Bar Hütte is the perfect place to go for festive frolics this year without actually having to get on a plane to Lapland, so I went to experience it for myself. Every year there’s no shortage of Christmas themed experiences in our cities, from the award winning Manchester Christmas markets to Santa’s grotto at your local garden centre, there’s always something for adults and children alike. But for me personally, I’d rather stay at home and watch Die Hard and make a full bottle of mulled wine for just myself.
But this year I had a reason to venture out into the city, to experience some Christmas cheer a little early, to not be such a Scrooge and meet up with friends, all for the promise of seasonal cocktails, a warm cup of Bombardino and the chance to sing Christmas songs on my very own karaoke machine!
Bar Hütte’s Alpine Winter Wonderland is inspired by some of the coolest apres ski bars in Europe, combining super-snug ski huttes with cosy furnishings, twinkling lights, live music sessions, signature cocktails and the chance to sing your heart in your own private karaoke hütte. The alpine wonderland is perfect for whether you’re out with friends, a Christmas party, a date night or looking for some good old family fun.
My festivity-loving companion and I visited the Winter Wonderland situated at Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester city centre. A huge pair of reindeer antlers and a red nose on top of a pine and holly covered archway indicate we are in the right place and my attention is immediately drawn to the mini hütte at the entrance that is a Doggy Grotto! Complete with ‘pawsecco’ and free treats as well as photo props and Santa hats so you can make some lasting memories of you and your four legged friends. On this occasion I left my dog at home because 1. He hates my loud singing and 2. He’s not old enough to drink.
We are given a tour of the site by our host which consists of a large standing bar area as well as tables and fairy lights out in the open air then into a sheltered area with the many private hüttes as well as a dance floor, stage and tables and chairs at the back. Access to the site is free to members of the public but it is advised to make a reservation as it can get very busy in the run up to Christmas. We are guided into our hütte, a cosy cabin with long benches and a table adorned with fairy lights and decorations. At one end is a big TV screen with 2 microphones and a simple button pad below in order to select your chosen musical numbers.
Our host shows us how it all works as well as giving us a drinks menu and explains that you simply scan the QR code on your phone and order your drinks directly to your hütte so there’s no interruptions to the fun. All bookings come with a Bar Hütte Bombardino, the Italian mountain classic cocktail consisting of warm rum, cream and cinnamon shot served with whipped cream and mini marshmallows, which was right up my street, frankly I could have done with a couple more. We decided to have a drink before we began our own private concert and opted for a hot and cold option. I chose the Makers Biscoff Hot Chocolate, with Makers Mark whiskey, hot chocolate and speculoos syrup, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of Biscoff biscuits. My waistline said no, but my cold heart said this was now my new favourite Winter beverage. My festive friend opted for the Lemon Drizzle Spritz, Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle, machino rosso, tonic and rosemary, for a refreshing, icy contrast to the warm and cosy atmosphere. You can also opt for a ‘shot-ski’, four shots of limoncello on an actual ski which is great fun for larger groups.
Suitably satisfied with our seasonal tipples I began my onslaught of karaoke hits ranging from Cher’s ‘Believe’, Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson’s ‘Valerie’ and the quintessential karaoke classic Livin’ on a prayer’ by Bon Jovi much to my companions delight. I then switched to the festive theme and belted out Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Live Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ and my finale was an absolutely awful rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ which was performed with so much gusto that I tired myself (and my vocal chords) out. The private hütte experience is for 1 hour 45 minutes which is more than enough time for fitting in plenty of songs, sampling all the cocktails and laughing until your stomach hurts.
There are a number of options when it comes to the hüttes: You can choose the Cosy Karaoke Hütte like me which is for up to 8 people, the Special Santa Family Hütte complete with free hot chocolate and colouring pads for kids as well as the chance for a photo with Santa. There’s Wreath Making Apres Ski Style where the prosecco and cocktails flow while you create your own hand-made wreath and finally the VIP Party Hütte for up to 20 people for 2 whole hours drinks and karaoke in your own private event space hütte.
Get your friends and family together and have a Christmassy experience to remember.
You can find Bar Hütte in Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh which can be booked here.