Cloud 23, A Heavenly Place to Drink and Dine
There’s the saying that there’s no better place to be than on ‘Cloud 9’. Cloud 9 is a place of eternal bliss and happiness and a metaphor that has lent itself to the titles of albums by the Temptations and George Harrison. Although the phrase is considered to pertain to Buddhism and respective stages of Enlightenment, it has become analogous with the notion of contentment across the world. By this token, would visiting ‘Cloud 23’, have more than double the sense of euphoria? Well if fine dining in a bar that represents the height of luxury are what gives you bliss, then arguably yes.
Home in The Heights of The Hilton Hotel
Aptly named Cloud ‘23’, the venue is situated on the 23rd floor of Manchester’s iconic Beetham Tower, both figuratively and literally, towering above its competition. In fact, Cloud 23 is the highest point in which you can dine in Manchester, and so affords itself both a unique edge and unparalleled panoramic views across the City.
The bar isn’t merely the reserve of the Hilton hotel-goers however, but marks an inviting destination for all those craving inner City opulence, whether it is in the form of drinks, food or afternoon tea. Cloud 23 is certainly a place for the special occasion and makes no attempt at hiding its status as point of heightened fancy. It is without reservation that I can recommend Cloud 23, and although it is more formal than casual, is a venue that can be enjoyed by all. The romantic pleasure of enjoying good company atop the horizon line is a veritable treat for anyone looking for a unique experience, and should be considered by anyone looking for a night of luxury. This being said, I most recommend Cloud 23 for an anniversary, a meaningful reunion of friends, or to impress a date or employer. One can even hire out the venue for private receptions, such as weddings.
Changing with the Hours, but the Décor is Always Fashionable
Given that Cloud 23 is the bar that sits atop Manchester’s Hilton, it is no surprise that luxury is immediately apparent when it comes to décor. After the long ascent in the lift to the 23rd floor, one is met by a stunning view of the lush interior and expansive panoramic sights. Yet this is a luxury that works in two ways, each making the most of the breath-taking urban vistas pouring in from the windowed walls. The first manner of luxury is found in the daytime ambience. Here, one should expect a bounty of light in an airy, clean and minimal setting. The result is modern without being clinical, the décor built up with trendy furnishings and juxtaposed with timeless views. What Cloud 23 does particularly well is how it transitions from its daytime to nighttime atmosphere.
During the night, Cloud 23 becomes sultry and inviting, with dark and deep lighting. The magic is how it turns from airy to intimate, with the moody ambience being met by the unbounded skyline. Simply, it is hard to identify many places in Manchester that meet the romantic mood of Cloud 23 at night. Even though it clearly a high-end establishment, Cloud 23 doesn’t come across as exclusive. The décor cements the fact that it is stylish without being imposing and classy without being pretentious.
Drinks, from Classic Homages to Locally Inspired Treats
In essence, although coming with spectacular views and an incredible style, Cloud 23 is a specialist drinks bar. Cloud 23 provides an extensive and sublimely appointed drinks list, adding top quality beverages to an idyllic environment.
The drinks are often creatively prepared and this is most seen in the Cocktail Menu. The cocktails are made up of a long list of expertly executed signatures, which is far more all encompassing than you probably imagine. Cloud 23 does two things with its cocktails; it recreates traditional blends with to the highest standard and gives them a unique edge that makes the experience all the more memorable. Cloud 23 also is mindful of its location, which, given the immediacy of its views, is to be expected. Therefore, there are many locally inspired cocktails, such as ‘The Industrialist’. At £11, the drink is more expensive than cocktails at other venues but realistically, is still competitively priced and indicative of what you’d expect to pay for high quality City beverages. This mix was inspired by Manchester’s role in the Industrial Revolution and so harks back to traditional elements such as a tantalising blend of bourbon and vermouth.
Alternatively, if you prefer the fruitier drink, then try the ‘revived forgotten classic’ option of the 1930s Cosmopolitan. At £9.50, this drink in recreates a vestigial recipe from the Flapper age, which may be surprising to those more familiar with its modern incarnation made popular by ‘Carrie Bradshaw’. This option is similar to the modern variety, and is a harmoniously mixed gin-based drink, made with raspberry rather than cranberry juice.
Yet, if cocktails aren’t your bag, then there is an endless array of other beverages from wines, beers, ciders Champagnes and across all traditional spirits. Simply, there is something for everyone and it is very apparent that Cloud 23 takes alcohol seriously. Drinks are certainly on the more expensive side with £7 being the cheapest one would expect to pay for a small glass of wine or a glass of whisky or gin. However, one can rest assured that their money is well spent in when ensuring quality. It can only be said that there isn’t a bad option on the drinks menu and if one is seeking a treat, indulging with one of these in the soaring heights of Cloud 23 is undoubtedly an incomparable experience.
Moreish Sharing Plates May Just Have You Finishing Them on Your Own
Food at Cloud 23 comes in the form of sharing dishes, and can be best described as high-end bar snacks. Although, Cloud 23 isn’t a restaurant and eating courses of dishes aren’t sold as the primary reason to visiting, what’s an offer certainly makes a tempting compliment to the array of fine drinks. However, given the luxurious atmosphere of the bar, you’d be mistaken in thinking the costs of the food options available scales too extreme a height. Rather, the dishes available are both delectable and reasonably priced for a top City Bar.
Dishes are available in the form of ‘Sharing Bites’ and ‘Small, Large and Sweet Sharing Plates’. The former of these is akin to moreish appetisers and the latter being more decadent, filling and indulgent. Sharing Bites are priced at £3.50 and include bar staples from ‘Mixed Spiced Nuts’ to ‘Warm Garlic Toast with Aioli’, simple but deliciously executed. The Plates are arguably more mouth-watering and across the respective varieties, highlights include the ‘Vietnamese Lobster Salad Rolls’, served with a honey and soy dressing. At £9.50, this dish is not an affordable way to add a satisfying edge to your visit, and each roll is crisp, fresh, sweet and savoury. At £14.50 is the ‘Spiced Indian Style Platter’, coming with Spinach Pakoras, Spiced Chick Peas, Bombay Potatoes, Imam Bayilid, Riata, Toasted Naan and Scented Rice. This is a bargain for the sheer feast of incredible Indian classics on offer, each hearty but delicately spiced and flavoured. For the sweeter-toothed, I recommend the ‘Trio of Manchester Tarts’ at £9.50, which is a truly delicious way to pay homage to the local gems of Manchester, Treacle and Custard Tarts.
All in all, the food is clearly made with a respect of fine local produce in mind, and so blends quality ingredients with an expert technique and so the dishes available are a reason to visit Cloud 23 in their own right.
Ultimately, Cloud 23 succeeds in what it sets out to do: it is a luxury bar with an unbeatable gimmick in its panoramic views. For a unique treat and evening (or afternoon) of opulence and awe-inspiring views, I can recommend no greater Manchester bar. Granted, there are certainly cheaper places to visit or things to do in the City, but this one is for an occasion. Cloud 23 will have you ascend to the heights and keep you there, in an enjoyable, relaxing euphoria.