A bar where everybody knows your name
Our very own #MCRCocktaiGirl Keeley has been out and about again.
Her mission is to check out Manchester’s cocktail bars on our behalf and report back.
On route she’s issuing the bars of Greater Manchester a challenge!
To create a cocktail which embodies Manchester woman in a glass. It’s that simple!
Lock 91 have just started advertising with 4Manchester Women, so this week I decided to pay them a visit to see what they were made of. And feeling rather like a super star, this time I took my own photographer with me – Mike Warren who is currently studying at Salford University.
Address: Lock 91, 9 Century Street, Manchester City Centre
Visited: 7pm 18th April 2013
Bar description and ambiance
Lock91 is the old lock keeper’s cottage at the edge of Deansgate Locks and, not surprisingly, next to lock 91 of the Manchester Ship Canal.
In terms of ambiance it’s a far cry from the rowdy chain bars on the locks. Lock91 has gone in a completely different direction, opting for a more homely feel to appeal to residents living nearby.
In fact, the owners told me that they regularly introduce people who actually live really close to each other! It’s fabulously personal.
The bar is split into individual rooms with a large area upstairs, the Club Room where they host theme nights and parties.
Lock91 are keen to keep things fresh, so you won’t see the same theme here week in week out. This Friday they hosted a soul night with a house night on Saturday, while the Bank Holiday will see a 90s house night.
They’ve got great plans for the summer too. On their impressive new outdoor terrace overlooking the canal, they’re planning BBQs and hog roasts to soak up some of their fabulous cocktails.
There is a Jack Daniels themed room with a pool table and darts board to wile away an afternoon with friends. It is a really homely place with an overwhelming feeling of being amongst friends.
He started this latest joint venture with his good friend Gary – see the ‘friend’ theme carrying through here? The boys have worked together for a long time – they also share a place and go on holiday together!
It’s important to point out that Lock91 isn’t a cocktail bar. That said, their cocktail menu is very impressive, as is their choice of beers and real ales.
They have some fabulous offers on most drinks during the week, including selected cocktails at £3.75 – a bargain if we ever heard one.
Andi wants the cocktail menu to be fresh and different and tries to keep away from the regular ‘classics’. If however you do want a classic, they are more than happy to make one for you.
There’s an impressive list of martinis or you could try something different that’s mixed in a jam jar! These type of cocktails are very fashionable at the moment, but the difference at Lock91 is that they are also mixed in the jar – it isn’t just a quirky serving option.
The new menu is a work in progress with Andi keen to use unusual ingredients, including red wine and real ales. We can’t wait to try them!
Andi made us one of their bestsellers, a lemon sherbet jam jar cocktail.
Recipe: Tanqueray gin, lemon bitters, limoncello and orange liquor.
Shake them in the jar with lots of ice before being garnished with grated lemon zest.
As you can imagine the result is a thirst quenching fruity drink, perfect for sipping on the outdoor terrace in the Manchester sunshine.
Another bestseller is the honeycomb martini which, is described as Christmas in a glass.
Recipe: JD honey, butterscotch gomme syrup and half ‘n’ half.
The half ‘n’ half is lighter than its cream equivalent. All in all it reminded me of a good old egg nog but a lot lighter. Yummy!
Manchester Woman in a Glass Cocktail Challenge
As if these glorious cocktails weren’t enough we finally sampled their Manchester woman in a glass challenge cocktail. The guys had worked really hard to perfect this mix – so hard in fact that they actually recruited a panel of ladies to vote for their favourite – with score cards!
The unanimous winner was the Smokin’ Scarlet, and the first Manchester woman challenge cocktail to have a whiskey base.
Andi said that whiskey is growing in popularity amongst women and this was his inspiration.
Recipe: Red label Johnny Walker, Southern Comfort Cherry, Canadian maple syrup, lemon juice, orange zest, cranberry and lots of ice.
Shake all of the above in a jam jar before adding cocktail cherries and a curl of orange rind to garnish.
Andi’s thinks that this cocktail is just like a Manchester woman.
You can’t rush it, and as you enjoy – it gets better.
There are many layers, which makes it very complex!
The flavours change as you get to know it. It’s very individual and the flavour has a real strength whilst still being sweet.
It starts with a smokey hit, but then mellows to a sweeter taste with orange coming through. Then there’s a brief hint of the cherry before the flavour returns to smokey.
It’s extremely unusual but a joy to drink and something they will be putting on their new menu.
Who’d have thought a drink could be all these things?
Lock 91, Lock Keeper’s Cottage, 9 Century St, Manchester
Tel: 0161 819 5444
Keeley x (#MCRCocktailGirl)
Photographs: Keeley Watts, Mike Warren
While our cocktail reviews are not sponsored, please note that Lock 91 currently advertise with 4Manchester Women
Keeley writes her own personal blog – Phat Cupcake
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