Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

Stray opened in Mackie Mayor in late 2023 and immediately caused a stir. It’s not hard to see why – this is the kind of cocktail bar you can imagine stumbling across in prohibition-era Brooklyn, a well-kept secret, adored by a select few. 

The look is low-key and understated, but there’s a sense that everything is exactly where it’s meant to be – Stray is a place where details matter. Case in point, the pitch-perfect playlist – full of genre-spanning gems, both soulful and tasteful. 

It’s a world away from the Magaluf-style vibe of Stevenson Square, but that doesn’t mean it’s elitist or snooty – simply more considered and sophisticated. It’s a place to take a date or impress a visiting mate, rather than a dance-on-the-bar party venue, and that’s exactly what Manchester needs.

The staff have an almost Kuroko vibe, stylish without being showy, laser-focused on the quality and craft of cocktail making. Delightfully, the drinks menu has a Martini of the Week section, which states “This is our creative outlet”. You’re not on Deansgate Locks anymore, Toto, this a place where cocktails are taken seriously. 

The ever-changing drinks menu has been crafted with atomic-level precision, with a dozen or so unique ideas, plus Stray’s takes on classics such as the Bloody Mary or Mai Tai, all made with impressively high-grade ingredients. Remarkably, most of these come in around the £10 mark, a good deal cheaper than the luxury bars on the other side of town. 

Recommendations? The honey and jasmine amaretto sour is a thing of beauty, as is the vino colada (an elegant blend of coconut-infused rum, pineapple and orange wine), but really, you could choose a drink at random or ask for a bespoke creation and walk, or stagger, away happy. 


There’s a time and place for those cheap and cheerful cocktail bars with Del Boy-style concoctions, but it isn’t Manchester in 2024. Stray is all about elegant drinks with a timeless feel –  the perfect bar for a modern city.

Mackie Mayor, Eagle StManchester M4 5BU View map
Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • MondayOpen 24 hours
  • Tuesday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Wednesday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Thursday12:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Friday12:00pm - 12:00am
  • Saturday10:00am - 12:00am
  • Sunday10:00am - 6:00pm

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

What's on near Stray

Bar Italia at Band on the Wall

One of London’s most hyped bands of the moment, Bar Italia are playing Band on the Wall in support of their acclaimed 2023 album, The Twits.

from £15
Gaz Coombes at Band on the Wall

Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes performs live at Band on the Wall, following the release of his best album in 20 years, Turn The Car Around.

from £25
MusicCity Centre
Fair Play Festival 2024

Following two sold out festivals, Fair Play is back to take over the Northern Quarter with a day of live music in all its ‘alternative’ forms.

from £15

Where to go near Stray

Foundry Project

The Northern Quarter’s self-styled ‘happiest place in Manchester’, based at the old Bluu site.

Mackie Mayor

A Grade II listed market building in the Northern Quarter, Mackie Mayor is a key fixture in the ever-growing Northern Quarter food and drink scene.

Manchester music venue, Band on the Wall
Music venue
Band on the Wall

Band on the Wall is one of Manchester’s most legendary live music venues, the place where Joy Division, The Buzzcocks and Oasis got their first breaks.


If you haven’t heard of Ramona by now then where have you been? Taking Manchester by storm, Ramona is a Detroit Pizza restaurant, with a salty twist… Frozen margaritas!

The Firehouse

The Firehouse serves up quality food and cabaret every Wednesday evening in the Northern Quarter.

Noi Quattro
Noi Quattro

Noi Quattro is an independent pizzeria at the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

City Centre
Ciaooo – Pizzeria

Calling all pizza lovers, this hipster hotspot is going to be your own slice of heaven. Slow-rising sour dough pizzas and a great selection of cocktails, all at fabulous prices.

Sweet Mandarin

Gordon Ramsay-approved Northern Quarter restaurant run by three sisters, featuring some of the city’s finest Chinese cuisine.

Fringe Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Bar or Pub
Bar Fringe

No-frills bar on Manchester’s Swan Street. A wide selection of beers and ciders mixed with a great jukebox make this an ideal pre-Band on The Wall drinking spot.

Culture Guides

Love Lies Bleeding - Manchester Film Festival
Cinema in Manchester and the North

This month's film picks include 90s action flicks, contemporary Japanese independent cinema, and a festival curated by the next generation of film programmers.

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.