Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

Blinker takes cocktails seriously, but that doesn’t mean it’s a snooty drinks emporium that demands a mixology exam before letting you in. Far from it, it’s one of the most welcoming upscale bars in the city centre, staffed by cheerful, chatty drinks experts who are in it for the love of making drinks that look and taste beautiful.

You’ll find it in Spring Gardens, smack bang in the centre of Manchester, but nicely tucked away so the weekend warriors pass it by. It’s an ideal place for a date night, or somewhere sophisticated to take friends to show the best of the city’s hospitality scene.

And this January, they’re taking an amusing response to the ascetic weirdness that sweeps the country this time of year by offering RYE January. This means a host of rye whisky cocktail are on offer – just £7 each for Blinker classics such as Remember the Maine, Mint Julep and New York Sour, plus 25% off all neat whisky serves if you want to live out your inner Bukowski. (It’s also a nod to the name of the bar, a relatively unknown three-ingredient cocktail, consisting of rye, grapefruit and raspberry. Try one, then another. You’ll like it.)

But if you do fancy a non-alcoholic drink, the Blinker team has you covered. Either ask them to whip up something bespoke, or go for one of their well-crafted booze-free cocktails. We recommend the No Nonsense, a smart blend of Three Spirit livener, cranberry, orange and lemon, that demonstrates the Blinker barkeep skills arent limited to the fermented stuff.

The menu changes with the seasons – just imagine the sheer joy of those cocktail-crafting sessions – which means January’s menu is based on a series of great post-Christmas aromas: almond, apple, ginger and thyme. The Strudel (Havana 7, Pedro Ximenez, apple, cinnamon, eggnog and tonka) is one of God’s own creations – a glorious take on apple pie that almost shouldn’t be possible.

But that’s just one example from a rich, complex and ultimately fun menu. Apple Of My Eye incorporates rhubarb, lemon, Cointreau and Barsol Pisco, plus the titular fruit, to make a sassy citrus concoction that you could drink again and again. And that’s the beauty of the menu, it offers something for all palates, whether you care about the wood used for the whisky barrel, or just want something bright and fruity. It’ll keep you coming back for more, as will the staff.

If you’re looking for a Cheers-style bar in the city centre, with likeable, chatty staff who know their onions, not to mention their fruits, herbs, spices and spirits, Blinker’s the one.

64-72 Spring GardensManchester M2 2BQ View map
Telephone: 01612368225 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday3:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Wednesday3:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Thursday3:00pm - 12:00am
  • Friday3:00pm - 12:30am
  • Saturday12:00pm - 12:30am
  • Sunday2:00am - 10:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Blinker

Yellow poster with Weird as Folk written on it
Weird As Folk exhibition at The Portico

The Portico Library’s latest exhibition, Weird As Folk, runs through to November and invites you to explore and reimagine folklore via texts selected from the collection, which includes 100 books of English folklore.

free entry
Comedy Balloon

Every Wednesday at Ape & Apple, Manchester’s official underground comedy club, Comedy Balloon’s friendly and warm comedy night takes place.

free entry
Manchester Psych Fest 2024

Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s trailblazing psychedelic music and arts festival has announced a massive bill for its 2024 edition.

from £45.20

Where to go near Blinker

Six By Nico Manchester

Six By Nico is the brainchild of renowned Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone. This Manchester arm of his acclaimed restaurant offers a completely new six course menu every six weeks.


Home-X is the online spin-off of renowned Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone’s Six By Nico restaurant. This is geared around kit meals to cook at home.

The Portico Library, Manchester
Event venue
The Portico Library

A hidden Manchester gem, The Portico Library is in fact open to the public every day. The events and exhibitions here are excellent and where else can you take tea in refined 19th century surrounds?

City Centre
Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Jamie’s Italian is located in Edwin Lutyens’ soaringly elegant Midland Bank, one of the city’s treasures. The menu’s full of crowd-pleasing choices, with a huge selection of pastas, mains and bruschettas, and an appealing kids menu.The drinks range is broad and deep, with wine, beer and cocktails for all tastes and budgets.

Lucky Cat

Gordon Ramsey brings his fine-dining Asian-style restaurant Lucky Cat to Manchester in April 2023.

Salut Wines
Bar or Pub
Salut Wines

Salut wines pride themselves in offering “wider horizons beyond the safe choices.” With 42 wines by the glass and a regularly changing selection of bottles in their Enomatic wine preservation machines (or  “wine jukebox,” as they’re colloquially known), this is one of be best bars in Manchester for exploring new vintages.

Manchester Art Gallery Cafe

Summery bakes, seasonal salads and fresh light meals at Manchester Art Gallery’s in-house café, courtesy of highly-regarded Head Chef Matthew Taylor.

moose coffee manchester creative tourist
Café or Coffee Shop
Moose Coffee Manchester

Moose Coffee celebrates ‘the best meal of the day’ (brunch) in American style, with stack pancakes, potato hash, Huevos Rancheros and eggs any way. There’s always a queue.

House of Books & Friends

Playing a powerful role in the community, this venue functions as a bookshop, café and place to meet and chat with likeminded individuals.

Manchester District Guides

Culture Guides