As though it were a desperate drunk, dawdling near the taxi rank at 3am; British summer decided to leave it late. But just like the black-cab Casanova, it finally came. For a few fleeting days in October, the sun shone and flesh was flashed but then, with a final analogy to our late-night Lothario, it was all over far too quickly.
Normal Manchester service has now been resumed, the skies greyed, rain fell and wind blew. The smokers who once basked in glorious sunshine are now huddling in doorways. The beer gardens and terraces that were adorned with flowering plants and crowds of people have now been abandoned and strewn with puddles.
As Paul Weller said, we’re going underground……..
And here are some of Manchester’s best subterranean bars for escaping from the bleak winter weather:
• Corbieres Wine Cavern: This bar feels like it was carved straight from the rock below St Annes square. It’s a small area that makes the bar feel cosy during the week but cramped on weekends. The crowds are drawn by the superb Jukebox crammed with indie-rock from throughout the ages.
• Hula: The sun might be hidden on street level, but down the steps on Stevenson Square, the sun always shines at this 1950’s themed cocktail bar. It opened in 2009 but still feels like a relative newcomer. Word has finally spread about the showcase flaming volcanic cocktails, which draws a large and excitable mid-week crowd. The bar-staff are also amongst the most friendly and professional in the city.
• Black Dog Ballroom: You’d expect a bar located below Afflecks Palace to be a little out of the ordinary, and perhaps surprisingly Black Dog Ballroom doesn’t fit the stereotype. It’s mainstream New York Speakeasy chic all the way and it’s proved a huge success.
• The Gas Lamp: Whisper it quietly, because what makes this bar great is its relative obscurity. A stone’s throw from Deansgate, but attracting none of the crowd, the old Victorian building bristles with charm and history.
• The Temple of Convenience: The former public toilet situated on Oxford Street is another well hidden gem, foregoing a fanfare entry for a subtle sign that’s easy to miss. Escape the cold above and cram yourself into the tiny bar for a warm atmosphere.
Add your favourite subterranean drinking holes below.