New venue has transformed stunning Grade-II* listed brick arches on Watson Street
In May 2016, Seb Heeley and Jennie Wiggins produced the first bottle of Manchester Gin in a distillery based in their Chorlton home. Eighteen months and several thousand bottles later, production moved to a railway arch on the edge of Manchester to keep up with the enormous demand.
Now the couple have revealed they are expanding again, relocating their Spirit of Manchester Distillery into six converted Grade-II* listed brick railway arches on Watson Street, by Manchester Central.
The distillery will only be one part of the business venture, which will incorporate Three Little Words, a new independent, premium cocktail bar and restaurant. There will be room for a total of 110 covers – 70 in the contemporary restaurant, and 40 in the luxurious cocktail bar.
As well as offering guests the chance to see the gin-making process in action, there will also be tours of the distillery and masterclasses to make your own personal blend of gin.
Guests will be able to enjoy a variety of original gin-based concoctions as well as perfectly made classics made by Manchester Gin’s new inventive bar team. Volume 1 of the drinks menu starts in the same way as Manchester Gin did – with a love story. The menu moves through themes covering Lust, Rapture, Devotion, Eternity and ends with Ultimatum, creating flavours that evoke every stage of love: from excitement and freshness, through to darker, heavier flavours - all created using premium spirits.
The restaurant menu will be an international, modern interpretation of dishes inspired by the botanicals that define the gins distilled on site. Flowing with the seasons, a menu of small and large plates, created by development chef Jimmy Carr, will conjure up unique flavours.
With sixteen years’ experience, including numerous years at Evelyn’s in the Northern Quarter, classically trained head chef Carr said: “At Three Little Words, we want fresh flavours to come through in all of our dishes. As much as possible, all of our ingredients are locally sourced, and being in a city with such a rich culture and history, we’ve aimed to incorporate this into our varied menu.”
Manchester Gin Co-Founder and Master Distiller, Seb Heeley, added: “This is the culmination of a life ambition for Jen and I. From the very first day we met, we talked about our dreams to open our own bar, so this feels like a huge milestone for us! We couldn’t have started this venture without the support of Manchester, so to be able to create 45 jobs and give something back to this amazing city means the world to us.”
Manchester based Up North Architects were architects and interior designer for the scheme which involved converting the six Grade-II* listed vaults. The designers were careful to avoid design clichés relating to gin production and instead focus on creating a stunning yet refined cocktail bar and dining space, drawing inspiration from Manchester Gin’s theme of ‘unusual spirits’. Part of the design includes over 300 precision cut tinted mirrors, faceted to create a shimmering backdrop based on a design theme the designers refer to as ‘dark sparkle’.
Three Little Words will officially open on Sunday 15th September. The bar and restaurant will be open from 10am, seven days a week.