Outdoor eating and speciality gins in a city centre sun-spot
WHEN the sun's out in Manchester, you've only one job: find a place to soak it up. While the bars of Castlefield and Canal Street are well-known as a sun-seeker's hot-spot, here's an option right in the middle of the city centre.
Grafene on King Street has a stunning outdoor terrace that's perfect for summer drinking. There's lots of space, plush seating, and heaters for when it turns chilly. But the big draw for us is the beautiful food and drinks they conjure up behind the bar.
Highlights include Forest Gin, which uses botanicals hand-foraged in the Peak District to bring notes of bilberry, fern and moss.
Firstly, the food. They've just launched a bar menu featuring light(ish) dishes for those who are out for drinks with food as a side, rather than the reverse.
Options include fish pie with garden peas (£7.50), Nicoise salad (£4 or £7.50 with salmon or guinea fowl) and shepherd's pie with red cabbage (£7.50). There's also nibbles such as olives (£2.50) and homemade bread (£3). It's available midday-9pm Monday-Friday, midday-6pm Saturday and all-day Sunday.
Like the food, the drinks list is modern British. We love their new menu of of speciality gins served with Fever-Tree tonic for that quintessential drink of the English summer, the G&T.
Highlights include Forest Gin, which uses botanicals hand-foraged in the Peak District to bring notes of bilberry, fern and moss (£7 including Fever-Tree Indian tonic, rosemary and grapefruit peel).
Moving even closer to home, their Manchester Gin has citrus notes and hints of dandelion and burdock root. It's paired with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, lime and pink grapefruit (£7).
From further afield comes Monkey 47, a 'curious, award-winning gin' encompassing 47 unique German Black Forest botanicals. It's paired with Fever-Tree light tonic, black forest fruit and sage (£7).
Add to this an excellent list of signature and classic cocktails, and one of the most extensive and interesting collection of premium spirits we've seen, and you've got a bar that deserves your attention, whether the sun is shining or not.
Grafene, 55 King Street, Manchester city centre, M2 4LQ