saint is the absolute bees knees if you really fancy a pint but aren't drinking for whatever reason. It's dry, hoppy, heady and almost everything you could ever wish for in a beer. You'll also generally get the correct glassware which is a refreshing change if you're used to boring drinks in boring glasses while your mates go wild on cocktails. They also have a handy site where you can find your local tap.