I’m sure the majority of people who frequent Manchester’s thriving nightlife on Bridge Street (we're thinking Liar's Club, Crazy P's, Garage and Mojo) have walked past Masons Bar - perhaps unknowingly - hundreds of times.
Located in the heart of the city, it’s not somewhere that easily flies under the radar. Its unassuming white-washed exterior doesn’t make it as eye-catching as its many trendy neighbours, but its mystique coupled with beautiful cocktails makes it somewhere that’s surely been on many Manchester’s lists of places to go.
Masons has been voted one of the most instagrammable venues in the UK, and it's not difficult to see why. From the minute you walk in it’s impossible not to marvel at the strange yet beautiful ambiance of the former Freeemasons Hall, the building’s past is evident in the interiors - which are nothing short of stunning.
It feels like you’ve stepped through a portal to a completely different world...
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We are proud to be the VIP bar at this year's @nrbmanchester exhibition. We will be showcasing 4 different cocktails with a Masons twist, featuring brands Remy Martin 1738, Buffalo Trace, Don Julio and Belvedere Vodka. 🍸 . . . #NRB #cocktails #drinks #manchester #manchesterbar #restaurant #NRB18
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Backdrop of dreams ✨ Spend NYE with our 7 course taster menu plus drinks offers on the night. Instagram worthy food, drink and interiors...go on you know you want to! Check out our menu & book via link in bio. #NYEManchester (📷 @prettychicthings👌) . . . #manchesterrestaurants #marble #nyeplans
That being said, it is a beautifully curated, elegant space with the perfect amount of coziness to tone down any air of pretension. Once seated, it’s easy to sink into their plush chairs and forget about the outside world as you browse their small but truly delectable menu.
For appetizers, you can pick from their ‘Starters’ menu (£5 - 12) or their 'Sharing Dishes' (£3 - 13) both offering smaller bites to prep your palette for your main. My friend and I went for the Menai Mussels with French Classic Mariniere, which are presented exactly as you’d imagine. With plenty of fresh, warm bread for dipping (obviously.)
We both agreed the combination was a match made in heaven, with the Classic Mariniere complementing the mussels perfectly. The sauce itself is up there with the best I've ever tasted (we had to request extra bread just to ensure none of it went to waste) and a great starter to share if you’re peckish for protein too.
Before we knew it we were on to our mains. I went for the pan roasted cod with langoustine (£17.95) and my friend had the Gressingham Duck Breast (£20.95.)
As a fish lover in general, I have extremely high standards for it. Therefore I’m thrilled to report that I found the dish exceptionally tasty - a meal I will come back for. I found the langoustine addition to be purely aesthetic and a bit too fiddly and thought it could have done without it but the sweet almond curry sauce, okra and potato fondant were untraditional accompaniments that proved very flavourful. This dish was innovative and warm, the definition of a cosy wholesome meal.
I had a bite (or two) of the Gressignham Duck and it was completely melt-in-your-mouth. Perfectly proportioned so that you feel satisfied but don’t want to lay flat out on your bed like a starfish after consumption.
The complimenting dauphinoise potatoes and braised red cabbage offer a lovely touch, but the duck is ultimately the star of the show. If you love duck, this dish is easily worth the price.
For dessert, we went for the Mount Gay Chocolate Marquise (£7.95), which was UN-REAL. My biggest foodie pet peeve is when I order chocolate pudding and it tastes like a lame, microwaved version of what you should be getting.
Needless to say, this was not an issue. The double chocolate ice cream is all homemade here, the Marquise was rustic, rich, and creamy - everything I want in a great dessert, and the surprise addition of a delicious little Macaroon on the side took me into a complete, unadultered sugar high. #NoRegrets
Overall, a fantastic meal and a wonderful dining experience. This is one of those places you can sit down with a friend and get lost in chat for hours without realising any time has gone by at all. If the prices don’t suit your budget, worry not, you can still book a table for drinks, light bites, or dessert - dinner isn’t required to enjoy the ambiance!