Manchester’s not a city usually associated with sunshine, hawaiian shirts and tropical delights, but that’s exactly what greets you on a visit to tiki-themed dive bar The Liars Club. Indeed, the rain-soaked streets above the basement bar became a distant memory as I sat amongst exotic greenery, chintzy skull-filled fish tanks and rum barrels, and set upon working my way through the cocktail list.
The ‘sharers’ were a big hit amongst groups, old time fave the Pina Colada served in a real pineapple, whilst Captain Lyndon’s Treasure Chest is dished up in a wooden chest and – comprising a heady mix of rum (and lots of it), prosecco, tropical tastes and fire – was really tickling the fancy of the gathered masses. Rightfully so, with the choice of a ‘large’ or ‘larger’ chest, this is quite the sharing experience.
Kicking off with a Santiago Julep, a good combination of mint, Bacardi, pineapple juice, lime and grenadine (all presented in a tin), it was soon time to move onto the flaming Zombie. Strong enough to be limited to two per person, this firecracker of a cocktail combines rum, Absinthe and god only knows what else; they really don’t hold back on the spirits and liqueurs when concocting this one, nor the ritualistic fire display that follows. By now, everyone’s having a good time (the rum a definite contributor to this) and, as reggae, afrobeat and everything in between is blasted out, it’s easy to become immersed in this kitsch Polynesian paradise – and feel a million miles away from where you are.
Although it doesn’t quite manage to capture the authentic and chaotic brilliance of its tiki sibling up in the Northern Quarter – Keko Moku, a bar so small that a night spent drinking there is akin to spending an evening going wild in your pal’s living room – if you find yourself around the Bridge Street area looking for a light-hearted night in a tropical speakeasy, and want a guaranteed hangover in the morning… I couldn’t think of a better place to go.