While the party has been slightly subdued by coronavirus restrictions, there was a buzz about the Headingley venue as we waited to be seated after snapping up a sought-after booking on the first day bars reopened.
We were warmly greeted by the manager who seated us at the largest of two terraces. The plastic seats and bare tables didn’t quite match up to the art deco glamour inside, but we had a pleasant view over North Lane.
Manahatta’s drinks menu includes gin serves, bottles of wine, cocktail trees and 70cl bottles of spirits, it certainly caters for a big do. For my more subdued lunchtime booking with a friend, we were tempted by the two-for-one signature cocktail menu.
The service was impressive. We were encouraged to order using Manahatta’s app, minimising contact at the bar, and our drinks arrived in less than 10 minutes.
I opted for the Manahatta Spritz from the ‘Glamour Edit’ - Tanqueray gin, Campari, lemon, sugar and grapefruit soda. Served in a wine glass with a slice of grapefruit and plenty of ice, it was zingy, refreshing and bitter, exactly to my taste.
My companion has a sweeter tooth and chose the Rave Punch from the 'Party Edit’ - Bacardi Cuatro shaken with Disaronno, passion fruit, grenadine and pineapple. She said the smooth rum and fruity flavours “took her to the Caribbean”, which is quite the statement when we were shivering outside in the English ‘spring’.
Impressed with my Manahatta Spritz, I ordered a second gin cocktail Cake By The Ocean - Bombay Sapphire gin mixed with raspberry liqueur, raspberry, lemon and soda. The raspberry liqueur overpowered the botanical notes of Bombay Sapphire that I love, but there was a big hit of lemon which left a refreshing aftertaste.
My friend opted for Manahatta’s take on an Aperol Spritz, the Broadway Spritz, with 42Below vodka, Aperol, lemon, strawberry and soda. She said this cocktail was missing the ‘spritz’ - it was flat and she likened it to strawberry squash.
Despite a disappointing second round, the all day two-for-one deal on cocktails makes Manahatta an attractive choice in the student heartland.
While our drinks lacked the theater offered by some of its city centre competitors, Manahatta offers an unrivalled upmarket atmosphere in Headingley that is just the fit for a celebration.
Address: 19 Ash Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3JJ
Telephone: 0113 275 2223
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, noon-11pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-11pm