NYC Chic comes to 11th and Merrion at Manahatta Leeds

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New nightspot Manahatta is bringing a taste of NYC to LS1 with it’s understated glamour, timeless art deco surroundings and unbelievable cocktails. Under the umbrella company of Arc Inspirations (best known for some of the best student haunts in Headingley, Leeds) Manahatta brings something original to the Northern Quarter.

As a girl who is seasoned to the Leeds nightlife scene, and is a regular down Call Lane and a lover of good drinks, Manahatta had me in absolute awe. As soon as I walked through the beautiful glass doors (held open by an attractive old school doorman may I add!) I was greeted with a tall glass of Kir Royale and invited to look around the vast interior of the venue. The main bar is a contrast of old and new, which really gives it an authentic feel. The white marbled floor gives it a luxurious touch, and this paired with the classic mahogany tables and terracotta leather bar stools – just worked perfectly. Upstairs there is one of the most spectacular bars I’ve ever seen, which wouldn’t look out of place at The Met Gala. Don’t be fooled by the up market surroundings however, as this isn’t a bar strictly for suit jackets and designer handbags. It feels just as welcoming to students as you’d expect from one of the other Arc Inspirations favourites such as The Box or The Pit. The staff are smiley, the drinks are reasonable, and let’s not even get started on the food!

As I explored the bar, I had to keep reminding myself I was in Leeds. There is literally nowhere like this in the city, it’s like the front door teleported me to downtown NY or even just central London. Nothing has been overlooked with this place, every little detail, from framed pictures of Leeds rugby lads squished into Manahatta’s very own Yellow Cab, to stylized shots of the city. You can tell that the owners didn’t just want a tacky replica of a NY bar, but wanted to merge the spirit of Leeds with that of our American counter parts. They definitely achieved this. My personal favourite area of the bar has got to be The Library. As the name may suggest, it really does feel like a room in an upper-class family’s home, it’s classic and feels so homely! It’s compact, so cosy, yet it’s high tables and stools don’t make it feel cramped. As a friend commented that night, it would be perfect for private dining. So anybody looking to have a relaxed yet tasteful 21st gathering – Manahatta should be top of your list.

As this night was part of their launch weekend, we were invited to try various elements of their extensive drinks menu, and of course, an array of food. If you’re a lover of a Sex On The Beach…prepare to be converted. Manahatta’s cocktails are definitely a world a way from your eighties originals. Everything from the refreshing Cucumber Cooler, the unique Geisha Girl (which reminded me of a totally reworked Pornstar Martini) all the way to the appropriately named, and just as delicious, Big Yellow Taxi. The cocktails don’t only look spectacular, but amalgamate flavours that I never knew could work. So if you fancy yourself as a mixologist, or drink more cocktails than Carrie Bradshaw, Manahatta is the place for you.


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Now last, but very not least, the food. As a student in Leeds, it’s hard to find restaurants that can offer you a 5* experience, but not with the 5* price tag. Well good news to all you budget foodies out there, I’ve found it. Everything from tender Teriyaki pork, to a trio of beetroot skewers, succulent tuna steak all the way to one of the best burgers I’ve had in Leeds – Manahatta will keep everybody in your houseshare happy, without them breaking the bank. The menu is imaginative, yet what you’d expect from a top quality restaurant. The influences from the sister-venues such as Trio & The Pit definitely shine through, but not before they’ve been reworked to give them that cosmopolitan touch.

With surroundings to rival Gatsby, and a cocktail menu that wouldn’t be out of place on Times Square, it’s definitely a new favourite. On a student budget you might not be able to venture to New York just yet, but Manahatta comes pretty close!

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Jenna K Clarke

PR girl, house music lover & weekly columnist for out for my Soundcloud house music picks of the week.

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