Alchemist, Manchester – Experiment with a Drink of Liquid Gold.
Alchemy is the art of transforming one substance to another. This is most famously associated with the quest of turning lead into gold, an arcane practise that brought much pain in the pursuit of pleasure.
Modern Alchemy therefore, is perhaps best suited to describing the blending of alcoholic substances in a seductive yet dangerous elixir we call a cocktail. ‘Alchemist’ has two locations in Manchester City Centre, one in Spinningfields and the other in New York Street. Although both of equal standard, for the purpose of this article, I will be reviewing the Spinningfields branch.
The bar surely doesn’t disappoint in its provision of quality cocktails, and makes their blending a veritable alchemic art form. Alchemist is a stylish and modern bar, serving some of the smoothest drinks to be had in the area. Furthermore, by day, Alchemist applies the perfect blend to its coffees and food menu, and has an excellent breakfast and lunch service. Simply, if you’re in Manchester and are looking for elegance in your urban bar, I can recommend no other than Alchemist.
The Décor is more Urban Chic than Alchemist’s Lair.
Alchemist is a vision of a contemporary City Centre cocktail bar and this is certainly reflected in its décor. Large ceiling to floor windows flood the bar with light, both natural light in the day and romantic low lighting in the evening. The result is a bar that is expansive and airy until sunset, when it is intimate and inviting. Clean white leather seats and hardwood tables are situated under hanging chandeliers and light features. The impression is one of contemporary finery. Alchemist finds the balance between minimalist and opulence to give a luxurious atmosphere that you don’t need to turn lead to gold to be able to afford.
Blending Ingredients and Drinks is an Art Form Mastered.
The art of alchemy is also extended to Alchemist’s culinary pursuits. The bar is also a fantastic eatery and one of the best and most affordable places in the city for gourmet dining. The breakfast menu is typical but the items are wholesome and delicious encompassing everything from the classic Full English, to American and Continental varieties, all having the option of being served with a morning cocktail, such as a Bloody Mary. I recommend the ‘Mish Mosh’. At £7.50, this incorporates all the elements of a hearty breakfast, in a loose-style omelette served with chorizo sausage, cheese, bacon, spinach and mushrooms.
The rest of the food menu is an international affair and Alchemist prepares dishes from roasts to American Corn Dogs and Continental Salads. The menu can best be described as high bar and pub dining, the plates are unpretentious but the ingredients are carefully sourced and expertly put together.
Of Course, I can’t talk of Alchemist without discussing it’s very own philosopher’s stone; the drinks menu. To say that Alchemist is solely a cocktail bar would be inaccurate; there is also a selection of fine wines and spirits. However, the cocktail menu is where the venue most shines. The drinks are seductive, matching tempting flavours with abundant style. Priced around £7-£8 per glass, the cocktails range from classics to more creative blends but rest assured that Alchemist is consistent in matching style with substance.
Alchemist will undoubtedly impress but even more so, it will be an impressive venue for any company you decide to bring. The bar is particularly suitable for a date or during a professional business meeting.