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Socio Rehab

Lynda Moyo finally checks into Rehab

Written by . Published on June 26th 2007.


Socio Rehab

For weeks now, my charming Confidential Editor has been ‘try’na make me go to rehab.’ That’s not because he thinks my life excessive and I need to slow down just that he’s wanted to feature Socio Rehab, the hideaway bar on High Street in the Northern Quarter. My problem was that having walked by a few times, it just doesn’t look ‘all that’, if you know what I mean. Deciding to venture in for after-work drinks with a ‘lets get it over and done with’ kind of attitude, I was pleasantly surprised to find a very satisfying little retreat.

When the barman disappeared into “the back” to get the lime for Dom’s thirst-quenching mixture, I’m pretty sure he boarded a private jet to the Dominican Republic, dipped the frosted beaker into a blue lagoon, adding a splash of spiced rum and mint garnish on the flight back.

The atmosphere is as laid back as, well, me. It’s a place for people who like to take things in their stride. There are three areas to sit in depending on your mood. The sexy red room, the tropical middle room or the big blue room, which has an art work of children on the wall verging on demonic. We of course chose that room.

The very cheery barman welcomed us with an uplifting, ‘Hi guys’, and offered us a pop-art style menu the thickness of a Mr Men book: certainly no one-sheet affair, Socio means business when it comes to mixology. Befuddled by the assortment on offer I requested that the up-for-a-challenge barman concoct a sweet, chocolaty, non-coconuty, alcoholic concoction from the filing cabinets of his brain. “Leave it with me”, he said. Dom, my partner in cocktail crime, was looking anxiously at the booklet. ‘I’m just quite thirsty,’ he whimpered, to which the mystic barman replied ‘Something refreshing and light, right?’ You could hear his brain ticking.

We sat on the comfy leather sofa and decided that the place looked a bit tatty. There was drink back splash on the wall. The blinds behind us, similar to the coco-dusted cocktail that had appeared before me, were dusted in erm…dust. But it at least made me look twice at that cocktail and wow! That was a proper cocktail. The amount of effort that had gone into the drink almost brought a tear to my eye, and more than made up for the doubts I’d had about Socio. My cocktail can only be described as something you’d expect a seven year-old to totter back with from the all-you-can-eat-ice-cream-bar at Pizza Hut. Only better. Chocolate straws, chocolate buttons, Milky Way stars, cocoa powder - creamy, dreamy, delicious. And there’s another difference, this treat comes with alcohol.

But then it’s probably easier to make a chocolaty cocktail look good. It’s the watery ones that normally fall into the umbrella of lemon ‘check’, stirrer ‘check’ stereotype. When the barman disappeared into “the back” to get the lime for Dom’s thirst-quenching mixture, I’m pretty sure he boarded a private jet to the Dominican Republic, dipped the frosted beaker into a blue lagoon, adding a splash of spiced rum and mint garnish on the flight back. In fact there was so much greenery stuffed into this drink that I began to question how much alcohol value for money we were getting. My doubts were lifted however, when Dom, having slurped the last of the potion contently certified that the conclusive effects of the drink were “a schort of schlow, merry drunkish thingy (hic).” That cocktail didn’t hang around.

So that’s Socio. Doesn’t look much more than a Beswick youth club from the graffiti emblazoned exterior but it’s a crime to walk past and ignorantly go into the adjacent Blu bar instead. Not knocking Blu as such , but Socio Rehab is more under-exposed and more unexpected. And a pleasant surprise is always a good one.

And FYI, most cocktails are £6 and are themed into impressively funny categories such as ‘Cocktails aren’t just for girls and twats with big hair.’ A definite Socio a-go-go.

Rating: 10.5/15
Breakdown: Drink 4.5/5
Atmosphere 4/5
D├ęcor 2/5
Address: Socio Rehab
100 High St Northern Quarter
City

Sun- Thur 5-midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-1pm

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

secret squirrelJune 26th 2007.

Scottyou are correct on the male loos and porn front,but it is high quality porn,like the cocktails...SS

AnonymousJune 26th 2007.

Easily my favourite bar in Manchester, it took a little time to find it at first, but now it's top of my list. Check out the chocolate sazerac and the gingerbread manhattan (if you like you drinks short). As for the guys drinking beers, give it up, try a cocktail. It doesn't make you a girl.Agree too with comments about Bluu. What is it with that place? Been twice, the first on a quiet night, the second when, well, it was still fairly quiet, but that didn't stop the bouncers making us queue. I'd have headed over the road to Socio or Odd but alas it was someone else's birthday.

GezzaJune 26th 2007.

Ive been there - i think this is one of the best cocktail spots in town!!!!!!

GordoJune 26th 2007.

Forget that tired argument about what is the best cocktail bar in Manchester. Let's talk about what is the best cocktail bar in the UK. Rehab is it. Then lets talk about Europe. Easy top five. New York? These lads kick the arse out of anything over there. IGNSHO.

CEEFAXJune 26th 2007.

Are we talking about the same bar...This bar has gone downhill. When it started there was a decent crowd in there, but on a weekend it is now full of middle class chavs, the northern quarter seems to be getting full of at these at weekends. The cocktails are good but dependant on who serves you.The mojitos have gona downhill.And for an establishment that supposedly oozes cool, who designed the cocktail menu, cheap,tatty, and gaudy. I dont want joke names just a drink. I dont like going in bluu, but they do a better daquiri and mojito if thats your poison. Socio you need to get back to what you where, it seems competiton in the area has led you to satisfy the lowest common denominator.Even music policy has gone downhill.

scottJune 26th 2007.

yes, best 'old fashioned' in town also, beats hiltons bar and lowry bar for cocktails in my opinion, they are true enthusiasts, although maybe a little too enthusiastic

Sweaty PalmsJune 26th 2007.

No Scott, that's the inside of brain that's so wall-paperqwef.lkn

scottJune 26th 2007.

am i getting mixed up with somewhere else, or do i remember that the gents in there, are wallpapered floor to ceiling with porn

AnonymousJune 26th 2007.

I agree with the previous anonymous - the fact that it doesn't have a huge neon sign to advertise itself guarantees that you get a decent crowd of like minded people rather than the pretentious kn*b heads who go to Blu and think they're 'it'.p.s. the best french martini this side of the English Channel!

John WJune 26th 2007.

The staff make thebest rainbow road in the world!!

JanieJune 26th 2007.

Can't believe it's taken ManCon so long to discover the delights of Socio Rehab. When you go, you've gotta check out the graffiti art on the back wall - my other half photographed the artist (Belin) as it was being done - absolutely amazing! Best drinks in Manchester served by the nicest staff around - what more do we need?

AnonymousJune 26th 2007.

And for those who think that this is just a cocktail place...they do sell very nice beer as well. The thought of buying a £6.00 cocktail scares me but a cold bottle of beer is just right.

TailcockJune 26th 2007.

yes, the porn is at the more tasteful end of the waxed full-frontal nude spectrum, and it's done with a sense of humour and a ready supply of tissue paper to boot. And a lock on the door. I can't speak for the Ladies', but I know from experience that a lot of the womenfolk have sampled the Gents - I guess they have big queues in theirs.The Cocktails are, of course, fantastic. And they have enough staff to make sure the place doesn't grind to a halt when someone orders one (take note, the otherwise wonderful Matt and Phred's). I've never noticed the dirt, though. Whenever I've been in I have felt lost without night-vision goggles. Except in the Gents', of course.

LauraJune 26th 2007.

Socio rocks. Bluu is terrible, its commiting a crime to go in there and to queue up outside-WHAT, those people should be shot .

AnonymousJune 26th 2007.

Socio is definately one of the best cocktail spots in town - and the fact it doesn't look 'all that' only adds to its charm.

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