First look: Inside Manahatta – a cocktail bar inspired by New York

7 Nov 2019 @ 6.18 pm
| Food & drink

Looking to swap old York for New York – at least for an hour or two?

Well we might have just the place. Manahatta opens this weekend, aiming to bring some of the energy of the Big Apple to Little Stonegate.

This cocktail bar and restaurant is brought to us by Arc Inpirations, the Leeds-based hospitality business, and replaces another of its brands, Banyan Bar & Kitchen.

The lights are much brighter there

Arc sales and marketing manager Lucy Guest explained why:

  • We’ve been in York for quite a while as Banyan and we felt like the Manahatta brand suited the city more.

    We have DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, we want to push that late night vibe. We’re open until 2am on the weekends, rather than Banyan which was more of a daytime venue.

Snazzy decor

Does that stand for North Yorkshire?
The decor is inspired by New York cocktail bars.

Lucy says “one of our tag-lines is ‘The beat of New York’ and what we really want to get across is that kind of energy.

“If you go to New York there’s a buzz about it and we want to bring that to Manahatta.”

For York they’ve “ramped it up a gear” by adding more neon detailing and pink velvet chairs.

An interesting feature is the graffiti style street art on the walls, which adds a slightly edgier vibe. There’s plenty of opportunity to get that perfect Instagram shot as each area offers an unique feature of the decor.

Food and drink

Some of the dishes on offer
On our visit we tried the halloumi and mozzarella fries with chipotle ketchup (£6.95), the empire state chicken (£13.95), the beyond Brooklyn burger (£12.50) and the rocky road brownie with ice-cream (£6.50).

Our drinks were a rubarb and hibiscus fizz (£10.95), a sweet concoction of Reyka vodka, rhubarb, Cocchi Americano, Prosecco and hibiscus foam, and a Greenwich sling (£4), a zingy mocktail made with pineapple, ginger, lemon, apple and soda.

“The food and drink feedback has been really good so far,” Lucy says. “People are really impressed by the big change”.

The empire state chicken has been “going down an absolute storm”, and you can see why: it is a towering stack of crispy coated chicken, waffles, American cheese, purple slaw, maple syrup, skin on fries and sweet potato fries with a choice between BBQ sauce or chicken gravy.

Vegan option the beyond Brooklyn burger was also very tasty. It’s great to have an indulgent vegan option – the meat-free patty was accompanied by pulled barbecue jackfruit, vegan cheese, vegan chipotle mayo and an onion ring.

The ice cream that came with the rocky road brownie was also perhaps the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s astonishing light: try it – you’ll be surprised!

‘New and exciting’

Think pink
The team at Manahatta York currently numbers 45 but they’re still recruiting, and the details of how to apply can be found on their website.

Manahatta officially opens to the public on Saturday 9 November.

“We’re bringing something new, and an exciting new brand to York,” Lucy tells YorkMix. Manhatta want to draw in “people that just want to have a fun time” and here’s hoping that they’ve found the perfect recipe to do so.

Manahatta gallery