Manchester Gin’s very special city centre bar, restaurant and distillery opens soon
There’s nothing else quite like Manchester Gin’s very ambitious new home. Six previously underused Grade-II* listed brick arches on Watson Street have been lovingly transformed into their Spirit of Manchester Distillery, new head office, packing and distribution unit, as well as a stunning new 70-cover restaurant - Three Little Words - and a beautiful premium cocktail bar. There’s even a room where guests can learn more about the gin making process and create their own bottle to take home from a personal copper still.
The Spirit of Manchester Distillery needs to be right here, in the heart of the city centre
This unique project has come about thanks to a combination of factors including the foresight of Manchester Central’s chief executive Sean Hinds who was keen to realise the potential of the exhibition centre’s estate in order to give opportunities to local independent talent. This lead the way for the ambitious vision of Manchester Gin’s founders Seb Heely and Jen Wiggins - who unbelievably only started production in 2016, in their Chorlton home.
“We always wanted a bar though,” Seb told us, “and this has been in the planning for years.”
The keen-eyed might spot tiny personal touches that allude to the businesses humble beginnings; a bust that used to belong to Seb’s grandma on one of the bar shelves and an original door that he cut into to allow the pipes from the distillery to carry through his house. But you’d be forgiven for missing those details first time around, as the overall effect of the expansive original brick space is quite dazzling thanks to shiny copper pipes and cleverly placed faceted mirrors.
Guests enter through the glass-fronted archway on Watson Street and are immediately welcomed by the impressive Italian marble and brass bar, fronted by plush high-level seating upholstered in gold velvet. Gin addicts and premium spirit fans will be impressed by the exotic combination of drinks and mixers that have been put together by the hugely talented bar team.
The drink menu is based on a love story, working its way from lust (short, fruity drinks, mostly red and pink, like ‘swipe right’ made with raspberry infused gin) to ‘ultimatum’ where you’ll find smoother concoctions such as ‘ground for divorce’ made with mr. black liqueur. It’s not all about the gin though, the bar team has also created a number of more interesting non-alcoholic drinks.
To right of the bar you can see the enormous 4.2 metre high copper pot still, known as ‘Wonder Wend’ which can produce up to one million bottles of gin per year - quadrupling the current capacity of Manchester Gin production. But customs and excise laws forbid bar staff from simply pouring and serving straight from the still to the customer. Bottles available to purchase can be accessed from a bespoke circular glass fronted display cabinet next to the bar.
The listed vault to the left of the bar houses the restaurant – Three Little Words – which has a vibrant floor-to-ceiling living green wall and beautiful copper tinted mirrors which form the backdrop to a multi level seating area with plush velvet chairs, cool marble table tops and bronze metal mesh curtain.
“Manchester has given me everything,” explains Seb, “the love of my life, my education, my career and my business. The Spirit of Manchester Distillery needs to be right here, in the heart of the city centre.”
After a soft launch period, Three Little Words will open from 16th September, seven days per week from 10am.
Places at the Gin School cost £85 and include a welcome G&T, samples of the Manchester Gin range, and the opportunity to blend your own take home bottle of gin. A guided tour of the distillery can also be arranged for £20.
Three Little Words, Watson Street, Manchester, M3 4LP