North Pole Bar before it closes?

North Pole Bar Manchester Urbis

I wanted to get to the North
Pole Bar for ages since it opened, but I just couldn’t make the trek right over
to the other side of town. And then I’ve been wanting to make it the first
proper post on this blog, but then Christmas happened and it was just the done
thing to lie around eating chocolates and drinking Baileys in the afternoon. So
can you see a theme developing?

But the temporary winter
wonderland tent is only open until December 31 and it’s putting on an extravaganza
for New Year’s Eve so I thought there was just time to get a quick review in before then.
Tickets are £2 on the door and there’s 20 DJs, so that’s a bit of a bargain at
10p per DJ!

The North Pole Bar is a
joint project by events company Ear To The Ground and Manchester City Council.
Sat right next to the Urbis, where the Emo kids usually congregate, you can’t
miss this big white tent. Creating a grand entrance, there is a wooden walkway
lined with Christmas trees (and the portaloos, oh the glamour) with sparkly
lights leading up to the tent.

Upside down Christmas tree North Pole Bar Urbis

The interiors feature lots
of upside down Christmas trees hanging from the ceiling, an “Arctic Bar”, and a
big signpost in the middle. I went to experience this Yuletide bar just before
Christmas and had come straight from an Applewein at St Ann’s Christmas Market,
so was in fine festive fettle.

The North Pole Bar serves a
selection of meaty and vegetarian stews for £4.95 and £3.95 respectively, and
although I haven’t tasted them the word on the street is that they are pretty

But the strong point is
definitely the drinks menu of warm Christmas cocktails. I went for the Hot
Buttered Rum, which was heavenly medley of Bacardi Oro, with a dollop of butter, nutmeg
and vanilla. The overall effect was of a liquid creamy toffee but I’m not used
to waiting for my cocktails to cool down enough so I don’t burn my mouth. This
was really delicious but more than one could have got a bit sickly.

Friends tried the other
cocktails, include the Winter Crumble, a warm fruity mixture of vodka,
caramelised apple juice and cinnamon, which was highly recommended. The
Chocolate Wunder Warmer is a rich hot chocolate mixed with a shot of your
choice – the barman recommended Baileys – as well as caramel and vanilla. Other
delights include a mulled wine sweetened with Vimto, and a whiskey toddy.

The cocktails were blended
by Adam Binnersley, who the website tells me is the bar manager from the Northern Quarter and
previously Socia Rehab and Panacea. His special cocktail menu certainly worked
its magic because this is what the drinking classes in Manchester were
nattering about this Christmas.North Pole Bar interiors urbis manchester

Can there be a downside to a
winter wonderland? Well, there was an unusual downside to this one was that the
entire bar stank of smelly socks when we were there – and it wasn’t just me who
thought that. Maybe for next year, they should have a clean feet enforcement
rule, maybe people could wade through a footbath like a school swimming trip?
Just an idea!

I really liked the whole
concept, and the way it added something new to the monotony of the overpriced
Christmas markets we have every year. However, at the end of writing this
review, I just googled the North Pole Bar and noticed on Manchester
there’s a fair amount of unimpressed comments – v interesting
to see other people’s feedback.

Check it out for yourself
before it closes.

Opening times: until 2am on
New Year’s Eve.

Where: North Pole Bar,
Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG.

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