New York City inspires Arc Inspirations’ Manahatta in Leeds

manahatta leeds

Arc Inspirations’ latest new bar, Manahatta in Leeds, takes inspiration from New York City

Arc Inspirations’ managing director Martin Wolstencroft literally goes the extra mile when planning a new bar. Before work started on Manahatta which opened in Leeds’ Northern Quarter at the end of last year, he and the food and drinks team travelled to New York City with their architects and designers to do research. “New York is at the cutting edge of the world’s food and drink offer, and we are taking the best from there and bringing it to Leeds,” he explains.

Manahatta takes its name from the original name that the Lenape native Americans had for the isle of Manhattan before it was colonised. While the name evokes the past, the bar has a bold, modern interior developed by Caulder Moore Design with architects KPP. Aiming for “industrial glamour”, the 9,000 sq ft venue features a long bar, an open kitchen, raised areas and cosy booths. On the ground floor, the décor provides a view of the original bowed-shaped ceiling of what was formerly the auditorium of the 1920s Tower Cinema. A feature staircase leads up to the first floor with an island bar and more booths and private areas.

The bar is furnished with sumptuous leather banquettes and tables for dining plus leather-clad high stools lining the bars. “Hits of colour come from the vivid blue booths set against glamorous lighting, mirrors and exposed brickwork,” adds senior designer Laurence Pugh of Caulder Moore. “Tiled floors and dark wood trims evoke hotel bars from the 1920s, reimagined in a contemporary way.”

In line with Arc Inspirations’ other bars across Yorkshire, Manahatta offers high-quality cocktails, including classics reinvented “with a glamorous twist”. With history on each of the cocktails, the menu champions New York City-related classics such as a Clover Club, a Bronx and a Manhattan. Other drinks on the extensive list, priced between £6.25 and £8, have been created by Arc Inspirations’ team, including Declan Mcgurk, the company’s former bars development manager who is now bar manager at the Savoy’s American Bar in London. His Big Yellow Cab is a twist on a Whiskey Sour made with Four Roses bourbon, Suze aperitif and elderflower liqueur.

Chef Anthony Flynn and executive chef John Richold took inspiration from New York City’s diverse food scene for dishes such as the Lenape Tomahawk ribeye and the black cod with New England chowder. Open from midday Thursday to Sunday and from 5pm the rest of the week, the bar is a destination for food and cocktails through to late-night partying, to a soundtrack of live DJs, until as late as 3am at weekends. “Food, drinks, service, music and atmosphere are equally important, and the glamorous design reflects our aspirations to give our customers the best time,” Martin says.

Manahatta, 11 Merrion Street, Leeds LS1 6PG
Tel: 0113 245 6275

Behind the scenes
Architects: KPP
Interior design: Caulder Moore Design
Furniture: Oblong

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