When you're young, the whole idea of being OLD seems truly, utterly terrible. You stride confidently about town in the oxblood-red Doc Martens that you think look really most desirable indeed, stopping off to drink warm beer from plastic cups in a range of dingy watering holes that never, ever have any toilet paper in the ladies. And you do this because it is FUN, whilst boring old people sit in their la-di-da restaurants and posh wine bars, happy with their dull little lives because, really, they are so old they may as well be dead (i.e. they are older than THIRTY).
And then, you become one of these really old, dull people. The ones who eat at proper restaurants rather than trying to share a Rusholme curry between four people at three in the morning; who drink in bars where there are comfy seats, and toilets with functioning locks on the doors, and music played at a level that still allows you to have a nice chat with the people you have chosen to spend some time with. And what your eighteen-year-old self would never in a million years believe is that being old is truly, utterly fabulous.
My eighteen-year-old self would have HATED the Uber Lounge, the new cocktail bar in Castlefield owned by the folk behind Bohemia and Twisted Med. And she would have hated it for all the reasons I liked it so much when we visited last week. First of all, it's tucked away under the arches in a formerly quiet part of town that now boasts a fine array of eateries and drinkeries (she would NEVER have ventured so far from Oxford Road, lest someone try to charge her more than a pound a pint). And to be fair, the drinks here are not cheap: my favourite - the Watermelon Cascade pictured here in all of its one-of-your-five-a-day-surely glory - comes from the list of Champagne Cocktails priced at £8.95 a go (and I fear I could drink many, many of these, and then have to face up to telling Mr Liz I'd spent the mortgage money entirely on sparkle-based goods). Unfortunately, though, these kind of prices are pretty much standard now for city centre cocktails, and there are plenty of Classics (including another old friend, the Mojito) for a reasonable £6.95.
Even better is the decor (well, if you like purple, which I do). The unassuming flight of stairs that leads from the ground floor entrance suddenly opens up into what can only be described as a haven of lavender loveliness, of luscious lilacness, of perfect plum, of amazing amethyst (OK, OK *steps away from the thesaurus*) - it wouldn't have gone with the oxblood-red DMs at ALL. And, being an old person, I very much enjoyed the comfort of the plush booth-style seating and the attentiveness of the lovely staff in bringing over drinks and sparing my weary old bones the effort of upward movement. There is also a lovely outdoor terrace, but as I had neglected to bring a blanket for my knees I was sadly unable to venture outside lest I catch my death of cold.
So my eighteen-year-old self's loss is my gain - another top-quality drinking den in Manchester's ever-growing crown. But then, let's face it - with her oxblood-red Doc Martens and her lousy taste in beer she really wouldn't have been welcome here anyway.
- Uber Lounge is open Thursday to Sunday from 7pm till late, and can be found at Arch 9, Catalan Square, Manchester M3 4RU; tel. 0161 8397099.