We pay a visit to the new cocktail den bringing quality to the karaoke scene

Well, it’s October, and dark nights are coming up faster than my breakfast after watching that Jeffery Dahmer drama series on Netflix. The darker evenings are pointing towards spooky season, and there are plenty of Halloween happenings going on around Manchester, but I think we can all agree that party season is here.

Descend the stairs to the right of the bar, and you’ll find yourself in a neon-lit corridor - perfect for the Instagram moment that we’re all constantly chasing

I can’t wait for a spicy cocktail in a cosy bar with the wind whistling outside, so I’ve popped on the Metro to Altrincham to have a peek at a new drinking den from a team whose faces you might recognise from some of the best bars around town. Welcome to Alibi, where cocktail and karaoke dreams are made.

Cocktails Created By Ben At Alibi In Alrincham
Ben whips up some concoctions for us to photograph. Read: Drink Image: Confidentials

Fun, friendliness and quality

We’re chatting with Carl and Ben today, who greet us with a cocktail as soon as we arrive. They've been making grapefruit flavour bubbles in a small bath (no, really) behind the bar and are keen for us to try. 

“The last thing we want to do here is disappear up our arses about drinks,” Carl says. Of course they do the classics, but they also want people to have fun. That is why I am sipping a bubblegum blue cocktail called Bubble Trouble at 3pm on a weekday.

“Everything we do here is under our three pillars of fun, friendliness and quality - those things will never expire. They’re the reason people go out. So we’ve put 10 signature drinks on the menu, but if all you want from life is a Woo Woo then, of course, we’ll do that for you.”

Carl And Ben At Alibi Cocktail Bar In Altrincham
Carl and Ben showing off a few of their cocktail creations Image: Confidentials

Finding Common Ground

Carl also runs Common Ground, the coffee and brunch spot just a few doors down on Shaws Road. He ran Apotheca in the Northern Quarter for a few years and has dabbled on the London bar scene too. 

Ben came from Arcane which is known for classic cocktails in the city centre. And Dean, the head bartender has come from Henry C in Chorlton.

Alibi has been a long time in the making, with eyes on this particular site for a few years. You might remember it as Drawing Room, but when everything started closing because of the pandemic, their cocktail dreams were put on hold. 

During that time, Carl started Decent Drop, a wine and cheese delivery business based in a haunted pub near Manchester airport. At one point, he was taking 100-kilo deliveries. “The whole place stunk of cheese,” he tells us, “At Christmas, we did one called Munster - it’s basically the French, ‘roided version of Stinking Bishop and it is feral.”

Disco Ball In The Toilets At Alibi In Altrincham
Toilets inspired by your nan's living room Image: Confidentials

When the team eventually got the keys to Alibi, they knocked out a cool-looking bar in just eight weeks. There’s royal blue banquette seating and a tiled bar looking out onto a long room with space for a DJ and plenty of personality. From the vintage records on the walls to the disco ball in the 70s-themed toilets. 

Descend the stairs to the right of the bar, and you’ll find yourself in a neon-lit corridor - perfect for the Instagram moment that we’re all constantly chasing.

Come As You Are Neons At Alibi In Altrincham
You're never far from a neon Image: Confidentials

Everybody is welcome

Not forgetting a private karaoke den in the basement that can fit up to 16 people, an on-demand drinks service and a box full of props. The place is designed for a good time. And everybody is welcome. The books are filling up with birthday and Christmas parties too - there’s a 50th booked the weekend I visit.

The team have also partnered with Pix Pizza across the road. Place a pizza order at the bar, and they’ll pop over to collect it for you.

“It looks sophisticated and civilised in here right now, but at about 10 o’clock, it becomes uncivilised. We kick tables away and make room for a dance floor. It’s full-on Lemar 50/50 vibes. Samantha Mumba is welcome.”

Altrincham is, without doubt, a beery town. Spots like Pi, Batch and Mort Subite cover pints and bottles pretty well in this part of Manchester, but Alibi fills a bubbly cocktail-shaped hole that’s making Altrincham the place to be if you’re feeling a bit tired of the rowdy Northern Quarter drinking scene.

Alibi 10 Shaw's Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU

Read next: Schofield’s named in World’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars list

Read again: Just duet: Best karaoke bars in Manchester

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