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An immersive prison-themed bar where guests smuggle in their own alcohol is opening next month

Orange jumpsuits never looked so good

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The immersive prison-cocktail hybrid event you never knew you needed is coming to Manchester next month.

Alcotraz is the notorious ‘bar behind bars’ where guests – or more appropriately ‘inmates’ – are tasked with smuggling booze past the Warden and getting it into the hands of some of Alcotraz’s longest-serving inmates, who then transform their ‘contraband’ alcohol into delicious cocktails.  

Combining world-class cocktails with theatrical and authentic story lines, Alcotraz is perhaps one of the most unique drinking experiences out there.

@alcotraz_uk / Instagram

This is probably one of the better ways to wind up in cells during a night out, isn’t it? 

The cocktail experience, created by Inventive Productions, first opened in London in 2017 where it was quick to spark global headlines, create controversy and, most importantly, thrill its guests on the hunt for a unique and memorable night out.

It’s latest venue will be located in the heart of Manchester’s elusive Spinningfields – not the most predictable spot for a jail cell, I know – and will hold ten individual cells, accommodating for fifty inmates for public experiences and up to 100 for private venue hires.

Alcotraz UK

There will also be a Prison Commissary area for lower priced seats – here, inmates will have their own dedicated mixologist at their own bar. 

After the main experience, inmates can spend additional time within the theatrical prison world of Alcotraz by purchasing a seat within this Prison Canteen area, to enjoy an inclusive cocktail and prison ration.

Sam Shearman, the brains behind Alcotraz and founder of Inventive Productions said on the Manchester venue: “The experience has been so popular within London that within a very short period of time we were able to grow the Alcotraz brand to have multiple sites, including one in Brighton. 

Alcotraz UK

“We are now absolutely thrilled to bring this unique concept to Manchester and launch our biggest and most ambitious Alcotraz to date.”

Alcotraz Manchester will be opening it’s doors on July 16th – and bookings are now open! Tickets are priced at £29.99 for seats within the Prison Commissary Area, and £35.99 for seats within a Prison Cell.

For bookings and more information, visit their website here.

What's On

Huge beer festival with more than 500 different varieties coming to Manchester

Can’t wait for this!

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Manchester Craft Beer Festival

Manchester Craft Beer Festival is back for another year, bringing with it more than 80 breweries and 500 different beers to sample.

The fourth edition of the festival will be taking place at Depot Mayfield on Friday July 5th and Saturday July 6th.

Cloudwater, Track, Marble, Northern Monk, Bundobust, Sureshot and Seven Brothers will be there to represent Manchester, alongside other UK stalwarts like Deya, Verdant, Siren and Leeds’ North Brewing Co.

Manchester Craft Beer Festival


Heritage breweries like Timothy Taylor’s, Chouffe and Timmermans will also be there, as well as international breweries from the US, Greece, Spain and Australia.

There will also be some great food options to line your stomach, including bao buns, crispy chicken and katsu tater tots at Bone Daddies, as well as Almost Famous, Bundobust, MorMor and Voodoo Rays.

Manchester Craft Beer Festival


Greg Wells, director of Manchester Craft Beer Festival, said: “It’s been a disheartening year for Manchester’s beer scene so far with closure of the beloved Indy Beer Con Fest and the unsuccessful debut of the International Brewing and Cider Festival, but we’re pleased to announce our return and bring more of what has been loved in the past three years.

“With even more breweries and experiences on offer and larger capacity this year, we’re buzzing to be back to satisfy all the beer lovers out there.

“The addition of a complimentary trade session to our programme is all about promoting this world class beer city and a small gesture to support all the incredible people who work across the drinks and hospitality industries.

“We all have a mutual understanding of the hardships our industries have faced in recent times so we thought it’d be a nice gesture to get everyone together for the love of drinks, food and music to celebrate beer and ourselves!”

Manchester Craft Beer Festival


The entry price includes all your drinks throughout your session, as well as festival glass and access to all the events happening.

And as it’s on during the Euros, it will be screening the football too.

Day tickets cost £57 per day session – with a discount for four tickets – or £145 for the whole weekend. Grab tickets HERE.

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New makers market with everything from dog accessories to house plants and jewellery coming to Manchester

Get this one in your diary!

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Supplied

A brand new makers market is coming to Manchester this late May Bank Holiday weekend, with something for everyone.

Taking place at New Jackson – a new urban neighbourhood located at the southern gateway to the city – Manchester Made Market will be held on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th.

Over the two days you’ll be able to browse a selection of local artisanal traders and small businesses from across the region.

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There’ll be everything, from food produce, homewares, crafts and creations to dog accessories, house plants, jewellery and homemade soap.

Among the traders will be Manchester and Cheshire-based florist and floral artists Dot & Flora, graphic artist Ablott MCR selling music prints, HGT with crochet fashion and homeware designs, and artisan candlemakers Leaves and Prickles.

Elsewhere, there will be essential oils and other treatments from Grounded Wellness, permanent jewellery from Sealed Links, and desserts from Cake With Heart.

Supplied


There will be plenty of street food options to keep you topped up while you shop, including The Wild Grill, Food Sorcery, Salvi’s and new favourite Medlock Canteen.


Neighbourhood Brew will be supplying some great drinks as well.

Supported by Renaker, the market is free, but you can upgrade your experience with a limited, free VIP ticket with access to the dedicated bar area.

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Manchester Flower Festival returns with tributes to Sarah Harding and Caroline Aherne

It’s taking place later this month!

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The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

The legendary Manchester Flower Festival is returning to our city later this month, complete with pop-ups, installations and tributes to some local icons.

Taking place over the late May Bank Holiday, the event will be headlined by its ‘Floral Trail’.

This year’s theme is Manchester Icons, with a host of names past and present being honoured in flower form, including the late comedy legend Caroline Aherne, pop star Sarah Harding and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Collaborating with Manchester illustrator Stanley Chow, floral designer Liv Woodward will create a portrait of Caroline Aherne at the Floral Marquee on New Cathedral Street, using sustainably sourced plants and flowers.

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding will be remembered in a ‘tribute garden’, sponsored by the AO Arena, with visitors able to donate to the Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal by scanning the QR code at the display.

The homage to Pankhurst has been created by female-led Decordia, featuring an ornate wooden Manchester Town Hall-inspired planter with sashes, posters and colourful icons, alongside a wicker figure of the suffragette herself.

This can be found at the corner of Cross Street and King Street, adorned with purple, green and white plants – the colours of the suffragette movement.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Other local legends will also be honoured with their own installations, including Happy Mondays vocalist Rowetta and iconic Manchester brewery Boddingtons .

Fringe events will be taking place too, at locations including Northern Quarter art shop Fred Aldous, The Bridgewater Hall, the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel and the National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct.

Selfridges Exchange Square, El Gato Negro, Tast Catala, Franco Manca, Grand Pacific Manchester and Urban Playground will also be taking part, with alfresco dining, festival-related dishes and cocktails.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Now in its seventh year, the Flower Festival, which is put together by Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District, attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, with live entertainment, workshops, and arts and crafts markets.

It all happens from May 24th to May 27th – head over to the website HERE to find more information.

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