Thursday, 2 June 2016

Be at One, Manchester

Be at One, Manchester
I was unfamiliar with Be at One. It's a bit of an institution in London, already establishing itself as a bit of a post work drinking den for those who love a cocktail. Need somewhere to take a big group of drinking soldiers? Be at One is the place for you. Let me tell you more. Kick back, put your slippers on and let me tell you a cock-tale.

Be at One was started by three pals in the late 90s, who were sick of these fancy bars that offered rubbish cocktails and charged a fortune for the pleasure. They caned the credit cards and opened their first bar. Their menu is massive, but it can be navigated with ease as they split the drinks by size, type, spirit, and flavours, plus their lovely bar staff are always happy to offer a recommendation (I enjoy a surprise).
Be at One, Manchester
The Manchester bar is in Barton Arcade (accessible from the St Anne's Square side). You tootle down a very windy staircase into a hidden cavern of dimly lit booths and pretty lights. Since 11th June is World Gin Day, it seemed only fair for us to put the gin section through its paces.

Bee's Knees - Whitley Neill gin, lemon juice, Manuka honey and pollen syrup: Tastes like pure honey, which really complements the botanical nature of gin. Very delicate, and not overly sweet. 
Lychee Martini - Beefeater gin, lychee juice, lychee liqueur and Chombard: Wow wee, this one is strong. Our lovely bartender Katie informed us that this recipe has recently been improved, now including fresh lychee to balance the strength of the alcohol.
Be at One, Manchester
Monte Casino - Beefeater 24 gin, apricot brandy, apricot preserve, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters: Despite having jam in it, this is actually very refreshing. I thought it would be ridiculously strong because of the brandy, but not so.
Be at One, Manchester
Shaky Pete's - Created by bartender Pete Jeary, this cocktail blends gin with ginger and lemon juice before topping off with beer: I am a lifelong beer hater, and may be known for doing an uncontrollable, mental face when I so much as sip the stuff. It's quite frankly muck. However, I was intrigued by this as it was created by legendary bartender Pete Jeary, of Hawksmoor fame. You know what? It was bloody lovely. The fire from the ginger totally mutes the hops, and dare I say it... I may have enjoyed this. True. 
Clover Club - Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, lemon juice, raspberry syrup and egg white (see below): We had to try a gin classic. I love a clover club because it's pretty much a cake in a glass, complete with an egg white topping. One for the sweet-toothed.
Be at One, Manchester
When I visited Be at One's website prior to writing this up, I also found that they give you the recipe and method for all their cocktails to try at home. Brilliant idea! Brilliant, but possibly dangerous now I think about it... Nicely done though.
Be at One, Manchester
Another snazzy little gadget is their app. Although there are happy hours every day, you can also invoke your own when you arrive by getting a code from the bar, and starting your timer. Ideal for those (like me) who always rock up too early/late. It also has some other nifty little features like all the recipes, a bar finder, and you can even budget your night out before you end up wasted, by adding a credit card. They add exclusive offers to this too, so it's well worth having.

I love this place, despite knowing little about it before this visit. It has a nice vibe, which sits comfortably in the 'lively yet cosy' category for me. Go here with a big group of pals, order loads of different cocktails and try each others'!

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