The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress

After its successful debut in London last summer, the Bassano Bar has now opened its doors to Mancunians by partnering with the nation’s favourite restaurant chain, PizzaExpress. This modern Italian cocktail bar, the brainchild of Dave Marsland and Nick Hopewell-Smith launched a couple of weeks ago at the stunning terrace of First Street, one of Manchester’s most dynamic leisure areas.

The menu offers many different refreshing and tantalizing flavours that aim to bring out the Italian spirits to its audience, including grappa, Italy’s much under-rated national spirit. There are a handful of classic drinks such as Nardini, Italy’s most prestigious grappa brand and classic cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers. While you’re at the bar, you can also order yourself a pizza or pasta from PizzaExpress to pair up with the fabulous drinks

Dave is a well-known drinks expert and trainer, creating brand agency ‘Drinks Enthusiast’ in 2011, with his own spirits retail business in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist. A marketing professional with over 35 years experience, Nick is the initiator and creative driver behind The Bassano Bar in London and a specialist importer of Italian spirits and liqueurs from The Nardini Distillery.

Dave was present the day I visited the Bassano Bar and he personally made us some great cocktails. I watched him creatively put together the amazing flavours of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum, Campari and Velvet Falernum to create a Spiced Negroni. It tasted deliciously sweet in the beginning and left me with the spiced flavor of rum in the end. An exotic cocktail with perfectly blended flavours.

Our second cocktail was a lemon martini, an infusion of gin (Warner Edward’s Melissa) and Nardini Acqua di Cedro. The martini, with its alluring essence of lemon, was blindingly good and yet delightfully refreshing

If you to find a cosy haunt with an al-fresco feel and barmen who really know their stuff, where you can kick back with friends and sip ingenious and delicious cocktails (and reasonably priced!)…head to The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, an impressive addition to the Manchester bar scene.

  • Ambience: 8.5/10

  • Service: 9/10

  • Drinks: 9.5/10

  • Price: 9/10

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Photography by Daley Mathias

Restaurant: Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress

Location: 1 First Street North, Manchester (M15 4FN)

Restaurant hours: Wednesday-Friday: 5pm to 11pm, Weekends & Bank holidays: 12pm to 11pm

Contact number: +44 07340250908

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