Weekend Wonders: The coolest bars around

4 September 2014
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Weekend Wonders: The coolest bars across Britain

As the wind gets a little stronger and it starts to get a little colder, parks are becoming deserted and pop-ups are packing up shop and taking it inside. But we're not ones to let the weather keep us in over the weekend, so we've selected the coolest bars around the UK - expect speakeasies, menus boasting over 200 drinks and coded entries....

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The Fitzgerald, Manchester

The Fitzgerald stands out from the large number of speakeasy bars that have popped up everywhere. Maintaining the secrecy of the Prohibition era, you enter through a darkened staircase and into a back-lit room. With dark wood floors, crystal mini-chandeliers and velvet upholstery, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into an a wealthy setting from the 1920s. This bar operates on table service by sharply dressed waiters who will bring the most indulgent cocktails to your seat. We recommend the Lemon Meringue pie; a tasty tart lemon Martini with Absolut Citrus, Luxardo Limoncello and lemon curd topped with a sweet, toasted meringue foam…

The Fitzgerald , Thursday – Saturday (5pm – 2am), for bookings email  thefitzgeraldnq@gmail.com , operates table service for all bookings, only hold tables for 15 minutes max due to high demand, so let them know about delays

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The Jekyll and Hyde, Birmingham

Offering up something different than your average bar, The Jekyll and Hyde has two personalities; Mr Hyde’s Main Bar and Dr Jekyll’s Gin Parlour. In the former, you’ll find retro sweets and sharing cocktails, the chance to attend a Mad Hatters Tea Party (in which, cocktails are served in mini bath tubs and watering cans) and weekend DJ nights. Or you could enter Dr Jekyll’s Gin Parlour for the choice of over 80 different gins and cocktails chemistry – masterclasses from expert mixologists. Here, you can take part in Ready, Steady, Shake (cocktail creation), The Weakest Drink (blind tasting), Bubble Bobble (accuracy) and Liquid Jenga (layering). Which side will you pick?...

The Jekyll and Hyde, click here  for more information, 28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6BJ

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Opium, London

If you’re up for tasting something new, head over to Opium in China Town – their drinks menu is seriously loooooong. Located in the heart of Chinatown, the venue is split across three floors and multiple rooms. These include the Bartender’s Table, situated in The Academy, The Apothecary Bar, where spirits are distributed in Chinese medicine bottles and The Tea Parlour, where you can find Chinese Teas and Dim Sum. The team is headed up by Esther Cucsta Medina, one of the leading bartenders in the industry, and it’s a treat to sit back and watch her pour her passion and experience travelling China into your drink infront of you.

Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour , Monday – Sunday, The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JE

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B.Y.O.C, Brighton

B.Y.O.C has fast become a popular drinking venue in Brighton, but there’s a catch… They don’t sell any alcohol. At B.Y.O.C (Bring Your Own Cocktail) asks that you bring your own favourite bottles. Their skill bartenders will then stroll over with their antique drinking trolley, which is packed with syrups, pressed fruit, vegetable juices, spices, bitters and more, to create a cocktail tailored to your taste.

B.Y.O.C, click  here  for more information, locations in Brighton, London West End and London Camden

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81Ltd, Liverpool

Getting into 81Ltd isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Based on the idea of a modern day speakeasy, this bar operates by ‘appointment only’. Call the number on their (extremely vague) website and you’ll be told if you’re invited. If you are, your invitation is sent via text message or email with a code. Without this code, there’s no way of getting past the big electronically locked door and the big bouncer behind it. Once you’re in, you’ll find yourself walking down a mirrored corridor, before approaching another metal door, where your name will be checked against a guest list. If you manage to get through, you’ll be happy you did when you see their massive selection of cocktails, beers and wines.

81Ltd , text or call 07803 361 052 to book an appointment

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The Whim Wham Café, Manchester

Tucked away in one of the railway arches (which was built in 1849) lies The Whim Wham Café, a vintage and cosy gin saloon. With a long and impressively list of drinks, you can expect local bottled ales and the finest British lagers, smooth wines and a combination of traditional and modern with their classic and bespoke gin saloon cocktails. Entertainment is also on offer, with a varied line up of live jazz, blues, accordians, double bass, banjos and harmonica styles.

The Whim Wham Café, Tuesday – Sunday (click  here  for opening times), Arch 64, Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5WQ

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The Devil’s Advocate, Edinburgh

Situated in an old 16th century Victorian pump house, this atmospheric bar and restaurant is hidden in Advocates Close. Their impressive 200-strong whisky display will leave you spoilt for choice, and if you want to have a closer inspection, pick up a menu and inspect the five-page long selection. And if you (somehow) find yourself nearing the end of the list, don’t worry, they change their drinks menu seasonally.

The Devil’s Advocate, 55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AB and 4-6 Dean Street, Edinburgh, EH4 1LW, click  here  for more information

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Call Me Mr Lucky, London

As word has spread about The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, it's almost impossible to get a table so we’re looking towards The Breakfast Club’s other secret bar in London Bridge; Call Me Mr Lucky. When you arrive, don’t expect to be taken through a secret fridge door. Instead, tell a member of staff, “I’m here to get lucky” and you’ll be taken down some stairs and into one of London’s best kept secrets, complete with bright lanterns and a unique cocktail menu – expect to see peas, coconut water, jalapeno pickles and black walnut bitters along the list.

Call Me Mr Lucky, click  here  for more information, 11 Southwark Street, SE1 1RQ

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Keystones Cocktail Club, Worcester

When you step into Keystones Cocktail Club, you’ll feel with you’ve been transported into a Marvel movie. Covered in comic book style artwork, this intimate yet lively room has all you need for a memorable night out. Their fun drinks menu is packed with delicious cocktails – we recommend the Espresso Martini, vodka, coffee mix, Kahlua and sugar, or a good old Porn Star Martini - to keep you refreshed. Once you have your drink, shimmy away from the bar for a game of table tennis, have a go at Space Invaders and keep the drinks flowing.

Keystones Cocktail Club, click  here  for more information, 1 Copenhagen Street, Worcester, WR1 2HB

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Muriels Café Bar, Belfast

When you enter Muriels, you’ll instantly feel at ease. Known for it’s chilled and laidback atmosphere, this is the perfect venue for a relaxing drink out. There’s a large selection of gin and unique cocktails but we recommend trying a Muriel Marvellous Medicine bottle to leave you feeling tip-top before the next working week begins.

Muriels Café Bar, click here  for more information, 12 – 14 Church Lane, Belfast