Hotly anticipated craft coffee and cocktail bar ‘Roc & Rye’ will officially open its doors on 7th July 2017. Situated in a landmark Grade II listed building, designed by Manchester town hall architect Alfred Waterhouse, the venue has ample room for up to 150 covers.
Centrally located in Spring Gardens, at the end of King Street, the new venue has taken inspiration from the architectural glories of the original 1880s interior, with authentic design features such as a reclaimed 1920’s oak dance floor.
Roc & Rye is the first stand-alone bar from popular bartender Sean Finnegan – formerly of El Capo, Kosmonaut and Mash and Air – alongside partners Maritza Haydon and Matt Bonner. The creative eaterie-come-cocktail bar will give a distinct nod to Sean’s Irish descent through a brand advocacy partnership with leading premium spirits, wine and champagne supplier, Pernod Ricard UK, distributors of favourite brands such as Absolut, Beefeater, Malibu and the world’s most popular Irish whiskey, Jameson.
Bringing an authentic taste of Ireland to Manchester, the venue includes a specially designed on-site laboratory for drink preparation and development, as well as a centrepiece barrel of aged Jameson whiskey behind the bar. The latter provides whiskey-lovers with the opportunity to experience this coveted tipple straight from the barrel, as it was originally served in 1965.
Sean Finnegan, Roc & Rye Founder said, “Putting whiskey at the heart of Roc & Rye, and specifically Jameson, seemed like a logical choice. We were lucky enough to meet with a 5th generation Jameson Master Cooper and their vision of training a new generation of Coopers, distillers and blenders really captured our imagination due to our shared values of craft, skill and commitment to quality.
“We also really wanted to give Roc & Rye customers the experience of sampling undiscovered artisan food from the local area and we’re proud to be able to curate a diverse menu that gives regional producers a platform to really showcase home-grown speciality cuisine.”
The cocktail menu entitled ‘Hard Shakes and Heart Breaks’ has been given a romantically creative spin based on the five stages of a relationship: Infatuation, Tumult, Rediscovery, Devotion & Rapture. Roc & Rye’s signature cocktail ‘Lost at Sea’ will combine Cooper’s Croze Jameson Whiskey, with avant-garde drink making techniques. The intricate concoction features a cherry and grapefruit shrub, made by fermenting grapefruit and black Italian cherries with a sherry-based vinegar. This is then blended with a classic cherry liqueur, smoky Mezcal and sweet vermouth. The cocktail will be barrel aged using staves from the Midleton Distillery in Cork (home of Jameson whiskey) and presented in a whiskey bottle embellished with a 3D printed ship from the Jameson coat of arms.
Alongside its range of inventive cocktails, the bar will appeal to Manchester’s daytime workers with the offer of workspaces and some of the best speciality coffees by Origin, ranging from delicious mainstay espresso blends to regularly rotating single origin filter coffees. For those in need of a stronger caffeine dose, the bar’s on-trend ‘Nitro’ coffee will be the perfect pick-me-up. This nitrogen infused chilled brew coffee has a rich, creamy head and will be served cold and on draft throughout the day.
As much attention to detail has been given to the food, with an ever-changing selection of artisan products from producers based in and around Manchester. Showcasing the excellence of regional food manufacturers, discerning diners will be able to feast on delicacies such as: homemade breads, bagels and chutneys from ‘Trove of Levenshulme’, macarons and cakes from acclaimed patisserie ‘Bisous-Bisous’ of Wilmslow Road, speciality cheeses from Didsbury’s ‘The Cheese Hamlet’, pork pies and scotch eggs from ‘Beehive Food’ of Deansgate and a ‘bean to bar’ range of handcrafted chocolate bars and truffles from master chocolatiers ‘Dormouse’.
Heading up the bar will be David Cole, who’ll be bringing a wealth of technical experience and passion to the role, gleaned from his position as Head Bartender at The Midland Hotel’s ‘Mr Cooper’s House and Garden’. Roc & Rye will also be ensuring improved social welfare for bartenders, along with in-depth training and increased wages to help encourage bartending as a long-term career goal.
Magin Trewhella, Head of Marketing (Dark Spirits) at Pernod Ricard UK, comments: “This is a hugely exciting and unique venture for Jameson. Bartender advocacy is at the heart of the brand, so partnering with Sean and his team was a natural fit. As a venue, Roc & Rye provides consumers with an immersive experience, which allows them to discover the technicalities behind key serves, as well as the theatre of consuming them in the opulent splendour of the venue’s central bar. We can’t wait for people to discover the many new ways of experiencing Jameson, at a location that’s sure to become a thriving hub of the city.”