Cane & Grain (Science & Industry, Liar's Lounge)
Photography by Adam Capper
Words by Simon Difford on 25-Oct-2017
49 -51 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1NA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)161 839 7033
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-02:00
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Price guide: Middling
Spread across three floors, Cane & Grain comprises three very different bars under the one roof: The Rib Joint & Tap Room on the ground floor with Science & Industry on the first floor and The Liars Lounge above on the 2nd floor.
The Rib Joint & Tap Room (ground floor)
Now a “rum-and-ribs good times locals bar” but before Lyndon Higginson and his partners transformed the building, it lay derelict and with the ground floor space used by skateboarders. Lyndon was quite the boarder in his former life and as he says, the skateboard tiles which he sourced from Los Angeles are “a nod to what this place used to be,” as are the bench seats fashioned from old skateboards and the retro skate posters. Mismatched plank panelling covers the rest of the walls and disguises the hidden door to the staircase which leads to Science & Industry above. (Turn hard left when you walk into the ground floor bar and look for the hidden door in the rustic wood panelling).
Science & Industry (1st floor)
This bar’s name celebrates Manchester’s contribution to Science & Industry, also commemorated in the city’s aptly named Science & Industry Museum located at the site of the world’s first railway station. But I digress, this hidden (speakeasy-esque) cocktail lounge has touches of an upmarket gentleman’s club such as dark wood panelling and copper topped tables surrounded by tan leather seating with design touches that set it apart such as taxidermy light fittings and Manchester inspired worker bee wallpaper.
A small but very well-equipped laboratory enables the bartenders to be truly industrious with many of the superb cocktails here made using ingredients redistilled or infused in the lab. Molecular techniques such as foams, airs and dry ice add theatre which helps make this lounge fun rather than staid.
The food offering here is also worthy of praise, especially the fries, “Pimped Up Fries” ranging from House Fries (heavily seasoned in Tiki salt) through to “Cheese Fries” (with cheese sauce, jack cheese and red cheddar) via “Kansas City Fries” (with pulled pork, bacon and American mustard).
The Liar’s Lounge (2nd floor)
Accessed via a staircase covered in voodoo masks and skateboard light-fittings, The Liar’s Lounge is the sister bar of the basement Liars Club bar across town, and as the sign declares, it is “as Tiki as fuck”. Open from 7pm Fridays and Saturdays only, this DJ-driven lofty liar’s lair offers Tiki classics and signature house cocktails in a Manchester meets Polynesia setting.