MM columnist and Drinks Enthusiast David Marsland ventures down to The Printworks' Hard Rock Cafe.
Yesterday I swung by Manchester’s Printworks where the ever impressive Hard Rock Cafe can be found. A popular place that in the past has always left a lasting impression on me whether it's food or drinks, this time though, I went for a couple of cocktails before the commute home.
Making my way to the large open bar, a rather busy, yet unfazed barman was creating drinks left right and centre, so I scanned the bar menu and looked for any delights that caught my eye. Almost immediately, the Rum Runner was selected. A combination of Bacardi Superior, banana, Chambord, grenadine, orange juice and sweet and sour mix, shaken and poured over ice with a Myers rum floated on top. Fantastic!
Despite the bar being a little busy, I was served within minutes and I was enjoying the drink as I took in the rock memorabilia around me. Being a Manchester based venue, there were quotes from Oasis scrolled around the walls, The Beatles equipment, and even Roger Taylor’s (Queen) jacket from a tour.
Signed posters, records, drum kits and guitars were all neatly presented so that it didn’t look like your were drinking in someones cluttered basement, but more an open museum.
Anthems from Muse, Journey and even Louis Armstrong were played in the background, loud enough for you to hear, but quiet enough for you to actually enjoy a conversation without straining your voice.
The next drink I chose was the Exotic Margarita. A blend of Patron Silver tequila, Cointreau and Monin Pomegranate, shaken into a rather sizeable Margarita glass complete with salt rim. Noticing that Hard Rock stocked one of my favourite tequila’s, I looked over their back bar to see what else they offered. Bourbons Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Knob Creek mingle with Myers, Bacardi Gold and Superior whilst Grey Goose, Skyy, Absolut and Stolichnaya are available for your vodkas. I even spotted a bottle of Remy Martin XO on the shelf!
On tap, only Stella Artois, Becks Vier and Boddingtons are seen, however their bottle collection more than makes up for it including Corona, Budweiser, Magners, Heineken and Leffe Blonde. A simple yet good selection of wine is also on offer, with all bottles less than £20, with the odd bottle of sparkling wine and Champagne thrown in there too.
Back to the cocktail menu, and there's all your usual finds in Long Island Ice Tea, Cosmopolitan, Daiquiri and Mojito as well as a few variations of the Margarita. Their ‘Alternative Rock’ section is for the drivers of the day, with a ‘Groupie Grind’ unsurprisingly catching my eye! (Mango puree, pina colada mix and pineapple juice with a strawberry swirl).
The cocktails are between £5.15 and £6.80 which are bargains, especially with the size glassware you can get with some of the cocktails. A selection of the drinks can even be upgraded to have them made into a Hard Rock Cafe branded glass, which you can then take home with you – a collection that is growing steadily at mine!
My time at Hard Rock Cafe flew by as I got caught up in the atmosphere and chatting with Nathan the bartender. A man of many stories, including the time he had to host one of Hard Rock Cafe’s ‘Shake It Up’ events with 12 women, who were determined to drink nothing but straight vodka! He’s also a man of class, naming the Old Fashioned as his favourite drink.
This is an excellent place in the heart of Manchester to come and unwind after work or a day of shopping, with children welcomed too it's great for families. The restaurant on the upper level never seemed empty, despite it being in the middle of the afternoon, and the comfortable looking bar booths and high tables were filled with business men, chatting women with glasses of wine, or families waiting around for a short while to experience the food menu – a menu that will be explored on my next visit!
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