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The Liars Club Review

Lynda Moyo on the cheeky tiki bar that escaped the clutches of the Northern Quarter

Written by . Published on November 29th 2011.

The Liars Club Review

HAVING announced to the office I’m taking a break from alcohol, it would appear the editor is hard of hearing.

The Liars Club is Manchester’s newest tiki bar and possibly most flammable venue yet it was my job to go in there and not end up vomiting into the flower pots outside Starbucks at 3am. Hmmm.

My decision to lay off the liquor comes at a time of year when most bars are laying it on, thick and fast. With the thought of shots and fishbowls making my liver shrivel into submission, I rounded up two men in need of a stiff drink: My boybitch Jordan, who admits ‘my life is an open Tweet’ and boyfriend Chris, who in the latter stages of Movember, currently resembles a black Freddie Mercury.

Apparently you don’t have to drink to have a good time, but you do have to go to The Liars Club.

The Liars Club of course replaced The Purple Pussycat in September of this year to a largely rapturous applause. Either people weren’t keen on the PP or the idea of a version of Keko Moku you can swing a purple pussycat in was appealing. I’d go for a bit of both with the added bonus of clever cocktails.

The Liars Club exteriorThe Liars Club exterior

The bar comes from the owners of Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter who have taken a chance on a decidedly duller part of town, just off Deansgate. It’s what it needed.

The Twitterer, the ‘Tache and I paid a visit on Saturday, early evening. It wasn’t busy at first, but this didn’t mean we went unnoticed. The bartender was straight over to our table with cocktail umbrella adorned enthusiasm.

I’ll admit, I was scared to utter the dirty word “non-alcoholic” but he didn’t even flinch, instead offering up a free off-the-menu mocktail and the kind line “I’m not gonna charge you for a few crushed berries.” Apparently you don’t have to drink to have a good time, but you do have to go to The Liars Club.

The venue itself is almost unrecognisable from its Purple Pussycat days. If you’ve been to Keko Moku, you’ll feel like this is the stretched out version – not because they’ve copied, but because both bars know the key elements of an authentic tiki. It also shares Hula bar's underground theme. Both bars work in that you lose all sense of where you are in the world. "We're on holiday" according to a whimisical Jordan.

"We're on holiday!" Jordan McDowell and Lynda Moyo at The Liars Club, Manchester

From the scrappy postered ceiling, barrel tables and ‘SLR JRY’ car registration plate, to the upside-down stiletto hanging behind the bar, framed living waterfall on the wall and padded chairs, this is no minimalist affair. If you feel out of place because you’re not wearing a Hawaiian lei, then it’s job well done to The Liars Club.

The toilets get a thumbs up too, with a beaming Jordan exclaiming that “there’s a cake in every urinal” and for once he wasn’t talking about cupcakes.

Onto the drinks which are without a doubt the star of the show. I later learned that mixology mad hatter Lyndon Higginson (formerly of Keko Moku) is the brains behind every drop. Having met him once before at a cocktail event at Manchester Town Hall I can attest he’s as energetic and zany as the cocktails he creates.

We ordered a selection from the menu avoiding the Tiki Classics such as Mai Tai and Zombie not because they 'make your mouth numb' as a friend of mine tweeted, but because we wanted to try something different from The Liars Club Specials.

(L-R) Nat And Bobby, Bloody Pirate, off-the-menu Mocktail(L-R) Nat And Bobby, Bloody Pirate, off-the-menu Mocktail

Bloody Pirate (£6.50) nearly singed Chris’ Movember efforts off, not because it was actually flaming, but because it was spicy hot. To be fair to our barman, he did ask how spicy he’d like it and to a mixological mind if you answer ‘I don’t know’ to a cocktail question, that means 'go crazy'.

It was basically a Bloody Mary with rum and having had a sip (a sip is allowed on my regime, I decided) I can understand what the celery stick garnish is for. You’ll want something cool and crunchy to take your mind off it afterwards.

Jordan had gone for the less offensive selection of a Nat And Bobby (£6.50). This one tasted so clean and tangy with its mix of watermelon, grapefruit creme de peche, cranberry, vanilla and Finlandia vodka, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the exception to the rule during alcohol-free month.

The Liars Club, ManchesterThe Liars Club, Manchester

In fact there’s a whole host of imaginatively constructed cocktails designed for those who have moved on from Mojitos and are done with Daiquiris. Most range around the £6 mark, which is reasonable enough. Or if you’re feeling frivolous the Fog Cutter (£12) is their strongest drink containing Bacardi Superior, Bombay Sapphire and apricot brandy with the warning it ‘may induce mild blindness.’

Still you could always fix yourself with a Painkiller (£6.50) which the cheeky lot at Liars describe as ‘Tiki as fuck'.

Just don’t come ranting on here when you wake up face-down in a flower pot.

Follow Lynda on Twitter @LyndaMoyo

Bar Rating: 17/20
Food and drink: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Ambience: 8/10

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 29th 2011.

'HAVING announced to the office I’m taking a break from alcohol, it would appear the editor is hard of hearing.' Lynda I'm not hard of hearing I'm desperate, first Gordo goes teetotal and Ryvita obsessed until Christmas and then you go off the drink. I'm eating and drinking for three.

1 Response: Reply To This...
MaggieNovember 29th 2011.

Hmmmmmmm, I thought you always did that............................x

Lynda Moyo shared this on Facebook on November 29th 2011.
JABNovember 29th 2011.

need someone to go testing bars? Where do I sign!!

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

Looks amazing...let the christmas party begin!

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

No mention of the piranha

Emma CusickNovember 29th 2011.

Love it in there - was in for the amazing launch party with muchas free cocktails! Cant beat a zombie that nearly takes your eyebrows off!x

Jordan McDowellDecember 1st 2011.

Oh dear. Not my best look.

AnonymousDecember 17th 2011.

Was there last night, would have been a great night but the service i got at the bar ruined it for me! Was served by a very rude bartender think he was called Joe, he lacked any customer service skills. Spoke to someone who went to The Liar's Club on a different night and he also received the same rude service from this particular bartender! Will not be going again.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Amy.Clowes@Gmail.ComDecember 3rd 2012.

yep, same. I mentioned it on social media after and was told he's just like that. Like they think it's a funny gimmick. Being told to 'pay the f~cking money!" as we were taking a photo though, didn't go down well........

AnonymousDecember 17th 2011.

Very rude bartender there called James

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2012.

I've been twice now and both times bar staff were rude, won't be going again and won't be recommending!!

AnonymousApril 13th 2012.

rude bar staff, horrid pervert bouncers, rough clientele all looking for a fight, embarrassing place to end up in with my friends visiting from leeds

AnonymousApril 13th 2012.

Get used to it, northern quarter bars love to employ people that like, and it's spreading around town.

DavidApril 13th 2012.

It's not the rude staff, it's the rude,stuck up women who go to these places.Those horrid types who frequent similar places in Hoxton and pay these ridiculous,inflated drink prices.
What has caused the quality of bars to go down in Manchester,is that so many of them pander solely to the tastes of these types of women,since they reason where the women go,the men will follow.
Manchester Confidential seems to have a very friendly realationship with Black Dog Ballroom,given the amount of publicity it gives them.They may be a so called 'independent',but they are no different really from Revolution or other chain bars.

AnonymousMarch 26th 2013.

The security staff are bullies, typical jumped up failed at everything else in life type bouncers. I can deal with people being thrown out, what I can't deal with is people being beaten to a pulp, thrown downstairs, dragged outside and kicked repeatedly in the head and body. I'm sure security are supposed to use restraint procedures not brutal force??? CCTV would paint a pretty picture but we all know that scene will definitely be wiped or suspiciously unable to record at that time. Absolutely horrified that security staff act that way in this day and age.

Alan FaulknerJanuary 1st 2014.

Great night NYE, don't know what the issues are with the bouncers, I found them very friendly, funny and helpful.

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